c: Today’s theme is on the feminine, but from a perspective of women having taken on a masculine character. Feminism and the feminist movement definitely shifted the goal posts for women but not without a cost that many women don’t realize within themselves.
h: I know from my women’s studies that a huge onset of the masculinization of women came as men left to serve in wars and women stepped in to keep the economy moving. Posters of Rosie the riveter were iconic along with the slogan, ‘We Can Do It! I think the expectation was that women needed to act like men in order to do man’s work.
c: The follow-up was the 60’s free love vibe and the invention of The Pill. Literally, overnight women had sexual autonomy.
h: To not be bound by pregnancy and to have final and total control over contraceptives was huge, the Pill represented an amazing freedom for women.
c: Thing is though if you walked into the riveting shop as a traditional “feminine woman” it’s highly unlikely you left the job in the same feminine headspace. Women came away from those roles with a new attitude. It was I can do it, and I can do it better than you, man. Get out of my way, I’m coming through.
h: Here comes the war of the sexes.
c: All this resulted in freedom to pursue education, the power to vote and having a voice opened even wider doors for women to flood through. Today, the freedoms gained may be taken for granted but a lot has changed over the past 100 years.
h: In the 60’s, into the 70’s, and especially in the 80’s, you started to see women in pantsuits and women rising into positions of true leadership. Still, it was a man’s world and women needed to act like men to earn respect. Everything from attire, to how women presented themselves, to the values shown in leadership were tailored to fit the man-made model that many or those same women wanted to dismantle. It was like deconstructing the master’s house using the master’s tools. To a certain extent the strategy did serve women and there were huge breakthroughs. For me, I think it was really helpful that in university I got to attend discussions with women leaders who didn’t want to walk the in the footsteps of men. These were women loved their feminine, they wanted to wear dresses, and teach other women how to command a room with compassion and collaboration, which is a very different modern from what we see as the common narrative for women these days.
c: I had this vision in my head. I’m walking down the street and there’s a disturbance. It’s a store and it’s being robbed, it’s a man’s clothing store and its being raided by a gang of women pulling men’s clothing from the racks and passing them to women walking past. Women are putting on the new garb, but it’s over their Victoria Secret. It’s a whole group of women attired as men but underneath the male attire is the feminine.
h: That feminine softness, that innate and natural response, the gentle care without looking for something in return. What a thing to put a business suit over.
c: Exactly, but, here we are. Look at Hillary Clinton, she was this close to becoming the leader of the most powerful country on the planet.
h: And she wears pantsuits, although I do see her in skirts as well.
c: I bet she’s got boxers under that.
h: I don’t blame women for feeling they have to adopt masculine qualities in order to lead because that’s what the world has made clear that it respects. But how much hardness do we need, how much death and destruction before we realize what it is we actually need in order to provide a fruitful life for all humanity? It’s like we’re never getting there.
c: To me, that’s where the feminine is critical. That’s the healing balm that the world needs. It’s for women to step up with pure resonance and power from their feminine, not from the masculine because that’s where we are right now. The feminine is healing, however, women have to want to step into that world to heal our planet.
h: You see it when woman say we are not going to stand for these male values, we are going to fight on behalf of compassion and collaboration. We are not going to allow people’s sexist, racist, xenophobic remarks and we’re taking a real upfront and in-your-face stand against it.
c: Yes but, that’s a male response, a very masculine way of getting things done. Look at Mahatma Gandhi, he did not tote around a baseball bat. He had power, but he did not have to tote a weapon. He didn’t have to yell and scream to get people’s attention and he didn’t have to be macho in his approach. He was completely passive but most effective.
h: A peaceful revolution.
c: It’s been done. It’s not our natural response when cornered or wounded.
h: It’s usually to lash out, fight or flight.
c: There are lessons to be learned from violence as well, but it usually comes with catastrophic loss.
h: The French revolution, that was a turning point in history, violent of course, however, it did change the structure of how civilization worked and separated democracy from the monarchy. Positives can come in a revolution, but certainly with a lot of death and despair.
c: There will be change, but can we spare losing so many people in the process.
h: It breaks my heart to think of it. How long do was have to fight fear with violence before we understand that this is not the way to do things.
c: I think of the concept of what peace is and every time I think of that world I equate it with the feminine. Absolute pure human peace comes from the feminine heart, from love, compassion, understanding, inclusiveness, and forgiveness. These things I see as innate in feminine and in the end that’s what we want, that’s what humanity wants. We want peace with each other. However, that peace is not about only women taking the position of the feminine. Every individual human being has masculine and feminine within themselves and it’s each person’s responsibility to find peace between those two halves of themselves. That’s where it starts, and then it radiates out from within. That’s what I’m talking about not about feminine as being a woman or a man.
h: It’s an important distinction to make that this coming of power and peace from the feminine is not just for the women, but for all humanity. What a beautiful part of oneself to learn to embrace after undermining it and not appreciating it for its true value. In prep for today, I was thinking the Man Code or a Gentleman’s code on how to be a good man, but I coudn’t think of an equivalent as a woman’s code?
c: I might have one here for you. This from two prominent women Claire Zammit, founder of a Global Community Feminine Power and Katherine Woodward Thomas, author of the New York Times Bestseller Conscious Uncoupling. Quote: “Unlike masculine power, which is the power to create things that can be controlled, feminine power is the power to manifest that which is beyond our control, including those things that our hearts most yearn for: intimacy, relatedness, creative expression, authentic community and meaningful contribution.”
h: Wow, so well said.
c: That is your code.
h: Love it! That’s a much more profound way of understanding the feminine in relation to, or in contrast to what has traditionally been thought of as the feminine code. What comes to mind for me are words like modesty, being subservient to a partner, and chastity as a virtue. So much of these ideas being old ideals based on what man wanted of women, rather than a woman’s code that serves women in its own right.
c: Throughout history, men have designed what feminine should be and women have had to fit into that mold. The feminist movement broke that pattern. Most men and some women don’t care to embrace the movement, however, there have been some important values come out of that movement that encourages women to redefine what feminine can be.
h: I agree, in learning about third and fourth wave feminists the core was that as a woman we have the accessibility to choose without succumbing to the social prescriptions of family and society at large. Women now get to define their own sense of self, whether they choose to be a porn star or a stay at home mom who wants nothing more. We need to respect both. In first and second wave feminism it was our way or the highway sister. If you were not in step with their brand of feminism then you were against womanhood.
c: I would just say that the particular form of feminism was necessary to actually break the mold of what had been built by men for women to fit into. These two women I mentioned, Claire Zammit and Katherine Woodward Thomas have a few quotes that are very poignant in telling the perspectives on feminism and women of today. This one caught my attention: “For all the amazing benefits that “feminism” has brought women, its fruits have not necessarily included personal or spiritual fulfillment. Women today have more freedom, money, education and opportunity than any other generation of women in history. Yet women today often feel powerless to create the things they most value and care about: love, intimacy, connection, belonging, creativity, self-expression, aliveness, meaning, purpose, contribution and a brighter future for generations to come.”
h: That is beautiful. Not that women aren’t already empowered to do these things, but to see these as an ideal or something to work towards. I’ve seen it in my own life, from the ability to choose University courses or activities that are my own self-expression like kickboxing and yoga classes. The fact that I have the freedom to explore different parts of myself in order to find my own expression of what I want to bring to the world is something never to be taken for granted, but it’s also sharing that freedom with more of humanity and more women.
c: Interesting thought that you have these freedoms in this culture, but in other cultures where they do not have these freedoms, their perspective is completely different from yours. We may see them as being subjugated, however, it’s the only reality they have ever known.
h: But technology like the internet is changing that. In a lot of the world, they do know what is available in Western culture.
c: But that depends on our cultural conditioning. Things we take for granted they may desire, or they may disdain. I’ve visited countries where our standard of living seems clearly superior, yet the joy, the radiant joy of these people in squalor-like conditions is baffling. I’m thinking, how can you live in these conditions, an entire family in a single room, with a cow and chickens and be so content. It throws you off to try and make any comparison or judgments. They have different values and they value different things.
h: I can see it in a family where there’s respect, but for a woman in a family who is told she can never amount to more than being a wife and mother and that her own dreams and aspirations or trying different activities simply won’t happen for her.
c: But what if that’s her value, to be a wife and a mother – period! Even in our culture, a woman who aspires to these simple values is looked upon quite differently. She is not quite an equal sister to those who aspire to have a career, own a business or achieve social status.
h: Which isn’t right, but I just think back to Maslow’s Hierarchy or Needs, and yes you can say that a woman’s value might be just to raise a family, and I respect a woman’s right to choose…
c: I would say that consciously you believe, but subconsciously there’s resistance. What does your natural reflex say?
h: My reflex is the creativity point, that having children can fulfill that, but women need something just for themselves that’s not just about giving to her kids, or a partner, but also giving to herself.
c: Why? What if that is the way they translate fulfillment, giving to their children, giving to their mate?
h: I see these things, giving to family and giving to self as separate.
c: But that’s not for some women, it’s coming from an individual, from that person’s heart. You can’t engineer that to suit what you’ve been engineered to value.
h: I admit that I am programmed differently. I just have found so much satisfaction in exploring so many different things for myself and gaining a sense of self that I feel I would have missed out on being my best self if I only believed that my sole purpose was only to be a good wife and mother.
c: For you.
h: For me.
c: And that’s fair, for you. However, what we are prone to do is transpose us, our beliefs and our values, over the lives of others and then we’re confused, if not annoyed when they don’t follow our design. You can really only extend understanding for what that person chooses.
h: True, and wherever they choose there is still growth. Mother’s learn from your children every day.
c: Maybe that is the ultimate in personal growth, caring for your family.
h: I think my hesitation is because for so long it has been an expectation of women to only aspire to be mom’s and wives, and I want women to feel like they don’t need to feel they are the only one caring for family, that her partner also needs to take responsibility for that role.
c: I would counter that there are also phenomenal men out there who give back, who give of themselves and who give their wives everything they require to grow and to transcend. That’s the external version of the feminine and masculine connection creating a stronger whole. The ideal is for each of us to make this connection of feminine and masculine on the inside and to become whole within, then to take this idea into our relationships with a partner.
h: A harmony where it’s both giving and receiving.
c: But we are creating a world of masculine women oblivious to their feminine nature which leaves men lost in knowing what to give to a woman without getting his heads chopped off.
h: Speaking of a feminine code I’ve started seeing posters for the new Wonder Woman movie and she has a code that is very different from what we have come to know as masculine strength. The words are Power, Grace, Wisdom, and Wonder. Those four words carry so much meaning, just the word Grace alone is interesting. It can mean elegance and refinement in movement, or as a verb, to honor or give credit to something or someone.
c: That word grace has always been a magic word to me. It’s a word that shines on its own and I’ve always associated grace with the feminine.
h: Even just speaking the word grace I feel harmony within myself, the meshing between the feminine and the masculine energies. There is something really beautiful in it. I’ve been in personal turmoil as so many people have been in wondering what’s going to happen in our world, but this conversation has meant a lot in coming to an understanding of where we might be able to make something different through the right means without violence or retaliation which is so quick to surface in our egos.
c: It’s the core of the feminine to rise back to the surface of humanity, and again, it’s not only about women.
h: It’s about all of us.
c: It’s a movement this show wants to be part of, we want to carry the conversation, ignite thought in people who will affect change. It’s not just words in a podcast, it means something to us the topics we talk about. The reason we call the show The Virgin, The Beauty, and The Bitch, is because we don’t believe in putting people into boxes and using labels to control or shame them. It’s about opening up the conversation and everyone being responsible for making change happen.
h: Can we finish off today of the words you mentioned as a feminine code?
c: Again, these are words from Claire Zammit, founder of a Global Community Feminine Power and Katherine Woodward Thomas, author of the New York Times Bestseller Conscious Uncoupling. Quote: “Unlike masculine power, which is the power to create things that can be controlled, feminine power is the power to manifest that which is beyond our control, including those things that our hearts most yearn for: intimacy, relatedness, creative expression, authentic community and meaningful contribution.” And I repeat, this is not a code only for women, this is a code of ideals that all people yearn for. Do we not all want intimacy in your life, to relate to others, to express yourself creatively, to be authentic with those around you and to contribute and leave a legacy that leaves a legacy for generations to come? That’s not only for female or for a woman it’s a yearning in all human beings. That’s something worth aspiring to achieve, is it not?