My tribute to fabulous feminism
One of my friends was mad at a politician for some stupid thing he did. Fueled by anger, wanting to show everyone how little of a man he was, she started referring to him as “she”… Confused and disdained, I had to ask why she would ever group him in with women? To be a woman is not a demotion by any means! If she wanted to bring him down, maybe she should refer to him as “It”; something less than human. She agreed wholeheartedly. I think she was actually surprised that this didn’t occur to her first. But I wasn’t.
Our little exchange stopped my scrolling and started me thinking. Sissy. Pussy. Be a man. Grow some balls. We devalue men by placing female qualities on them, and lift women up by giving them male characteristics. Men are more and women are less. This is our learned, unconscious belief that has been passed down for generations.
Our culture applauds all things masculine: strength, power, linear thinking, competition, achievement, action, thick skin, aggression and so forth. At the same time we devalue feminine qualities such as being emotional, cyclical, passive, sensitive, soft, accepting and yielding. (Unless we are discussing sexual encounters. Then suddenly these traits are permissible. Since our culture puts women down, it has to degrade these beautiful and important qualities along with them.
There is an amazing documentary on Netflix called The Mask You Live In that talks about this very phenomenon, and it’s unintentional effects. I could grab all of the dirty statistics from it to show you how men commit over 80% off all homicides, and how men represent 94% off all of the mass murderers, and so on and so forth. But I think you should just watch it. The point of the entire film was to demonstrate how our sweet, little boys are taught to deny all of their “feminine” qualities, out of this wild fear that it will make them somehow weak. This repression of an important and powerful aspect of themselves causes internal chaos, which we then get to witness and live with in the external world. We are reaping what we ourselves have (unconsciously) sown.
This isn’t a fact of human nature. Men really aren’t greater and women lesser. That is just a story. And not all societies tell it. There are cultures that exist where women are seen as equals. I recently came across a fantastic post with some very keen observations comparing the Dutch culture (and sex, violence and the objectification of women) with ours.
Having lived in Germany for some years, I can tell you that being a woman there feels very different from being a woman here. When you are equal, and not made into a sexual object for use (and abuse), you enjoy certain freedoms and liberties currently unavailable here. For example, your body could be free (exposed) without people freaking out. It was wonderful to take my daughter swimming and be topless, and let her be naked, without anyone being all weird about it. Meanwhile, back home, I have to wear thick bras so people don’t have to have the discomfort of noticing my nipples. (I almost feel like I can’t even say that without people raising their eyebrows!)
It was magnificent to nurse my baby in Germany wherever and whenever needed, without worry about “being modest” or who I might be offending. One time, one of my sweet German girlfriends was sitting beside me when I was nursing Marisa, wondering out loud about how it worked. So she stuck her head in really close to look. Then she grabbed my shirt away so she could see my free nipple, asking if my nipples looked like they do cuz I’m nursing, or if that was just how they were, and then she showed me hers, questioning if I thought hers could do the job someday. It was a sweet moment, and it wasn’t a big deal. It was like we were comparing elbows, not our *gasp* nipples!
Once when she was spending the night, she took a shower and walked from the bathroom naked and sat in her birthday suit on my bed while she put on her makeup. She didn’t cover up and hide like we do. She acted like she would if she were comfortable in her own home. And somehow, it wasn’t strange, even though my husband was present, and she was stunning, and I had a pregnant body…
I always felt safe and respected in Germany. I would walk everywhere and no one honked at me or yelled things at me, or stopped their car and tried to get me to go for a ride with them, which happens every single time I walk anywhere here, no matter what I wear or how I act.
In Germany, I felt a sense of safety and security. I felt like others were watching out for me. Monique, the psychotherapist who wrote that article I mentioned earlier, thinks this might be why:
“First of all, the American culture has been built on “me/now/violence”, which is still very present in the culture. My Dutch culture, being much older and having gone through some horrendous behaviors in the past too, has become one of “us/long term/non-violence.”
I sure do see a LOT of me/now/violence here. And if you think about it, these qualities are on the masculine end of the spectrum. They are acceptable and deemed as good. The feminine, which is more other-minded, passive and gracious, is denied, devalued and shut down. If we show up us/long-term/nonviolent, we risk being seen as weak, and if we are weak then someone else will conquer and take from us. For these ingrained beliefs, we are all suffering. By rejecting the feminine, which resides in us all, we are creating our own world of confusion, chaos and angst. We are creating violence. And this is what we get to live with every day.
How good is this looking to you? If a “mass shooting” involves shooting 4 or more victims, then we, as a country, have had more mass shootings than there have been days in the year so far. Look it up. This isn’t about guns or mental illness. It is about some very old beliefs our society keeps unconsciously passing down to our children, and the direct and tragic outcomes we get to experience because of them.
Do we want this to stop? We really do have the power, and I honestly don’t think it would be that hard. All that is needed is awareness. (Once you learn something, you can’t un-know it!) We need to recognize the beliefs we have and decide if they are serving us. In my opinion, they are not. I think you would agree. So to solve this puzzle, we just need to decide that all humans are equal, and that all aspects of humans are sacred and necessary. We need to complete the circle and allow the fullness of our beings to be expressed without shame or fear. We need to honor, applaud and glorify the feminine just as much as we do the masculine.
What if this simple shift calms the turmoil, quells the angst, and ends the violence? What if this awareness lifts us ALL, higher and greater than we’ve ever imagined? What if it bridges this “gap” we feel between men and women, improving communication and relationships? Are you ready to live in a world like that?
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