Transmuting trauma: a call for the Divine Feminine
As a woman I’m traumatized on a daily basis by what’s socially acceptable in our culture. I’ll be going through my day, minding my own business when all of a sudden WHABAM! anti-woman sentiment comes and just smacks me in the face.
It strikes from different angles: from the media, advertisements, songs... And then it’s layered on top of a continual trauma of how inarticulately men admire women [I use the term ‘admire’ graciously here; although I do believe there is underlying admiration that is only a few nodes away from the anti-woman sentiment/action that actually comes out].
These words may sound strong to you. Perhaps you’ve already shut off. But you must know, this is my reality. This is the reality of one of your fellow humans. I do not apologize.
Instead, I ask, where is my apology? Because I’m forever practicing forgiveness over here. Forgiveness for the hostility: the hostility at the obvious levels, like when rap songs used in the opening credits of a TV show say stuff like “I like my chicks in pairs;” to the subtle levels, like when I don’t laugh at your overtly sexist joke and then am made to feel like the asshole.
Forgiveness towards the lack of seeing. And forgiveness towards the seeing and then ignoring. That complacency, it’s traumatizing in and of itself, you know. What does it mean that we all recognize this stuff but still perpetuate cultural practices that ultimately won’t be fair to me as a vagina-bearing individual?
What’s equally assaulting is the anti-feminine, a different animal than the anti-woman. Anti-woman takes the physical form; it’s the aversion towards females as a subset of humans. Anti-feminine, on the other hand, is the lower valuation of certain personality qualities, human traits. Qualities that are not confined to a biological sex. Qualities associated with feeling, intuition, and being in-tune with the subtleties of life.
The ‘feminine’ can be considered the Divine Feminine. The absolutes of a certain archetype. A type of intelligence that is in direct complementarity to the Divine Masculine.
As it is, the Divine Masculine is more highly valued within our world. We operate on top-down, structured systems that strive towards efficiency by managing things through numbers. This is helpful and effective (see industrialized development over the past few centuries), yet needs to be balanced if it is to be actualized. The Divine Masculine is logic driven, it’s force-driven strength, it’s fire. It’s output-oriented, versus process-oriented. It is linear in its thinking, and authoritarian in its power.
The Divine Feminine, on the other hand, is that which is more circular and fluid. It is feelings oriented (emotional and sentient), instead of rational. It senses and then acts. It shares power.
Let’s look at two examples of our current imbalance:
EXAMPLE 1: The acknowledgement of feelings is a relatively new concept to our industrialized world — psychology, for instance, is still an emerging field (began in the 1950’s) that was considered taboo not too long ago (“You went to see a shrink?!”). Progress in recognizing the importance of mental health and legitimizing more Feminine techniques of well-being, such as through the use of psychotherapy, group therapy, art and eco-therapy, are still gaining ground. This is reflected in how psychiatry practices lean heavily towards prescription drugs as the primary healing modality.
EXAMPLE 2: Care-based work — being a mother/father, a nurse, a teacher, a hospice worker, a nanny/au pair — is less economically valuable, therefore less socially valued. Care is Feminine. To care about another, instead of to take advantage of another for personal gain (how “rational actors” is defined within most game theory set ups) is less valued. To care is perceived as naïve, as weak. To care about someone is to share power. It practices a horizontal power structure that is innately different than the top-down, Masculine chain-of-command we currently operate on.
What has been coming to me of most lately about this topic is that we as a world are missing out on the benefits of the Feminine being part our system. Like, it’s recognized in terms of economic output, “having females in the workforce increases economic productivity; more workers = more output.” But it’s more than just having female bodies on the factory line or in parliament. I’m talking about Feminine principles guiding the way we manage our organizations, design policies, implement programs, and build businesses.
This is the social ingenuity that’s being called for right now. In this age of globalization and inter-connectivity, the world is growing flatter as we speak, and it’s about time we learn how to dance with it.