For over twenty years, people have been telling me that there is something masculine about me. That I behave like a man. Or that I am a man dressed like a woman. Or else that my charm has to do with a strange mix of the feminine and the masculine.
Don’t get me wrong, this has nothing to do with my short hair. I had always worn my hair long, until my youngest child’s birth, five years ago.
For a long time, I accepted these adjectives without questioning them. Recently though, I started asking myself what really makes us masculine or feminine people.
Let’s get style out of the way: yes, there is such a thing as a masculine or a feminine style and it is true that I have never been attracted to anything superfluous, given that I like pure, neat, “design” – as we say in French – lines, be it in my home, my style and even in my head. That is not the point.
If my understanding is correct, my “masculinity” lies in my behavior, which people perceive as independent, dominating, cold. I have been told I am like a warrior.
In a nutshell, these are all terms we generally and stupidly associate with men.
If my understanding is once again correct, the point also lies in my hobbies. I like rugby: I played as the only woman in a men’s team, because all of us anticipated that our opponents would hesitate to hurt me whenever I had the ball. I like business, financial law, geostrategy, strategy full stop, neuroplasticity, and, in sum, all things intellectual.
In sum, interests we generally and stupidly tend to attribute to men.
And yet, does that make me masculine? I don’t think so.
Doing so would equate to giving a little girl a doll and a little boy a sword.
Doing so would equate to ignoring the anthropological discoveries that prove prehistorical women were hunters in their own right. Anthropologists André Leroi-Gourhan and Alain Testart have challenged the idea of sexual division of labor based on men’s muscular mass explaining women’s exclusion from the hunting process enough. We know that women hunted, like men did, albeit in a different way.
It would also equate to denying the existence of women warriors, who have always existed around the globe.
Let us not forget these warriors: even though the Amazons are the most famous example, and are often presented as being a social anomaly, a variety of women warriors has always existed, be they Egyptian warrior queens – I think of Ahhotep and the Arsinoes, Ethiopian and Nubian warrior queens – I think of Candace and Majaji, Zulu warrior queens – I think of Nandi, who made it so that the first lines of combat in her regiments were always women, or the Kurdish women warriors of our day and age.
It is quite amusing to notice that the gods of war of the Antiquity are women: Athena, goddess of war and Enyo, goddess of battles, for the Greeks, and Minerva, for the Romans.
Women and war put together conjure a thousand fantasies and convoke a very particular dynamic between genders. Right. I love mixing masculine codes and feminine codes in terms of style and behavior because I believe that such a mix is extremely attractive in its completeness. However, this is very personal.
But trying to describe people by using terminology in a way associated with gender denies the fact that each of us has a feminine and a masculine part.
For my part, I am a human being and so I will remain. In truth, there is no need to qualify me as either masculine or feminine.
I was quite surprised by some comments posted on Instagram under one the following pictures. Many alluded to Ursula Andress or Halle Berry. Let me be honest: (
besides the fact that I have less “arguments” to weigh in) I’ve never wanted to be a James Bond girl. I’ve always wanted to be James Bond, herself 😉