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.”
I have no idea what someone means when they say summon your “inner goddess.” Fifty Shades of Grey forever ruined that phrase, though it was always an eye-roller for me. Make people worship you? Believe you are better than others?
Maybe it means being open and receptive to the pleasure that you deserve. Surrender to feelings that come from some “divine” origin that defies logical explanation? I can get behind that. But let’s say that. You do not have an inner god or goddess. I promise. Even as a metaphor, it serves to separate us from our humanity, and that is counterproductive at best.
Think of the archetypes as a collection of attributes that might be useful to hone and harness in order to get to the next stage of the rather long role-laying game that is life. A way to figure out how to get through a tough spot. A way to think about your behavior.
There was a time when I would have told you that I like a “manly man.” But as time passed, I was forced to look at what that meant, because going after the men who I thought were “my type” was leading to exactly the same unpleasant end, time after time. I eventually made a list, but it was simply a list of attributes: kind, funny, honest, fit, smart, brave, generous, nurturing and strong; both emotionally and physically.