What is the most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine. – Susan Sontag
Across the table from me sits a man crying. He does not try to hide the tears, he does not wipe away at them, muttering about something being in his eye. He is weeping without shame in the middle of a busy cafe.
I have to say, I’m a little dumbstruck. I’m used to having emotional chats with female friends, but one with a male friend is not something I am accustomed to. After all, from my experience, most men usually don’t want to touch an emotive subject with a ten-foot pole, at least not in public.
And seeing the reactions from other cafe-goers, it is not hard to see why.
Any female crying in public would easily be given looks of sympathy, perhaps a comforting hug or touch from a passer-by, but this was not the reaction my friend got. You would have thought he was sitting on a pile of dog-poo with the looks of distaste, awkwardness, and even horror he was getting.
While it is true that women have suffered terribly from a masculine dominated society, on a different level, men have too. They have had to bury their emotions and feminine essence, causing great pain to themselves and others. I believe it is now time to come together to heal and honour the feminine side of us all.
The Courage of True Femininity
After he cried in the cafe and we hugged it out, my friend drove away on his motorbike for a men’s jamming session in a shed, equipped with a six-pack of cold beer. He knows that he isn’t any less of a man for embracing his feminine side, for being in touch with his emotions.
He knows it does not mean he has to don high heels and a cute dress. He knows that femininity isn’t about being attracted to men, and that for women, it isn’t about pleasing men. It isn’t about being a certain gender.
Just as a feminine woman does not need large breasts or the perfect shade of lipstick, my friend demonstrates how a man who embraces his feminine energy does not need to be afraid of losing his masculinity.
As we embrace the divine feminine, we find an awakening to all the parts of ourselves that have remained hidden, a deeper connection to our feelings, our emotions, our pleasures, and our bodies. – C. Ara Campbell
Could Embracing Femininity Lead to Longer, Happier Lives?
Despite what others in the cafe that day may have thought, my friend really does have his life together. It wasn’t always that way though.
It is believed healthy and balanced masculine energy can be the source of a nurturing and reliable provider; a great parent, partner, and friend. However, when the masculine energy is imbalanced, when the feminine is ignored, we may have trouble connecting to our hearts or allowing those closest to us in. The latter is where my friend found himself a short while ago. He also found himself in the emergency room after a suicide attempt.
“I felt like I had to shut my emotions off,” he said to me. “I was feeling so much but I had to pretend I wasn’t. It all got too much, like I was going to explode.”
Unfortunately, he is one of many people, particularly men, around the world who have considered this option. While suicide rates are overall dropping globally, men are still more than twice as likely to take their own lives than women, according to a study released last month. “Globally, men hugely outpaced women for suicides, suffering 15.6 deaths per 100,000 compared with 7.0 for women.”
Another recent study has listed unhelpful conceptions of masculinity (like the ones my friend was trying to live up to) and social isolation as two of the biggest factors in male suicide.
On the other hand, when the feminine is embraced, something beautiful can emerge for both genders. Men and women are able to support each other emotionally and forge healthy and valued partnerships, both romantically and otherwise. Once my friend’s feminine was released, he saw immense changes in his romantic relationship, his friendships and his connection with his mother. He started eating healthier and exercising more, he lost excess weight and began chasing his dream job. “My life is finally on the path that it should be,” he said to me one day.
A Change Back to the Past
The original languages didn’t even have he and she. They didn’t have concepts of masculine and feminine. People were people. And the whole idea was that we were in a circle together, not in a hierarchy together. – Gloria Steinem
What is inspiring is that a shift back to a balance between feminine and masculine energy seems to have already started in the young men of today, as expressed in a study led by the University of British Columbia. This research found millennial men in Canada are now starting to value traditionally feminine traits over traditional male ideals (for example, physical strength and autonomy).
The report revealed selflessness was the most valued trait for the men studied, aged 15-29. Helping other people, giving back to the community, and being open to new ideas, experiences and people, all ranked highly.
“Young Canadian men seem to be holding masculine values that are distinctly different from those of previous generations. These values may run counter to long-standing claims that young men are typically hedonistic, hypercompetitive, and that they risk or neglect their health,” said lead author John Oliffe, who also leads the men’s health research program at the university.
With the tides shifting, albeit slowly, more and more men are also stepping up and helping their partners with child rearing. Every day I pass dads with their children, embracing their nurturing nature to allow women to focus on their careers and self-care.
Research shows that women’s pay and advancement in their careers are significantly impacted by having children. However, men have the ability to step up and change this.
Following the life-changing event of having a child, researchers have shown that a ‘motherhood penalty’ often comes into play and mothers are perceived to be less committed, less promotable, and astoundingly, even less competent than their single counterparts…Understanding the changing role of fathers and the enormous impact this can have on working women’s career trajectories should be of importance to any employer interested in facilitating women’s advancement. – Boston College
In addition to making the workforce a fairer place, men are finding peace by embracing a hands-on role. Anthony, a stay-at-home dad attests, saying feeling into his feminine side to care for his child has been a blessing he wishes for more men:
You have this little person who desperately needs you, and nothing in the world is more important to you. And I felt blessed, for want of a better word, that I was in a position where I could just allow that feeling to happen to me. Because most men don’t get to do that, for which I feel profoundly sorry for them.
What these studies point to, is a change from a society of gender separateness to one of unity, where men and women are equal.
Women have long known the power of the feminine, harnessing it to create harmony within ourselves and those around us. Without the feminine essence, our species surely would not have survived as long as we have. As women, we have supported each other, our children, and our men by ourselves long enough – now is the time to share our gifts and thrive as one humanity.
There is a collective force rising up on the earth today, an energy of the reborn feminine… This is a time of monumental shift, from the male dominance of human consciousness back to a balanced relationship between masculine and feminine. – Marianne Williamson