Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Elizabeth WelshEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_237


Femininity or womanliness refers to the physical and behavioral qualities characteristic of and considered appropriate for women. In recent years, these attributes have fallen under the label of socially constructed “gender” and as such have been distinguished from the biologically determined features of the female sex. This view has attempted to argue for an androgynous psychosocial quality of human nature and to relocate masculine and feminine functions in all human persons. However, in Western cultures femininity and masculinity have been treated as the two opposite ends of the spectrum of human personality and furthermore that the former resides in females, while the latter resides in males.

Current Views on Femininity

In general, the popular understanding of femininity is made up of an amalgam of factors. In the biological category, femininity or femaleness consists of genitalia, high voice, less body/facial hair, less muscle mass and more fat (though thinness has...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fuller Graduate School of PsychologyPasadenaUSA