The Androgynous Male
Language and Culture
• Androgyny is a term derived from the
Greek words andras (άνδρας) (meaning
man) and gyne (γυνή) (meaning woman)
that can refer to two concepts regarding
the mixing of both male and female
genders or having a lack of gender
What’s in the mix?
• The first is the mixing of masculine and
feminine characteristics, be it the example
of the loud fashion statements of
• Think of popular movie/television icons
(stars) that you know who have
• balance of "anima" and "animus" in
Jungian psychoanalytic theory.
• The second is in describing something
that is neither masculine nor feminine, for
example the Hijras of India who are often
described as "neither man nor woman".
• There are two ways of
being a hijra. The first is to
be born as an intersexual
or hermaphrodite, the
second is to be born with a
male body but with a
feminine gender identity. In
both cases the person is
"born as a hijra". You don`t
become a hijra, you are a
hijra "because Allah
created you that way", as
muslim hijras might add. (
• Androgynous traits are those that either
have no gender value, or have some
aspects generally attributed to the
• Physiological androgyny which deals with
• which deals with personal and social
anomalies in gender
• psychological androgyny, which is a
matter of gender identity
• A psychologically androgynous person is
commonly known as an androgyne,
although there is a politicized version
known as genderqueer.
• To say that a culture or relationship is
androgynous is to say that it lacks rigid
gender roles and that the people involved
display characteristics or partake in
activities traditionally associated with the
• The term androgynous is often used to
refer to a person whose look or build make
determining their gender difficult but is
generally not used as a synonym for
actual intersexuality, transgender or
Anime and Manga
• Japanese products in particular such as
anime and manga tend to be the most
prominent source in recent times for the
display of androgynous characters.
• Examples include Envy from
• Haku and Deidara from Naruto,
• Yuki Sohma from Fruits Basket,
Luppi from Bleach,
• Akame Nisei from Loveless,
Sailor Uranus from Sailor Moon,
• There are multiple examples of
androgynous characters in video games
as well. One example is Bridget from the
Guilty Gear video game series.
• There are also many androgynous
characters in the Final Fantasy video
game series, such as Sephiroth (Final
• Raiden of Metal Gear Solid 2 was given
an androgynous appearance on purpose
so that both male and female players
could relate to him and draw themselves
deeper into the experience.
• This form of "beautiful boy" androgyny is
known as bishōnen. Similar reasoning was
behind the choice to make NiGHTS, the
main character in the Sega Saturn game
NiGHTS into Dreams, androgynous.
• In the Nintendo 64 game
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the
fictional character "Sheik" could also be
labeled androgynous, because it is in fact
Princess Zelda disguising herself as a
• The movie Orlando follows
the young nobleman
Orlando, who lives through
four centuries in Britain and
changes sex on the way,
ending up as an
• In the movie Stargate, the Egyptian god
Ra is portrayed as an androgynous figure.
• In the episode of
Star Trek: The Next Generation entitled
The Outcast, The Enterprise helps an
Saturday Night Live
• Saturday Night Live's popular character "Pat"
played by Julia Sweeney, was portrayed as
an androgynous figure.
• Think of religions or religious gods that
you know who have androgynous
• Describe their characteristics.
In Religious Beliefs
In keeping with the non-dual views of reality
in Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist philosophy it
is a common in their iconography to depict
in every male some feminine aspect, and
in every female some masculine aspect.
In Hinduism the god Shiva is often shown as
half male and half female.
• In the Taoist Yin-Yang circle there is a
small yang "eye" in the yin and a small yin
‘eye" in the yang.
• In Vajrayana Buddhism this is depicted as
the Yab-Yum figure or the female sitting
on the lap of the male in a coital embrace
(maithuna). East Asian Buddhism has its
own versions of this sexual or gender non-
The Chinese Maitreya (Mi-lo) is actually a
very hermaphroditic figure. His
symbolically pregnant belly, his enlarged
breasts, and the fact that he is often
depicted as surrounded by children is one
reason why Chinese women have
traditionally prayed for children to this
feminized figure. At the same time Mi-lo’s
laughing expression announces his
delight in, hence validation of, the world,
which is a characteristic of Feminine
• Kuan Yin, the East Asian
goddess of mercy was
originally the Indian male http://www.salves.
deity Avalokiteshvara. Her com.br/grav/tnk-
former gender is still g
hinted at by her being
depicted as extremely
flat-breasted and often as
having a slight
Faces of Buddha
• Finally, the faces of the various Buddhas
can be decidedly feminine; sometimes
their lips are even colored red to
emphasize their feminine quality.
Question to Ponder
• Was Adam
• Discuss with your group
mates and share your
opinions in class.
• Only in rare cases are humans born with
both male and female sexes. Estimates
reveal that approximately 1% of the
population is born with these traits.
Societal Norms about Gender
• Throughout most cultures the dominant
view of gender is either male or female not
both. This is the interpretation, especially
in the western cultures according to
Judeo-Christian tradition, which is "the
arbiter of "natural" behavior of humans (p.
• Now any possibility of human gender other
than male or female in this mindset is
considered abnormal. Thus, the birth of
androgyny in these cultures was
• A child that has both sexes faced many
problems. Growing and development is
the first problem. But the greater problem
is facing and living in a society which has
its own set of values and norms, where
everyone is either male or female.
• In most cultures this represents a great
psychological shock to the parents of the
child. In past western cultures, especially
Europe, these children were usually given
up to the Church.
• in some cultures androgyny are seen as
bad omens and the children are usually
killed. This occurs where societies are
• Dr. Lee argues “The irony of this situation is the
profound ignorance that mankind, especially
Christians who are supposed to have some
knowledge of the scriptures, has of this
phenomenon. The rejection of the androgyny
shows that they have no understanding. Had the
Christians understood Adam with Eve in him
(Gn. 1:27), then they would treat androgyny with
love and explain their purpose for being
Science can explain
• science can explain what causes
androgyny in terms of some abnormality in
the male and female sex chromosomes.
Many people believe that androgynes are
freaks of nature.
• Are you a male, or a female? To find out, take this
• Your department is on a tight deadline for developing a
big sales proposal, but you've hit a dispute on a key point.
You want to go one way; a co-worker named Bob strongly
disagrees. To break the deadlock, you:
a. Present your position, listen to the other side, then
fashion a workable compromise.
b. Punch Bob.
• 2. Your favorite football team is about to
win the championship, but at the last
minute, the victory is stolen away by a
terrible referee's call. You:
a. Remind yourself that it's just a game,
and that there are far more important
things in your life.
b. Punch Bob again
• HOW TO SCORE: If you answered "b'' to both
questions, then you are a male. I base this
statement on a recent article in The New York
Times about the way animals, including humans,
respond to stress. According to the article, a
group of psychology researchers have made the
breakthrough discovery that -- prepare to be
astounded -- males and females are different.
• The researchers discovered this by studying
both humans and rats, which are very similar to
humans except that they are not stupid enough
to purchase lottery tickets. The studies show that
when males are under stress, they respond by
either fighting or running away (the so-called
``fight or flight'' syndrome); whereas females
respond by nurturing others and making friends
(the so-called ``tend and befriend'' syndrome).
• We know that if two males bump into each other,
they will respond like this:
FIRST MALE: Hey, watch it!
SECOND MALE: No, YOU watch it!
FIRST MALE: Oh yeah?
(They deliberately bump into each other again.)
• Two females, in the identical situation, will
respond like this:
FIRST FEMALE: I'm sorry!
SECOND FEMALE: No, it's my fault!
FIRST FEMALE: Say, those are cute shoes!
(They go shopping.)
Male tendency toward aggression
• The females, 97 percent of whom are dressed
as either a ballerina or a princess, sit in little
social groups and exchange candy.
The males, 97 percent of whom are dressed as
either Batman or a Power Ranger, run around
making martial-arts noises and bouncing
violently off each other like crazed subatomic