Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Femininity

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_237

Introduction

Femininity or womanliness refers to the physical and behavioral qualities characteristic of and considered appropriate for women. In recent years, these attributes have fallen under the label of socially constructed “gender” and as such have been distinguished from the biologically determined features of the female sex. This view has attempted to argue for an androgynous psychosocial quality of human nature and to relocate masculine and feminine functions in all human persons. However, in Western cultures femininity and masculinity have been treated as the two opposite ends of the spectrum of human personality and furthermore that the former resides in females, while the latter resides in males.

Current Views on Femininity

In general, the popular understanding of femininity is made up of an amalgam of factors. In the biological category, femininity or femaleness consists of genitalia, high voice, less body/facial hair, less muscle mass and more fat (though thinness has...

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Bibliography

  1. Eurich-Rascoe, B. L. (1997). Femininity and shame: Women, men, and giving voice to the feminine. Lanham: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  2. Mulqueen, M. (1992). On our own terms: Redefining competence and femininity. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  3. Schaup, S. (1997). Sophia: Aspects of the divine feminine past and present. Berwick: Nicholas-Hays.Google Scholar
  4. The Holy Bible. New revised standard version anglicized edition (1989). Containing the Old and New Testaments with the apocryphal/deuterocanonical books. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fuller Graduate School of PsychologyPasadenaUSA