What is female in a woman, apart from her external 'shell' and her biological 'functionality'? Are 'obvious' physical attributes of femininity a necessary condition for perceiving a woman as a woman? What makes a woman attractive?
By way of explanation - the ideas of femininity and masculinity considered here - do not mean two polarized models of human gender, but merely types of human nature, both of which manifest in every human being in different proportions and shades, regardless of the gender represented.
Where does the concept of the ladies depicted without the typically physical, erotically and/or maternally associated feminine attributes come from?
I was interested in a specific social phenomenon in which I noticed differences in the social attitude towards the bodies and attractiveness of women and men in regard to ageing. I asked myself why these attitudes differ. For example: why is a man seen to be attractive for his old age and a woman not? And why doesn't she consider herself attractive while ageing? (with a few exceptions). Since a man's body ages, and yet he is still seen as attractive, it must be not primarily about his body. It's about the mind. So if the mind is attractive, the whole man is attractive, regardless of his body's appearance (in simplified terms).
When a woman ages, she is not commonly considered attractive (except for some exceptions). From the moment she begins to notice the first signs of ageing, she needs to 'make herself look younger.' She gets radiant every time she hears 'You look young (or slim).' I have not heard that such a sentence generally gets a man equally radiant.
Why do ageing women make so much effort to look 'young'? Why do they need this 'youth'? Why couldn't they enjoy what is, exactly as it is, like the average males?
From this equation, it came to me that it is about perceiving women through the prism of their bodies and/or their obvious reproductive functions. This conditioning is so deep in their own minds that women also see themselves in such a way unconsciously. So, as long as they are young and look attractive in the standard perception model (and/or can give birth to offspring), they feel mostly okay. However, even if a young woman for some reason does not look like her model friends (and/or cannot or does not want to have children), she feels inferior and is often treated as such. According to existing criteria, brutally speaking, she presents no greater value to herself or the community. She is looked upon as she was not a person but just the body, which for some reason, does not look or function as social norms require.
In the case of women of age, things don't look too good, either. Many ladies put a lot of effort and money into their appearance to look young in expectation to feel young, which means - well. Often, despite this, they feel bad. 'Because I'm old.'
Our culture does not focus on the values present in other cultures, especially the ancient ones, where old age was associated with wisdom, completely unrelated to the body, but rather to the mental properties. And it is the mind that has gained experience through the body and transformed it into wisdom (knowledge and expertise resulting from it) - which is a jewel in an elderly person's body. And this is regardless of their appearance - the body's firmness, length or color of their hair, the chest or waist size, or the length of the legs.
Wisdom can be an attribute of any human, but only in the case of men are they perceived through the quality of their mind, and it's taken for granted since the day they are born. In contrast, women are seen through the features and 'quality' of their biology, and the female mind, with its unique characteristics, remains unrecognized.
Why is this happening?
Well, as usual, due to a lack of information and relevant knowledge. We tend to notice what is visible to the naked eye and on a large scale, so we see the male minds' results. Since the material fruits of women's activity are offspring and countless small and often impermanent forms, hence they are omitted as a product worthy of admiration and respect. In the eyes of social distorted perception, women's value lies in their sexual and reproductive abilities. A woman who can't or doesn't want to have children is perceived and often feels worthless as she can't provide tangible proof of her social usefulness and usually can't find another reason for it. Both she and the others don't see those countless outstanding creations of the female mind.
Why, apart from the body and reproduction, is not the female mind recognized as an integral part of humanity?
It's not recognized because it's not seen, and what's not seen - won't exist in the conscience of the collective mind. Therefore society and women themselves are not aware of what the other fruits of the female mind are. Because of their nature, they are hardly visible to those who perceive reality with the 'eye' of reason. It is seen by someone who looks through the prism of both - the reason and feelings simultaneously because to 'see' the fruits of the female mind, one needs to feel them - in other words, 'see through the eyes of the soul.'
Women want to be appreciated and adequately rewarded, just like men, for the results of their minds' work, not for pretending to be males' or 'use their biology', so to speak. However, by not understanding and respecting their own nature, they work for a living like men to make money according to the male criteria - the only ones that function socially - which costs them going against their nature and exposing themselves to overload, which is what they are not biologically designed for. Or if they work according to their mind's nature, their work is not highly appreciated nor compensated for.
If this is what they consciously want - it's okay - but if their intention is to be noticed and appreciated as a valuable part of society, because in this world - in their femininity as it is - doesn't notice them, they fight against the current. In another known model, they use what the world sees in them - the body - making it an object in all relations, unaware that treating themselves this way, deepens their social 'invisibility' as individuals having a beautiful and unique mind.
Philosophical disciplines of the world have explored human nature since the dawn of time, and as a consequence their result is rich and knowledge. However, you don't have to be a philosopher or sage to notice that male and female nature is different. On closer inspection, it can also be seen that not all men's nature is purely male, and women's - feminine.
Men's nature, to put it simply - is what it is 'outside' - and means expansion, transforming ideas into matter and action. In the symbolism of Eastern cultures, it is an element of fire that nature does not need to be described.
Female nature (the element of water in the same symbolism, which also speaks for itself) is the inspiration, generating a delicate fabric of the creative environment, communication, intuitiveness, giving life (not necessarily biological). All these qualities are 'invisible' in a world dominated by the academic logic, based on the 0-1 model, and underestimated. We admire roads, bridges, buildings, machines (which is understandable - and praise the male mind for it), but we do not admire the invisible threads that the female mind 'spins.'
It is quite a paradox that - as in the case of bodily matter, the male factor fertilizes the female's, from which the female creates bodily 'matter' - offspring, as in the case of mind matter - the female factor fertilizes (inspires) the male's mind that yields the creations of the material world.
Ignorance of nature gives rise to pain on both sides - feminine and masculine. Feminine - because of ignoring and underestimating the qualities of the female mind, along with the perception of women almost exclusively through the lens of the body. Masculine - because of the sense of loneliness of men struggling with the material world, without recognizing they take their power from a source of female partners that match their strength of mind, but which is other than their own.
Quoting Einstein - 'if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.' Women in the history of mankind were not told of their minds' value, and the only female mind types that the world ever valued were those of women such as scientists or artists whose works were tangible and 'evaluable' in male categories.
Women aware of their mind and its attractiveness know that the body is only a superficial stimulus for the senses. And it is worth while to make all those women aware who have ceased to feel attractive and valuable as a result of, e.g., mastectomy, or have never felt so, because their chests were flat for whatever reason. Or because they have short hair or don't have it at all, or they don't have shapely 'curves' or don't use makeup and other 'beautificators,' or - for any reason, they don't fit into the depleted model of femininity as dictated by civilization.
Maybe if women knew how valuable their mind is, they wouldn't be so afraid of ageing and 'losing attractiveness,' as they would know attractiveness is not a feature of the body but the mind? And those who would still judge them according to the old paradigm would be sent to where they belong and not to cause frustration and undermine their feminine self-esteem.
The new understanding of the feminine mind, like any new skill, requires a way out of the 'old' one and many painful confrontations with the current way of responding to the female mind's manifestations - dismissive and discriminatory. It requires from women giving up 'bending' to the requirements intended for the male mind and may expose them to temporary suffering from those who do not know the female mind or refuse to know it. It certainly requires persistence in creating a social awareness that the female mind's phenomenon not only exists, but it has been around always. It is 'the mother' of all creation in this world, even if produced physically by the hand powered male mind of 'the father.'
Let all the ladies who possess the abilities and professions of creating a 'solid' matter forgive me if they felt included in the 'male' category. It's not about the thick black line between the extremes. In nature, everything permeates, and each thing contains elements of the other, yet it has its own, prevailing nature.
The female mind, which in human history has been given no recognition as equal to the male's in terms of value and was discriminated as it needs its rightful place. It has been invisible up to now due to the numbness of the social tissue, which is easy to notice as the human heart and feelings detect its fruits. The male half can make a great human mind by simply having a synergetic bond with the female's, as without it, creates a world where it is right, but alone.