Well, it depends on your definition of masculine and feminine, of course. My wife brought more power tools into the marriage than I did, and has consistently been the more reliable purchaser. I have seen her in a dress or skirt maybe ten times in more than 20 years. She doesn’t think much about makeup. When she does think about clothes, it’s usually trench coats and leather boots. When we were dating, she introduced me to one of the heaviest metal bands ever (The Melvins). And while a feminist, she generally seems to reject the the idea that music has to be gentle or plaintive, or even sexy to be feminine. If she has a complaint about the MPAA, it’s that they forbid the showing of an erect penis. She might shy away from referring to her genitals as a pussy, but she’s fine with twat (nope, I can’t explain that one in a satisfactory manner). She’s a gearhead, but her specific knowledge is scattershot between VW air cooled vehicles, and the Ford Windsor small blocks and FE big blocks that her father owned.
After the first few years of knowing her, my brain just kind of unconsciously started to deal with her as a “dude with a vagina”. Over the years, I’ve found that there’s lot’s of women that fit into this category. In retrospect, probably 80% of the girls I dated for any time worth mentioning match that profile to some extent. I’d dated several before my wife, but they just weren’t dudes that I couldn’t hang out with forever - if that makes any sense.
Now, she’s still wayyyyyyy more interested in pictures of baby animals than I am, more prone to cry in moments of conflict, and has the physical strength of a petite woman. So, she’s still feminine in ways that kind of surprised me for years. If you’re looking for specific masculine emotional and physical traits, that could narrow the field a bit.
So, she’s pretty masculine in that she has very little to talk about with your average housewife, and is more comfortable talking to guys. But she’s a girl who doesn’t like the subjects that girls are stereotyped to be interested in.
In response to your supposition that people expect gender roles to be followed, that hasn’t been my experience. But again, that may be a reflection of my pool of friends at the time I was dating and met my wife; which was mostly musicians, artists and art students. My wife somewhat selected me* because I didn’t do two things:
I never acted like I would “take care of her”, we were partners even in stalemate. If we didn’t agree, we’d work it out, but it wasn’t either of our place to dictate. Both of us get a veto, and neither are the other’s slave.
When she said she wanted to do something with her life, I actively tried to figure out how to make it happen, instead of asking “why would you (a girl) want to do that?” To be honest, the concept of forbidding someone to do something due to their gender was alien to my upbringing. After we had been dating for a few years, I found out through her that my attitude wasn’t universal (whaddaya mean everyone doesn’t think like me?) and it was surprising to me. I am still in awe that this worked to my advantage so many times in relationships.
So, my advice is to try to make your attitudes known in the most indirect way. In life, like in storytelling; the best practice is to show, don’t tell. Live it privately, but don’t be shy about why you’re doing it when asked. How to do that is best left up to the person living the life in question.
- I dunno, she selected me, and didn’t send me packing before I got the nerve to actually marry her. That’s the best description I can give of our courtship. She loves me, but “don’t be a jerk” is part of the terms and conditions of the marriage.