Recently, a woman came to me seeking help with her romantic relationship.
She was a student, but confessed that she wasn’t really that interested in having a career. She said that what she really wanted was a family. She told me I was the only person she felt she could talk to about this desire because her friends criticize her for being “old-fashioned.” One of them told her she was “setting women back a hundred years” by pursuing marriage and family instead of a career.
I consider myself a feminist, which means I also consider myself a masculinist, because to support one without the other is like believing that only one of my legs is necessary for walking, or that a river only needs one bank in which to flow.
Whether we are male or female, each of us was created by a man and a woman and each of us has both masculine and feminine energies within us.
Being whole means loving, accepting and valuing all that we are.
In the past, women were disenfranchised by being denied access to economic and political power. In some places in the world, women are still fighting for these basic freedoms.
Today, in the Western world, it is accepted that we have the right to develop ourselves intellectually and economically.
Today, some Western women seem to be experiencing a different kind of disenfranchisement.
We live in a culture that glorifies independence and equates success with upward mobility. Many of us are trained out of our femininity from childhood and taught to be more masculine in order to compete with men in the world of work. While it is important for women to be strong and self-sufficient, if in doing so we cut off a part of ourselves, we experience a different sort of disempowerment.
In the past we had to cut off our ambition, drive and determination to succeed in the material world. Now it seems we have to cut off our inner life, divorce ourselves from the natural rhythms of our soul and distance ourselves from our hearts.
When women feel separate from themselves, they experience depression, exhaustion, confusion, overwhelm and a constant sense of sacrifice and guilt.
We feel chronically depleted and look for love outside of ourselves instead of knowing, feeling and experiencing love as the nature of who we are.
Mother Nature gave her daughters a special gift and a special place in society. Nature gave us the power to bring forth life—to nurture and shape the future in the most direct, profound and intimate way. Whether we express this by physically raising children, or by sharing our creativity with the world in another way, we all have this power within us. But if we lose touch with our life force, our feminine nature, we forfeit the place of honor that should be ours as mothers, teachers, healers and leaders in a world in desperate need of love.
Love is the heart of who we are as women.
Love is what gives us real power, real beauty and real wisdom, and love makes us leaders who can change the world. The Dalai Lama famously said, “The world will be saved by the Western woman.”
Feminine leadership doesn’t involve telling others what to do, it involves being the solution—embodying the love that the world needs in order to heal and become whole. A woman who has lost touch with her real nature can’t offer that.
To me, feminism is about women fulfilling all of ourselves, our feminine side and our masculine side—the parts of us that want to kick ass in the corporate world and the parts of us that want to make cupcakes and cuddle our kids.
The most revolutionary act of feminism we can offer today may be to refuse to disown or divorce any part of ourselves, to be absolutely true to all of who we are, and to allow other women that freedom also.
For some women, that means choosing a lifestyle that, to the naked eye, looks old-fashioned, but which is actually coming from a new place.
For some of us, femininity is freedom, and being able to honor that is not “setting women back” but moving women forward by taking the freedom for which our foremothers fought to its next evolution.
In choosing not to lose touch with our femininity, we are choosing to preserve something that is precious, that is powerful and that seems to be quickly disappearing from this world.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Kim Haas/Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Courtesy of author.