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Thread: Why is a woman a woman?

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    Member Emma_Forbes's Avatar
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    Why is a woman a woman?

    Hi All,

    I have spent the odd idle moment looking at women trying to identify what makes a woman look like a woman? I know there are subtle facial differences between men and women and everyone fits on the scale somewhere from *Naomi Campbell to Grizzly Adams (*Insert your own examples if these are no good).

    Assuming that there is a crossover between the male and female dominated sides of this scale, we are, I guess, aiming to shift our appearance further into the female side - although that's what a lot of women do too! However, I have noticed that there are genetic women who seem to tend towards the male side yet there is still no doubt that they are women. How so? Very, very occasionally I have come across women where I have genuinely not been sure which gender they actually are but this is very rare. Are there public figures, either male or female who reside on the side of the scale opposite to their birth gender?

    I hope that makes sense.

    Em

  2. #2
    Member Laura Jane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emma_Forbes View Post
    what makes a woman look like a woman?
    Waist-to-hip ratio, jaw bone and about 30 less pounds than your average thin guy!
    Last edited by Laura Jane; 04-08-2007 at 10:17 AM.

  3. #3
    Adventuress Kate Simmons's Avatar
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    Hormones and genetics mostly Em, from a physical standpoint.

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    The true Drama Queen Kimberly's Avatar
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    I guess it's in facial recognition -- and I can't tell you the intricacies, but we're wired up to recognised gender, because of sexual intercourse and mating (obviously.)

    Trying to outwit our own eyes with faces is probably the hardest thing to do physically with our bodies. First time out, a friend said to me, "You look exactly like a woman from the neck down."

    I guess it's something so intrinsic that I can't define it. Aesthetically, I agree - there is crossover - but something in our brains works on a different level than mere categorising features and pigeon-holing them into male and female.

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    Member XDW Nathan-Natasha's Avatar
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    Men have penises and women have vaginas... ('Eeeeew...she said naughty words! *titter*).

    Oh, you mean how are women women other than that? You mean visibly! Seriously though, I'm not really sure what makes women look like women. I've seen some women who just scream 'I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR!' to the point that it makes my knees weak (my fiance is one of those...).

    Others, I've had to wonder if they're REALLY women at all. I kinda do a double-take with those girls and often have to hear them talk to confim it. I can think of this one woman I saw when I was working at Menards - she had really short hair, black glasses, coarse (but not necessarily unattractive - she was about 50 or so, mind), features; and she was wearing a thick red and black checked lumberjack sweater, really dirty paint-covered jeans, and huge work boots. At first glance I thouht it was a guy and was about ready to say 'Can I help you, sir?' Thank God she asked me for help before I asked her! I would have been so embarrased...

    As for guys - there have been some that I thought were girls before too. There was this one guy at college and DAMN, he would have made a beautiful girl. He had this soft, narrow feminnine face and these georgeous blue eyes; not to mention really long, blonde hair. I actually kinda had a crush on him for a while, thinking he was a girl - then I heard him talk. Well, his voice was anything but feminnine - deep and masculine.

    So I don't know what it is that makes women women. I wish I did, then I coudl make myself look more like one. I feel like I have a very masculine face - and I love it, don't get me wrong; it's just not that conducive to passing as a woman.

    Anyhow, for famous examples:

    Woman all the way = Marylin Monroe or Julie Andrews (*grrrr*...old but hot!)

    Man all the way = David Hasselhoff or Charlie Sheen

    Men that could be women = A younger Rick Wakeman (of the band 'Yes' fame) or a younger David Gilmoure (of 'Pink Floyd' fame). They both looked like girls in some of their early photos (especially Rick inside the booklet/jacket for 'The Wives of Henery the VIII' album - I found myself really attracted to him as a potential girl there).

    Women who could be men = Janet Reno or...ummmm...oh! The character 'Pat' from Saturday Night live! (I know, that doesn't count - I couldn't think of any others).

    I'll throw pics in if I think of it later!

    Great post, Emma!
    [SIZE="3"]Do faith and cross-dressing need to cross swords? I believe not... ~XDW Nathan-Natasha[/SIZE]

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  6. #6
    Member XDW Nathan-Natasha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salandra View Post
    Hormones and genetics mostly Em, from a physical standpoint.
    ...AND BREASTS!!!! (I'm so immature!)
    [SIZE="3"]Do faith and cross-dressing need to cross swords? I believe not... ~XDW Nathan-Natasha[/SIZE]

    [SIZE="2"]"How do you expect my enemies, my friends, and the public in general to understand the meaning of the images that appear suddenly and which I reproduce in my pictures, when I myself, who am the one who 'makes' them, I don't understand them either?"
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  7. #7
    Aspiring Member Brianna Lovely's Avatar
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    Laura Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by Laura Jane View Post
    Waist-to-hip ratio, jaw bone and about 30 less pounds than your average thin guy!
    You brought up an interesting point, but things are changing.

    According to the garment industies surveys done in 1950 and 2004, in England and the USA. The average woman is:

    Year Hgt Bust Waist Hips
    1950 62" 37" 27.5" 39"
    W-H Ratio .70 1

    Year Hgt Bust Waist Hips
    2004 64" 38" 34" 40.5"
    W-H Ratio .84 1

    According to today's clothing charts (subject to change without notice, giggle)

    A size 12
    Year Bust Waist Hips
    2007 38" 30" 40.5"
    W-H Ratio .74 1

    No wonder you can't buy clothes that fit right!

    Mmmm, maybe what lets you know it's a woman, is something as simple as instinct?
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  8. #8
    Silver Member Jodi's Avatar
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    Why is a woman a woman? I think it has to do with the plumbing she arrived with at birth.

    Jodi

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    From my long-ago anthropology classes: You can tell male from female with a skull alone. Male foreheads slope more. The pelvis sits at a different angle in female than male, to allow for childbirth. There's the finger-length thing. Males have longer ring fingers than index fingers Females are the opposite. Females have relatively shorter legs. A man and a woman can be the same sitting height, but much different standing. So it's not just a difference in height, it's a proportional thing that you may notice without being conscious of it. There are also soft tissue differences. The distance between the bottom of the nose and the top edge of the upper lip is greater in males. And of course, the subcutaneous fat layer that women have just under their skin is what smooths out their body when compared to men. When I see my legs in pictures, I can see that my calfs stand out more than a woman's would. I"m not "in shape", but the muscle is "cut" in a way that a woman's wouldn't be.

    All of these things grade into each other. I checked my mom recently, and her index and ring fingers are about equal in length. Just like there are some women taller than some men, there is overlap in most all gender differences.

  10. #10
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    Well you asked for women who we know to be women ...but who don't look like women in some ways....when this comes to mind I think of Janet Reno, she was someone very high up in government a while back...and she was super duper manly...yet I always saw her in dresses. I supose to offset teh fact that she was so manly....poor lady...although when you are that powerful and resepcted I suppose looks matter very little...

  11. #11
    The true Drama Queen Kimberly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eva Diva View Post
    From my long-ago anthropology classes...
    Thanks, Eva - this is it!!

    [size=3]Hugs xx[/size]

    [size=2]"You don't have to be fat to be a lady", Sophie 2006[/size]
    [SIZE=1]"Hey, those are nice shoes, but they'd look better in my pants! ... I mean..." Robot Chicken, 2006[/SIZE]
    [size=1]"He's just said a word we don't understand! And he's won at scrabble with it!" - Eddie Izzard 1998[/size]
    [SIZE=1]"Head over heels is fine, unless you're in stilettos." -The Beautiful South, 2005[/SIZE]
    [size=1]"Forgive me. Let live, me." - Antony and the Johnsons 2005[/size]
    [SIZE="1"]"We walk amoung you..." TransAmerica, 2005[/SIZE]
    [size=3]THREAD SUCCESSFULLY HIJACKED[/size]

  12. #12
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    why is a woman a woman?

    A woman is the person that brought us into this world. The person that nurtured us, protected us. A woman is someone that always seems to care about others first. A woman is someone that finds people more important than things, someone that can be in a room full of people without taking over the room, but you know they’re there. It’s the way a woman holds your hand, the way she hugs, the way she kisses, the way she cares and the words she uses. When you know someone like that, it matters little what they wear or how they look, she is a woman. We may not be able to have children but we can strive to be all those other things. Clothes and makeup are easy after that.
    arleen

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    I agree with arleen,well said
    kelly

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    Aspiring Member Brianna Lovely's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eva Diva View Post
    From my long-ago anthropology classes: Females have relatively shorter legs.

    Just like there are some women taller than some men, there is overlap in most all gender differences.
    I was shopping a few weeks ago and asked a SA why all the jeans (fem) were 34" inseam, she said they all come that way, one length.
    So yesterday was looking at jeans on the net, major stores, and all the inseams on woman's and missy jeans are 34".

    So I wonder, if woman have shorter legs, why do they make all the jeans with 34" inseams???????????????????????????
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    Senior Member suzy's Avatar
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    Well stated Eva. I always knew that womens hands were somehow different, but couldn't put my finger on it!

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    Swishy Pirate CaptLex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eva Diva View Post
    Males have longer ring fingers than index fingers Females are the opposite. . . . All of these things grade into each other. I checked my mom recently, and her index and ring fingers are about equal in length. Just like there are some women taller than some men, there is overlap in most all gender differences.
    My ring finger is longer than my index finger . . .
    But why is the rum gone?! - Capt. Jack Sparrow [SIZE="1"]Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl[/SIZE]

    Why is the rum always gone? - Capt. Jack Sparrow [SIZE="1"]Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest[/SIZE]

    Why is all but the rum gone? No, the rum's gone too . . .
    - [SIZE="1"]Pirates of the Caribbean: At World End[/SIZE]

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    Aspiring Member shannonsilk's Avatar
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    i'm not sure if this is on topic. some differences between men's and women's faces, in my opinion, are that men have more prominent brow bones, but women have more flesh around the cheek area. women have smaller noses and less fat along the jaw and narrower jaws. thinner necks too.
    i hadn't noted the difference in lengths of fingers, ring vs. index, but women's fingers are much thinner for a particular length.
    but as has been noted many women don't look so feminine. with the right gestures and movements and way of talking anyone can be convincing.

  18. #18
    Hugging the Kurves! RobertaFermina's Avatar
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    It seems that for every rule, there is an exception!

    I'm glad there is no absolute answer, which leaves room for a little mystery.

    Through that 'crack in the door' I aim to slip, and dance a little while on the other side.
    [COLOR=Red]Open your Heart :

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brianna Lovely View Post
    I was shopping a few weeks ago and asked a SA why all the jeans (fem) were 34" inseam, she said they all come that way, one length.
    So yesterday was looking at jeans on the net, major stores, and all the inseams on woman's and missy jeans are 34".

    So I wonder, if woman have shorter legs, why do they make all the jeans with 34" inseams???????????????????????????

    Something is wrong here. I'm 6' tall, and I have a 30" inseam.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptLex View Post
    My ring finger is longer than my index finger . . .

    Do a Google search under [ring, index, finger, length]



    Don't take it all as gospel - a lot of these things don't hold up under close scrutiny, but there may be something to it.

  21. #21
    Swishy Pirate CaptLex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eva Diva View Post
    Do a Google search under [ring, index, finger, length]

    Don't take it all as gospel - a lot of these things don't hold up under close scrutiny, but there may be something to it.
    Yeah, I know . . . I've seen that theory before. I just wanted to chime in. Makes me feel special that I have that one supposed boy trait.
    But why is the rum gone?! - Capt. Jack Sparrow [SIZE="1"]Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl[/SIZE]

    Why is the rum always gone? - Capt. Jack Sparrow [SIZE="1"]Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest[/SIZE]

    Why is all but the rum gone? No, the rum's gone too . . .
    - [SIZE="1"]Pirates of the Caribbean: At World End[/SIZE]

    [SIZE="3"]Lex on the Beach[/SIZE]. . . [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  22. #22
    Being There Dasein9's Avatar
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    "One is not born, but rather becomes a woman." -- Simone de Beauvoir

    She's right.

    Woman is the inveterate Other, defined by a lack. A lack of a penis, a lack of autonomy, a lack of being a subject. It's not a mistake that in most European languages, the word "man" can also mean "human being." The masculine and male is assumed to be the definition of humanity, and so the feminine, which is degraded in most of these cultures, is seen as a deficiency of humanity.

    Female-bodied children are raised to become women. (Although some of us don't.) They are taught passivity, to adapt to the world instead of changing it, to weild power, when they have it, in subtle ways, never taking credit for having done so.

    And yet... The other side of the coin is this: In being what is Other to all that is defined, woman as such becomes the limitation by which all that is regarded as real -- the masculine -- is defined.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by shannonsilk View Post
    i'm not sure if this is on topic. some differences between men's and women's faces, in my opinion, are that men have more prominent brow bones...

    Correct. Both brow bones and chins tend to be larger in males. Male and female babies start out very similar - it's easy to mistake a newborn girl for a boy. As they both grow larger, parts of the body also start to grow at different rates. When boys start developing prominent brow ridges, girls simply get larger overall, without the increased brow growth. It's best to think of it as girls retaining their juvenile features while getting larger, while boys continue changing and getting different from the original androgynous form. An infant skul of either sex looks more like an adult female than an adult male.

    So female is the "default" sex, and a male has to develop away from "normal" to be unique. In that sense, we're all just going home around here.

  24. #24
    Being There Dasein9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eva Diva View Post
    Something is wrong here. I'm 6' tall, and I have a 30" inseam.
    Nothing wrong at all. Nature makes bodies in a variety of ways. It's the clothing industry that has a problem, not you.

  25. #25
    Maturing Member JoAnnDallas's Avatar
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    According to today's clothing charts (subject to change without notice, giggle)

    A size 12
    Year Bust Waist Hips
    2007 38" 30" 40.5"
    W-H Ratio .74 1
    WHOA......Two years ago, when I started going out in the daylight dressed, I also started dieting. At that time I was almost 180 pounds.

    A size 18/20
    Year Bust Waist Hips
    2005 40" 38" 43"
    Height: 69"

    Two years later, almost 150 pounds.

    A size 12
    Year Bust Waist Hips
    2007 38" 31" 41"
    Height: 69"

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