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On Femininity -- Trying to Understand It As a Man

Updated: Jan 2


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The Duality of Femininity: Freedom and Fragility


Femininity can be a double-edged sword. For those seeking emotional freedom and unconstrained expression, it offers a liberating space. However, for those deeply invested in their emotions, it can also become a source of suffering. Its desirability becomes a subjective and complex matter, embraced by some and viewed with apprehension by others. Emotions are complex either way. Our relationships with them, as such, are personal.

A big note before I start: I am not a women-hater, nor do I view men as superior to women (nor vice versa), for I'm no sexist. I just don't really like femininity, and that too isn't said in an attempt to sound edgy, ultra-manly, or something along those lines. I'm simply quite dead inside after the life I had thus far.

I've consistently faced challenges in connecting with women throughout my life, regardless of their roles as teachers, classmates, potential partners, and so on. Accepting femininity as a concept has been difficult for me, and I used to wrestle with my own sensitivity until I became desensitized than even masculine people. My life has been a radical series of transformations, and yet I find femininity as but a cute feature, and little else.


While I recognize the emotional intensity (and EQ) some perceive as inherent to femininity, I struggle to see it as very important, as I am not used to much empathy from anyone. Perhaps my own discomfort with similar emotions in myself colors my perspective, as different genders undergo different gender socialization processes.


However, as someone who experiences strong emotions firsthand, mostly pain, I'm beginning to understand the potential value of embracing, rather than loathing, this aspect of myself, which I repressed for so long, and still will.



Navigating the Maze: Masculinity, Femininity, and the Pursuit of Serenity


I've always felt like a bit of an enigma, a masculine man wrestling with a discomfort towards certain emotional displays, and got shamed for them as a childish person, a shame I resent to this very day. I'm laid-back, hiding a whole world within me, and find myself drawn to serenity over drama. Maybe that's why the idea of love felt like a distant planet – too unpredictable, too messy for my neatly ordered world of empire-building.


My experiences with women, unfortunately, haven't been sunshine and rainbows. From former friends like Chen to teachers and even other women, coldness and dismissal seemed to be a recurring theme, when I open with them, more. This wasn't just about heartbreaks. They made mefeel invisible, insignificant, like my presence only held value when it served a purpose. And if I outstreched their attempt to moderate me, they would run away like cowards.


I am not one to be tamed. I am one to serve and to guide by my own accord.


One such experience, veiled in shadows, was with a woman I called "Seph." Her silence in response to my clumsy attempts at connection felt an opportunity to be leaving me hollow inside. And the more I spoke with certain people, so I indeed became -- hollow and ruthless from within. To this day, I yearn to understand their heartless behaviors, but maybe it's a question forever lost in the labyrinth of unspoken words.


What did I do wrong by being more than myself? More than what is expected of a man to be? I refuse to succumb to the expectations of those who are quick to leave. Those who are quick to leave are cowards, men and women alike. And I am no coward.


It's easy to romanticize femininity from afar... But up close, the complexities of biology and emotions can feel overwhelming. The thought of childbirth, the monthly cycles, the raw vulnerability it all entails – I confess, it's not a world I fully grasp, nor one I particularly seek to experience myself beyond my sympathies.


Perhaps this discomfort, this desire for a calm, drama-free existence, is why my relationship with many women was worn out. We clashed over boundaries, over their need for emotional connection, and the need to always keep me at a distance. Even the women who professed love seemed to speak a different language from myself. Their tears, their anxieties, their unfiltered expressions – they were a whirlwind that always failed to resonate with me. And my own "whirlwinds" failed to resonate with them.



I'm not here to paint all women with the same brush. There are those who bring warmth and understanding, who dance with their emotions without losing themselves in the storm. But my past experiences have left me drawn to the quiet corners of life where whispers replace shouts and shadows reside in solitude.


My respiratory problem makes me reluctant to desire affection regularly, as stress makes me feel that my lungs are getting dirthier. I've no desire considering those who care little, if at all, of my medical problem. I feel that I suffered enough, trying to get validated by those whose caring is too conditional to worth the investment.


I do not know what made them treat me coldly, but most of them understood, somehow, my deep relationship with pain, and how I suffered so easily, and still do. They feared wanting to hurt me, so they run away.


But I accepted these intensive agonies as inevitable, already. If I'll have to suffer I will. If they are afraid of my willingness to be vulnerable, they better understand that I refuse being weak. For I open myself to the torment of my mind and of people I care about, so I could be stronger, despite the pains of life, haunting me intensively for many years.


I am not a weakling.



The silence that echoed back from Seph, the quiet repulsion in her eyes—was it a reflection of my muted emotional landscape, so different from her own? Perhaps for those of us wired for deeper feeling, the path to peace is indeed paved with sacrifices, with a necessary distancing from the storms of others, in self-imposed quarantine.


Some may praise sensitivity for its depth, its ability to create understandings, both of oneself and others. But sensitivity is vulnerability, with the risk of becoming entangled in thorns of pain. It's a vulnerability I recognize in myself, a rawness that can feel like an opportunity for strength by the mental scars caused by others.


And now I realize a certain fact.... the choice to be vulnerable, on purpose, isn't a display of stupidity necessarily, but of strength, as that allows one to become stronger through adversity. Opening up to people, and embracing the fact that they might hurt you, unintentionally or otherwise, is key to becoming stronger.


I do not need to run away from people, like a wounded animal, whether or not I live in the shadows. No. I must prepare to suffer. I must open up and prepare for further pain from the world, if not embrace it. And others need not be afraid of hurting me, for I suffered enough to not fear it.


I cannot be loved if I fear pain. So I don't fear it.


But is prevention better than cure, should my lung condition worsen?

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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