This comment is by Frederick Marx on the post Why I Can’t Write What’s Good About Masculinity by Joanna Schroeder.
I think there’s something important, even sacred about “masculine” and “feminine.” Something essential and vital. It’s just the way those terms have been historically defined that are way, way too limited. Ultimately, maybe they can’t be defined. It’s just that what is sacred about these terms is far deeper than character traits or behaviors. For me the “masculine” includes vulnerability, tears, nurturing… traits Robert Bly once called “the male mother.” All these contribute to making the masculine sacred. Likewise the “feminine” includes toughness, directness, power – all qualities that contribute to making the feminine sacred.
But if you theoretically dissolve all differences between men and women I think both are the lesser for it. To me transsexuals prove this argument. In getting sex reassignment, I judge, they seek the sacred essence of the gender they most deeply identify with. Certainly as a male they could choose to live out their life in totally “feminine” ways and some have. And as a female they could live out their life as a man and some have. But what drives others further, to sex reassignment surgery? I believe it’s a fundamental recognition of this very sacredness that somehow lies at the heart of each different gender.
photo: pinkmoose / flickr