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Feminine? Masculine? Both? : Androgyny

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Behavioral Characteristics
Societal Influences and Effects
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Societal Influences and Effects

Society, as well as other factors, plays an important role in the development of the individual. The fact that one person can adopt both masculine and feminine characteristics suggests that the two sexes are more similar than traditionally thought since it would be impossible to posses attributes of both if they were truly opposites (Hoyenga 197).
 
The Women's Liberation Movement is a prime example of a positive move toward androgyny. During the 1960's and 70's, when the movement had regained strength and direction, it encouraged women to step away from the sidelines and onto the field to challenge the impowering nature of men and to play this game of life as equals. In our testosterone driven society, masculine attributes are consistent with those of a "normal healthy adult" while feminine attributes are overlooked and easily dismissed (Parsons 29). Women who strove to be more independent and sought to achieve higher levels of education were reaching new levels of androgyny and adopting masculine characteristics in order to gain social and personal equality. Today, these women who oppose traditional gender stereotyping are more widely accepted in society, although many remain  who hold true to the traditional stereotypical role of women.

The Men's Movement Challenged the stereotypical "masculine" man persona and worked to build an acceptable  more "feminine" straight man.

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The Women's Liberation Movement had views of androgyny and thus encouraged women to step away from the sidelines and onto the field.

The increase in the androgyny of women can be easily seen when looking at present day and at history, but what about the androgyny of men? Does society accept men who posses feminine characteristics as easily as it accepts women with masculine characteristics?
 
In the 1970's, men also stirred society by creating a movement of their own. Just as women looked to gain acceptance by increasing their masculinity, men looked to gain acceptance by increasing their femininity. During the Gay Rights Movement in 1969, the police raided a Greenwich Village gay bar, the Stonewall Inn. To their suprise, the patrons fought back and rioted for 3 nights promoting "gay power" These aggressive and powerful actions were thought to be atypical of gay or "feminine" men. Straight men, realizing that gender-stereotypes were overrated, challenged their own gender-role identity and worked a more feminine, softer side, into their masculinity.(Reader's).
 
Both the women's and men's movement have saught to overcome traditional social views in the favor of androgyny. If both genders feel so strongly about the positive outcomes of a more androgynous society then why is there still a great deal of controversy about the subject? The behavior of a person should not be judged by gender, but taken into account as part of the situation and as part of society. If a certain behavior or trait is conducive to society and brings about positive results then gender should not produce a different evaluation of the situation (Hoyenga 6). Overall, androgynous people are more flexible and might very well represent the ideal personality of the future.  An ideal society would be one in which feminine and masculine characteristics would be viewed equally (Berk 519).