I find the differences between masculine and feminine forever fascinating. Certainly, as a married man time spent with my wife every day is an ongoing contemplation of the nature and manifestation of womanhood, femininity. My wife has her own way of moving through space which, although unique to herself just like everyone else, nevertheless is also marked with it being most assuredly a feminine way of moving, a woman’s way. And although my wife is the woman I most observe, in fact this sort of appraisal is ongoing with every encounter, however fleeting, of both women and men.
We all have an idea of what is meant by the terms ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ but rarely do we pause to contemplate them, and yet I suspect we are all pretty much the same: we instantly notice various masculine and feminine characteristics in anyone we encounter. Being instinctive, automatic and constant thus this forms part of our cognitive, intellectual and emotive being, indeed a core element of that which makes us human. Just for fun, and briefly, let’s explore this a little….
All over the world, wherever you go, generally one of the marks of womanhood is having long hair. It is different in most African tribes, but they have a wiry type of hair which doesn’t lend itself so easily to growing long – although it is indeed powerfully splendid when allowed to do so – remember those 1970’s Afros?! But otherwise, whether you are in the Amazonian city of Iquitos or ultra-modern Tokyo, women tend to sport long hair. Older women tend to cut theirs shorter at some point, but nearly all young women in all cultures wear their hair long, and indeed many start doing so from an early age. We often see a six year old girl walking down the street with long hair already flowing all the way down her back.
Now: men have long hair in many cultures and it looks masculine on them, so is male hair somehow different? Perhaps, but I think masculine and feminine presence are different, so let’s leave it at that for now rather than getting too deep into abstract weeds.
Let’s drill down a little further: what is it about long hair that is especially feminine? First: what is feminine? The feminine is soft, gracious, friendly, supportive, vulnerable, lovely, kind, nurturing, protective, delightful, gentle (for starters!). There are many similar things in nature which echo femininity without being feminine per se, like soft billowing cloud formations, leaves, flower petals, bird feathers – the list is endless. But the feminine quality being discussed here is essentially that of a human woman. We all recognise it; girls are different than boys. There is some quality of radiating softness, sensuality, appeal, attraction – it’s not about words but instant perception and feeling.
Second: what is hair? Hair comprises thousands of individual strands, each with its own place, movement, shape, aroma making hair
an atmospheric matrix of infinitely interdependent particulars.
This sense of the particular, especially here in the realm of the sense perceptions, is perhaps what we are getting at here, because each strand radiates femininity since it’s part of the overall feminine atmosphere package any woman walks around with. So with these thousands of particularities bundled into a reasonable compact unified field known in shorthand as ‘hair’, perhaps we can say that long hair on a woman is a:
‘feminine presence force multiplier!’
This is a completely original thought since it yields 0 results on a web search, so let us leave it at that. (Either this is brilliant or beyond contemporary comprehension!) Obviously, one could write many books about this, but whether one would say all that much more than the above is debatable. We all know the difference between masculine and feminine; we could try to carve out complex, insightful ways of presenting it, but none of them will improve on our innate, direct, instinctive perception. Now we come to the lacquering of the finger nails!!
Although not comprising thousands of particulars like strands of hair, nevertheless it does highlight ten different particulars on two hands, so the ‘interdependent particularity principle’ is again in play as is the ‘feminine presence force multiplier principle’ which applies to all make-up, including lacquered nails and indeed all physical features of a woman’s body, makeup being just a way to create certain flourishes. More generally, make-up serves to create a highlight of sensual perception, so the gaze draws the mind into dwelling on that object of perception, which in this case radiates the presence of femininity. If you look at the lace Lucille Ball is wearing above, another classically feminine type of fabric choice, you can again see the an atmospheric matrix of infinitely interdependent particulars in play. In allowing the mind to be captivated by any such particular, the viewer thus immerses himself in the atmosphere of that particular woman, an initial sensory type of intercourse, if you will, as the mind of the man through the medium of sight touches the awareness field of the woman who is passively being gazed upon and providing all these tantalizing, highlighted particulars encouraging you to do so. This is all very intimate – as is nearly anything to do with women in any personal situation – even though most of us do a good job of pretending to ourselves and everyone else, especially in public, that this isn’t so!
The main points have now been made. The intention with this piece is to treat a very vast and deep topic in a simple fashion, but hopefully the core insights will ripple in the mind of the reader.
Let’s end with a nice little spontaneously composed poem, shall we?
You go your way and I’ll go mine
In this universe of infinite meetings and partings
Let me touch your heart with homely whimsy
Or woo you to rest with siren serendipity.
Weaving your web of feminine field particularities
You have highlighted your luscious way into all perception of depth
So here I lie,
Plunged down deep,
Drowned, swooned, landed, beached, whaled and engolloped by
your coquettishly tantalising particulars,
oh so crisp and clean and colourful and
where I will see them
and become lost yet again,
gazing at pink cherry blossoms as they fall gently to earth.
Notes for further exploration, perhaps in a subsequent piece:
- Paying attention to atmosphere via the medium of the physical is feminine.
- More about feminine lineage in Asian philosophical theory.
- Marina’s point about hair as antenna.
- No need to get definitive answer: contemplating the issue is interesting enough
- Gazes, smiles, holding hands, intercourse – the four levels.