Masculine Women and Feminine Men Part 1


To deny that there are masculine women and feminine men would be like denying there are ever cool days in the summer and warm days in the winter. We do not generally associate coolness with summer, or warmness with winter, but these things happen regardless.

But It would also be a mistake to say there are no such things a masculine and feminine qualities, this is something many feminists and egalitarians are trying to do today. That would be the same as saying that most winter days are not cold and most summers are days are not hot.  Genders do have normal behaviors.

It is a biological lie to deny the existence of masculine and feminine traits.

Masculinity and Femininity Defined

There are some traits that have been identified with masculinity and femininity since the dawn of civilization.

Masculine physical traits – taller and larger body builds, more muscular, deeper voices, thicker and more body hair, tougher skin, thicker eyebrows and facial hair.

Masculine behavioral traits – Aggressive, assertive, ambitious, courageous, competitive, logical and analytical. More prone to acting, then talking.

Female physical traits – shorter and smaller body builds, little muscle, higher voices, thinner and less body hair, softer skin, thinner eyebrows and no facial hair.

Female behavioral traits – Passive, submissive, cautious, cooperative, emotional and more empathetic. More prone to talking, then acting.

Masculine and Feminine Clothing– While clothing styles have changed over the last few thousand years, the concept of men and women wearing clothing that would distinguish their gender is as old as creation.

Whether it was in ancient Egypt, or the Assyrian Empire, or even among the Greeks and the Romans there was always “masculine” clothing and “feminine” clothing. Sometimes the differences were very pronounced and other times they were more subtle, but the differences were always there.

There was a time after Western civilization moved from tunics and robes to pants and dresses that men wore only pants (except for clergy and governing officials’ still wearing robes) and women wore only dresses. In the last century it has become socially acceptable for women to wear pants, but women’s pants are still cut and made different than men’s.

Women actually have a much broader range of acceptable clothing than men in Western culture where they can wear a dress one day, and the next day they can wear pants. It is not generally accepted in Western culture for men to wear dresses or skirts, or women’s pants and shirts. One notable exception to the “no skirts” rule for men would be the Scottish Kilt. But the Scotsmen still get teased about that to this very day.

As far as colors go, women also have a broader range of acceptable colors. While a woman can wear darker colors and softer pastels, men who wear lighter and softer pastel colors are generally perceived as wearing more feminine clothing(especially by other men). The feminist movement over the last 50 years has tried to make it more acceptable for men to wear soft pastel colors in a broader attempt to feminize society.

So with masculinity and femininity defined lets delve into how this impacts masculine women and feminine men.

Degrees of Masculinity and Femininity

Once we acknowledge the fact that there are masculine women and feminine men we must then recognize that there are varying degrees of masculinity and varying degrees of femininity. For instance a man may be very manly in 90% of his physical and behavioral traits, but there may be a small amount of feminine behavior or physical traits in one area of his life.

The same could be said of a woman, where for the most part she is extremely feminine, but there may be some small part of her that is more masculine (whether it is in behavior or physical attributes). Let me give some examples to illustrate what I am saying:

There are some beautiful and extremely feminine women who are extremely competitive. Maybe they like to play sports, it would be mistake to call that type of woman a masculine woman just because she gets a little competitive on the softball field.

There are some men that look very manly, big muscular and hairy, but the minute they open their mouth you hear a high, soft sounding voice. Just because a man’s voice sounds more feminine, does not make him a feminine man.

What does a Masculine woman look like?

A masculine woman is a woman that has several masculine traits, not just some minor masculine issues. For instance maybe a woman is built more like a man. Perhaps she has boxy hips (as opposed to round) and she has big broad shoulders like a man and she is more naturally muscular. At least from a physical perspective, this type of woman would be considered more masculine.

Then there are women who are more masculine in their behavior. Masculine women are generally more aggressive, assertive, competitive and less emotional and empathetic than the average woman.

Masculine women may or may not care about their appearance as a woman. I have worked with many woman in business and I can honestly say I have seen both. I have seen some masculine women, that dress beautifully and in a very feminine way, but the moment they open their mouth and when they get with a group of men they might as well be a man.

Then you have the masculine women who are not only masculine in their behavior, but they even try to dress like men and they don’t care about their looks or try to distinguish themselves cosmetically as a woman.

You will notice I put a picture of female combat soldier on the picture introducing this post. Might this woman be feminine in many ways? Certainly. But I have yet to meet or see a female solider on TV that you would say is a very feminine woman. At best female soldiers are only moderately feminine in their behavior.

What does a feminine man look like?

I know I put a man dancing on the picture introducing this post, but it was not meant to say all men who can dance are feminine men. I have watched enough dancing shows with my wife to know there are some manly men who dance.  However many male dancers are in fact feminine men, this is just a reality.

Just like with women, there are men that may be more feminine in physical traits like being shorter, smaller, softer and less muscular.

But there are also men that may look very manly from a physical perspective, but behaviorally they are very feminine in that they are cooperative as opposed to competitive, they are more emotional and empathetic and they are generally more passive.

Sources of Feminine behavior in men and Masculine behavior in women

Obviously if a man has physically feminine features or a woman has masculine physical features this is purely genetic (unless they had sex change surgery of course).

Even feminine behavior in men and masculine behavior in women may completely come from genetics.

But we must also acknowledge that parents, and environment can definitely play a part in shaping feminine behavior in men and masculine behavior in women. Some girls may have been raised as tom boys by their Dads because he never had a son. Other girls may have been the only girl surrounded by brothers and that helped them to become more masculine in their behavior.

Still some men may have been emasculated by their mothers, or had their masculinity ridiculed.

The point is – feminine behavior in men and masculine behavior in women can come from genetics or environment or a combination of both.

Conclusion of Masculine women and Feminine Men Part 1

In this first part of this series, I just wanted to lay the ground work for a discussion about this issue. I wanted first and foremost to acknowledge that there are in fact feminine men and masculine women. There are many varying degrees of masculinity and femininity as well.

We also discussed that the sources of feminine behavior in men or masculine behavior in women may be purely genetic or they may be as a result of environmental conditioning.

I know you are asking the question – so what? Our modern world says if a man wants to act (or even dress like a woman) that is perfectly fine. It also tells women if they want to act and dress as men that is fine too. But how does God feel about this? Has he addressed this in his Word?

In the next post in this series I will answer these questions from a Biblical Christian perspective.

Masculine Women and Feminine Men Part 2

3 thoughts on “Masculine Women and Feminine Men Part 1

  1. While I can agree that both men and women have different biblically defined roles in the family unit and have for the most part generally different behavioral traits, I have to totally disagree with you that being emotional and empathetic is strictly a feminine trait. In my humble opinion and belief, being emotional and empathetic is a human trait that is inclusive and natural in both sexes and genders.

    A man that does not show emotion or empathy from my perspective has bought into the common cultural lie that it is not masculine or manly to show his feelings and emotions, and therefore if he does, he is effeminate, weak, a sissy, and so forth…blah, blah, blah. To me, that’s the total definition of ignorance and it is not scripturally supported or even credible as a sound doctrine or belief. Did not Jesus (who is to be our ultimate role model for defining biblical manhood and being a true man) weep and cry frequently for his followers and even the unbelievers in Jerusalem? Did He not weep for the unrepentant in Jerusalem and was he not overcome with emotion alongside Mary and Martha at his friend Lazarus’s funeral?

    Jesus was very definition of a godly man; honest, courageous, firm, and yet, He was NEVER afraid to show His emotion, empathy, or compassion for people. Does not the apostle Paul say that the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, patience, KINDNESS, GENTLENESS, and self-control? Did he also not say and command for us all to be KIND, LOVING, and TENDER-HEARTED toward one another? It would seem from your general tone that these qualities are purely “feminine” and therefore “undesirable” in a man, but the Bible seems to convey the exact opposite position.

    Being tender-hearted, loving, emotional, empathetic, affectionate, and sensitive are NOT “feminine” or “effeminate” qualities or characteristics as you would have them to be; they are both divine and human qualities given equally to men and women by God the Father, Who by His own very definition is LOVE and therefore emulates in His own very nature all these qualities and traits.

    I can give you many more examples of godly men in the Bible who were very emotional and empathetic, one of them being King David, who you referred to as the “manliest of men” or something like that. Was not David a man after God’s own heart? And isn’t God’s heart at its very essence ONE of PURE LOVE, LOVINGKINDNESS, AFFECTION, and TENDERHEARTEDNESS towards sinful mankind? Would you go so far as to say that these “softer emotions” or “feelings” have no place in the heart and behavior of a man, simply because in today’s culture they are generally more associated with women than with men? Nonsense! Have you also taken into account that everybody is born with a different temperament or personality, each with its own characteristics and traits, some of which you would describe as “feminine” or “effeminate?”

    You know, there are a multitude of Christian counseling services that are centered around and devoted to the recognition of these various temperaments that I’ve just mentioned. Perhaps I’m taking what you say the wrong way and I’m misunderstanding you, so I would appreciate it if you would at least answer me and clarify what you’re actually saying, as I left you a comment a little while ago and you never responded to it (well at least I think you didn’t because I never saw your response).

    Anyway, I bear no harsh feelings or ill will toward you, but I have to say that I marvel at how someone with your biblical knowledge and expertise can appear to make the claim that being “sensitive and emotional” are strictly feminine qualities and therefore “unlawful” or “sinful” if displayed in a man. If that is what you are indeed saying, then brother, I have to respectfully rebuke you and say that you got it all wrong. if not, then I apologize for jumping to conclusions.

  2. Jamie,

    I thought I had replied to you via email – did you not get my email responses?

    Anyway let me try and respond to your concerns. I do not think it is wrong for a man to have feelings, emotions or empathy. I agree that Jesus – God in the flesh displayed feelings and empathy and he did as you pointed out weep on some occasions. However I don’t think it is accurate to portray Christ as man that was constantly on the verge of tears. This is man who spoke forcefully against some of the Jewish leaders and called the “vipers”. He made a whip and drove the money changers out the temple and overturned their tables. He is the same Christ whom the Scriptures tell us will lead an army of angels to take vengeance on those who reject God.

    So yes both men and women have emotions and feelings, and both can be empathic, and yes both can cry and there is no shame in that. But manliness is compared to strength, and feminineness is compared to weakness. The Bible directly connects firmness and strength with maleness when it states “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”(I Corinthians 16:13 NASB) On the other hand God mocks Israel when he tells them “O My people! Their oppressors are children, And women rule over them.” – with women and children symbolizing weakness.

    The Bible calls woman “the weaker vessel” in I Peter 3:7. The symbolism of maleness representing strength, a femininity representing weakness is not an insult to women. It simply is part of God’s symbolism in his creation. Woman’s weakness compared to man, is symbolic of man’s weakness compared to God.

    While man and women can both be empathic, a man is not defined by his empathy but rather by his strength and his courage.

    You are right that God is love, that he has lovingkindness, affection and tenderheartedness. I would never say that these things have no place in the hearts of man(as in males) as both men and women should have these traits. However God has more traits that then that.

    God is a jealous God – “for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God” – Exodus 20:5 (KJV)
    Men exhibits a righteous jeolousy of his wife – as is seen in Numbers:

    “29 This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled;
    30 Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the Lord, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law.
    31 Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity.” Numbers 5:29-31 (KJV)

    God is an angry God:

    “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” – Psalm 7:11 (KJV)

    God is competitive God – he took on the false God’s of the Egyptians to show his strength, the took on the Prophets of baal to show is his superiority. David before he was king demonstrated his manliness when all the other men of Israel coward before Goliath. He went out like a man to defend God’s honor.

    There is nothing wrong with a man being empathic and tenderhearted. But what is wrong is when a man displays weakness, an unwillingness to fight for his family, his country or his God. To have emotions, even to cry is not wrong.

    I think where you and I would disagree is the proportion of these traits in the genders. Yes men and women both should have tenderheartedness and empathy, but I do not agree with you that God gives these qualities in equal proportions. While men can be empathic(and should be), they often less empathetic than women. While men certainly do cry, they usually cry much less than women. For instance it is usually much easier for man to make his wife cry by how he talks to her, than for her to make him cry by how she talks to him.

    God is not afraid to fight, and he is not afraid to take a stand. His empathy does not cancel out his justice or his wrath. They all coexist. If a man is afraid to fight(under the right circumstances) this displays weakness and this is the antipathy of what it means to be manly. And as you pointed out -David was a man after God’s own heart – and while David displayed empathy and sensitivity(especially in his music and poetry creation), he also display great manly courage as a warrior in the service of God. This is also why men have always been better suited for combat than women. I am can shut down his empathy when need, such as on the battlefield when he is fighting his enemy. A woman has a much more difficult time doing this.

    I don’t know where I claimed being emotional and sensitive are “unlawful” qualities for a man to have, but again I think it is more about proportion. But weakness is the antipathy of what it means to man – where being too emotional crosses over into weakness I will let you be the judge of that.

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