“Why don’t you write something for International Women’s Day?” my male PR coach says to me.
“It’s a great meme and movement to bring your voice to,” he adds with enthusiasm.
I know he’s trying to support me to put myself out there and quote-unquote build my brand. That’s his job. But right now his urging feels calculated, irrelevant, and so oblivious to the heart of the matter.
I think to myself, “This is precisely the problem. Men relegating women’s movements to memes, seeking to capitalize on us in order to … ”
I stop myself.
Turn my attention away from my judging mind.
What else is here?
Next thought: “There are so many voices out there already. Why add to the cacophony? Who will hear mine? What will it even matter?”
Thoughts that hijack.
“Are you kidding? Fuck your excuses. All hands on deck for this moment. This meme. This movement. Whatever you or anybody calls it. Silence is not an option.”
This one nails me.
“Okay,” I say to my advisor, “I’ll give it a go.”
BECAUSE WORDS DO MATTER
Femininism, not feminism.
Here’s the difference one tiny “in” can make.
Feminism has a history of being about women and their rights – all good. We definitely want to sustain these causes and advances and keep adding more! But I suggest we up-level this current wave to a tide (to lift us all), with a term and mission that speak to a way of being and not merely a gender.
This moment in time is unique.
Look around. Gender fluidity is a new normal for this generation. Young people are less interested solely in equality of the sexes because the line between male and female is far less relevant. They’re more interested in the rights and freedoms of humans no matter what organ is found between their legs. Or, for that matter, what amount of melanin informs the color of their skin, or what belief system shapes the inherent kindness of their hearts.
Maybe children of this new millennium are nature’s response to a radically uncertain future. By blurring the lines between “us” and “them” in all areas of life, maybe it will be easier to recognize a bit of sameness everywhere we go. And in revering this sameness, without collapsing our uniqueness and diversity, maybe we might be able to save our species from its own demise.
ARE WE MERELY MINCING WORDS?
We’re seeking to form words that adequately reflect our truth right now.
And in the seeking we’re also discovering that truth.
Our inner self and outer expression must not be separate.
When they are, we all suffer.
The word feminine suggests qualities that exist in men and women – qualities that on their best days show up as
- receptivity and wonder
- ability to feel and express emotions without inciting drama
- openness to all peoples
- capacity to hold complexity with grace
- intimacy with all expressions and cycles of life and death.
Masculine qualities exist in both men and women, too. On their best days these virtues look something like
- a robust drive to build structures and systems that serve all
- a generativity based in fairness
- a precision of thinking
- a righteous articulation of justice
- a grounded, stable, and enduring kind-hearted presence.
DO WE NEED TO BE EITHER-OR?
In fact, the feminine is all about both-and.
International Women’s Day is an opportunity to honor and encourage the righteous fight for equality of the sexes, and also to generate awareness of feminine and masculine qualities: a spectrum of virtue each one of us embodies – but with an emphasis on the feminine.
Why weigh in more heavily on the feminine if we are trying to be equal?
Because we are not trying to be equal when it comes to the expression of virtue any more than we are seeking to be same.
We are seeking to be whole.
Wholeness is the embodiment of the entire spectrum of our human beingness. Right now, we are being stretched to inhabit our range.
We’re also yearning to be free.
Freedom is the fluid expression of self from any point on that spectrum without belittling, denying, dismissing, or marginalizing any other point in the spectrum.
Feminine qualities are more needed at this point in history not because they’re better or more true. It’s because they’re the necessary antidote to the troubles of these times. Receptivity, curiosity, kindness, and calm will turn the unchecked tide of global violence and abuse – perpetrated by men and women. We are in this together. We are all responsible.
Where a healthy masculine will fight for justice and generate progress in all realms for the good of all, what we see in our world is aggression without justice, indoctrination without wisdom, and institutionalized subjugation. This abuse of power comes from fear.
The unhealthy masculine surfaces when his fear is unmanageable and his consciousness is asleep to this fact.
It is fear we must acknowledge and liberate, not only women. Not in order to shame the perpetrators. Only an unhealthy masculine would respond with such unkindness adding salt to the wound and perpetuating the vicious cycle unchecked fear traps us in.
No more shame.
No more blame.
Now is when the healthy feminine can and must rise as the divine feminine expressing herself through each one of us.
When a child is having a nightmare, a healthy parent does not stand at the door, turn on the light, and yell at the child to buck up because it’s just a dream. No. She enters the room in the dark, crawls into bed with the child, cradles him as he quakes, gently rocks him to wokeness while whispering in his ear, “It’s okay, sweetheart. I am here. You are safe. You are loved.”
THIS IS FEMININISM
Let’s declare this a movement that elevates women’s rights alongside the feminine attributes in us all.
Let’s not demonize men or the masculine. Let’s not swing the pendulum to the other imbalanced extreme. Let’s uplevel to a new way of being human together. Diverse and united.
Need some tips on how to cultivate this feminininity in yourself?
Here are a few:
- Slow down! Stop. Pause. Take a look at what’s happening. Right now. A good look. Don’t turn away. Breathe.
- Woke yourself up with kindness. Stop racing after stuff “out there” and spend time “in here” getting to know your self for yourself.
- Seek out elders with true wisdom, warriors with strong hearts, friends who are real. They’re here. I promise. No gurus. Just regular folk like you and me doing the serious business of walking our talk.
- Seek out sameness. It’s okay to keep your uniqueness. Better yet, amplify your kick ass bad ass one-of-a-kind self. But stop “othering.” Strike up a meaningful conversation with a “stranger.”
- Take personal responsibility for all the shit on the planet and clean it up.
The time is now.
Now is a good time.