The Opposite of Femininity

Posted on July 16, 2013 | 44 comments

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about passivity and its relationship to masculinity. (See The Opposite of Masculinity)

Among the responses that were generated by this post was a question I had not previously considered.

What is the opposite of femininity?

I offer this answer after meditating on several biblical passages and having conversations with godly women I admire.

Masculinity is not the opposite of femininity. They are complements.

The opposite of femininity is busyness – an inability to receive.

Busyness erects barriers. Femininity receives.

Busyness dominates. Femininity respects.

Busyness diminishes. Femininity nurtures.

In the home of Mary and Martha, both busyness and femininity were on display. (See Luke 10:38 – 42) While Mary was available to receive, Martha was busy with all the things that needed to be done.

That is the covering for the shame inherent in the broken image that busyness provides. If things get done then that ‘proves’ the worth of the woman. Busyness is a way to feel needed. (See Image Part 3: Covering Up the Broken Image)

Busyness is a manifestation of the false self – the identity rooted outside of Christ. It gives a false sense of security and control. Often these things are felt by others – particularly a spouse – as domination or isolation.

Passivity (opposite of masculinity) and busyness (opposite of femininity) are false complements. At first they seem to fit well together, but they are both opposite of the masculine and feminine facets of the image of God each spouse has been given. It leads to division – a woman angry that the man will not step up, and a man angry at both himself and the woman who dismisses him.

In the garden, busyness pulled the woman away from oneness. The passivity of the man let her go. Instead of receiving from her complement, she was deceived.

Being feminine does not mean being docile. That is imitation femininity.

Being feminine does not mean a woman does not have an opinion to be valued.

Being feminine does not preclude leadership.

Femininity is the woman’s ability and desire to receive from her man. Spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

The ability to be feminine is rooted in the soil of an identity founded on Christ. A self that is secure in Christ, certain of worth and significance as a redeemed image bearer of God. Such a self will not experience femininity as second class, or the feminine role as a loss, but as a blessing to be bestowed.

Just as masculine strength blooms with the respect of a woman, femininity blooms in the presence of a man who loves her as Christ loves the church – a man who gives himself for her, putting his masculine strength between the woman and the brokenness of the world. A man worthy of the gift of submission.

In what other ways are femininity and busyness opposites?

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  1. I could barely get by this: The opposite of femininity is busyness – an inability to receive.
    Ouch, and amen.

    • It was hard for me to type about passivity in men, so I understand. Thanks for reading!

  2. Oh I so understand this. I was a Martha (and still have that tendency). Being first born, a striver – I want to get things accomplished. I also want to win. But I am learning in my older age and having come to know Christ that I have another side of me that needs encouraging and strengthening. By learning the Mary side I am strengthening the masculinity in my husband. It is hard work but Jesus is a great teacher and guide.
    Blessings to you,
    Following you from Prowess and Pearls,

  3. Wow, interesting way of looking and things. I have a tendency to think that I am only of value to my family if I’m busy. That the only value is the work I do.

  4. Very interesting conversation, especially on identity and performance. It is a trap – but many don’t see it like that. I was your neighbor at Babies & Beyond. Kim

    • Thanks. Glad to be your neighbor. I appreciate you stopping by.

  5. Wow! Mind blowing! Thank you so much for putting this out there.

    • You’re welcome. Thanks for dropping by.

  6. This reminded me of how some believe that we should not need anything from our mates, since we have all our needs met in Christ. But if what you’re saying is true, then that is part of what bonds a couple and allows a woman to express her God-given design. I’ve not thought of it through the lens that you’ve held up for us, but I definitely have a problem with the idea of giving up the pursuit of meeting or seeking our needs through our spouses. Ultimately, Christ is who we look to, but we have so much to offer one another in our feminine and masculine roles. Thanks for always giving me something new to consider and chew on, Scott!

    • Yes, I think that it is overly simplistic to say that to way to a better marriage or life in general is to just allow Jesus to meet all your needs. Jesus can meet all our identity needs, but that does not take away the struggle with unmet, God-given desires and callings. Marriage is about learning more regarding our brokenness, following Christ while confronted with another’s brokenness and how you let Christ into that juncture. It is not about repressing desire, it is about fulfilling that desire in the way God designed. Some of your post today on loneliness in marriage touched on this. I could go on and on, but I already posted a blog today! 🙂 Maybe this will be for another week. Thanks for jogging my thinking too.

    • Beth, I’ve had the same struggle of needs met through spouse vs. Christ. I am of the same mind as you with your entire comment. P, this post is excellent as well as the masculinity post. Thanks for bringing our complementary natures more into focus.

  7. “Masculinity is not the opposite of femininity. They are complements.”
    This is the best explanation of why the fight for equality will never work – it isn’t about being equal, it’s about complementing one another.
    (stopping by via Walking Redeemed.)

  8. I absolutely love this! Great post!

    Visiting from the Prowess and Pearls blog hop 🙂

  9. An excellent, thought-provoking post. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

  10. God values the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, meekness not implying weakness but power controlled to serve others, following Christ’s example.
    Thanks so much for visiting and commenting on Saved by Grace!
    Your blog is a blessing and I am now following it, and I invite you to follow mine, Saved by Grace:
    Love in Him,
    Laurie Collett

  11. I loved that reference to Martha! Before I understood the compatibility of femininity and masculinity my argument was always, “The reason Mary COULD sit at the feet of Jesus was BECAUSE Martha was taking care.” Or, “If Martha didn’t take care of the food for everyone – who would have.”

    It was quite a twisted way to view it. I just couldn’t get my head around the simplicity of it. Now on the other side of it – busyness (masculinity) I’m able to see it clearly. Having that view enabled me a handy excuse to not submit.

  12. Scott…this is my first time to your blog and what a post to read. It is very thought provoking. Thank you for sharing at WJIM this week.

  13. Thank you for sharing at “Tell Me a Story.” I like your definition of the opposite of femininity is busyness. Also too busy to listen I would say.

  14. I love this and have written about these subjects myself. Very well-written and thought-provoking.

    I linked here from Thrive at Home Linkup and thought you might want to link this post at the linkup I host called Essential Fridays.

    I’m sure my readers would love to see this!


  15. This is a good post and a good way to look at things.

  16. Looks like you’ve nailed it again! Like the Masculinity post, this is very well put. Thank you!

  17. powerful post.

  18. As always, an interesting read!

  19. “Busyness is a manifestation of the false self – the identity rooted outside of Christ. It gives a false sense of security and control. Often these things are felt by others – particularly a spouse – as domination or isolation.”

    Very interesting. Never thought about it that way. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to being your newest follower!
    Blessings 🙂

  20. I love this. A lot of my women friends take femininity to be a bad thing. I like this viewpoint and it hits me right in the heart — I’m way too busy. I’m the Martha, for sure. Sharing!

  21. Thank you. I am a Martha that sometimes wishes I could be a Mary. This is something I struggle with, and yet I agree with most of your words. I think I will print this out so that I can read it over whenever I find my Martha side taking over.

  22. So true!! Very thought-provoking!! Thanks for sharing this with us at One Sharendipity Place this weekend!!

    Krys and

  23. Among my friends we refer to that “busy-ness” as Terrible Martha Syndrome, so when I read the idea that busyness is the opposite of femininity, it blew my mind! That is so true it HURTS!

    I always try to remember that Martha’s busyness interrupted Christ at His work. Imagine how much Grace she would have received in doing her work gracefully instead of begrudgingly. Her joy could have been in offering her work so that He could do His. Imagine how much Grace she would have received in doing her work gracefully instead of begrudgingly.

    I will be thinking of your post for a long time to come. Thank you for your insights!

  24. This is a balanced and very well written post on the differences of men and women and why God made them complementary and not competitive.
    Check out my blog at

  25. Very interesting post! I feel that in today’s society women need a reminder that they can be leaders in life without loosing their feminine side as well as that femininity is not a negative aspect in women!


  26. So good…I just HAD to tweet! Thanks for sharing this at UNITE this past Tuesday! My husband and I have been talking a lot about our gender roles, our call as believers. What we have come up with intersects almost identically with what you have written here! Excellent post!!

  27. Great perspective! Thanks for linking up to All My Bloggy Friends – I hope you’ll join us again this week!

  28. Thanks for sharing this over at WholeHearted Home.

  29. Thanks so much for writing this piece. It really made me sit back and think about all the things I think I need to get done (busyness) that really aren’t that important in the scheme of things and aren’t necessarily helping me to nurture my family the way God would like. It’s great to meet you this week at the Mommy Brain Mixer.

  30. I read this earlier in the week and I cannot tell you how often different parts of it have floated through my mind over the past few days. Very insightful and eye opening. Thank you!

  31. W-O-W!!!! This is really deep, I need to read this a few times…but I have to say that initially I agree with this. I can’t wait to go back and digest this better.

  32. Hi there! I am co-hosting this week on the Wondering Brain Show Off Weekend Blog Party. Thanks for sharing your creations with us! I hope you found inspiration in all of the terrific posts.

    I host a (Not SO) Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop and a TGIF Link Party at my place — A Peek Into My Paradise… I would love for you to link up and follow (if you don’t already) if you like what you see. =) I follow back – I love making new friends!

    I can’t wait to see what you link up next week!

    Hugs, Cathy

    • Thanks for the invitation. I’ll be by your place. Thanks for reading.

  33. A thought provoking perspective. Thanks for sharing.

  34. Nice comparison at looking at things… excellent post! Thought provoking!

    Visiting you from the Happy Wives Club Link Up.

    • Thank you for coming by and commenting.

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