*This, along with most of my content, is heteronormative as I myself am hetero, and hence, have hetero experiences.
Femininity and masculinity are yin and yang. Each has different qualities that when they come together, results in a harmonious balance. I believe that women have both feminine and masculine traits, but over time, we have been conditioned to throw away one in favor of the other. Due to the movements designed to bring women in the workforce, we are now poised to acquire masculine practices that we have taken into the home.
However, many women are still unsatisfied with their careers and relationships with men, and why is that? I believe it is partly due to misuse of their feminine and masculine traits. They display feminine traits in the workplace such as not taking credit for their work, not speaking up, not being at the table, and not being assertive. In return, they are passed over for promotions, raises, their contributions go unnoticed. In relationships, women have taken a more aggressive role and display masculine traits such as pursuing the man, asking them out on dates, proposing for marriage, paying for dates. They then get frustrated because they realize that the man they pursued is not performing his role as a man or even an equal partner.
Here’s my approach:
In the workplace, act masculine but appear feminine.
By taking charge of your work in terms of taking credit and letting your input be heard, you are displaying your competence and ensuring your success. No one will perceive your value unless you communicate it. Watch your language: stop saying, “I helped …,” “I’m sorry to bother you,” “Is it okay if you can like maybe,” “… but that’s just me,” “… but that’s just my opinion,” “…, but you know a lot more about it than I do.” Exude confidence in your work and show + communicate your competence.
Now here’s the thing: women who outwardly express masculinity are also penalized by being called “bossy” or a “bitch” or whatever variant. Women who are masculine at work are not very well liked. To combat this penalization of women in the workplace, present yourself as the best version of you as a female. Dress well + appropriately and take care of your appearance (hair, nails, skincare, makeup). It’s not shallow at all and also capitalizes on the psychology of the attractiveness privilege.
In relationships, act feminine and appear feminine. Femininity attracts masculinity. It’s that simple. Due to the yin and yang nature of femininity and masculinity, too much of one in a relationship doesn’t support a balance. If you are displaying masculine traits when dating, you are going to attract feminine men, and if that’s your jam, then go for it. But if your true desire is to attract a masculine man who will provide value to your life in ways that you cannot do for yourself, then displaying masculine traits is NOT the way to attract him.
The masculine traits young women display that attracts them feminine men are: asking them out, paying for dates, pushing for more commitment, constantly telling them what to do, trying to change them, proposing, etc. One of the most important things to learn about men is that they are not helpless. If they wanted to do something, they’ll do it no matter what. No amount of hindrances or excuses will keep them from taking what they want from life. For example, if you are ready for marriage and he isn’t, and he cites financial insecurity, incorrect moon phase, or whatever excuse as reasons for his “inability” to propose, I can tell you that’s a total lie. If he really wanted to marry you, he would have done it. If he wanted to do the dishes so you wouldn’t come home to a dirty kitchen, he would have, but he didn’t want to. If he wanted to spend time with you on the weekends instead of playing video games with his friends all day, he would have, but he didn’t want to. You get the theme here? Men do what they want, not what you tell them to do. By accepting these behaviors from men and thinking that we can change them if we just approach it differently to “solve the problem,” everything will be fine. The truth is, the whole relationship is not fine.
Being feminine in a relationship does not mean submitting to the man and doing whatever he tells you to do. It’s quite the opposite. It’s exuding an energy that tells him you won’t accept anything less than what you desire. It’s letting him know how you feel when he does things and leaving it up to him to decide how to act knowing your response to whatever action or inaction he takes. It’s letting him know that you have options and high standards. It’s making the man work for your relationship as much as you are working to create or maintain it. It’s saving your nurturing and mothering energy for your own offspring and not channeling it onto your partner.
I acknowledge that men don’t have the same freedom in society to express femininity. I think women are unique in that we are afforded these two choices. By learning how to use these traits strategically, we are creating situations that will give us the maximum probability of fulfillment.