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Feminine and Masculine

  • Different though the sexes are, they intermix. In every human being a vacillation from one sex to the other takes place, and often it is only the clothes that keep the male or female likeness.

  • Perhaps a mind that is purely masculine cannot create, any more than a mind that is purely feminine ... It is fatal to be a man or woman pure and simple; one must be woman-manly or man-womanly.

  • I think every individual, and every society, is perfected just in proportion to the combination, and cooperation, of masculine and feminine elements of character. He is the most perfect man who is affectionate as well as intellectual; and she is the most perfect woman who is intellectual as well as affectionate. Every art and science becomes more interesting, viewed both from the masculine and feminine points of view.

  • Male and female represent the two sides of the great radical dualism. But, in fact, they are perpetually passing into one another. Fluid hardens to solid, solid rushes to fluid. There is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman.

  • Femininity and masculinity are social constructs. Female and male are biological. We don't have to learn to be men or women but we do have to learn to be ladies and gentlemen.

  • What is most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.

    • Susan Sontag,
    • "Notes on 'Camp'" (1964), Against Interpretation ()
  • ... there are certain qualities — courage, and character, and vitality, a kind of belonging to oneself — which make men seem manlier and women seem womanlier, in the way that certain chemicals make blue liquids bluer and red liquids redder. Vitality looks very masculine on a man, very feminine on a woman; very sexy either way.

    • Susan Edmiston,
    • in Joyce Teitz, What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? ()