A Question of Gender

Assalamu ‘alaikum. Please note that I wrote this particular article when I was 14. My views, as I have come closer to my Deen, acquiring more Islamic knowledge (Alhamdulillah) have changed a lot since then.

Since the age of four or five, I have always considered myself a ‘tomboy’, and would always argue vehemently if someone called me ‘girly’ or ‘feminine’. These terms are usually associated with being dainty, polite and graceful, and having an intense admiration of the colour pink. I am not so dainty or polite, and am about as graceful as a physically unstable elephant. I am fond of all colours, however pink is not exactly a favourite of mine. Can I still be considered feminine?

According to the Oxford dictionary, the definitions of ‘feminine’ is as follows:

Having qualities or an appearance traditionally associated with women, especially delicacy and prettiness.

Relating to women.

If this is the case- if the genuine definition of the word ‘femininity’ simply means ‘relating to women’, there can never exist a prototypical woman, not in this day and age. According to the second definition of ‘femininity’, women who have pixie cuts, women who have long hair, women who cover their hair, women who enjoy wearing sweatpants and T-shirts, Jewish women, Muslim women, women who enjoy wearing make-up and skinny jeans, transsexual women, sporty women, tough women, outspoken women, shy women, smart women, wild women, women who are obsessed with pink, women who are obsessed with black- these women are all feminine, simply because they are women. However, the lives they choose to lead should not be defined by this term,  for a singular adjective can never wholly define a completely unique being.

I am often considered ‘masculine’ and a ‘tomboy’ purely because I happen to express myself freely, and feel comfortable in sporty clothes. When I wear a tinge of makeup, my aunts ignorantly comment, “You look more like a girl!” I am not ‘masculine’, for I am not a male. The term ‘femininity’ for me is completely subjective to each individual woman. I am ‘feminine’ solely because I am a woman. I do not believe the term should come with a set list of rules, expectations and prejudicial associations.

I am a female. I am therefore feminine. Calling me ‘masculine’ or otherwise will never dissuade me from being who I am.

Please share your personal opinions below!

Thanks for reading!

© Sadia Ahmed 2015

5 thoughts on “A Question of Gender

  1. #BlackLivesMatter is still so much less important than Feminism! As long as ALL women are oppressed by patriarchy why do we even worry about a very narrow oppression example – just a single race?


    1. Hi there. I appreciate your views, however, as an intersectional feminist, I feel obliged to inform you of the fact that intersectional feminists do not focus on singular issues: we address separate issues separately, as different sects experience oppression in very different ways, through very different vectors. For example, a transgender person will experience oppression in a very different manner to their black friends. Therefore, intersectional feminists treat #TransLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter as separate, though equally important, issues, under the broad umbrella notion of intersectional feminism. All people matter, but we cannot just group everyone into one category and alleviate only one form of oppression.


  2. Reblogged this on Grace Filled Light and commented:
    “We don’t need to look or dress like men or like men to be powerful. We can be powerful in our own way, our feminine way” ~Zooey Deschanel

    A fellow blogger wrote this amazing piece on what feminine really means. She really hit home for me because as a college student I’m often told to dress like a businessman to get a job. We need to realize the being feminine is not a weakness. Why should I forgo my femininity? I am just as capable of working while looking feminine as I am looking masculine. How I look does not determine how I work. We need to change how people understand the word feminine and perceive feminine appearance this piece is a wonderful way of doing so!


  3. Great point! I hate how feminine usually brings up ideas of weakness. I grew up with 2 sisters and a brother. I often played football and other muddy games with my brother because he lacked a little brother to do that but at the same time I was playing dress up with my sisters and barbies by myself . So I was the tomboy and princess. To some of my friends, it seemed odd that I could easily switch in and out of the boy/girl world so easily but to me it was natural! However, today, I’m constantly told that if I want to get a good job I have to forgo my femininity and become masculine in how I dress to be viewed as a mature women who can be in the working class. However, I think that Zooey Deschanel put it best when she said that “We can be powerful in our own way, our feminine way”. We don’t need to act like men to be powerful, we need to be ourselves. Feminine should be a powerful word because it relates to all women but ppl can’t untie it from dainty. I love that you found the real meaning!


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