Saturday, August 13, 2011

Today's recession a He-cession?


So, check this out, in my last blog I ended by asking if men are currently also going through some sort of re-orientation process? I was exploring the economic struggle, the inner conflicts and the overall identity crises that I, from the perspective of a women have been experiencing inside a masculine-dominated world since the economic crash in 2008. For one reason or another, unexplainable to myself, it always led me on the path of searching for 1) my own autonomy and true authenticity, and 2) my femininity. I don't know why, but especially the topic of femininity has been the recurring topic ever since my identity crises of 2008. So, if men are also going through some sort of re-orientation process, what does that look like? Are they looking for their manhood? Are they at all inclined to inquire into their authenticity? And if so, how does a man experience and handle that transition given that we are living inside a patriarchal system?

So, ironically today I came across an article by Reihan Salam about "The Death of Macho", where he talks about today's recession being a He-cession. He explores the possibilities of how men in a men-constructed and men-dominated world are affected by today's recession, as well as the possible consequences.  I'm not going to create a recap here of his article, feel free to read it yourself. More so, however, Salam inspired me to explore and think about the possible effects and shift in power from males to females potentially changing the economic, social and political landscape as we know it today.

So, let me say a word about power. But before I get into that, you may need to know that I have been emerging myself a great deal into conversations about the rise of the feminine. Just like I didn't want to regurgitate Salam's article right now, I also don't want to make this blog about what "the rise of the feminine" means to me. I feel I'm not ready yet to fully share my explorations. I'm still traveling the path of my experiences within that context. When the time is right I will be happy to share my experience in full.

I think there is a difference of how men and women relate to power. For men the word power probably implies power "over". Women, on the contrary, may relate to power as "power with", meaning using power "with others", in collaboration, in service of, for the benefit of something greater than oneself. Did I always think so? No. Recently, I have become interested in learning more about women history, about the inquisition, women rights, social systems inside patriarchy, etc. I still have ways to go in educating myself historically. So it wasn't really until about 2-3 years ago, again, triggered by my experiences of layoff's, unemployment and consequent identity crises in 2008 and 2009, that I started to fully grasp that I am living in a patriarchal system. So that then brought my attention to explore and distinguish male and female qualities, not just within myself but also within economic, societal and political systems. So, I can conclude that until recently my relationship with power was pretty much male-infused. How could I possibly have a different one, let's say, a feminine influenced one, given that I have been born into a world that has been constructed by a male mindset, a world that values masculine qualities? And after 5000 years of walking and living and adopting to patriarchy it kinda' makes sense that we women forgot about our own essence and qualities. Not to mention the fear we developed...holding onto our powers, stepping up or speaking up during the times of inquisition resulted in tortured, forced betrayal of our sister, and ended up in death anyway. So we have learned the lesson to devalue our feminine powers, suppress feminine qualities, and live a life under male oppression.

So, here we are, in a time of freedom and liberty women may have have never experienced before, well at least for the last 5000 years, where we get an opportunity to reconstruct not only our relationship with power, but a relationship with all the female qualities that lie at the essence of being a woman. I wonder if it is this newly gained freedom and liberty that may be at the challenge to find one's authentic self today? We women have such infinite choices and possibilities now, is that why some of us can not pin point our purpose yet? Is it possible that after generations of oppression we are simply overwhelmed with all these free flowing, liberated energies that we don't know what to do with all of these choices and possibilities, that we don't know yet how to channel/manifest them into this world? No wonder it is kinda' confusing to make sense of all that upheaval and stirring inside of us. It has definitely been of value to expose myself to all these varies books, women interviews and online forums of women from all walks of life to gain insight, receive guidance and recognize that it is normal to experience confusion, fear, depression as we enter uncharted territory internally and externally. It helped me verbalize the things that I'm experiencing as I encounter shifts and transitions in my life.

Anyhow, Marilyn Nyborg, feminist and spiritual activist, talks about the process of experience being impacted by our biology. How does a men experience power if considered within the context of his biology? How does a woman experience power if you consider her biology? Biologically women receive, we carry, we birth, we give life, we nurse, we nurture, we mother, we care. I thought it was interesting when Nyborg distinguishes that we don't need to abandon the masculine energies (after one delves deeper and becomes conscious and nurtures ones feminine ones), but rather we want to draw upon the masculine qualities so as to channel / express / manifest the feminine into this world. So, I guess it's about balancing the masculine and the feminine. We women need both, so do men. Eventually, she hopes, we may encounter a culture when a woman won't be called a bitch or a man won't be called a fag for embracing the opposite sex's quality. Nyborg refers to it as unplugging the patriarchy. Salam calls it a new model of manhood.

So, I can see how a dramatic decrease of male population on the market place can proportionally affect male power and influence. Salam points out that "women will gain more of the social, economic and political power they have long been denied, it will be nothing less than a full-scale revolution the likes of which human civilization has never experienced".  In fact, he goes as far as calling it the end of a male dominated area, or The Great Recession. The question he raises "will men adapt and embrace women as equal partners and support them in creating feminine sensibilities", or will men resist, fight, venting their anger into extremism? Let's hope this will not lead to another ugly, violent repetition of history.

We don't want to trade power and follow the darkness of history, that's why it is so important for us women to explore our own assumptions about the masculine and the feminine. I'm participating in a workshop right now about, well, take a guess...yup,  Awakening Feminine Power: The Essential Course for the Avakening Women with Claire Zammit and Katherin Woodward Thomas, founders of  "Women on the Edge of Evolution". It's a mouthful, I know. There I'm being asked to evaluate "When do I engage in which qualities to access the power so as to create things in my life? Are they masculine? Feminine? Do they feel familiar? Foreign? Which one do I identify and draw most upon? What have been my judgments about the ones I feel less familiar?

I think we can safely say that women in power will not instill a new system of equality, co-creation and collaboration if they are still operating unconsciously from a masculine-infused value system, meaning still identify solely with their masculine side. So one can see the importance of self-reflection, of evaluating our current relationship with power as a women, and that it is essential to recreate a new relationships to power that is fueled with female, caring, all-encompassing, holistic qualities. Then maybe we might find ourselves in a world where power is created in collaboration with men and women, with life, and with mother nature in mind. I'm just not sure if it will be for us to experience, or if we are the generation to still sacrifice so as to lay the path for future generations?

Here is the link to Reihan Salam's article about the Death of the Macho:

So long....

Tatjana Luethi