Feminine Masculinity: A Thematic Essay

by Baya Ginsburg

Around 2% of adults in the world identify as bisexual. Many more are still in the closet, not wanting to admit their sexuality for many reasons. This can range from religion, being scared of rejection, and much more. However, society has gotten much more accepting as time has gone on. But for men, society has been less forgiving. Masculinity is seen as a must for most men, and liking the same sex is seen as feminine. They can be judged harshly by family and friends, and even harassed. However, it is even worse for those in the public eye, so many choose to keep it to themselves. But singer, songwriter, and producer Frank Ocean came out publicly and even wrote a song about it. The song discusses his sexuality and his personality. “Chanel” reveals much about his struggle between being masculine and feminine.

Much of the song is about Ocean’s masculine side. A lot of his lyrics are references traditionally more “manly” things to show this side of him. One lyric he sings is, “How you lookin’ up to me and talkin’ down? Can’t you see I am the big man? God level, I am the I am.” Ocean is painting himself as the bigger person, to the point where he is God. He calls himself the bigger man, trying to prove he is more masculine. Ocean references more things associated with men, “That’s a double edge, ‘Issa knife’ and I don’t like to fight ’til I’m fightin.’” Usually physical fights occur with men, and not women. Ocean is again giving the song a more masculine feel in this way. Lastly, he also states, “I need that b*tch.” Here, he is clearly showing that he experiences attraction towards women. Ocean even refers to her in a derogatory way, making him look cold and unfeeling, like many men try to portray.

Ocean also portrays his feminine side. He sings, “in the pink like Killa Cam.” Killa Cam is a rapper who would always dress in pink. Ocean is talking about dressing in all pink. This is something that is seen as feminine, a stark contrast to talking about knives. He is showing he is okay dressing differently than most men would. Ocean also says, “Whole team diamonds is real. Showed ’em how to shine by themselves.” At first, it seems almost masculine, as he is talking about a bunch of men trying to get money. But then, Ocean says he is giving them confidence, and teaching them to shine. Self-confidence and self-care are something that women usually focus on. Men usually do not talk about these kind of things. Finally, he writes, “My guy pretty like a girl.” Here, he refers to seeing a man almost as a women, showing his attraction to men like he is attracted to women. Ocean shows his more feminine side, and his attraction to women.

Frank Ocean is trying to find himself, and he is relating to both men and women. He refers to very masculine things, but then contrasts it with feminine lyrics. Ocean walks a fine line between his feminine and masculine side, as his sexuality allows him to relate to both sexes. The lyrics vary greatly, and show a lot of differences. He is showing his identity through his lyrics.

One thought on “Feminine Masculinity: A Thematic Essay

  • March 2, 2021 at 7:33 pm

    This is a great piece! So true, Ocean’s work and other art like it will be integral in redefining what it means to be a man in a more equitable world


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