Growing up in a competitive family, I thought that the only way to get love is by achieving conventional success (academics, high paying jobs). But then I realised that even I do achieve this kind of success, I will still be a loser. In Manju Kapur’s ‘Home’, a woman from a patriarchal family finds the courage to start her own business but people are not really happy because she is unmarried. So you see, as a woman, there is no way you can win.
I think it was Gloria Steinem who said that women are doomed to fail. She says that if you are a pretty woman and you succeed, then people will say you succeeded because of your looks. And if you are an ‘ugly’ woman and you succeed, people will say that you succeeded because there was nothing else in your life anyway (in other words, if men don’t find you attractive, you basically do not exist). How do women live with a culture like this? The answer probably lies in embracing feminine energy.
Women and men feminine and masculine energies, but the world is certainly dominated by men and the masculine side of them dominates the affairs of the world. In ‘Seeing Like Feminist’, Nivedita Menon says that a masculine perspective often divides world, situations and people as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. A feminine perspective on the other hand, sees things in context. Sometimes, things that are bad in one context are good in another context and vice versa.
Masculine perspective is more about aggression, rationality, will-power, etc. Feminine perspective is about intuition, patience, embracing subjectivity etc. Both are important. Without a masculine approach there would have been no technological and even spiritual progress. Even the progress in human rights has been achieved due to masculine approach. But it would be nice if we have more feminine perspectives as well.
I believe that even feminism has a lot of masculine energy. The way feminists fight for their rights, the way they demand change, etc is considered masculine and that is probably the reason why people don’t like feminists (women are not supposed to be aggressive, right?). But feminism beautifully balances itself with a wonderful feminine approach to things. Feminists come in all shapes and sizes. A woman who wears make-up and a woman who doesn’t wax..both can be feminists. A trans-woman, a housewife, a maid and an ambitious woman can be feminist as well. Feminism encourages women to celebrate different kinds of success. Embracing subjectivity reduces stress and makes the world more peaceful. Like Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik says, when we obsess about one objective truth, that one objective way to define success, we end up fighting wars..only to prove that our truth is THE truth. Feminine energy, I guess, is about respecting the subjective world within each one of us.