It is impossible to overstate the value & importance of women’s work, and diving into our own growth & learning sometimes in women-only spaces. However, in the realm of women’s work, there are some common teachings I think are very misguided. This is one of the reasons I felt called to create my women’s program, Fierce Grace, because what I see being taught and practiced doesn’t work in the realm of wholeness for women. It doesn’t address some really important pieces. There is an enormous lack in our culture – even in the world of people offering men’s & women’s work – in truly teaching & facilitating men & women how to embody both their healthy and sacred masculine and feminine.
These are the top 3 misunderstandings I see most commonly in the realm of Women’s Work:
It’s all about the ‘Divine Feminine’ aka ‘You’re too masculine” aka Only ever teaching women Feminine Practice(s)
Let me start by saying that, as human beings, we all have masculine and feminine energies within us. We live on a spectrum, and no one human is meant to live entirely on one end of the spectrum or another. To say that, because you were born female, that means always living in your feminine is bullshit. We all have both, and what we need is the ability to have access to & then choose which aspect of ourselves is needed, or we want to bring forward, in any moment. We need to learn to embrace our wholeness (utterly distinct from ‘balance’) as humans – and, as women, that means learning to embody and express the healthy & sacred masculine qualities within us.
Most women (and, let’s be honest, most humans) have only ever had the more unhealthy/immature masculine qualities role-modeled – therefore, most women who have had the experience of ‘being too in my masculine’ are only referencing this aspect of the masculine. So it makes sense that women would swing the pendulum from embodying the more unhealthy masculine qualities & want to ‘only be my feminine’ – but this is neither sustainable, nor truly desirable. I believe what we are truly looking for is a genuine, deeply loving & fully embodied relationship with ALL aspects of ourselves – including our capacity for things like structure & boundaries (both aspects of the healthy masculine), as well as the full range of expression & trusting our intuition (both aspects of the healthy feminine).
(for more on the healthy & sacred aspects of both Masculine & Feminine, check out this article.
It’s a beautiful & necessary thing for women to dive into practicing within the feminine realm, but for our wholeness, we really need to practice in the healthy feminine and the healthy masculine – which is present in all of my offerings for women (as well as my offerings that include men).
The other thing I often see (that drives me bonkers!) is the renaming of masculine qualities as feminine. More on that here and here.
ALL feminine expression is good, right & healthy
Not all expressions of the feminine are healthy. In a lot of women’s work, the point is to get you in your feminine and keep you there. However, just as there are more immature (or unhealthy) aspects of the masculine (often referred to as the ‘toxic masculine’), there are also self centered, selfish & toxic feminine expressions that are just as harmful. In the same way we have a toxic masculine, there is toxic feminine. In our current culture, more light is being shed on toxic masculinity, but there is also toxic femininity – and it is deeply intertwined with toxic masculinity.
Chronic complaint & leading with criticism, for example, is a toxic feminine quality. There are healthy and sacred ways to express desires & longing, and nagging is not one of them.
Another thing I see is women going into overdrive with masculine qualities like ambition, then switching off and needing ‘self-care’ (code for completely switching off) all the time. I would call this an immature version of the feminine. Doing something just because we ‘don’t feel like it’ & passing that off as ‘self-care’ is an immature feminine. Connecting to what we are most deeply devoted to, and allowing all our expression & actions to come from that place, is a sacred feminine form of integrity.
There are beautiful ways of expressing how we feel, and there are toxic ways. All feminine expression is not healthy, and we do a disservice to our partners when we think we can bring our ‘feminine storm’ in any moment, regardless of the impact on them, because we are ‘just in our feminine’.
For us to evolve as men and women, we need to not suppress our feelings, and also not just have free reign of doing whatever we feel, or expressing what we feel, no matter the impact – and using ‘feminine expression’ as justification.
The feminine is always kind, gentle, sweet & (my personal favorite) nurturing
The feminine isn’t even ‘a force of nature’ She IS nature – all of it – within a male or a female body. She is Life, all of Life, with a capital ‘L’.
The creation & the destruction; the gentle spring rain & the raging hurricane; the wildflowers & the volcano.
To truly cultivate our feminine, we have to be willing to work with all of it. To imagine that to be feminine is only to be kind and gentle and sweet is just not true. We all get angry & frustrated at times and repressing those expressions (while pretending to ‘surrender’) is not more feminine, it’s just repression. Finding healthy ways to express our frustration and exploring the full range of expression inside ourselves is important & I believe essential to being a whole human being.
We are all afraid of the fully embodied feminine because it’s the most powerful energy there is. It’s the energy that created the universe – the earth, the planets, the cosmos, all life – and it is the force that destroys.
We will never truly be the feminine until we are willing to get over the idea that all feminine expression is only kind & gentle, and – not only allow for, but revel in awe at – the FULL range of the feminine expressed through both men’s & women’s bodies.
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You’ll always get a comment from me on this one.
This is an occupational hazard of calling it masculine and feminine. Supporting women-only spaces because women have been acculturated differently within sexist society that would be different.
By going into masculine feminine essentializes these concepts so you will always be dealing with the conflation of feminine with women and masculine with men.
This is not quite as much of a problem in queer spaces but that’s not where you are.