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?