When I was preparing an assignment for my Masters in Applied Positive Psychology several years ago I posed the question whether women were more emotional than men. With two children, one of each sex I thought I would gain insight from them as to what they thought. I started by asking my then 8 year old son this simple question.
“ARE GIRLS MORE EMOTIONAL THAN BOYS?”
He pondered thoughtfully for a few minutes before coming back with the response. “Yes, Mummy they are, girls are most definitely more emotional than boys”. At this point my stomach started to drop, making its way to my toes. I was totally surprised by his response as my son is an empath who has always been good at reading and feeling people’s emotions, so in a calm voice I asked him to explain more.
“Well, Mummy” he said ” Girls are more emotional than boys, because boys are not allowed to be sad” at this point my heart quickly followed my stomach, breaking in two as it went. “Boys are not allowed to be sad at all, because if I cry in the playground I am told to man-up, and in all of the movies, boys never cry in public, they have to walk away or hide in their bedrooms” at this point my heart was shattered into a million pieces.
As a family we show emotions, those so called bad emotions such as sadness and anger through to the so called good emotions such as happiness and joy.
Because my son struggled in the early days with his emotions, which meant my husband and I would often role play what certain emotions felt like and how to handle them when they arose but never at any point have we said crying was bad, in actual fact the children often laugh at myself and my husband when we cry openly at emotionally feel good films.
His response got me thinking, are women considered more emotional than men, because certain emotions are restricted for men? A few days later I was having a discussion with a group of women about the Women of Contribution movement and our mission to impact on one billion lives.
The conversation was light hearted, encouraging and a gorgeous example of women coming together to collaborate and share their gifts with the world, until one of the women turned to me and said in her enthusiastic tone ” You are such a fantastic example of a feminist”.
In that moment, I could feel my whole body recoiling, rejecting the words that had come from her lips. I think she could see by the look on my face that what she had said, although well meaning, did not sit well with me.
I cannot explain in words what my body feels when I hear the word feminist, even more when it is directed at me. I never set up the Women of Contribution movement to be against men, in fact we are supported by the most phenomenal men I have ever met. I set up Women of Contribution for women to have a safe space to share their innermost thoughts, to build their confidence, to know that they are perfectly imperfect and do not need fixing or changing in anyway, to collaborate and share their gifts with the world.
However, so often I am hearing about the rising of the feminine to the detriment of the masculine. It shouldn’t be an either or situation but a perfectly blended intertwined example of both. I totally get it that women have been supressed for so long and that we do not have the equality that we deserve and I am not disputing that fact, but when we use our voices, a combined voice in unison it should be alongside our male counterparts.
Those males who hear us and believe in us and support us. Those males like my son who are fighting their own battles of inequality, as emotions are stuffed down or hidden because they are not manly enough. I never want my son to believe that his mum is rising up the feminine to the detriment of the masculine.
Each and everyone of us, has a blend of the masculine and feminine character traits within us, unfortunately for so long we have been led to believe we can only lead with the masculine, causing stress, illness and problems at home and in the workplace. If we all learnt to blend the two, so they ebb and flow like the tide rather than one over the other, the world would be a better place.
So let me ask you, is the rising of the feminine (for both men and women) at the detriment of the masculine, can we find a way to have a happy intertwined, balance of the two?