Femininity/Masculinity is not Femaleness/Maleness

image from harpersbazaar.com

I Blame the Patriarchy has a really interesting post about how the performance of femininity is inherently problematic in that it isn’t really a choice, though perhaps the degree to which we participate is.

I don’t consider myself one who does much performing of femininity – beyond a bit of eyeliner and mascara (i.e. no heels, no uncomfortable clothes that restrict movement, etc) – though I don’t know how a video of my conversations with the world would hold up to scrutiny. I don’t think I do meek/giggly/etc, but I can’t be sure.

IBTP’s stated test for femininity is to imagine a member of the dominant class performing the action in question. If it seems asinine, then voila, we’re looking at a gendered behaviour.

Does the opposite would hold true? Would a performance of masculinity look foolish if done by a female? To some extent the female might seem tomboyish, but not mockable the same way a femininity-performing male would.

What would we say were masculine behaviours? Harassing women? Liking tools/sports/cars? Being unemotional? Being violent?

What would the world look like without gendered performance? Where people’s behaviours exclusively reflected personality and inclination rather than socially dictated roles?


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