In the era of #metoo and #timesup, a lot of shifting is happening in the way we as women view feminine power and our place in current culture.
Traditional power bases are being rocked on their foundations as men in seemingly unreachable towers of power are finding they can be toppled. And that’s good.
There are lots of articles written by women who are angry and wanting to find an outlet for it. I don’t blame them. We shouldn’t have to walk down the street at night with our keys between our fingers, or worry about losing our jobs if we blow the whistle on harassment, or worse.
There’s a ton of evidence that we live in a society that rejects or overlooks or misunderstands the feminine. Writing about it can be an amazing tool for healing.
But after the anger, what comes next?
How can we sustain the energy of #metoo?
What’s next is an opportunity like never before for women to discover how we have unknowingly been acting from a mostly masculine modality (even while being unaware of how much we are doing so), how we can embark on that journey without blame or judgement, and how we can get fierce and do something about it from an orientation of true feminine power.
So let’s explore.
What does it mean to be fierce and feminine?
How do we act from our true essence as women?
How does a woman lead from her feminine power within a society that rejects the feminine?
We might not fully know the answers to those questions for some time. It’s clear it’s not serving women personally or collectively to downplay our feminine traits and amplify our masculine traits to have a successful life. Even the word success is usually spoken of within a masculine context of goals, rational choices, and strategies.
Masculine power has become toxic and yet women in positions of power are somehow expected to survive within that culture.
Some of the articles I’m reading written by women in this era of #metoo are on topics of economic inequality, race, personal identity, sexual assault, all important issues. Still there seems to be a dearth of articles written about the underlying causes of masculine toxicity – pain, suffering, shame, or the longing to fill the emptiness inside with ANYTHING, no matter who or what is in the way.
We are seeing very angry reactions to the injustices women have suffered for centuries, but we need responses that are powerful and at the same time imbued with feminine qualities.
If not, all we’ll see is a temporary blip on the timeline of the status quo.
What Exactly Is Feminine Power?
From my own study and contemplation, I’ve discerned three factors we have to understand about feminine power.
We have to know what feminine power is, and not the distorted view held in our current society. Each woman must decide for herself what her image of feminine power is. It won’t help to have a one size fits all kind of mentality about this question. We must allow for diverse ways to understand and out-picture feminine power. Otherwise we are simply changing labels and not much else.
We have to consciously choose to balance our feminine qualities with masculine qualities. Not just women, men too. Each human being has both feminine and masculine qualities, and one of those will be dominant in how they are balanced and expressed.
We have to embody feminine power to lead the way to a new paradigm even as the old one is going out with a roar. The way the world is now is not working because it’s so focused on masculine principles of competition, scarcity and separation. We are disconnected from each other while power is held in the hands of a few.
Let’s look more in depth at the dominant leadership style in our culture.
Leadership in the Old Paradigm
Leaders are often ‘warriors’ who have no fear of being visible and loud (and sometimes stupid!). Frequently they are unconcerned with any negative effects of their leadership. They lead to get what they want regardless of consequences to others. They lie or they bully or they’re too weak to take a stand for what is right and good.
We have to start thinking differently about leadership.
I recently had a revelation about my own view of myself as a leader.
When I get feedback about my leadership style I hear comments like this: I’m a quiet shaker, I’m a behind the scenes influencer, that I step back so others can step forward into the limelight.
But instead of seeing this ability as a strength, I saw my quiet style as a weakness because it didn’t fit traditional perspectives on leadership. It appeared to be more like a desire to stay invisible and play it safe.
I didn’t see it for what it was because in our culture, ‘leaders’ are not quiet.
Because that is the dominant leadership model in a world oriented to the masculine, I held on to the idea that I was playing it safe even while others saw me as a strong leader.
I had to see it with new eyes. From a new level of awareness, I began to make different choices in my leadership style. Sometimes I do want to kick ass, but usually it’s more authentic for me to be the quiet shaker. It depends on the circumstance.
And guess what?
It’s completely possible to be quietly fierce; to be feminine and still take no bullshit.
Activating Both Masculine and Feminine Power
Imagine a river, the water flowing between two banks. The banks are solid, strong, creating a container for the water to flow. The water is mutable, changing, moving gracefully on its course most of the time. Without the banks the water would meander with no real direction. Without the water, the banks contain nothing.
Extending that picture, imagine yourself as the river and the bank. As the bank containing the water you are masculine energy creating a structure for your life. It sets your boundaries. It gives you a strong foundation. As the water you are feminine energy. You’re strong, you’re creative, you’re mutable, you move gracefully on your course.
Having both is essential when you hit something like rapids or a waterfall.
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When my perspective of my own leadership style shifted, I was curious about how other women saw feminine leadership so I asked.
This was my question.
What Qualities Define Feminine Leadership?
The answers, all from women, were illuminating. This was one:
I am interested in the ‘work’, the interactions, the relationships. It’s a matter of trusting that the outcome and results will occur without being attached to what they are and how they occur. I don’t make them happen, I allow them to manifest.
It’s taking a stand for the juicy, genius, vibrant, brilliant, ALIVE truth of who we are, and how it is right and good for every single person on this planet to fulfill this potential. We fiercely lead people to know that [being] their essential selves takes nothing away from others. Scarcity thinking would have us believe so, but instead we all rise together.
And finally this:
#Metoo has allowed the behind the scenes women to become strong…for the right reason. Both men and women must recognize the strengths of women and what they bring to the table.
We don’t have many models of women leading fiercely with the qualities of empathy, intuitive insight, curiosity, connectivity, or allowing. Our current systems don’t support it. Women either leave the role, use more masculine power as a survival strategy, or they gravitate to more unconventional environments.
But the statements above indicate that women’s wisdom is profound. We can see what needs to be done.
And world, watch out, because we’re ready.