How do you define femininity and masculinity?

We are all familiar with the words femininity and masculinity but each of us has a different definition for them. Is a man allowed to cry? Should women wear lipstick and seductive dresses? And who does the dishes at home? We went on the streets of Groningen to ask people how they define gender roles.


“I define femininity as an expression of confidence. When you wear lingerie you can feel confident. It makes you feel sexy for your partner and yourself.” – 44-year old lingerie sales woman



“A man is masculine when he can understand and empathize with a woman. When he can show his emotions. If you want to cry, you have to do it. You shouldn’t think it’s not appropriate because you are a man.” – 49-year old street artist



How do you feel about femininity today?

“It’s much better now. When I was younger my mother kept telling me that my life’s purpose was to have kids. That has changed now.”

Who’s doing the household work at home?

“I’m lucky, my husband helps with everything. But he has no choice.” – 75-year old retiree




What item in your store represents femininity for you?

” Sexy lingerie and sexy stockings.”

Who does the dishes at home?

“We both do the dishes. We are lesbians. And that’s a good reason to become a lesbian.” – 28-year old lingerie & sex toys sales woman


What defines a man as masculine?

“The ability to make decisions.” – 63-year old retiree



What does a man have to do to be masculine?

“Drinking beer and smoking cigars.” – 43-year old tattoo artist



“A real man is a person who is not afraid to cry, care and show his feelings. Masculinity is a mask for fear. It is society’s fake image. Something that doesn’t exist.” – 45-year old erotic cinema and sex shop sales man



“You don’t need a beard to be masculine.” – 26-year old barber



“Tattoos are part of my femininity. It’s like jewelry.”

What does a man have to do to be masculine?

“He has to be tender.” – 43-year old

Feel free to leave us a comment and tell us how you define masculinity and femininity.

Article by Anna-Lena Sachs and Valia Papadopoulou

Pictures by Anna-Lena Sachs


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