Breaking the Mold: Embracing Female’s Masculinity in a Stereotyped World

The stereotypical world often pushes the femininity agenda on women. This has dismissed the fact that women, too, can express themselves in a masculine way. Because neither femininity or masculinity belongs to one gender only.

After the phenomenon of the First World War in the 1920s, women began to appear and had several opportunities in jobs that were usually carried out by men in various fields. Not just by the visual, there were also significant changes in post-world war women’s trends. Namely the bob hairstyle which is associated with masculine, strong, free, independent, and dominant characters. This phenomenon is known as the flapper era. This was done as an expression of freedom and social progress regarding major changes in the role of women in society at that time.

Through the phenomenon of the ‘flapper era’, there were also many phenomena of women who had more masculine visual traits or characteristics, rather than their feminine ones. Starting from fashion styles, haircuts, ways of behaving, to how women’s roles and positions in society have changed. Women are starting to gain their place and becoming more dominant in several fields.

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The same phenomenon also occurred in France, known as the first wave of feminism. It was the women’s movement in fighting for equality starting with physical changes. Women’s clothes that should be designed with an ‘S’ shape that hugs the curves of the woman’s body have been changed to be more comfortable and sporty by a French designer who is fighting for equal rights. Women in France also started cutting their hair shorter as a representation that men and women were equal.

This movement has of course caused controversy because society constructs and correlates women with feminine, gentle and refined things. Especially in Indonesia. Indonesian society, which adheres to a patriarchal culture, thinks that women who tend to be more masculine are considered deviating from their nature as women. Because in patriarchy, women are the supporting figures of the household who are focused only on household chores. Such as cooking, looking after and educating children, and cleaning the house. That’s why, Indonesian people tend to feel uncomfortable when they see masculine or dominant women.

“She’s a tomboy”, “She’s not attractive”, “She should be more feminine and wear her skirts”. A lot of opinions with negative connotations are thrown at women if they step outside society’s stereotypes. In fact, the things that women do and wear are a form of self-expression from life experiences or trauma they have experienced. Because this is part of a coping mechanism that should be understood and not judged.

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This phenomenon which led towards better equality change is supported by Julia Kristeva’s statement. A French philosopher who believes that all humans, including women, can position themselves either masculine or feminine. From this, it can be seen that men and women both have these two expressions, namely the masculine and feminine sides.

There is also a statement from a Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Gustav Jung, who found 2 elements in men and women; namely anima and animus. In other words, anima is femininity in men and animus is masculinity in women.

So it can be concluded that women do have masculinity within them. However, the development of this expression depends on experience, environment, and upbringing throughout one’s life. Masculinity in women also does not have to be interpreted negatively. But can be addressed with more open minded, also more flexible understanding and perspective.

Clarissa Dea Camelia

Mahasiswi Jurusan Ilmu Komunikasi Binus University Malang
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