Changing Views On Masculine & Feminine Qualities
We live in a time where great changes in how we perceive men and women are taking place. It is an achingly slow progress towards true equality. In the workforce women have been able to rise in terms of participation and filling leadership roles, but we are far from an equal distribution in these areas. This topic will likely be with us for some time to come.
In our personal day to day experience of the dynamics that surround this societal evolution we are also experiencing ourselves and those around us in ways that change over time. We grow up and mature with certain views of what masculine and feminine qualities mean and these views have of course changed along side the battle for equality. Women had to fend for their right to vote, to go to university, to be employees in regular jobs, rise through the ranks into management and leadership positions in the economic, religious, academic and political arenas.
Humans in the Patriarchal Paradigm
We know all this and we know that what women have had to contend with is the existing patriarchal structure. The push forward for women, slowly starting in the 1800s, included remolding themselves and pushing forward those qualities that were and still are rewarded in the patriarchal system. Along with this came the suppressing of qualities that are not respected nor understood in this system. This has been the sacrifice that women have had to make, in order to fit themselves into a new mold within the patriarchal system. In this way feminism turned out to be a ‘masculinization‘ of women, rather than expanding the one sided masculine system to include feminine qualities. Perhaps this was or still is a necessary step, but it comes at a price to both men and women.
An additional aspect to take into consideration here is that our mainly patriarchal societal structure is not only unkind to women, but it also comes at a steep cost to men. The reason being that men and women have both masculine and feminine qualities that emerge naturally and provide a balanced way to view and interact with all that life on this planet has to offer. Our journey through the challenges we face in life in order to become a mature human being, requires both our masculine and our feminine qualities.
The fact that the patriarchal dynamics and programs have suppressed the strengths inherent in feminine qualities throughout ‘his’ and ‘her’-story, has wrought havoc on both men and women in ways that have left both genders bereft of their fullness, strength and beauty. The patriarchal way has cut deep into the psyche of men and women and cut them off from their emotional, intuitive and mental wholeness. Women have been pushed into believing that they need to suppress their feminine qualities in order to fit in and succeed.
The evolving sense of political correctness makes it difficult to express dynamics that are simple and archaic in their nature, because there is a sense of not wanting to generalize too much and avoiding simplifications. An organic empathy for all aspects and sides of different issues would be more helpful here, because it presupposes an inclusive view. It is helpful to investigate within ourselves what the harmonious feminine and masculine qualities are that arise in response to different challenges and opportunities in life. More importantly it is very helpful to notice if we are censoring our own healthy impulses that are really there and may be harmoniously inspired.
Effects In Our Personal Realm
In our day to day living arena the need for balance holds true on a personal level. Both men and women need both of their own inherent masculine and feminine strengths in order to master all the challenges of life.
The question that presents itself once we decide to aim for this balance in ourselves is, do we have an accurate compass of what those qualities even are and whether we are allowing them to freely flourish inside of us? Do we allow these qualities to express themselves within and without?
At this point in time the perceptions of these qualities do not seem weighted in a neutral way, even by the most balanced men or women. And with good reason! By obvious association with the patriarchy masculinity is not the carrier of much sympathy in our society. Throughout history the main atrocities have been committed by this distorted masculine system, which introduced male-favouring religions, dynamics of our economic system and our male dominated cultures themselves.
The mostly male human beings that have risen to the “top” (of the hall of shame) in this system have been extremely brutal. The effects of their actions and influence have created the darkest parts of our collective history on this planet. These men have risen to such powerful positions by allowing large parts of their inner humanity to be weakened and distorted. Many of their natural more feminine impulses had to be suppressed and their harmonious masculine impulses were distorted.
The weight of the collective perception most of us have of the patriarchy is not to be underestimated when it comes to how men perceive their own more masculine impulses. The fact that the patriarchal system is seen as negative weighs in on our perception of masculine qualities in general. It is however a generalization of masculine qualities to do so. The patriarchy is based on a distorted version of the masculine energies. This does not mean that a harmonious version of male energies does not exist.
The Example of the Distorted King
An example, that may seem all too familiar, is the man who is constantly making comments or jokes that diminish his partner and sometimes even everyone around them. This can take the form of teasing, jokes or telling someone off. Sometimes this is blatantly obvious, but often it is quite subtle. Like a steady drip of water, slowly making a small hollow in a stone, it starts to really wear the partner down. Where is this coming from?
The distorted version of the masculine energy lacks a sense of power, centeredness and self love. The impulse is to „make the other small“ in order to feel secure in his own strength. This goes for professional interactions as well, of course. Archetypally speaking this is the template of the tyrant. The Tyrant is a distortion of the archetypal king energy, a distortion that develops out of the lack of a loving and secure environment in his childhood and out of never truly growing up and discovering his own strength. A tyrant is a boy pretending to have reached manhood, needing to prove his strength to himself and the world by putting those around him down by either obvious bullying or in a myriad of subtle ways. This is just one example out of eight main archetypal masculine and feminine patterns, that all bear elucidating in a separate blog and online class.
This example, the well known masculine image of the tyrant, is of course something men want to avoid and therefo