I love challenging myself and learning new skills. One of my latest projects is gaining confidence in public speaking by joining “Toastmasters“. It’s an amazing forum for rapid learning by receiving feedback in a very friendly atmosphere. I noticed I struggle choosing a subject, and for my first speech I chose to stick with the one that raised the most fear in me – emotional fear of being rejected. Here it is in a slightly amended form:
Let us talk about the “f”-word.
The English language has almost 30,000 words starting with “f”. Which one comes up for you first?
Well… I’m not dedicating this article to the four letter word you may have in mind.
There is another “f” word that I find much more interesting. It is used by some as an insult, and mentioning that word usually leads to rolling of eyes (overtly or internally), and generally a loss of interest. So I hope you can bear with me for a little while.
When I first started to work out at the airport in Taupo, I remember vividly how one of the old guys talked about a common friend, noticing she was alright but she was a “feminist” (disgust in his voice).
I did not say anything at the time, but it stuck with me, like in so many other cases before, that being a feminist was nothing to show to too many people if you want to be liked. It’s something I’ve come across many times in my life, and I came to believe that “feminism” was a bad thing indeed.
Then I started to grow up. What I mean by that, is I started to embrace myself more, allowing myself not to be liked by everyone.
And I started to play with the idea that I might be a feminist.
What does feminism mean?
Wikipedia defines it as follows:
”Feminism […] aims to define, establish, and achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes.
Feminism incorporates the position that societies prioritize the male point of view, and that women are treated unfairly within those societies.Efforts to change that include fighting gender stereotypes and seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminism
What’s wrong with equal opportunities for all genders, I wonder?
I believe there may be a few reasons for people to struggle with feminism, some of which might be
- feeling threatened of losing a status quo
- feeling attacked
- thinking it is about women against men.
I believe the latter is something that may have characterised feminist movements in the past, where inequalities were addressed as being issues between women on the one side and men on the other side, creating a separation between the sexes.
I have come to conclude for myself that I am not a feminist.
I am not interested in fighting men.
I am more than a feminist.
I am a humanist. I am an empath for all living beings, really. That includes women, and it includes men, and any gender in between. It also includes trees, and bees, and cats and dogs, and our planet as a whole.
What truly interests me is the “feminine” in the world. The Chinese refer to it as Yin, an energy, a force, that is irrespective of gender and lives in all of us. It is complemented by the Yang, the masculine. You could also relate it to the left brain and the right brain. In Maori tradition, Hinengaro, the hidden mother, is the mental intellectual dimension within us and has two children: the left brain, Tumatauenga, her son and Rongo, her daughter, the right brain. The left brain is sequential, rational, and logical, while the right brain is creative and intuitive.
For as long as I can remember, I noticed that there seemed to be something wrong with the feminine in our world. It was something better to be suppressed. It was something better to hide, both for girls and boys, for women and men. Especially for men, if you don’t want to be called “gay”.
It lead us to live in a world where boys don’t cry, where being emotional is perceived as a weakness. Where the quality of just being is not valued, where we have to “do” in order to be valued in society.
Just recently it occurred to me that hiding the feminine is just like trying to suppress air (see my Facebook post on this here). It’s absurd, because it is something that is in us and around as all the time anyway. You just have to take a look at the plant world to notice it. Flowers are just one obvious example. The feminine has its place in nature, and in us (well, we are nature, too, even if we tend to forget), just as the masculine energy has its place as well.
Why am I passionate about this at all?
Because I truly believe that by embracing the feminine AND the masculine in this world, we can create a more sustainable future.
Imagine a world where boys, girls and adults are allowed to cry, where being logical is not the ultimate goal, where being-time is valued just as much as doing-time, where stereotypes are broken up and people can fully express their diverse uniqueness. Where compassion leads us to care for all beings, where we overcome the illusion of separation between the sexes.
P.S. What a wonderful opportunity the effects of Coronavirus are providing us to reconnect with our Being, our feminine. I hope you can dive into it fully.