Social Question

bigjay's avatar

What does being a woman/man mean to you?

Asked by bigjay (387points) October 6th, 2010

I was reading through Simone_de_beauvoir’s profile, and it has made me curious about gender and how it is defined. To me, being a man means having a penis, and a woman a vagina. Period. How about to you?

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25 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Well since you mention me…your definitions I’d apply to biological sex (and only a part of that definition, even) not to gender which I think is whatever your culture socializes you to be based on the biological markers that society chooses for biological sex. I don’t identify with either of the major genders because I can’t answer, for myself, your question. I am a person and I don’t feel right aligning myself with men or women because women or men aren’t all ___.

Scooby's avatar

I know some very masculine women & some very feminine men, I just happen to be a masculine man, that’s just me, I’m also very lucky to know a hermaphrodite who chose to be a woman! :-/
I also know many very feminine women who just like to know each other, if you know what I mean, I’ve been told I’m a mans man, I’m happy with that….. :-/

kenmc's avatar

“I yam what I yam”

Popeye said that. He’s right, too.

ucme's avatar

It means having to wait to use the bathroom first thing on a morning. Well the wife & my daughter do have that privilege. Do they have to take so long though? Dagnabbit!

downtide's avatar

I know it’s not just genitals (what then of a man who loses his penis in a freak accident? Or someone whose genitals are ambiguous?)
I know it’s not just chromosomes (what then of people who have combinations that are not XX or XY?)
I know it’s not just hormones (what then of people with a hormone imbalance?)
I know it’s not just secondary characteristics like voice or body hair (what then of hairy women, or men with falsetto voices?)
I know it’s not just the manner of dress (what then of butch women, or men in drag?)
I know it’s not just socialisation (what then of identical twins, where one is transsexual and the other isn’t?)
I know it’s not just the way you think or feel (why then am I not happy with my body?)

Maybe it’s a combination of a few of these things. Maybe there’s some other thing that hasn’t been discovered yet.All I know is, whatever it is, it’s real.

alovehangoverr's avatar

While I like the black & white version of “a male has a penis, a woman has a vagina”—I recognize the grey area there.

Ultimately—you are, in my eyes, what you identify with being.

That being said.. I really would have rather been born a dude. Just sayin.

Scooby's avatar


You look just fine as a dudette to me ;-)
Just sayin.

alovehangoverr's avatar

@Scooby [: thank you for saying so.

But really, being a girl blows.

& I have a weird fascination with what it would be like to have a penis.

Plus, I could hit on girls all the time.

downtide's avatar

@alovehangoverr you don’t have to be a dude to hit on girls you know. :)

I hear you on the penis thing though.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m going to talk about what being a man means to me, personally.

As a man, I feel like I have a different kind of responsibility for my family. It’s not about money because my wife makes more than I do, but it’s about doing the physical stuff and the dangerous stuff and the technical/mechanical stuff. I don’t feel like I have to do these things, and I would have no problem if my wife wanted to do them, but she doesn’t and I kind of like them. Similarly, I don’t like things like cleaning or sewing or figuring out how colors match.

Being a man, for me, is about being expected to take the lead, whether I want to or not. I am expected to be the face of the family. I am the one who has the final say, even though my wife has the final say. I hope that people can understand that. It’s like we both have to put a stamp of approval on everything, but someone our stamps are different. To be kind of silly, there is a manly stamp and a womanly stamp.

Being a man means some specific things in my family that it may not mean in other families. I do the gardening. I cut the dead branches off trees. I deal with the contractors. I set the traps and dispose of rats and mice that are caught (it is my wife’s job to point out that there are rats and mice to be caught).

I do the music. My wife does the education stuff. It’s not that we each couldn’t do the other thing, but because we do them, they have become an aspect of our identities as men and women in my family. In my family, the men cook. Even my mother, the cook of my childhood, defers to me now when we cook together.

More broadly (not me personally) I believe that being a man is about being a human. I’m pretty sure women feel the same. I believe that our manliness or womanliness is about integrity, doing the right thing, being honorable in your relationships, helping others, and etc.

I’m a man. I think about mating with a woman. I am attracted to women. I’m want to be with a woman when it comes to intimacy. I am uninterested in being intimate with other men.

Obviously, there are more gender preferences that the ones I describe here. Not all men are like me. Some men are attracted to other men. Some women are attracted to other women, and there are other preferences, as well. I understand all those preferences, but for me, being the man that I am is informed by my preference for women as partners.

I recognize that my way of being a man is not the only way of being a man. I’m not prescribing my way to anyone else. Other men (and women) should be men and women (or not) as fits them. Still, this is what it is for me, at this moment, in the detail I choose to describe it with. There is so much more, but that’s for another time.

alovehangoverr's avatar

@downtide – Oh, I know.. but all the cute ones are straight. I live in Michigan (not sure if this has anything to do with it) but all the lesbians I’ve met are butch. & dudes with vagina’s are not cute. Ugh.

DominicX's avatar

For me, being a “man” is a combination of genitalia/biological sex (which defines being male, different from being a man), a certain look to the body in general (and I don’t mean a stereotypical look such as short hair), and a certain feeling in my mind of being a “man” that I can’t really describe concretely. I’m sure this is what would separate me from a transgendered person who has the look and the genitalia but not the mindset. Sorry for the vague answer, but that truly is what it means to me. It doesn’t have to do with stereotypes of “manliness” or duties, or anything like that. I am a man who is attracted to other men and likes to be intimate with them. What I mentioned previously are the “requirements” to me. I’m sure other people have different definitions.

downtide's avatar

@alovehangoverr um… I am a dude with a vagina… O.o

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@downtide I was waiting for that. The difference though is that you are not in Michigan, USA.

alovehangoverr's avatar

@downtide – I wasn’t trying to be offensive! I’m totally for whatever anyone identifies with/is comfortable being. But for me personally, I’m not attracted to girls who look like guys. I’m attracted to girls who are more “feminine.”

I’m pretty equal opportunity as far as gender preference goes.. so.. if I want to be with someone who looks like a dude, it’ll just be a dude.

downtide's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer location is everything. Although @alovehangoverr might be right after all, I’m definitely not cute. :)

alovehangoverr's avatar

@downtide—Oh whatev! I like you already [:

Loried2008's avatar

Biologically I figured that woman=vagina and man=penis… People can have both, but it seems like to me if they do have both they lean towards one or the other. If you have your genitalia changed like @downtide I’d still go with “what you have is what you are”. So he’d technically be a she to me…

kenmc's avatar

@alovehangoverr I also live in MI and have met just as many lipstick lesbians as butch ones.

downtide's avatar

@Loried2008 I’m still waiting to get mine changed, haven’t had any surgery yet. I still see myself as a dude though, despite the anatomy.

Loried2008's avatar

@downtide Cool :) I guess I was just thinking scientifically. That’s what they taught me in Anthropology. Personally, I just know what I am everyone else can answer for themselves lol.

josie's avatar

Regarding being a man.
It is not bullshitting yourself about your nature.
I know certain things about being male.
Males are territorial, aggressive, xenophobic, and compared to females have less tactile sensitivety, better spacial relationship perception, inferior fine motor coordination, a greater affinity for the objective, a lesser affinity for the subjective.
I will not continue with what is an endless list of comparisons and contrasts.
Being a male is simply knowing the difference, being unapologetic about it, and living with it.
In the post WW II era, being male also requires categorical rejection of the notion that males are nothing more than defective females.

Vincent_Lloyd's avatar

Men means to me that the men are suppose to have respect towards women. Be romantic towards who you have in your life. But being also the rage in which the fire that keeps burning so that you two don’t break apart, but to also keep the other guys off of who you have. To have a role to pay in society to be either a enemy to society or the hero. That’s what I think what being a man has to do.

For being a women. To be caring and loving, to be the rain that calms the fire in the relationship. To have what men shouldn’t feel but to have what only women can. I can’t really say much since I can’t think of many….And if I did the words wouldn’t come out clearly. So sorry….But that’s what I think on both sides.

BoBo1946's avatar

Being a man or woman is much more than the apparatus between our legs. Regardless of gender, a person can bring sunshine to this world or darkness. I prefer sunshine.

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