The Pursuit Of Androgyny

A football player doesn’t bang a cheerleader just because she’s hot. Underlying the clichéd relationship is a bridge joining two interdependent opposites; they are grout to each other’s cracks. Dominant masculinity finding submissive femininity as its counterpart.

Relationship compatibility is, at times, a search for what we lack. Covering the blank spaces of our canvas. It is common to see alpha males with girly girls; yet, in the periphery of society, there are androgynous men and women straddling the gender median like a geostrophic current, dynamic and hungering for wholeness, searching for each other.

Androgyny, as I intend for this piece, is not concerned with sexuality. Rather, it is androgyny defined as the spiritually developed person in the Jungian fashion of recognizing the anima (for guys) and the animus (for girls). There is a girl inside every boy and a boy inside every girl, to put it simply. Individual development relies on confronting the opposite gender attributes inside of you rather than drowning them in the still waters of repression. It is about becoming personally whole so relationships don’t become a quick fix for your unconscious compulsions.

I want my anima close at all time. She is me.

My anima is a necessary and unwieldy component of my personality. She inspires me to dance with my entire body, not just jump up and down amongst the frat boys. She encourages me to speak with benevolence, rather than smack talk. She scoops up my lingering emotions and casts them in front of me so that I can’t eclipse them into a bunker with no entry. She slaps me with her steel hand when I condemn and deny. She opens me up when I’m too logical, when my thinking is too concrete, static. She carries bandages when my ego is shredded into a thousand pieces spread out into an impossible puzzle.

I have given up parts of my alpha male for the sake of her. A difficult loss in a culture mired by linear thinking. My acknowledgment of her and my embrace of her voice has led me to a place of androgyny. That is, a place of confusion and, often, contempt from people who are imperceptive to the amorphous expanse waiting outside the established lines we’ve drawn.

It is not a coincidence that I’m attracted to girls who are similarly androgynous. Girls who hold their animus close and let him breathe within her. Girls who aren’t afraid to dominate and harness their feelings in an elegiac and structured way and express themselves as such.

Androgyny is carefully balancing thousands of feet in the air; it’s a long way down on either side. Androgyny is the struggle of mounting an equilibrium and hanging on while your exterior vacillates radically to the tune of your social life. Androgyny is opening up to all that is projected while you dream, what you abnegate and how you draw your own life.

Even though I’ve fantasized too many times about a roster of cheerleaders lining up at my door to engage in naughty exploitation, it’s not really what I’m looking for. My alpha male wants half-naked sorority girls while my anima wants to engage on an emotional level with a girl that can level me with her perspective and her sensibilities. It is the amalgam of the two that I really desire.

I never want to be entirely alpha male. That’s too simplistic. It’s too easy to be the jock that is the safe haven for girls who don’t recognize their own masculinity, their own power and architecture. It’s too effortless to pick a side and stay there, to be safe in homogeneity.

In relationships, I don’t want to shoddily repair what I lack as a person by patching it up with someone who makes me feel outwardly complete. I want to find someone who has fought for balance in their life, someone who is seeking the higher values of personal androgyny, who has understood the civil war that rages inside our body and who continually seeks resolve. The best relationships are not built on dependence, but on two developed psychologies, which perpetually struggle to be whole independently of each other. TC mark

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  • Joy

    I feel like this had the potential to be relatable, until I read the first paragraph.

    • http://www.candicepayne.com Candice

      I was still willing to give it a chance up until the word “Jungian” in the third.

  • KyleH

    I wish I had written this.

  • snkpks

    bb wont u grout my crack

  • guest

    am i understanding this correctly? you’re saying that because you’re not an alpha male but a man who accepts his “feminine” personality traits, you’re androgynous? …what?

  • Used2HavAVag

    As an Asian, Baha’i, transgendered person with Down’s Syndrome, I find this article extremely offensive.

    • http://thefirstchurchofmutterhals.blogspot.com/ mutterhals

      HA!

  • chloe

    This essay reeks heteronormativity. The author should have considered the fact that there are categories outside of “masculine” and “feminine.” The entire paragraph describing his anima is nothing more than a stereotyped list of how a woman should behave.

    This essay has nothing to do with androgyny; it is just the author boasting about himself for not being a muscle-headed jock who subjugates women. Good for him, he doesn’t beat up his girlfriend because his anima is around to force him to be compassionate. Is that really something to brag about?

    • Whoever you want me to be

      I think you totally lost the point…

      • Ardra

        I like your name.

      • pedro

        No, Koh Shang, Samie totally got the point.

        This is one of the most ignorant articles I’ve ever read. Brent, have you ever heard of LGBTQ? Because there’s no way you could have any awareness that the queer community exists and write this article.

        Good luck getting laid, it sure sounds like you need it!

  • chloe

    This essay reeks heteronormativity. The author should have considered the fact that there are categories outside of “masculine” and “feminine.” The entire paragraph describing his anima is nothing more than a stereotyped list of how a woman should behave.

    This essay has nothing to do with androgyny; it is just the author boasting about himself for not being a muscle-headed jock who subjugates women. Good for him, he doesn’t beat up his girlfriend because his anima is around to force him to be compassionate. Is that really something to brag about?

  • chloe

    This essay reeks heteronormativity. The author should have considered the fact that there are categories outside of “masculine” and “feminine.” The entire paragraph describing his anima is nothing more than a stereotyped list of how a woman should behave.

    This essay has nothing to do with androgyny; it is just the author boasting about himself for not being a muscle-headed jock who subjugates women. Good for him, he doesn’t beat up his girlfriend because his anima is around to force him to be compassionate. Is that really something to brag about?

  • Anonymous

    ugh, get over yourself. 

    • Anonymous

      OR AT LEAST USE SMALLER WORDS?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!? READING IS HARD :((((((((((((((((((((((((

  • Inadelle

    I don’t think of feminity as “submissive”, sorry.

    The reason why women seek out alpha males is simple. Alpha males are confident and capable. They don’t actually NEED to be douches though some are. I would say your thoughts are interesting though.

    • http://twitter.com/no_cazador hunter ray

      I think anyone who is secure and confident usually searches for that Alpha personality, not just women. People that want an entirely submissive partner or one that shares less power in their relationship are usually not comfortable with themselves and use these relationships as a way to superficially gain that.

  • http://twitter.com/melvinismad Melvin Alvarez

    you lost me at ‘bang’

  • Guest

    lollololol you’re the same kid who wrote “why i fall in love in ten seconds”

  • Anonymous

    ta.gg/55j

  • Ryle

    I can see it now!

    Some effeminate writer with a indie-styled fairy floating over his shoulders consoling his insecurities as a man.

    Don’t get me wrong I read the whole thing and at first I was interested.

    Androgyny is popular and you should be glad. Instead of a rebuke on high school 80’s cliches you should have written….something better.

  • Coranglias

    I need to re-read Man and his Symbols… real bad.

  • http://twitter.com/iamthepuddles puddles

    1. pretty sure everyone is missing some key points and getting offended real quick about the associations he makes with male and female…. men and women are different, it’s a biological fact. our brains are different in form (e.g. cerebellum density), brains are different in function (e.g. left/right brain tendencies), and our bodies are different in terms of hormones and musculature, among many other differences. to ignore those things is to ignore reality. the concept of anima and  animus reflect quite well the typical differences between men and women — and there ARE differences (which i think have only become ignored with the advent of feminism — NOT a hate on feminism just to be clear).

    2. sleeping around and dicking on women doesn’t make you an alphamale, and it’s pathetic that the author AND commenters don’t see that differential. in general i’d say those hottie frat guys who sleep around (and all the other stereotypes made here about “alpha males” ) are deeply, deeply insecure and compensating for a lack of father figures —-but again that’s just my own observations applicable only to the handful of guys i know who fit that “alpha” description.

    3. maybe a better way to have presented this article would be to say there is “HUMAN” (think Plato’s FORMS) which comprises all female and male traits, Human is the union of masculine and feminine. Then there is the reality of male and female; each individual has a gender, and the masculine attributes and feminine attributes are separated depending on the body you are given ((please, please forgive me as i am thinking this on the spot and do not wish to exclude or offend transgendered men and women. obviously my idea is flawed as it does not include those whose form at birth incorporated the physical form of one gender and the mental form of another and needs further development to be accepted in any capacity)). the concept of “androgyny” that the author introduces is, imo, similar to the HUMAN presented above — a union of the two genders in a spiritual sense that contributes to a secure and wise person.

    idk im fucking high on adhd meds so thats where all thats from

    • Stefan

      “maybe a better way to have presented this article would be to say there is “HUMAN” (think Plato’s FORMS) which comprises all female and male traits, Human is the union of masculine and feminine.”
      I agree that that would’ve been a better way to present this article; it gets right at the core of what is being offered. I think the problem is presented clearly in your presentation of “HUMAN:” why does it comprise “male and female traits” instead of “all traits?” for example, why is the ability to “dominate and harness feelings in an elegiac (?) and structured way” (taken from the article) a “masculine” trait? I think you might have the equation backwards, in that “HUMAN” is not derived from the union of masculine and feminine, but rather is the set of all traits, which are then divided according to cultural/social forces into the human-produced (i.e., artificial; “MAN” and “WOMEN” are not ideal forms operating in the same manner as “HUMAN” but are, instead, false idols) categories of “masculine” and “feminine.” The concepts of animus and anima, then (operating from what I understood from the article), are the “Jungian” substitutes for the “false idols” of “MAN” and “WOMEM.” Which means the designation of traits as either “masculine” or “feminine” is not essential, but rather a cultural process/tool (regardless of any arguments about its potential usefulness.)

      (does this make sense? I can’t think really well right now and so I’m trying to frame my response within the the parameters of the discussion so far (the original article + your response.))

    • Guest

      “men and women are different, it’s a biological fact. our brains are different in form (e.g. cerebellum density), brains are different in function (e.g. left/right brain tendencies), and our bodies are different in terms of hormones and musculature”

      How do these explain the differences between men and women expressed in this person’s idea of his anima?  The urge to speak with benevolence instead of smack-talk, to dance with his whole body, to not condemn or deny?  These are learned social behaviors and not inherently masculine or feminine.

    • Arden

       Read Cornelia Fine’s “Delusions of Gender” re: your first point. It does
      not claim there are no differences, but it exposes the bad science
      people have used to prove what differences exist.

  • Anonymous

    Just because you are in touch with your feminine side doesn’t mean you are androgynous. 

    • http://teresaelectro.blogspot.com/ teresaelectro

      fair point. When I think of androgyny, I think more external than internal traits.

  • Kennneth Gibson

    How’d I know this motherfucker was from Toronto. 

  • http://twitter.com/freckleballek Matthew Ballek

    I think this is like the top/bottom stuggle of gay boiz.

  • Guesty

    the idea of personality traits as masculine or feminine doesn’t make any sense to me

    Comment not trolly enough… um lick my taint

  • Quest

    “She opens me up when I’m too logical” – Implying females aren’t naturally logical themselves is the most sexist thing I’ve read in a long time.

    • LeTronique

      Could it be “she” as an individual?

    • LeTronique

      Could it be “she” as an individual?

  • Chrissy

    Everyone is reading too deep into this whole article. 

    Must the writer always say the “truth” i.e. disregard society’s incorrect conceptions on females and males? What’s wrong if he thinks females dance with their whole body, whilst males “smack-talk”? Yes, it may not be politically correct, but it is his opinion. Opinions aren’t always correct and they shouldn’t be. 

    We seem to be forgetting that this is Brent Delaney’s article. This is his thoughts and opinions, which he has decided to share. He isn’t some prophet of the “truth”. So, give the guy a break. 

    • Stefan

      “Opinions aren’t always correct”

      True! But then your imply the addition of “…so they shouldn’t be criticized.” Yes, it is his opinion, and his article; and just like he can express his thoughts, people can offer critiques and criticisms.

      (not to mention the fact that he is not simply relaying a personal story, but drawing it into a broader psychological narrative (of Jungian androgyny), which should leave the floor wide open for commentary / disagreements without someone resorting to the tired “calm down, it’s just his OPINION” and invoking the specter of “political correctness.”)

      tl;dr  version: if you can’t handle criticism/disagreement, GTFO the internet.

  • Andrewcaoyuan

    So sad that u can’t have sex with the girl inside u? Or can u?

  • http://sans.deadti.me/ Amy McDeath

    Mixed on this one.

    On the one hand, I recognize a lot of the cultural references you’re making, and it pretty much shows the inappropriateness of your chosen venue that people are taking androgyny as was popularized by the fashion industry rather than in its classical sense. (the mythology of gemini shows this up well: posits that we were originally beings with four arms, four legs, both sets of genitalia, etc, but that as a punishment (I think?) we were split in two, and we spend the rest of our history trying to become whole again.) 

    Also you’re using masculinity and femininity in a very particular sense, a subtle usage that you haven’t signalled or made explicitly clear. Most people like to strongly identify with themselves as ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’, which is why they are offended, because they feel you are talking about /them/ when you say those words. But, it seems to me, what you’re really talking about, is masculine and feminine as cultural forces.

    A good way of understanding this is that, for a male child and continuing throughout his life, culture tries to indoctrinate them into all of the masculinity it can. Dominance, violence, comes along with protectiveness, strength, control over emotions.

    (At this point, note: it is very difficult to express masculinity positively, because people feel that by doing this you’re ‘taking away’ from femininity. Needless to say, that argument plays into the gender binary opposition that causes so much trouble.)

    But, for a variety of reasons, only part of it takes. So our own masculinity and femininities do not reflect identically these cultural forces, but some subset or distorted image of them.

    What you’re documenting, it seems, is the internal struggle between these internalized cultural forces.

    (These cultural forces also apply to other things. E.g., is a skyscraper masculine or feminine? what about the colour pink? what about… war? You know?)

    Anyway, most people don’t understand gender like this, American ideas of gender as produced by (American) 3rd wave feminism, etc, seem to have been conducive to that.

    HOWEVER:

    Aside from the criticism that you haven’t made this clear to your readers, you’re also coming up against a very interesting problem of language. Namely that patriarchy is as such that we, particularly as men, find it very difficult to understand and describe femininity except in negative and devalued terms.

    Notably, and unwisely, you have described femininity as submissive. This is the root of it, really. You’re caught up with the patriarchal binary of dominance/submission. Femininity is not submissive, but there is something you are getting at that it is. Do we have a word for it? I don’t know. Cixous liked to use ‘receptive’, that the feminine is able to let The Other come through her. A friend of mine once described her femininity as facilitating, she was a tech in a band and her femininity was expressed by being an important part of the band, really making it happen, facilitating the music, but without recourse to the masculine (even macho) ego and I-DID-IT that comes with so much musical performance. These are just ideas, I’m not certain of them.Additionally: in this kind of situation you need to be aware of, and ideally make your readers aware of, that you can’t simply transpose your experience on women in reverse. You’re on the privileged side of the gender binary, and so as well as being super careful you need to acknowledge your privilege. While you are excited by accessing your femininity, women have masculinity imposed on them from outside all of the time.  They will, rightly, not respond well to you stamping culturally privileged ideas such as ‘logic’ with masculinity. (Of course, you don’t mean that, you say ‘too logical’, which aside from being ‘logically’ nonsensical, given logic’s cultural privilege it would also make no sense to have too much of it. What it seems like you are referring to is masculinity’s difficulty at accessing the non-rational… again that is the wrong word, has that word been abolished by patriarchy as a liability? Perhaps.)tl;dr I’m sure.

    • Stefan

      perhaps I expect too much, but my main issue with this article was a lack of critical awareness towards what you say he is documenting (“internal struggles between internalized cultural forces.”) The “animus” and “anima,” for example, seem to be essentialized rather than acknowledged as internalized cultural forces.

      I wanted to write more, but I think that really is the crux of the issue for me. Because as long as the discussion is framed in that way I don’t believe it will ever get past the patriarchy infused in the rules of the game (except to swing to the other side, i.e. matriarchy, which is nothing but the other end of the cage.)

      • Arden

        Personally, I was satisfied with the article. It struck me as an individual making sense of his experiences with gender in terms of a specific system, with specific (if flawed) terminology. Within those modest bounds, it is insightful and heartfelt; it’s good to see heterosexual males grappling with such issues. God knows they face plenty of opposition in doing so, as these comments indicate.

        However, I agree with this: a way for the essay to be improved would be to open the terms up, point out the imperfection of the terms and their patriarchal lens, and to acknowledge the constructedness of Jung’s system.

  • Anonymous

    There were a few too many heteronormative assumptions/comments made within this for me to back it completely, but I think the idea in general is a beautiful one, and it was very well written (excepting those assumptions that made me cringe.)

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