The Florescent Powers of Androgyny: the Progressive Gender

The mystification of androgyny. The ability and creation of both masculine and feminine characteristics and traits within an individual. The inhabitance and possession of a duality still unknown to humankind. Is androgyny the epitomized construction of gender progression? Is an androgynous persona of necessity in establishing a more effective egalitarian system? What classifies or defines an individual to coalesce  what is perceived as both masculine and feminine traits? I wish to address these questions and provide a psychological, sociological, and economic perspective as to why androgynous beings would be advantageous to our society and culture. One area that is still untapped and under-researched is the establishment of androgyny cross-culturally. Anthropologically, there has been limited evidence of androgynous communities.

What exactly constitutes an androgynous being? One definition is, “Androgyny is a term—derived from the Greek words ανήρ, stem ανδρ- (anér, andr-, meaning man) and γυνή (gyné, meaning woman)—referring to the combination of masculine and feminine characteristics. This may be as in fashion, sexual identity, or sexual lifestyle, or it may refer to biologically inter-sexed physicality, especially with regards to plant and human sexuality” (Wiki). My primary focus of androgyny in this particular post will be the possession of masculine and feminine traits. Dr. Sandra L. Bem’s work on the measurement of psychological androgyny has provided an expanding insight into the dimensions of human sexuality and gender identity. She developed a new sex-role inventory “that treats masculinity and femininity as two independent dimensions, thereby making it possible to characterize a person as masculine, feminine, or androgynous as a function of the difference between his or her endorsement of masculine and feminine personality characteristics.”

So how is this scale assessed?

“The Bern Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI) contains a number of features that distinguish it from other, commonly used, masculinity-femininity scales, for example, the Masculinity-Femininity scale of the California Psychological Inventory (Gough, 1957).” There are neutral items (characteristics) which are also presented. For further information, please refer to this article  (p. 2). The results and findings of this study has shown that those who identified as more androgynous beings were considered to maintain a more positive psychological health than those who identified with singularly femininity or masculinity. Psychologist Carl Jung was also preoccupied with androgyny during the twentieth century. “Some of his followers have suggested that androgyny is a way of overcoming dualism and regaining a primal unity; the half-beings of man and woman as we know them must yield to the complete man-woman.” In other words, a Utopian vision of gender identity is one of androgyny.

How will this benefit humanity?

From an economical standpoint, the mainstreaming of gender in politics, government, and within an economic infrastructure is necessary to the balancing of human power and control. “Sexual is the dominant discourse of reproduction and love – therefore the base of human power. The complementary dual[ity] of male and female gender roles and gender powers constitute even the sexual and the biological. The war between sexes is the symptom of the war between genders that all too often end in wars between nations, classes, races and other groups” (Gender Economy). Within a capitalistic framework, the primary target for mass consumerism and mass production are females. A globalized androgyny would transform the current economic system. A metamorphosis of a capitalistic structure would contribute to the balance and equality of gender powers which would then create an economic androgynous global identity. This would minimize wars, the utilization of militarism, violence in all forms, and the mass production of gendered stereotyping.

A sociological and psychological perspective as to why androgyny would benefit humankind is one that is quite multi-dimensional. Dr. Sandra Bem states, “Androgyny was a concept whose time had come, a concept that appeared to provide a liberated and more humane alternative to the traditional, sex-biased standards of mental health.” Within any institution, whether it be the nuclear family unit, religious organizations, corporatism, mental health, government, military, etc., gender roles and stereotyping continues to prevail. This has not improved society at all; rather, it has continued to denigrate and regress the natural state of humankind – the encapsulation of both masculine and feminine energies. The study I have mentioned in this post show significant levels of positive psychological and emotional well-being in those who identify as more androgynous beings. This shouldn’t come as much of a shock given traditional gender roles have maintained a capitalistic framework in tact along with womyn being treated as secondary citizens. In saying that, not ALL men are benefiting from conventional gender roles. Instinctual human traits such as the development of emotional maturity and mutual understanding of the feminine energy has been removed from their psyche. The progression of cognitive development in regards to affection, expression, passion, and nurture have been severed from men’s psychological advancement.

There are many reasons as to why an establishment and development of a global androgyny would be advantageous to humanity. (Far too long to list in this post). To sum up:

Research studies have shown a bunch of positive associations between androgyny and wide range of outcomes such as self-esteem, satisfaction with life, [relational] satisfaction, subjective feelings of well-being, ego identity, parental effectiveness, perceived competence, achievement motivation, cognitive complexity when evaluating careers, cognitive flexibility, and behavioral flexibility. Kelly and Worrell (1976) found that androgynous individuals were raised by parents who stressed cognitive independence, curiosity, and competence (Psychology Today).

So how do we become more androgynous? I should say I am not proposing a negation of what we currently perceive as masculine or feminine traits. My objective, rather, is to promote the dualistic features and assembling of masculine and feminine traits. A synergy of the balance of masculinity and femininity along with the complete awareness of the holistic individual is vital to the creation of the progressive gender – Androgyny.

Stay tuned, stay plugged, be androgynous!

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4 thoughts on “The Florescent Powers of Androgyny: the Progressive Gender

  1. Interesting, heavy stuff! So why is a feminist arguing that females need to be more masculine? Not sure why that’s the first question that comes to mind, but it seems curiously paradoxical to me for some reason. My bigger I guess is, why are you defining the idealized state of women’s liberation? I pick up (throughout the blog) a clear conviction that women, and perhaps even modern femininity (?), exist in a state of oppression. I would certainly join you in wanting to liberate any victim of oppression. But as I read, I can’t tell whether your ultimate aim is liberation of women or the redefinition of womanhood. In other words, it seems you’d be discontent with women simply being free to choose their own state of liberation. Instead, you have one already picked out for them. Which of course begs the more cynical question, would you just be moving them from one form of oppression to another? Essentially, it seems to me you haven’t yet escaped the problem that those defining femininity wind up being its oppressors.

    This isn’t a slam against feminism per se, its more my concern with any party assuming authority to define health, normalcy, progression, etc.

  2. Thanks for your comments and for checking out my blog!

    So I will attempt to address all your questions/statements succinctly. Feminism, as an ideology and social and political movement, doesn’t exclusively cater to femininity or womynkind as a whole. It tackles the realm of masculinity and the essentialism of the masculine. It would be futile to not include an entire hu-man species which will effectively contribute to the progression of hu-manity in general.

    I am arguing that both womyn and men need to possess the feminine and masculine energy as a unified element. I am not proposing that only womyn should be adopting a masculine trait/s or vice versa. But that hu-manity needs to transition towards an aggregate androgynous model. I think many people believe feminism to be anti-masculine, but it’s absolutely not.

    The liberation of womyn and the idealized state of femininity correspond to one another. The liberation of womyn, in my opinion, delves into the political, social, legal, and economic domains. These are areas I do address and integrate into the topics I choose to discuss throughout my blog. The idealized state of femininity is an abstruse dilemma, as is the state of masculinity. In my post on androgyny, my objective is to define the new gender for both womyn and men – Androgyny – which in turn would affect the economic, legal, social, and political condition of our society in relation to gender.

    You assert that I would be ‘discontent’ with womyn ‘freely choosing’ their state of liberation. I would correct you in saying that I would not be discontent; rather skeptical and juvenile of that kind of assertion. Freedom and choice is a philosophical debate primarily. I do believe in choice on a micro level. For example, I enter one grocery store I chose from 3 in town because it was the closest in proximity so I don’t have to pay more for gas traveling 3 additional blocks down the road. I win! However, little did I know (uninformed, lack of knowledge in a particular area), the food is actually slightly more expensive at this grocery store. All the while, I whistle to myself joyfully in my state of oblivion that I actually saved time and money ‘choosing’ 1 out of the 3 provided to me.

    My point is that choice is partially an illusory concept. We are unwillingly forced and coerced into a world already formulated by systems, beliefs, values, and opinions. Womyn and men are directly and indirectly placed into 2 distinct categories which has undeniably caused the oppressive matters you speak of. Proposing an egalitarian structure with an aggregate androgynous model is systematically, empirically, and rationally more advantageous to the progression of hu-manity. Your last statement is more of an opinion that those who define what femininity and masculinity should look like are the oppressors. However my friend, this has already been oppressively intact for centuries. We are only re-enacting what has been GIVEN to us, not CHOSEN ourselves. True choice is perhaps in this state of non-existence, but all we can do is propose more effective, transformative, and beneficiary ways of thinking.

    Worth checking out – consciousmen.com
    http://spiritualnetworks.com/raingirl0831/video/dear-woman/

  3. Forwhat it’s worth, being mistaken for a boy is the best thing to ever happen to me. Society still places women in a weaker category. Especially if you’re math and science oriented. Or are athletic.

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