by Nick Thornton
Occasionally, and probably not often enough, young men are told to embrace their feminine side. So out we go, attempting to be more in touch with our emotions. We call up a friend to go for coffee and we might even have a real conversation with them. We let our friend know that we are there for them if they ever need to chat or rant. We go away feeling pretty good about ourselves. We might try our hand at actually making a meal instead of ducking into the nearest sushi joint as we leap of our B-Line bus. So we get out that cook book our mother packed away in our stuff when we moved and we leaf through until we find something that will truly test our kitchen prowess.
But then it dawns on us, all of those things aren’t inherently feminine, they’re just some BS notions we picked up as a kid. This is just what our sociology prof was banging on about last semester. So we look to our girlfriends and girl friends. What do these girls do that makes them feminine? We analyze their gestures, their voice and inflections of speech… but that doesn’t seem like the right fit for us. If we changed our gestures people would throw things and laugh at us. Is it how they relate to one another? They seem to hug a lot, your girl friends, and they really like “girl’s nights.” But again, you see the same problem,
none of these things are inherently “feminine,” it’s just crap you notice because it’s re-enforced by every television show you’ve ever seen.
So where does that leave us? We’re still dissatisfied, not feeling quite at home being someone’s “brah, bro, broham” or otherwise. We like our guy friends but there’s an uneasiness in everything we do. That veneer is mighty thick. How exactly does one foster this elusive “feminine side” when so much of what is considered “feminine” is just arbitrary? You didn’t think I’d leave you without any tips, did you?
Step 1: Talk to your girl friends. Talk openly and honestly with no agenda, just talk to them. What have you been missing in the façade of trying to keep your own gender role tightly under wraps?
Step 2: Read. You can’t cultivate a hell of a lot with the same old information. Drop the insane idea that feminism will turn you into a man-hating sissy boy and read everything that you deem girly and feminist and stop worrying about having an appropriately “male” reaction.
Step 3: Experiment. Do what makes you happy. Do what you’ve always wanted to do. Play with gender until it makes no sense anymore because, surprise, it never made any sense to begin with.
What does getting in touch with your “feminine side” mean to you?
Nick is a 4th year History major at UBC, as well as the CEO (and sole employee) of Unboring Learning.com, a free online learning site. His 5th grade report card said: "Nick is a conscientious student but distracts his classmates." You can follow him on Twitter: @unboringlearn