Outdated gender stereotyping is up for everyone right now. Women around our nation, with sisterhood support around the globe, stood up and took a stand on January 21, 2017 for women, women’s rights, equality, justice, and for women’s values, concerns and issues. More than one woman held signs saying women’s rights are human rights. And many enlightened husbands, brothers, sons and grandsons were out there with their women protesting right along with them. It’s time to co-create a new view of the modern woman. The old gender stereotype is being toppled by a lot of ‘nasty’, vocal women who are determined to be seen in a new way!
Gender stereotyping, unfortunately, is still occurring in our society. One of my clients, a very savvy twenty-something, shared with me that her supervisor pulled her aside and told her ‘not to be so emotional’ after giving a talk on a project she was passionate about. Not one to be easily intimidated, my client pointed out to him that he would never accuse one of her male colleagues as being ‘too emotional!’
It’s no secret that our dualistic culture assigns gender designations to certain behaviors and traits. According to the famous psychotherapist, Carl Jung, both men and women possess traits that are often assigned to the opposite gender. Jung designated them according to these terms: the inner-feminine, or anima, for men, and the inner-masculine, or the animus, for women. The inner-feminine helps men feel compassion and love, to be reflective, intuitive, and receptive. For women, their inner-masculine aids determination, active doing, courage, the willingness to face challenges, and the desire to venture out into the world. A person is in balance when they have a good relationship with both their masculine and feminine selves.
I work with many women entrepreneurs and business women who have successfully engaged their masculine active/doing sides. They are out there doing their work: supervising, selling, leading, networking, marketing, etc. Some are doing great! Others haven’t been able to find the right formula for success, or for getting that steady flow of clients. They are doing everything right… but something’s off.
For the latter, I often wonder if they are sacrificing their full sensual feminine self by sliding too far into their ‘inner- masculine’. When a woman becomes too ‘male-identified’, she can be perceived as abrasive, full-tilt assertive, and even overpowering. Too often we women think we have to be as good as a man or even better in order to be successful. This can actually be counter-productive.
Male identification, I believe, is a feminist backlash in a society which still favors masculine qualities and ways of thinking. It’s time for women to let go of the past, reclaim our full feminine self, and step into the future. This is what the Dalai Lama was talking about when he said the world would be saved by the Western woman: that we women have work to do. There’s no time to be hung up on an old paradigm that keeps women, and men, stuck in an outdated belief system of gender stereotyping.
During my own journey I came to realize that when a woman owns her inner-masculine, she has a greater chance of being successful in the business world. When a woman sacrifices her feminine self, however, it can leave her feeling disconnected from the true essence of who she is. Then a woman can come off as appearing abrasive instead of assertive, as bitchy rather than as ‘taking a stand’, as ‘being just like a woman’ when passionate, or as too ‘touchy-feely’ when showing empathy or compassion. I’ve also heard way too many tales of women being negative or demeaning to each other in the work-place, rather than being supportive and collaborative.
Part of this derogatory labeling of the female comes, I believe, from the wounding of feminine sexuality. Should we be the good wife and mother, the sensual lover, or take the lead as the seductress? Why do we have to be one or the other, instead of having the freedom to play all three when we choose? And why does the sexual female and the seductress have such a scandalous reputation? In ancient times sexuality was sacred. Women were respected, honored, and viewed as the living representatives of the Goddess on earth. Why shouldn’t women be as equally honored today?
Another reason for the denigration of women is because we have the bad rep as the “weaker sex.” In reality, and in so many ways, the feminine is the more powerful, resilient and resourceful gender. I watched my mother-in-law hold everything and everyone together when my father-in-law went through several major health crises, while her adult sons were almost paralyzed by worry, fear, and their personal grief. This strength is more common than we women are credited for. It’s the old paradigm that keeps women stuck in stereotypical roles that are both no longer relevant and are way too confining for contemporary times.
Don’t misunderstand me and think I’m placing blame on men. Men have their own challenges in our dualistic culture. In this lifetime, however, I am on a mission to help women reclaim their Full Sensual Feminine Self!
That’s why I’ve been leading the In Her Name Circle in San Mateo since 2008. (Click here for more info.) And it is the reason why, now that I’ve moved to Fair Oaks CA, that I am starting the Circle with the Divine Feminine. (Click here for more on that.) From my years of leading women’s circles I have found how important it is for women to have a safe place to gather, share stories, learn about the Divine Feminine, and to realize that they each carry a spark of the Divine within.
If you live close to either San Mateo, CA or Fair Oaks, CA, please sign up for one of the meetups and come circle with us. We would love to welcome you into our sisterhood.
If you are struggling with insecurities or self-doubts in our highly polarized society please contact me for a complimentary 30-minute consultation. I see people by phone, video-conferencing, on in person in my Fair Oaks office. Contact me today by email or call 415-819-8769