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Have you ever worn a masculine mask?

Have you ever worn a Masculine Mask, Claire Brummell, Feminine 1stIn life, a lot of people wear masks.

We do it to give the impression that we want to show to the outside world, to protect ourselves, to hide our vulnerabilities…

At some point or another most people have worn a mask.

The trouble with masks is that we’re not always aware that we’re wearing them.

…and that’s certainly the case with masculine masks.

How can you not know that you’re wearing a masculine mask?

Well these days, so many women are wearing masculine masks that it seems ‘normal’.

It doesn’t occur to many women that there is something unusual about it, because they are so similar to all the women around them.

If everyone is wearing a mask, there’s nothing to worry about, right?

Not necessarily.

Just because a lot of women are wearing them, doesn’t mean they’re a good idea.

So what is a masculine mask?

Well like any other mask, a masculine mask covers up what’s underneath, and shows something different to the outside world.

It hides who you really are, and gives the appearance that you are something else.

So today I want to share with you a little more about masculine masks, why women wear them and how to remove them…

So are you wearing a masculine mask, or do you know someone else who is?

The trouble with masculine masks is that they hide who we are, and in doing so create a distance between us and everyone around us…including ourselves.  They are often so securely in place that we don’t really know ourselves, and they can create so many challenges, especially in the area of relationships.

The first step in being able to remove a masculine mask is realising that it’s there…and one of the simplest ways to do that is to look at the list of masculine traits, and the list of feminine traits, and then do two things.

The first is to identify whether you are more masculine or feminine at core, which you can do with the help of this video.

The second is to look at the list of masculine traits, and the list of feminine traits, and then ask yourself which of these do you actively use on a regular basis?  If you use more traits on the masculine list, but you identify with being more feminine at core, chances are you’re wearing a masculine mask…and vice versa.

Once you’re aware that it’s there, you can then begin to learn how to let it go.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

Why do feminine women put on a masculine mask?

Claire Brummell, Feminine 1st, Masculine maskWe’ve been speaking about the masculine and feminine on this blog for quite some time now…we’ve discussed the aspects of the masculine, the aspects of the feminine, we’ve spoken about masculine masks, fake feminine, balance…the list is endless.

But a question I get asked on a regular basis is “Why is it that women who are feminine inside end up putting a masculine mask on?”

So why the masculine mask?

Well the first thing to understand is that most women who have a masculine mask haven’t got a clue that it exists.

I speak from experience.  I wore a masculine mask for nearly 20 years myself and I had no idea….I didn’t even know that such a thing existed.

It’s not something that’s done through conscious choice…it happens as a reaction to our experiences in life.

If we don’t even know what a masculine mask is, where does it come from?

Just because we don’t know that a masculine mask exists, doesn’t stop it from affecting us.

That would be like saying that just because we don’t know about a new strain of flu, we can’t catch it.

Well a masculine mask and the flu are very similar in many ways.  You can’t see them with the naked eye, they affect how you feel and how you behave, they drain your energy and people don’t notice when it first starts to affect them.

So, where do these masculine masks come from? Watch the video now to learn where your masculine mask came from…

So how does this help us to remove the masculine mask?

Well, the beauty of understanding where a masculine mask comes from is that it gives you the ability to see where it originated.  When you can see where it originated, you can understand what purpose it was trying to serve.  When you can understand the purpose it was trying to serve you have the ability to look at it in a different way and see if there is another way to approach the situation that might serve you better.

One that feels more natural.

One that is easier to maintain.

One that is more….you.

…and I would love for you to share this video today with another woman who you know who might benefit from understanding where her masculine mask comes from.

I certainly wish someone had shared this information with me all those years ago…

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

Do you wear an online mask…?

I’ve spoken a lot about the challenges with masculine and feminine masks, but there is another type of mask that is also causing us a lot of problems at the moment…and it could be affecting your femininity.

These days we spend a huge amount of time interacting and connecting online.  Globally we spend a collective 35 Billion hours online a month, which equates to nearly 4 million years!  Of this time, 22% of it is spent on Social Media and 19% on emails…so around 41% of our time online is spent involved in some kind of communication.

What is scary is that 39% of Americans spend more time socializing online than they do face to face…and I’m sure that the stats for other areas of the world are similar.

In addition, a recent survey showed that these days, many people with a mobile phone prefer texting over a phone call…leading to even more text-based communication.

The challenge with this is that a lot of people wear what I call an “Online mask”.

Masks are there to conceal the identity of the wearer. Wearing any mask involves portraying characteristics that not consistent with who you are on the inside, and hiding an element of the ‘real you’.

When people interact online it is so easy to use the internet as a mask to hide behind.  People say and do things online that they would never dream about doing in the real world, face-to-face.

It’s easier to be bold when you can’t see the immediate reaction from the person you are interacting with.

I’ve personally had a lot of experiences where people I have interacted with online have been very different when I’ve interacted with them offline.

Several years ago I did a stint of online dating, which meant getting to know someone first through a website or email before meeting them face-to-face.  There were so many times that a guy seemed one way online and yet in person was completely different.

There were the usual cases of a man claiming to be 6’2” and in reality showing up as 5”8, or photos that looked like they were taken 10 years ago, but the biggest surprise for me was the amount of drastically changing personalities.  I can’t tell you the amount of times that a guy came across as confident on an email or on a website….but was painfully shy or awkward face to face. Sometimes a guy would appear flirty and forward over text message…but didn’t show up that way when there in person.  One guy who I met in Guilford had seemed very confident over email, but was completely incapable of looking me in the eye over coffee at the local Starbucks!

I know that some people use Social Media to create an ‘online persona’ for their business which is the complete opposite of their offline self as a ‘marketing exercise’.  There are individuals who are privately facing financial ruin…but publicly are declaring themselves a success…or worse claiming to be able to help others to improve their own financial situations.

I’ve built up relationships with people via Facebook where I felt that I’ve got to know the person quite well…and yet when I’ve met the person in real life they’ve been completely different.  I’ve met people at several events over the course of the last year who have completely and totally surprised me by being so different in person to the way that they come across online.

In each of these situations the people in question are wearing an online mask.

These online masks manifest in a number of different ways:

  • Some people say things that are more controversial than they would do in a face-to-face situation.
  • Some people are more extroverted than they would be in real life.
  • Some people are more harsh and brutal with their communication than they would be in person.
  • Some people use the ‘online world’ to play a role that they aspire to be, but aren’t comfortable with when they don’t have the computer to hide behind.
  • Some people deliberately represent themselves in a way that is not consistent with who they are.
  • Some people are more forward or flirtatious.
  • Some people are more honest.
  • Some people are less careful with their words.
  • Some people are less aware of the consequences of what they say and do.

Now, some of these ways seem quite benign.

So what if someone is a little more flirtatious when they’re online or if someone is a little more honest on Facebook?

Well, it might not seem like a big deal, but in reality it can make all the difference in the world.

You see, if you represent yourself one way at one time and in another way at another you don’t come across as authentic. If people aren’t sure that they know you…they won’t be sure that they can trust you.  If they aren’t sure that they can trust you…they won’t be interested in building a relationship with you.

And relationships are the key to everything in life.

Business, life, love…they are all based on relationships.

As a feminine woman, authenticity is the key.  Being who you truly are inside rather than hiding behind any kind of mask is the key to embodying your Femininity.

This applies online, offline, between the lines…all the time.

Step out from behind your online mask.

Be real.

Be yourself.

If you interact with me online, see me in a video, or meet me in person you’re going to get exactly the same person every single time.  In fact friends have told me that when reading my blog or posts online they can almost hear my voice as they’re reading it, as I write exactly the same way that I would speak if I were having a conversation with you face-to-face.

So no matter where or when you interact with me…you’ll get the full, 100% “Claire” experience every single time.

So I invite you to commit yourself to just one rule – If you would say it or do it this way in real life, do it online.  If not, don’t.

It’s that simple.

When you are completely and totally yourself, people can connect to the real you…and that’s when the magic happens.

Stay Fabulous (and real)!

Claire x

masculine masks

The reality of masculine masks…

masculine masksWe all know that drag is most commonly associated with describing a man in women’s clothing (before I get corrected here, yes I know that it is used the other way around too! 😉 ), but the real drag is a woman who is feminine on the inside and yet putting on a masculine mask.

Believe me, I speak from experience.

So what is a masculine mask?

Masks are there to conceal the identity of the wearer. Wearing a masculine mask involves portraying characteristics which are primarily masculine and in doing so concealing who you are on the inside. It’s about creating an appearance of being masculine externally which doesn’t match the feminine woman that you are at heart.

Masculinity, like femininity has a number of traits that are associated with it. Without wanting to create an article purely focusing on masculinity (don’t worry, I’ll come to this later!) some of these traits include tension, contraction, solidity, competition and goal/outcome oriented. Masculinity is often associated with ‘problem solving’ (I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had an argument with a partner who is trying to ‘fix the problem’ when all I was interested in doing was getting it off my chest!) and it often has a tendency to spend more time on the side of logic than emotion.

Taking on these masculine traits externally if they don’t match who you are internally is exhausting. There is nothing worse than having to behave like someone you’re not. It can affect you emotionally, mentally and sometimes physically too.

Imagine for a moment Charlotte from Sex and the City.

For those of you who have never seen the show Charlotte is woman who believes in true love, in behaving ‘correctly’ and conforming to what is considered ‘the done thing’ in polite society. She is the most conservative of the group, an irrepressible optimist and a girl who is always looking for (and expecting) the arrival of her knight in shining armour.

Next, I’d like you to think about Samantha from the same series.

Samantha is a woman who does not need a man for anything other than an enjoyable night between the sheets! She is outspoken, risqué and gives the impression that she doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. She is often heard to say that she can do anything a man can do, and likes to prove it. She could easily be described as a masculine woman.

Now, imagine for a moment, Charlotte wearing a ‘Samantha mask’. Dressing like her, behaving like her, speaking like her…all the while still being the real Charlotte on the inside.

Can you imagine how difficult that would be for Charlotte to keep up the ‘Samantha mask’ pretence long term? How Charlotte would feel?

For a short while it might be do-able, even fun, to appear as something your not…its part of the reason that Hallowe’en and fancy dress parties are enjoyed by so many people. But to pretend for any period of time that you are something that you’re not can really drag you down.

Masculine masks are worn by so many women these days for a variety of reasons. They are incredibly common in business, as so many women have looked up the career ladder and seen mainly men in positions they would like to be promoted to eventually.

Some women choose to replicate the behaviour of the men in more senior positions in order to be considered successful, ‘the right fit’ for the company and ‘good senior management material’. Likewise in very masculine working environments, women can feel the need to act like ‘one of the boys’ in order to fit in and be accepted by their peers.

However it’s not only in business that these masculine masks appear. Women who are often feeling overwhelmed can step into superman mode to prove that they can keep control of everything in their life.

In relationships women can put on a masculine mask to try to ‘protect’ a woman from getting hurt, often as a response to heartbreak somewhere along the line. Or they can be worn by women who feel the need to ‘prove’ that they are independent and can do it all, and sometimes even bring an element of competition, showing that they can do things quicker or better than their partners. This can lead to either an explosive battle of masculine energies with their significant other or to their partner stepping back from their own masculinity (sometimes into a more feminine role) in order to prevent confrontation. This flip in polarity can have a devastating effect on the attraction and passion in an intimate relationship.

The challenge with these masculine masks is that they are draining. It is a demand on your energy to constantly keep up an appearance which is inconsistent with your inner self. The tension, control, competition and ‘need to prove yourself’ associated with the masculine masks takes continuous effort, and can often mean that you are running on adrenaline in order to keep going.

You end up feeling tired, run down and most importantly that you’re not being the real you.

Many women put on these masculine masks as a way of coping, being able to do it all or prove themselves, but in reality we become much more effective, happier and able to cope when we’re true to ourselves.

So girls…it’s time to ditch those masculine masks once and for all, have a good old chat (over a cocktail or two) with your inner woman and decide to put your best foot forward (in fabulous shoes, if that’s your thing) as the real you for all the world to see.

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x