Really. We’re still falling for this?
Think about the energy that we so lazily describe as “masculine.” What are the adjectives you would use? Aggressive? Courageous? Industrious? Combative? If you didn’t have the luxury of using the word “masculine” as a shortcut, would anything about those adjectives change? Would anything about that energy change? No. It wouldn’t.
Do you see as many of those qualities in women as you do in men? Yes. You do. Even in nature. Have you ever heard the phrase “hell hath no fury as a woman scorned?” It’s not “hell hath no fury like a woman acting like a man.” How about the phrase “worker bee?” That’s nature, and those are all female bees.
There is nothing inherently masculine about “masculine” energy at all. It’s just a lazy way to not really think about how we’re describing someone. It’s a way to avoid using adjectives. Think about the energy that we so lazily describe as “feminine” energy. What are the adjectives that you would use? Kind? Nurturing? Calm? Soothing? If you didn’t have the luxury of using the word “feminine” as a shortcut, would anything about those adjectives change? Would anything about that energy change? No. It wouldn’t.
Do those qualities not exist in men as much as they exist in women? They absolutely do. Though with men, more so than women, there is a great societal risk in letting those “non-conforming” sides of yourself show. Why? Because then you become “feminine.” And that’s, well, that’s bad.
Mind you, being calm is good. (“He’s solid as a rock.”) Being kind is good. (“He has such a big heart.”) Being nurturing is good. (“He’s the kind of guy that just makes you feel safe when you’ve had a bad day.”)
Those are some blurred lines.
There is nothing inherently feminine about “feminine” energy at all. It’s just a lazy way to not really think about what you’re calling someone. And it’s a great way to enforce a code that is not only unnatural but also harmful.
What if the words “masculine” and “feminine” didn’t exist? We’d have to think a lot harder about how we describe people. We’d describe them by what they do, how they behave. We’d have to pay attention to our behavior, not our genitals, and wardrobe.
We’d actually communicate something real.
That sounds so nice.
I am always amazed by the similarities in the two groups of people who I see using this gendered language as a crutch the most often. There are the Neocons who refer constantly to the proper roles for men and women, expecting each to stay in their place. Then there are the SNAP (Sensitive New Age People) types who are constantly talking about the inner goddess, sacred masculine and sacred feminine. As far as I can tell the only difference is that the Neocons use “divine” and the SNAPs use “sacred.” But it’s all the same shit.
I got into a Facebook kerfuffle the other day with a guy who insisted that masculine energy is the energy that is directional and aggressive. Feminine energy is nurturing and passive. (My aggressive feminine energy wanted to flow fast in his direction, but I had better things to do.)
The problem with that, besides its inane fallacy, is that such language is what lays the groundwork for phrases like “man up.” There is no difference between “you need to harness your sacred masculine energy” and “man up, bro.” None. The words “sacred” and “masculine” don’t lesson the bludgeoning by binary any more than the words “no offense” make whatever it is you just said less offensive.
So, let’s get to those archetypes that we love so much. Whether they are from Jung or the Tarot, people love to refer to people as “the Warrior” or “the Thinker” or what have you. Let’s remove gender altogether from them, instead of looking only at the adjectives and verbs.
If someone says, “summon your inner warrior” they don’t mean to throw on a loin-cloth and sharpen your spear, right? The men are courageous, come up with a plan, know what you’re fighting for. That is a methodical and reasonable approach to facing a challenge. It’s not gendered and it’s not a prelude to a pub-fight. It’s not “act like you’re Mel Gibson in Braveheart,” it’s “get serious and solve this.”