I remember as a little girl, cringing when my mother overtly put my dad down in public. In front of friends, she would say all the things that he had done wrong in her eyes. Then she would go on to say that she was so attractive while trying to flirt with some other man. And this was in front of him! OK, he had his issues, but then again so did she! So my education had begun in the battle between the sexes. This battle continues as stories shared in women’s conversations and popular women’s media still degrade the masculine. There are masculine cultures and media that degrade the feminine as well. However this blog focuses on the feminine degrading the masculine.
In my blog “The Effects of Masculine Culture on Men” I focused on masculine culture and how the norms and attitudes did not help men to connect with their emotional selves. Today I want to look at how aspects of feminine culture do not help women to understand or embrace their emotions in a healthy and responsible manner. Due to unhealthy attitudes, women can remain emotionally hurt, bitter and shut down from listening to and understanding men’s experience.
The Princess Myth
Something I see and hear over and over again is an idea that women are better than men in an incredibly condescending way. It is subtly and sometimes even overtly portrayed in advertising, media and in conversation where the gist is that women should self-righteously accept “the best” from him because she “deserves” that. Some women argue that because women have been so oppressed for thousands of years, this is women’s way of re-building their sense of self. The feminine has experienced millenniums of oppression and abuse from patriarchal society, but then again so have many groups of men. I am not down grading the feminine wounds (both conscious and unconscious) as she does need healing and honouring. What I am saying however, is that this healing is mutually exclusive with downgrading the masculine.
Attitudes that degrade the masculine, such as “we don’t need him”, “all men are bastards” or as in one recent women’s magazine article “Five reason why boyfriends are bad for your health”, are generally really unhelpful and do not help the feminine heal. The attitude that “women are queens and should be treated like royalty” is not how the feminine needs to be honoured by the masculine. The masculine energy may be about giving and the feminine energy may be about receiving however, between a man and a woman this dance is one of real intimate connection and not conceit. These unattainable expectations of women caught in the princess mindset leave a lot of good men feeling helpless and disheartened when their intention is to make their female partner happy. And yes there are a lot of good men out there who genuinely try to make women happy.
Princess beliefs and expectations seep into girls minds from a young age. They are heavily socialised. If a girl is not confident in her attractiveness then she often has very low self-esteem. Messages in fairy-tales, media and through family conditioning about women being lovable and having feminine purpose are often tied up with body image and physical attractiveness. Without being perceived and treated as if they are attractive, girls will often not develop a confidence in their attractiveness. This can be disastrous in intimate relationships as these women are more likely to find themselves in abusive relationships or with unavailable men. However the flip side to this low self-worth is a grandiose self-worth based of self-perceived attractiveness that degrades others. Underneath is of course insecurity. However the princess pattern can underlie manipulation, false concepts of love and unleash the Goddess “Kali” when she is not treated according to her expectation.
Beyond the Princess Myth
There is something in the middle between the grandiose self-image and low self-image, and that is a realistic self-image with the ability to participate in real interpersonal connection with both men and women. In this space, the feminine may understand and know the pull towards false self-image (in both extremes), however she is able to re-connect with herself in a way that opens her heart and mind to listen to other people’s perspectives, and especially men’s perspectives.
In this space, the feminine is also aware of her emotional self and that she thinks differently from the masculine in some fundamental ways. She may be still healing wounds of being trivialised or abused just because she is an emotionally-based thinker. She may still be learning how to acknowledge and honour her own emotional wisdom. However, she would have no need to compare herself with others, nor would she feel the need to put men down or immaculate men. Rather she aims to develop a strong inner core and deep intuitive knowing of herself. She would know she is all about love and does not need to manipulate to get it.
The feminine, like the masculine, is potentially amazing! She is all about emotional understanding, interpersonal relating and love. However, the feminine potential is not possible without the masculine (and visa versa). The healing shift for women is to recognise the role of the feminine and masculine in our lives and support both energies to live in synchronicity. We are in essence about love, not resentment and hostility. So embracing men in our lives in a realistic way is a loving act and is based on feminine wisdom and connection.
Questions to Women….
Have you ever noticed the princess myth within yourself?
How were you able to overcome the pull of socialization?