My business is dedicated to serving women, so today we’re talking feminism (cue a flurry of eye rolls and unfollows). It’s OK, that response makes a lot of sense and I’ll explain why below.
As I’ve mentioned before, I believe strongly that if we want the world to be more just, peaceful & balanced, we need more women LEADING in all spaces with self-alignment.
Let me start with this: Feminism is NOT about being anti-men. That only polarizes us back into another unhealthy extreme which sometimes understandably happens. I think this stereotype that feminism is ‘anti-men’ is what keeps a lot of women afraid to speak up about feminism, because we LOVE OUR MEN and we don’t want to be labeled as ‘man-haters’. There are many feminist men out there as well.
Also, fun fact: in history there were/are many cultures who were ‘goddess cultures’ that elevated the ‘divine feminine‘ as equal counterpart to the masculine. In fact some argue that the rise of the now dominant ‘male god centered’ religions is partly a contributor to the established patriarchy, especially since the ‘original sin’ in the origin story of Adam & Eve was committed by a woman (love me some cultural anthropology and history!). I highly recommend going down a rabbit hole on how the concept of the divine feminine can strengthen our relationship with ourselves, our mother earth and the world around us.
So what exactly is feminism?
The dictionary definition is: The advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.
Quick Disclaimer: This blog is not a discussion about gender (which we know lies on a spectrum across cultures as does all of reality), it is just speaking to the slice of what historically have been the two most represented genders of male & female. And yet, feminism is intersectional with the advocacy for the rights of the LGBTQ+ fam, because the patriarchy has historically oppressed and abused this community in the same ways as women. It is also intersectional with other minorities and marginalized groups which the patriarchy and dominant power structures have oppressed.
If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I teach BALANCE – the importance of ‘both/and’ and keeping a multi-faceted & dialectical view of reality. So again, this is not about one thing being ‘better than’ or ‘more important than’ another.
DNA & The Collective Psyche
For millennia women have been repressed. They’ve been owned, bought, sold, called witches and burned at the stake for living outside of patriarchal & religious norms, labeled with ‘hysteria’ for being unable to cope in a dysfunctional system, not allowed to have money or make money, forced to have children, their physical safety & life has been at stake for speaking & disagreeing… and more!
‘But that’s all in the past Katy, women have all their rights now.’ You just have to look around the world for two seconds to see how inaccurate this is.
While this is semi-technically accurate in the USA, even here it’s still not fully accurate. But more importantly I want to introduce the concept of intergenerational trauma. We now know from the study of epigenetics that the experience of trauma actually changes our gene expression.
So that means when our great great grandmothers and maternal lineages were facing very real sexual & physical traumas or threats, that fear and ‘hypervigilance’ to maintain safety, is passed down to you and me through our genes. This amazing concept is a WHOLE other blog post, but suffice it to say that our female ancestors’ traumas are still relevant and alive in many of us – even if you are one of the lucky women not facing current traumas or discriminations.
Patriarchal norms (ideas that dictate what a woman is supposed to be/do) are something that is integrated by the collective psyche over millennia. A cultural understanding of a woman’s value and prescribed roles can be held by any gender, and women can be just as indoctrinated in patriarchal norms as anyone else. In fact if we were raised in a patriarchal culture (as most of us are) then we can’t help but have at least subconsciously integrated some of this implicit bias.
In fact, one of the human survival responses is the ‘fawn’ response which attempts to ‘tend & befriend’ the threat. Aligning with the power source that has the ability to hurt/kill us is a survival mechanism – and this can be passed down subconsciously for generations. This is similar to the Stockholm Syndrome you may have heard about, which is a coping mechanism to adapt to an abusive situation where you develop positive feelings towards the abuser over time.
Of course a mother is going to tell her daughter to ‘just stay quiet’ and ‘not cause a fuss’ when she believes she is looking out for her daughter’s safety. Of course women are going to compete & be jealous when historically their safety and life depended on marriage prospects (the system was SET UP for us to compete in this way). Of course we’re going to take on the idea that within a workplace if we want to rise into leadership, be paid equally and respected, we need to dress, act & work in masculine ways to try to fit in with the club and not get unwanted attention.
Women’s Rights Are Human Rights
If feminism is still needed and about women’s rights being equally important, what kind of rights are we talking about? Things like voting, having bank accounts & making financial decisions, being in leadership positions, earning equal pay, making decisions about our physical body & health (including being taken seriously by doctors), wearing whatever clothing we’d like, rights to our physical safety & autonomy, rights to be respected and valued beyond prime reproductive years, rights to our sexual expression & enjoyment, labor rights like not being sexually harassed at work. The list is endless.
I always like to say that feminism is really about women being comfortable doing whatever/however they want. As women sometimes we pick at each other with more judgment than anyone else!
This means you and only you decides:
If you want to shave – do it!
If you don’t want to shave – cool!
If you want to be a stay at home Mom – wonderful!
If you want to be a career woman, or BOTH – go!
If you want cosmetic surgery – amazing, do it for YOU.
If you want to age all natural – beautiful.
You get my point.
The thing is, finding our own way in life, creating a life that we love and living in self-alignment is really hard if we’ve never learned how to truly connect with ourselves.
Instead of operating out of our own soul-alignment, our ‘Wise Mind’ or inner intuition… we are operating on an outdated system. A system of Myths, of beliefs we’ve been taught, norms that we’ve internalized, fears that we’ve taken on.
This leads to:
-Not making decisions we truly want to make (job/relationship etc.).
-Inner turmoil (anxiety, depression, self-doubt or maybe even self-loathing).
-Acting as someone other than ourselves (people pleasing & shape shifting).
And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to get to be 85 yrs. old on my porch looking back at my life and wish I’d lived it in more soul-alignment. Because soul-alignment is satisfying (not easy, but satisfying). If there’s anything that losing all my grandparents and two mom’s has taught me, it’s that life is short and meant to be lived intentionally.
The method that has led me deeply to soul-alignment is Mindfulness, and my next blog is going to share more about how Mindfulness helps us re-connect with ourselves and live life on our terms (which is Feminist AF by the way).
And here’s the magic part – when we do that, we reach our goals faster & perform better in roles that are important to us. Mindfulness deepens our experience of reality and relationships with others. It de-conditions unhelpful myths and outdated narratives that will take us OFF COURSE. So stick around and be sure to get notifications on my posts or sign up for my newsletters by Opting-In for a free Life Balance Workbook so you can be the first to know!