During a time fraught with double standards and gender politics, the best thing we can do is reexamine how masculine and feminine energies adapt. Author David Pinto explains where we must go from here.
By David Pinto
Who said women are weak? Women have a natural strength and purpose from birth. To bring life and be the guardians of the lives they create, neither of which would be possible without their infinite strength and intelligence. However, this viewpoint has not been the commonly held perception throughout history. I would like to challenge the archetypal perception by introducing a new vision currently emerging.
The subject of male/female, masculine/feminine energy and relationships has obsessed humanity since its beginnings. Traditionally, the sun has been depicted as the masculine energy with its emanating light and force, while the moon symbolized the feminine energy with the mysterious, dark and seductive pull that needs the light of the sun’s reflection in order to be illuminated. The transcendence of the opposing forces, yin and yang, was meant to create unity.
The Bible stated that Man needed Woman as helper and thus, Eve (Woman) was created from Adam’s (Man’s) rib. Biblical literature further portrayed Woman as the power that tempted Man to disobey the Creator and she was blamed for the punishments that followed. Although we can argue that the narrative was symbolic, some took it literally and the idea of Woman as both subservient and corrupter has continued to influence human perceptions, conduct and behavior.
It is not only the male/female differences, but also the male intellect and female intuition which are designated by the masculine and feminine energies. The male energy (yang) is more analytical, more mechanical, concerned with the questioning of function, the curiosity of how operation functions. The yang is more connected with our physical senses. Therefore that is engaged with sight, sound, touch, taste, smell. The female (yin) is intuition, impressions, sensing, being aware of other than our physical senses. The male directs the physical senses. The female directs the inner senses. Therefore, it would be more associated with feelings, more associated with what you sense, in relation to fluctuations of energy. Sometimes there can be an imbalance that contributes to an individual’s capacity for expressing one side or the other more consistently. If we’re aware that the intellect is heavier, or more heavily expressed, we should learn to nurture the intuitive female energy we have more often.
Lots of people view male/female dynamics as opposing forces fighting for dominance. The traditional view, still prevalent in many cultures as stated above, is that males are dominant and females are subservient, each gender with its defined roles and responsibilities. Yet the western world has started the relatively new movement that promotes the idea of male/female equality. In the spirit of exploring this equality, I would like to examine the notion of the domination and subjugation of the male force upon female. Looking at it through the human evolutionary process might give a wider angle of observation. I will argue that initially the dominant-subservient dichotomy was a mutual agreement between the sexes as part of survival instincts.
Early human were nomadic, moving across the globe in social structures of small families. Within this structure, the male was given the responsibility of hunting and other tasks that required physical force. He was on the move looking for prey and learning nonverbal behaviors to ensure successful hunting. The females raised the children, cooked, nourished the family, and developed caretaking skills.
Over time, the families combined to create tribes and settlements, changing the social structure as the agricultural revolution began. This necessitated new interactions between community members and redefined a single family’s relationship to the wider community. Sexual issues had to be defined and changed as well.
Rules, sexual codes, social rituals, and religious beliefs were developing. In many instances men completely took over conducting the codes. The new fears and taboos they instituted involved more and more social barriers designed to isolate women from man’s “animalistic tendencies.” Certain societies adopted this as a permanent truth and way of life. Even today, the older generations in some Muslim communities and other cultures refuse to abandon the horrific ritual of female circumcision because it’s part of their tradition, even though the act of genital mutilation has led to many accounts of lifelong suffering. Historically, women as well as men have accepted the concept of separation between the genders, developing to the point that in some cultures a woman is considered a man’s property. He can have many wives and do with them as he wishes.
But as beliefs change, perceptions change, leading to new actions and shifts toward another world order. There are invariably opposite reactions to this process. Some want to “keep the good old days” and some are pushing further toward a new vision.
We are at such a time in our evolutionary process. We can observe the confusion as well as the new narrative that is emerging. Each individual must make a choice for him/herself as to where that process should lead. Genders are also being redefined, with multiplicities of new definitions for how people identify themselves and how they would like to be treated. This vision calls for empowerment of both sexes. Instead of the old paradigm of completion via the “other, better half,” it demands that each gender be whole in itself, not as complementary to the other to create a holistic structure.
We are also now renegotiating our responsibilities to each other in accordance with the current evolution. Man’s physical power is not needed for most modern tasks. On the other hand, woman’s intuition and creativity are hot commodities, caretaking and compassion necessities. Alternate perceptions are required to deal with gender relations. Cooperation needs to start with the new dynamic between the sexes. We must eliminate energies of force and intrusiveness that lead to war; instead, balance must be achieved using male/female unity. The sexual energies must unite to transcend to the next evolutionary vision. The power that was given to others must be claimed by each individual. When power is given only to the few, distortions are created. The female power was first exaggerated and demonized, then taken away, which dangerously imbalanced us.
In each one of us, we have male and female energy. We need to know how to integrate both energies to finally become whole.
David Pinto is an architect and the author of Nemesis, a novel currently in production from Heliotrope Books.