When feminism is missing its femininity
I’ve identified as a feminist for years now, and still I get certain people groaning or rolling their eyes at the notion of feminism and why I would identify as such. This is because feminism has gotten a really bad reputation for being aggressive towards men in some spaces.
Many people often find feminism confusing as they assume that by using a term akin to the word ‘feminine’, that it somehow means that the purpose of feminism is to try and prove that women are ‘better’ than men. I can’t count how many times in my life I have explained to people that feminism simply refers to the goal of women being equal to men. It is not about ‘man hating’ as so many people, men and women alike, tend to view it. However, I’m not surprised that this is how it can be viewed by some. Certain groups of feminists have taken a rather aggressive approach to the issue.
I believe that the problem with feminism up until this point has been this fixation on proving that women are capable of doing exactly what men do, and that we can show up in traditionally masculine roles. Of course it’s true, women are just humans and so we are all capable of the same things. This fixation on so-called ‘equality’ though, has lead to a very masculine take on feminism to the point where feminism is essentially missing any sense of femininity.
Now before I go on, I want to talk about the idea of masculine and feminine energies. We all have different energies at play within us and they manifest via different qualities and behaviours. It’s really important to recognise that everybody, regardless of their biological sex or which gender they identify as, has both masculine and feminine energies within them. One may be more prominent than the other in an individual, but when I refer to these energetic qualities, I do not simply mean that masculine = male and feminine = female. That oversimplifies us as humans. We all have a broad range of behaviours and tendencies and we will tap in to different energies in different situations and shift depending on who we’re with.
The masculine strives with a single-pointed focus, it is assertive, powerful, decisive, protective, rational, logical. Yet it can also manifest as aggressive, power-hungry and close-minded. Remember, these are not exclusively male qualities, however there is a tendency for them to have a strong presence in men.
Then we have the feminine which has the qualities of creativity, vulnerability, softness and empathy. It’s very nurturing, open, receptive and has a focus on community and caring for others. In the excess, the feminine energy can manifest as manipulative, gossipy and indecisive.
Back to my original point, that feminism is missing femininity. In our patriarchal society, men are seen as superior and women as inferior. Hence why we needed feminism in the first place. To allow women the space to be equal to men instead of less than.
But this is where the problem lies: in trying to prove we are equal to men, instead of equal with men.
By which I mean, we have been so focussed on proving that we can do exactly what men can do, that we have stepped entirely in to our masculine energy to do so. You can see this in the workplace, where many women have taken on masculine traits to an excess purely to be taken seriously. This is not to say that women should not be in these roles though. We can and should step in to our masculine energy when the situation calls for it. But, we also need the space to drop back in to our feminine energy. We all do, men and women alike.
Femininity is an incredibly undervalued quality, universally. Because we live in a patriarchy, masculine qualities are celebrated, where feminine qualities are seen as akin to weakness and therefore are highly disrespected. Ultimately, the masculine values the self, and the feminine values the community. In capitalist societies where the goal is to make as much as you can with little regard for those hurt along the way, or the greater good, masculinity rules.
It’s not only women suffering due to our patriarchal elevation of all things masculine. Men are feeling this too. In a society that sees the qualities of femininity as innately inferior, we are seeing men being branded as ‘weak’, as ‘pussies’ for ever expressing their emotions. This is incredibly damaging. Living in an environment that doesn’t allow humans – of all genders – the space to express their very human emotions, means that they end up bottled up until they explode in the worst ways. This is why male suicide rates are so alarmingly high. With no way to express and no cultivation of community, our men are suffering. With the repression of the feminine comes the expression of the toxic masculine as a way to almost over compensate and prove that you truly are ‘manly’.
This is why I’m so passionate about sharing the power of femininity with the world. I believe that the more we all step in to our feminine energy, the better. Yes, balance is important and I don’t believe that femininity is “better” than masculinity – or vice versa – I believe that both play important roles and that we need to allow space for both energetic expressions to shine. This isn’t about elevating the feminine while simultaneously tearing down the masculine, though. It’s about a mutual respect of both opposing energies. However, because the status quo is masculine right now – it will feel like the issues of the feminine are being given more airtime. The elevation of the feminine will help everyone, though. We can only benefit by embracing this energy within ourselves.
Masculinity and femininity are different. Men and women are different.
But, the two energies, regardless of which body they’re in, are so powerful in their own unique ways.
So, let’s stop trying to prove that women can do everything men can do. Women – we don’t need to prove ourselves. Our femininity is power. Just as is our masculine. Men – you don’t need to prove yourselves either. Your masculinity is power. Just as is your feminine.
Let me know your thoughts!