The recently released film Arrival, casts Amy Adams as Louise Banks, a linguistics expert who must translate sounds emanating from heptapods (seven-limbed aliens) who have landed on earth. Recruited by the American government Banks is tasked with finding out “what they are doing here?” Unarmed, she bravely removes her hazmat protection and through facial expression, the inflection in her voice, and listening, she manages to communicate with the aliens thus preventing war with the nations on earth.
Demonstrating both, empathy, and fearlessness Adams convincingly offers up a poignant view of the strengths and foibles of humanity. Her ability to establish a connection is a wonderful demonstration of the value of Feminine Energy, and with strategic courage, she heroically depicts the value of Masculine Energy. It’s a great reminder of the importance of incorporating both energies into our repertoire.
The case for shifting between energies, (utilizing the positive characteristics of both genders) has made huge strides in the last few years. People are realizing that, without the weight of gendered expectations, they can embrace skills, talents, and passions irrespective of gender which benefits individuals, corporations, and the world. Gloria Steinem, the feminist, journalist, and activist calls this, “developing the full circle of ourselves”.
It is a long way from where we were once labeled pink or blue at birth and put into our gender-specific boxes with their predicted (and limiting) gender-specific behaviours. Women taught to avoid risk have been reluctant to access their masculine traits and put up their hands to volunteer for stretch assignments, thus missing opportunities to be seen as leaders. Meanwhile, men discouraged from the display of feminine traits, avoid feeling their own feelings and so have difficulty relating to the feelings of others, the basis of all meaningful relationships.
Clearly, both lose but due to socialization girls are given more permission to shift between the gender energies whereas the gender role transgressions of boys are viewed in a negative light. Growing up I realized that life was like a game of snakes and ladders, rife with the cultural rules inflicted upon us. As a girl child, I quickly observed that I could be accepted, even encouraged for being a Tomboy; using masculine attributes elevated and helped me to climb the ladder in the game of life. Conversely, boy children were denigrated for exploring feminine pastimes; they were teased, ridiculed, and punished by peers, parents, and teachers. Adopting feminine attributes diminished their credibility. They rode a big snake downward. No wonder those boys became men who avoided all things feminine.
This early indoctrination continues to their detriment today. Globalism requires innovation, service-orientation and communication skills, all stereotypical feminine qualities which men have been taught are weak and less-than. Overcoming their attachment to traditional masculinity will not only help their personal lives it is critical for the advancement of their careers as well.
An article in Atlantic magazine entitled, “The End of Men” quotes a professor from Columbia Business School as stating that they are teaching their students to be more sensitive to employee emotions, to read facial expressions and interpret body language (like the star-worthy performance of Amy Adams in Arrival). While it is not explicitly said that they are teaching feminine attributes, that is in fact exactly what they are doing, he said.
Daily, women are becoming more publicly visible. They have evolved to 60 percent of the workforce, 70 percent of the college graduates and 80 percent of the purchasing power. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/ru/Documents/public-sector/gender- dividend-en.pdf Increasingly, these early adopters are moving into what traditionally have been male domains and men will need to catch up or they will be left behind.
I call this ability to adopt both gender energies Gender Physics. It is no different than running water from the faucet. To quench your thirst, you turn on the cold water. To take a relaxing bath, you turn on the hot water. To ensure that it isn’t getting so hot that you burn yourself you put your hand under the water and adjust the temperature by adding more cold. Using both gender energies is the same; it is finding the right temperature to flourish. There will be times that you should use masculine attributes and situations where feminine ones will be best. Each of must learn to adjust. To add a little cold, followed with a little hot when needed.
While attending Mantalks in Toronto in early December I discussed this concept with an audience of more than 100. This cross between Oprah and Ted Talks sees like-minded men come together to question the existing masculine paradigm. Aware that their present modus operandi isn’t working for them they are seeking to explore alternate ways of being in the world and adoption of traditionally feminine attributes is one of them. It was a very positive experience which left me encouraged and inspired about the future.
However, days later I encountered a group of men still refusing to budge from traditional and archaic views of masculinity. They desperately cling to their tenuous control of women, children, animals, and even nature. Adherence to this doctrine and refusal to embrace an ever-changing world is leaving them in the dust, feeling alienated and angry. After posting to Facebook a blog that I’d penned, I was taken aback to receive more than 100 comments from misogynistic trolls telling me to grow up, get real and worse.
Each of us has a choice to make. We can stay in our gender specific boxes or we can choose to shift between gender energies. Women can make more room for themselves at the decision-making table by adopting Masculine Energy to become more independent, self-sufficient and assertive. Meanwhile, men can benefit from deeper and more satisfying personal relationships by shaking off their early conditioning and feeling compassion for others, rather than dismissing their feelings. In doing so we will be ready for our increasingly globalized world, perhaps even for an intergalactic encounter!