There has been much in the media lately about the inequities and crimes in society and the work place against women. A bright and often harsh light is being shone on the deficit of basic human rights of personal respect, physical safety, equal pay and health care. There is a growing awareness of the general subjugation of women and/or the ‘softer’ gender, worldwide. Finally.
Feelings that arise in this climate can be exciting, mobilizing and frightening, to name a few. It is hoped that these will be motivating times for people who have been suffering silently or are unable to speak up, realizing what needs to be said and knowing how to say it. Understandably, years of oppression will bring with it anger, bitterness and separation. The tendency to separate from those who perpetuate the patriarchal paradigms that are in place is to be expected.
Recognizing the important differences in the feminine and masculine methods of behavior is crucial to exacting real change at this pivotal time. We need to confront the differences without making them points of contention. Displaying and teaching our feminine strengths, such as listening and sharing, to our male co-habitants in a calm, clear and compassionate way will engender a willingness to collaborate in creating the new model of behavior that is respectful of everyone.
If we consider qualities of thoughts, emotions and actions as either male/masculine or female/feminine, we would put traits of aggression, criticism and separation in the “camp” of the masculine. They are opposites; kindness, acceptance and togetherness would be, arguably, in the camp of the feminine. As human beings, we all have energies and emotions that overlap and fall into both camps. As we struggle to establish new paradigms in this time of hopeful turmoil, it is crucial that we focus on the feminine energies within us to model compassion and understanding in the face of aggression and judgment. If resentment, anger, judgement and punishment inform our actions, no real change will result. A feminine perspective strives to see our similarities which, in truth, far outweigh our differences. In the interest of true equality, communication to deepen our understanding of each other will encourage a new perspective for everyone. When we can clear our heads to listen and respond with kindness and compassion rather than react with self-righteous anger and aggressive finger pointing, then we can come together to make genuine change that we can feel good about.
As we practice listening to and considering different points of view rather than defaulting to an “us” versus “them” mentality—whether we are talking about politics, religion, reproductive issues, education , race or gender—we are acting differently to make a difference. If we treat all men as if they are perpetrators of crimes against women, we are using the same close-minded, unfeeling and aggressive methods that have been habitually used and are part of the very things we say we want to change. This will just reinforce the tired patriarchal hierarchy.
If we are truly dedicated to healing our country and our planet, we must learn to support each other with feminine qualities of perceiving complexity, growing through nurturance, striving for connection and empathy. If, as women, we look at men as the enemy, or the “other,” we are only creating more divisiveness. It is through our strength of feminine energy that we will be able to shift the harmful and destructive patriarchal paradigms. Not by acting in what may be considered masculine ways with aggression, punitive measures and separation, but by coming together to learn from each other. As “Mother,” we demonstrate nurturing, giving and listening; modeling that these feminine qualities have an energy that is stronger and more effective than “manning up.” The subjugation and abuse of the feminine energy has had its time. Clearly this model no longer works for and is, in fact, destroying us, not just as individuals, but as a whole. When we embrace our power as givers, lovers, receivers, listeners and nurturers—and recognize the “soft” qualities as strength—then we will succeed in creating a healthy and “respect-full” society that will have a ripple effect on the world.
Feminism initially emerged as a movement against men and how they conduct themselves privately and publicly with regard to women. Men are human beings and have an important role in our existence. We need to embrace each other and learn in an atmosphere of balance if there is to be true transformation. The patriarchal paradigm that has been upheld by men and women can be informed and transformed through the feminine example. It is time for a new feminine revolution where the face and qualities of strength take on a very different look and feel. There is great strength in the expressive feminine energy. The world is hungry for connectedness and community.
To point out the masculine as being bad is not constructive. Power can corrupt and do real harm when it is directed from and wielded by those who are looking to divide and conquer. While everyone has masculine and feminine tendencies, many of the strengths of the patriarchy have served us well over the years. The strength of the individual and a singular focus can be useful, and has often partnered with the more feminine qualities of expression and creativity, as well as community for greater good. We can shift the attention of how things are done by using communication that comes from a place of calm, honest compassion with a true desire to connect and collaborate. When we are clear about what is right and true for us, we can be clear and strong while we listen to others and spur positive change in our homes, workplaces and society. Simple but not easy.