Defining M & F if Derived from the State of Mind

One common pitfall in defining masculinity and femininity is to base the definition on a person’s state of mind. It could be argued that the boy (now man) referenced under Botched Circumcision under the main topic “Nature/Nurture” acted masculine and retained his masculinity because of his state of mind. He thought he was masculine; therefore, he was masculine. This follows the quotation from Descartes, “I think, therefore I am.” The problem with this is that the mind can be a fickle thing. It can change even after it has “been made up” (i.e. “My mind is made up.”). And, does someone truly cease to exist if he or she has “lost his or her mind?” The reality of the situation is the reverse of Descartes: I am, therefore I think, i.e. I am a thinking being, therefore I think. For the boy who underwent a “botched circumcision,” he is first a masculine thinking being, therefore he thinks masculine. A person is not just a being, but a masculine or feminine being. Because the “state of mind” of a person can change or even disappear, it is fruitless to try to base a definition of masculinity and femininity on such a construct because masculinity and femininity do not change or disappear.

There are those who have said that they are a woman trapped in a man’s body or a man trapped in a woman’s body. That would suggest that man is more than the sum of his scientific/physical parts and functions and imply a soul or some other non-physical entity which could be at odds with the physical body. Science would then have to give way to other institutions such as psychology and/or religion to understand the nature of the mind (soul) and body relationship. One noteworthy authority concerning the soul and body relationship is the Bible which points to the actions and results of sin in a world that was created perfect. The argument then becomes, did God, or nature, incorrectly join a female soul with a male body, or vice versa. Either way, God or “nature” naturally gave each of us the body that we have, so it would be against nature to say that we are something other than what we naturally are (woman trapped in a man’s body, or vice versa). This indicates that being gay or lesbian is actually against nature or nature’s natural order, and such a circumstance should never become the starting point for the definition of masculinity or femininity.

Another consideration of trying to define masculinity and femininity as a state of mind (a doctor doesn’t hand over a birth certificate that reads “To be determined at a later time” under boy or girl) is what happened to king Nebecudnezzer (Daniel 4:28-34) when God made him eat the grass of the field and be drenched with the dew of heaven. His state of mind was that of a bull or similar animal that eats grass. Does that mean that we go up to him and put the big USDA Grade A meat stamp on him and send him to the nearest processing plant? No. Or, how about people today who think that they are either cats, dogs, cattle (again), or some kind of bird? Do we collar them and treat them as if their state of mind defined them as such animals? What about those rare cases of people who believe themselves as dead? Do we go to the nearest cemetery, dig a hole, throw them in, and cover them over? No. And what about the sad and tragic cases of those people who are on PCP, or other hallucinogenic drug and who think that they can fly like a bird and jump off of high-rise buildings to their death. This state of mind brings a terrible and final reality for them. Therefore, state of mind does not define the person, but only his state of mind.

About the author

TimTrautman

Hi, I'm Tim Trautman, an aspiring blogger with a special sensitivity to issues surrounding Masculinity and Femininity. This blog is designed to make readers aware of the issues and grant a healthy understanding of what Masculinity and Femininity are.

View all posts

4 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *