The Rise and Fall of The Rapacious Woman. ~ Lori Ann Lothian

Via on Mar 13, 2012

What happens when women act like men?

I don’t normally study women’s courtship behavior the way a zoologist watches mating ducks, but at a recent dinner party I was struck by how several single women descended on a particularly handsome male specimen.

I observed how they jockeyed for a spot next to him, how they competed with each other for his attention, how they circled and moved in for the win.  I wondered, when did women become like men?

I know it’s politically fashionable for the modern woman to demonstrate a balancing act of masculine and feminine—to take out the garbage and tuck in the kids, to fix the flat tire and to chef up the dinner, to run a corporation and to get a pedicure. But beyond this sort of  “I can do anything a man can do” bravado, I am left feeling we fairer of the sex have lost our way.

We’ve simply lost the art of being womanly, and nowhere has it become more apparent than when women pursue men with the ferocity of a predator. No wonder older women stalking younger men have earned the nickname cougars. They have become what men have traditionally been—hunters.

This is not to say liberated women don’t relish a wide range of self-expression and exploration. As my good friend and author Robin Rice wrote to me recently,  “we are wanderers, labyrinth walkers, deep sea divers and flying high mistresses of the moon.” In other words, we are multifaceted and mysterious creatures capable of accessing both our masculine and feminine aspects.

What if we were to embrace the receptive feminine within us with the same ardor with which we sought the right to vote? What if we allowed ourselves to reclaim a new feminine that is both strong and supple?

There are others who have written about this topic of the feminine-in-crisis. David Deida, well known for his work exhorting men to man-up and women to soften (The Superior Man, Dear Lover), notes:

“As a culture we have advanced in terms of personal freedom, sexual equality and social rights but we have remained spiritually thwarted and afraid. For the sake of individual autonomy and social fairness, with only good intentions in mind, we have erroneously begun to smooth out and neutralize our masculine and feminine differences.”

Deida further asserts that polarity, not neutrality, is the key to a robust union.

Every human (whether male or female) has either a primarily masculine or feminine essence. The litmus test for your core is this: would you rather ravish, or be ravished?

The ravisher is at his or her center, masculine. This is the timeless appeal of Harlequin Romance novels. Women instinctively crave a strong male who will not be nagged nor cajoled into submission, but rather a man who will make us swoon with his assured masculine presence.

This polarity dance is not simply an old-fashioned romance convention but a universal and primal drive. While women can be capable and assured, we also want to be soft and surrendered, offering ourselves to a male worthy of our trust.

While I have known the rare woman who is truly masculine, I have a hard time believing that the women at that dinner party circling the single male had anything but a feminine inner identity. Yet they were acting like men in their pursuit of the eye-candy in the room.

I can hear the feminist outcry now. How dare I judge a women’s right to get what she wants, any way she wants it. And to that I say, “yes, but.” Yes when you chase a man you might get his attention, but you are unlikely to win his devotion.

When a woman becomes rapacious in her quest for a man, she also becomes a taker.  This voraciousness is at odds with what a man really wants in a woman. Because, as Deida reminds us, in his heart a man wants to be received by a woman, not taken.

Just after my divorce, I tried my hand at the cougar game.  The male target was almost ten years younger and easy prey. I never doubted I had the balls to lure and catch him. But what I didn’t have, at the end of the day, was the heart to keep him.

I had played a game of taking what I wanted at the expense of attracting what we both really needed—a relationship that was potent and transformative in it’s polarity.

I know a young woman who is going through an experiment of playing the field in a masculine way. This entails going out to bars and clubs, and like a heat-seeking missile, targeting buff guys to take home. While this behavior is not wrong in any moralistic way, it is the wrong direction if what a woman wants is to experience maleness in its full glory.

A man in the clutches of a woman doing the “I came, I saw, I conquered” routine, is a man robbed of the chance to penetrate a woman’s defenses and win her surrender.

Sure, it’s a heady and powerful feeling to go after a man. After all, conquest has a particular flush of sweet satisfaction. Yet the deeper joy that a woman seeks—if she is honest with herself—is not in winning but in wooing.

When we allow ourselves to be radiantly present we are like the light that draws the moth. We need do nothing but be fully ourselves, and in that offering we attract a true candidate for our heart—a man who has the capacity to fully open us, so that we can fully receive him.

This poem I by Mirabai, a 16th century saint and songstress from India, speaks to me of the offering nature of the feminine essence, free of the modern day mistake that taking works best:

“I want you to have this,
the beauty in my eyes,
all the grace of my mouth,
all the splendor of my strength,
all the wonder of the musk parts of my body,
for are we not talking about real love, real love?”

Ultimately the luscious truth of being a woman with a feminine essence is that I am an invitation to the masculine. I invite the masculine to take me. I offer myself, all of me, when I give up the belief that my worth is measured by my sexual prowess or my ability to seduce.

For once, I get that my feminine power is not fueled by acquisition and performance, but by the beauty of my surrender.

~

Editor: Jennifer Cusano

(Photo: Michael Julian Berz)

Lori Ann Lothian is the creator of the popular The Awakened Dreamer blog (http://theawakeneddreamer.com) which hit the stands following an overnight Enlightenment Episode that revolutionized her sex life and destroyed any chance at ever being miserable again. Lori Ann lives in Vancouver, Canada, where she has learned to transcend the rain and surrender to mega doses of vitamin D

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About Lori Ann Lothian

Lori Ann Lothian is a sexy daring writer who challenges assumptions about love, sex and relationships in her columns at Huffington Post and elephant Journal and in feature articles at the Good Men Project, Origin Magazine, Yoganonymous, Better After 50 and more. Former editor of the relationship section of elephant Journal, she is now on the editorial staff at the Good Men Project where she works on new writer development. Follow her on Twitter and Google. Stay informed, sign up for Lori’s mailing list here.

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42 Responses to “The Rise and Fall of The Rapacious Woman. ~ Lori Ann Lothian”

  1. marina says:

    Wow, that was wonderful, thank you.

    I am truly inspired by exploring and being my feminine self through Rori Raye’s website:
    http://blog.havetherelationshipyouwant.com
    Namaste

  2. Interesting things to think about Lori. I've been exploring my more yin receptive side lately and I have to say it feels good! I'm always been the capable,"I can take care of myself" gal. Never a predator as far as relationships go but letting go a little and letting myself be has made me more balanced and I think it gives men a place to come toward me, which feels good.

  3. Sherri Rosen says:

    Thanks for your article. I am one of those "older women" and I do date younger men, but the term cougar is a real turnoff by media and you towards women. I haven't had to "go after" a man. It's organic and real, and I don't have to manipulate, "go after" anything or anyone. There's no way I would want to follow in a man's footsteps. I have enough of a challenge being real and who I am as a full blooded female.

    • Sherri, I am certain there are full blooded females like you who are nectar to the bee–in other words, it's not about the age gap, it's about the power gap (that leads to reverse polarity) when I write about the cougar trend, where older women can be predater-like in going after younger men. It's not a pretty site, any more than it is when an older man hunts for girls, instead of women (which of course is far more common and "accepted." I admire your candor and of course, go for it if younger men are drawn to you and you to them. Not a morality piece (Rapacious Woman) but rather a reflection on polarity and sexuality.

  4. Dawn says:

    Thank you! I totally agree that women need to maintain their receptive feminine energy. I think its the confident, quiet allure that would attract a man, but so many young women now believe they have to be competitive and aggressive in dating and life, and so many men have lost their "wooing" abilities. Glad to know there's someone else out there that feels this way.

    • Yes, you bring up a key point–if we act like men, then men tend to act like women around us. It's natural, it's the polarity dance. I was dating a few years ago and felt a certain missingness in that he did not "ravish me" but rather kind of asked permission for sex. A friend suggested if I were to act more womanly (wear skirts even–I was in a jeans phase) it might tip things and get him more in touch with his masculine. I ended up next with an Italian stallion who was the opposite–right out of a Harlequin romance book, always ready to "take me."

  5. Abhi says:

    Great article! For me feminine vs masculineis shifting inner energy and quality of being, it is shifting the presence…not easy to explain and not easy to attain.
    In last 22 years, it has been constant search, training and practice for me and my transition from ballet to belly dancing played very integral part in that.
    Rori Raye is nice, David Deida is 'out there'…what really made huge difference for me is Alison Armstrong and PAX programs. http://understandmen.com/
    The more I strive to understand men: lover, husband, boyfriend, father, brother, son, the more I connected to my own femininity…

    • I love teh PAX programs and have the booklet (darn, I lent it out again) by Alison. It made me laugh aloud to see her plain and simple common sense advice about polarity and relationship.

  6. timful says:

    If your best self emerges in surrender to a man, don't let anyone tell you it's not right. But, do it because it ignites your own passions, not because it is the primal nature of women, or what all men want. I can speak for one man at least, that I have no desire to penetrate your defenses. You will find me at my best if you show interest in me.

    • Is there a difference between showing interest in you and hunting you? I'd say a big one. I can show my interest in so many flirtatious gestures that are entirely feminine. Here, let me bat my eyelashes. :-)

      • timful says:

        I guess what I like best is an interest that is neither masculine or feminine, but meets simultaneously, without realizing who smiled first or took the first step. I suppose somebody must go first, but a lot can go back and forth in split-seconds, when people are present in the moment. I know, you would rather be coy, and see what he is made of. For sure a lot of men like that. I am just saying if it doesn't come naturally, then a women shouldn't feel she needs to play that role, because of some myth that all men need that sense of conquest.

        • cequall says:

          Nicely said. I feel like there is a lot of male and female energy in all of us (or the possibility of it). I don't want to hunt nor do I want to "be hunted".

  7. awarenessishere says:

    Yes Carol, balance is the inevitable middle way of any pendulum swing. After yanging for years, it's been interesting to discover the yin side of life. Thank you for reading!

  8. Nona says:

    “When did women become like men?” In the 1970s, in response to a society in which men were perceived to ‘have’ what was desirable: power, money, options. What we failed to notice at the time was that women ‘had’ other, different, desirables: compassion, patience, stewardship.

    In our determination to become ‘equal’ to men, we overlooked how different we are from men. Not worse, or better; just not the same.

    Does that differentness compel us to take either the predator role or the prey role? i don’t think so; masculine and feminine are simply ways of describing our response to energy, not some innate truth. We are not ‘either’ masculine ‘or’ feminine; they are not polar opposites, but merely points on a continuum of energetic expression. Why not move toward the centre, together, rather than toward the extremes?

    • Hi Nona. I would suggest that polarity is a strong element in sexual attraction, and that masculine-feminine polarity is a taking vs receiving quality that is a part of more than our sexing, but also our awakening to true nature. Western alchemy points to the solar and lunar currents of the our being, and you have the nadis–hot and cold that run alongside the central column (spine) in the tantra traditions. This hot-cold/sun-moon/heaven-earth is a fundamental polarity that can birth us into a truth beyond duality. Non-duality realized through the dynamid of polarity. I think we are afraid of polarity in our love relationships, and want to neutralize it, because the polarity within ourselves is like a nuclear reactor that can at anytime melt down, so that all that is left, is true nature. It's that old beyond right doing and wrong doing is a field, I will meet you there…Rumi

  9. Sorel says:

    Beautiful! Yes yes yes – the power a women brings to a relationship is her receptiveness to her male partners equally powerful penetration. We are literally PHYSICALLY built this way with a vagina that receives his penetrating penis. However, I think that polarity, more generically speaking, must also be balanced by merging. Think of an infinity sign on its side – we can flow between polarity (at one end) and merging (at the other) as we flow from one side of the infinity sign to the other. Not necessarily in terms of our masculine and feminine energies, but in terms of our connection to each other. I always seem to get in trouble when I am keeping myself at one "pole" exclusively. In terms of feminine consciousness though, I totally relate to what Lori wrote. I have been on this very journey myself of rediscovering my feminine surrendering and receptive nature over the last year or so. It was drilled out of me by my culture and religion and pretty much everything in Western Industrialized society (-:

    • Yes…merging of the hot and cold currents within self, is a "goal" of tantra and alchemical wisdom. There is a vast difference between the merging of polarities and the neutralizing of them into a tepidness. That merger is key. Thanks for your comment!

  10. Guy_Duff says:

    I disagree with David Deida assertion that "Every human (whether male or female) has either a primarily masculine or feminine essence. The litmus test for your core is this: would you rather ravish, or be ravished?"

    I believe this is more a development of social dna that evolved based on the primitive conditions the human race has lived under where for so long (and still to this day), the greater physical strength (on average) of men has embedded these norms of social behavior. While I may be unusual, I do not feel I am not potentially what other men could be. I am deeply aware of my own feminine nature as well as my masculine nature. One might think that because I possess both charteristics I might have a tendency towards bisexuality but I don't. I'm purely hetrosexual and yet I feel my desire both to ravish and be ravished. I have a view about this from a spiritual perspective as well for what it is worth: We are all spiritual beings in my opinion, some of us have occupied female and male bodies in the long chain of reincarnations. The social DNA (which is malleable, and a function of the material world) puts man (biologically speaking) into the activities of the head chakras and the women in the heart and yet, through spiritual practice, male and female move towards the full integration of all chakras and the internal alchemy that leads towards the internal marriage of Shiva and shakti or prana and apana (solar – lunar) and ultimately the ending of desire (wanting other than what is) and the state of nirvana or complete "fulfillment" or completion of spiritual awakening. Our external behavior is largely, until this point, regulated by the social and biological DNA. However, that being said, as humans evolve towards spiritual freedom and awakening, all of our sacred interaction with one another (the primary gift of life) seems to me to be the outward working of this ultimate merger of created and non created (creation and void) of the masculine and feminine. There is no "right" or "wrong" to where our internal state of masculine of feminine balance is right now. As we become completely balanced and "fullfilled" in the realization that each one of us is actually everything we desire, "the one", then all of our interaction, loving, comes from a state of not needing and of pure compassion and hence pure love. This is of course just what I believe to be true. This article opens the door to many questions as to both the biological, social and spiritual aspects of the operation of pana and apana in the body and in our relation to ourselves and those to whom we are attracted at any level.

    • Great points Guy. Read my comments two up, as well, before reading yours. We do not disagree at all on the role of polarity. What happens however, is there is a tepidness in the social movement toward masculine women and feminine men in the last thirty years. I'd venture the mass appeal among women of Harlequin romance novels in that men are portrayed as one dimensional macho men, just for the sheer relilef of it–most women say they want a sensitive man, and when get it, they call him wimpy. It's a simple matter of polarity having a purpose…and the neutralization of polarity (vs the merger, which is a whole different matter) is what happens when women become men and men act like women.. You get a woman weak in her feminine and a man weak in his masculine…think dilution.

  11. Shawn says:

    Lori,
    Great article. I'm also enjoying your other writings.
    Shawn
    xlaker :)

  12. Spike says:

    Good article, but I wonder why any person "should" do anything but be true to who they are, which might be trying to find that balance. Acceptance of this progression, of this change in perspective and behavior is probably a good way to start. Saying that this behavior is not "feminine" is a strange statement to make, and I think you get into trouble every time you generalize, which you seem to do a lot in your post and your response to messages. But, I guess if you are trying to understand the world, it is easier to put everyone in a box, and you do that very well here.

    • Hi Spike. I wrote the piece from a place of provacative thought, not to place anyone in a box. A strange statement to make by pointing out traditionally masculine behaviors in women? Is that just as feminism was once considered a strange position to take forty years ago?

  13. Your experience at the party would've struck me as not, as you see it, masculine/feminine role reversal, but as something much more prevalent and insidious–the shallow notion that pretty people are more interesting and attractive.

    Also, from my perspective, I don't do things "manly" because they are politically fashionable, but because it was necessary to making a living. I've done it all, from planting hundreds of trees, building homes (hiring subcontractors), to as you say, take out the garbage. These accomplishments do not in any way exclude my being a feminine woman, or receiving courtship. I enjoy dating men of different ages and incomes.

    Another point: Having been called a cougar myself–I must say that I am not the aggressor in any of the encounters I've had with younger men. They can be quite assertive!

    • HI Lisa:

      Your points are excellent ones. Yes, what a woman does for a living has no bearing on the whether she expresses her femnine aspect in romantic or sexual life. Also, yes, younger men can be quite assertive in hunting cougars. :-) See response to Spike, above, for a bit about why I wrote this piece.

  14. Kelly says:

    I welcome the role play of 'conquer and be conquered', and similar metaphors but major faux pas to assign any one role to any one gender. this nostalgia for the romanticized misogyny of olden times is tired and dangerous. the only way I can think of to keep the concept of polarity (which I don't disagree with) in a benign form would be not to prescribe the poles. my uterus does not make me apt to want to be conquered thank you very much… although some men do go around believing that about women. the new rapacious women out there may be going the wrong way about it just as rapacious men do… nonetheless the increasing number of rapacious women goes to show that femininity is not innate. what is this 'mysterious and threatened reality known as femininity' anyway? It's simply what we say it is. And in our modern age it's what each woman has to decide for herself without being labelled, packaged, and assigned a feminine persona.

    • Hi kelly–well worded response, thanks. That your uterus does not make you want to be conquered, however, is not the point of the article. It's the idea that the feminine pole has it's own POTENCY in a receptive/magnetic power vs the masculine taking quality. This is not new, the idea that masculine energy and feminine are opposite yet complementary..ying and yang, anima/animus, ida and pingali nadi's, etc. point to these essential and real differences. This is not sbout gender, in that men have a feminine current and vice versa. It's simply about which current is dominent and which current is being acted out. I'm all for my manly side, it's a strong current that gets things done. I am also a fan of my deep receptivity that is the feminine.

  15. boulderwind says:

    So… back to the time when we women have to wait to be "chosen" by a mate…. Gag me! While I am happily married, I never waited around to be "chosen". What a disempowering viewpoint!

  16. Dan Mage says:

    If it weren't for aggressive women I'd never get, well you know……but seriously folks, ideas like "womanly" and '"manly" behavior make people prisoners of their own genitals. We have kids committing suicide due to the medieval dogmas of gender roles and the "normality" of pure heterosexuality.

  17. Danielle says:

    God, this is bullshit. Clichés and stereotypical women's roles all wrapped up in fluffy speech and bad grammar and punctuation. Neither men nor women can be reduced to the terms or the descriptions that the author uses.

    • Amy says:

      Thank you! I do get so tired of being told how I "SHOULD" be as a woman. I want to balance BOTH my masculine and feminine 'energies' and want a man who tries to do the same. Sometimes I want to hunt, sometimes I want to be hunted, and sometimes I want to show up in the forest and just hold hands together! Please, stop telling me what I should be in order to 'keep' a man, then turn around and tell me all about being my authentic self and speaking my truth. I am who I am. I am a mix of hormones, on any given day, in any given situation, and telling me how to be someone else's version of human is insulting.

    • As a fan of sentence fragments, I conceed grammatical laziness. That said, I can see you have a strong reaction to this piece. It would be more interesting to me, and readers, if you cared to present a counter argument to the thesis, rather than just slam with thoughtful terms like "bullshit." What is stereotypical? To what terms are men and women being reduced? I doubt to hear back from you Danielle, I'd guess you are the hit and run type.

  18. Meindabindi says:

    To me this article is the New Age (albeit thankfully abridged) version of the book "The Rules" which didn't then and doesn't now do women any favors. Due to my age (49) I have been jokingly called a cougar, but I have never chased a man in my life, nor do I sit around waiting to be ravished. I've just been my authentic self, and that seems to be enough to inspire mutual attraction between me and others of the same stripe. While it can be fun to play around with various sexual roles, i.e. "top," or "bottom," etc., what attracts me the most is not to be wooed, ravished, or penetrated, but to fully be seen, heard and felt, and to do the same for another. No polarity there, just a pure exchange of energy.

  19. Meindabindi: you said "what attracts me the most is not to be wooed, ravished, or penetrated, but to fully be seen, heard and felt, and to do the same for another. No polarity there, just a pure exchange of energy."

    I agree. Check out my next piece coming up on elephant, about this very thing. I wrote rapacious woman to provoke discussion of this nature. Thank you for your intelligent and measured response.

  20. A SERIOUS QUESTION says:

    At the risk of sounding ageist, Lori’s views are common amongst middle aged new age type of self proclaimed “enlightened” women. Their physical beauty is fading fast so they up the ante on acting more “feminine” in an attempt to draw a “masculine” man into their “energy field” so they can “surrender” to him.

    When a woman is young and hot looking, she can be brazen or coy, it simply doesn’t matter. Her youth and beauty are the “polarity” that will attract men of every age to her. In fact, I don’t know of any man that would feel he’s missing out on something if such young hotties “hunted” him down. Most men would take it as a compliment and it would boost their ego tremendously.

    For all this talk of masculine and feminine essence, the author seems to have missed this one very important point about male sexuality.

    As men and women age, the one sex tends to morph slowly into the other. Testosterone levels decline in men while they rise in women. We even start to look more alike. Therefore this theory of “sexual polarity” is especially attractive to the post 40 crowd so that they can prolong their “dating life” into their viagra years. Just look at the audience in any David Deida event – most attendees are well past 40.

    Young women don’t need this. Youth alone goes a long way to signal femininity and fertility.

    My question is why is it so important to the post 40 crowd to be thought of as sexually attractive?

    We seem to have a natural aversion to taking our appropriate places as “wise elders” and instead want to pretend we are still young, fresh chickadees doing a mating dance.

    We are just not comfortable with the natural aging process. Why is that?

    • Your question is not only serious, but valid. Yes, hormone profiles are key changes in later years for both sexes, and yes, women in particular keep holding on to 'sexy' as if their only currency is sex appeal. Sadly, this is promoted by menopause being treated as a disease to treat, with HRP (hormone replacement therapy). Thank you you for bringing up a solid bit of insight that I will certainly chew on. My lastes comment at Huffington Post today for a piece by Tammy Biddle, addresses this very topic of "where are the wise elders?" in both men and women.

  21. [...] The Rise and Fall of The Rapacious Woman. ~ Lori Ann Lothian (elephantjournal.com) [...]

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  23. [...] popular in our modern era is the idea of the older man/younger woman and now the cougar strategy of the older woman/younger man. Why is this so common? I would suggest that it is about the [...]

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