By Abhishek Thakore
Men had their go at running the World and what a mess they have made of it! There is Hope only if we let women run the show
If Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Brothers and Sisters, they would still have been in business!
The world is in a crisis. When I take out my New Age optimist lens and look at truth in the face I see the world as it is today. There is ecological degradation and climate change happening at an ever increasing pace. Civil wars and unrest, corruption and poverty dog humanity. The list is never-ending.
We are moving towards solutions but are clearly missing something important – the interplay of masculine and feminine energies.
We are ‘man’ kind. Most references to God are as Father and “He”. What we call Mother (Earth), we don’t take seriously, and misuse and know that it will still give unconditionally. Perhaps, not too different from our own loving and giving mothers.
Ever since the hunting phase, men have had an upper hand in the power equation between men and women. By virtue of their physical strength and mobility combined with aggression and desire for power, men have been able to dominate the planet and perhaps also direct its course. Top political and corporate positions are held by men because they face fewer challenges than women.
Men like Hitler and Alexander, with the male need to control and dominate, have led humankind to wars.
The only hope
As Osho says, “The woman is the only hope for humanity to survive.” Rumi said, “She is not just the earthly beloved, She is creative, not created.’ Through these lines, the mystic poet equates the feminine to the divine. Perhaps then, when we say ‘God save the world’, we are actually calling upon women who is more representative of the all-powerful Creator than man! According to Sri Aurobindo, while the truth is One, the reality does have two aspects – masculine and feminine. “Each of these (two energies) corresponds to one of the major experiences of consciousness. The masculine corresponds to the unmoving supporting consciousness and the feminine the creative effective power of consciousness.”
Osho called the feminine principle more ‘primitive’ by which he meant more in tune with nature.
In a very simplistic sense, the masculine principle involves energies like authority, control, achievement, definiteness, drive, rationality and competition. The feminine principle, on the other hand, is made up of love, care, ambiguity and restlessness. It alsoincludes gentleness, nurturing, communication, grace, intuition, passivity and inward orientation.
While masculine and feminine energies are present in men as well as women, society tends to deny the masculine side of women and the feminine in the men. Boys play with guns and tanks, girls play with dolls. It is okay for a girl to cry but boys are supposed to be tough.
Girls are trained to be docile and careful and restrained. Even in the most supposedly progressive homes, they are reminded to be soft and loving. The family at times fears a woman with drive. They fear she won’t be a great homemaker if allowed free rein. Of course, when the word homemaker is used, it is clear that it is a woman that is being referred to.
Men, on the other hand, realize that they are pretty much on the right side of the equation. They are able to come out more openly with what they want. They learn to suppress emotions and become ‘tough’ guys. There is an implicit assumption in the power of being masculine.
Mard ka bachha hai to saamne aa! (if you are the son of a man, come face me!) Hence the total discounting of the fact that yeh aurat ka bachha bhi hai (he is also the son of a woman). And that power comes from being a son of a truly powerful man – the impact of the mother being totally discounted.
Sex and gender
Sex has a very interesting role to play in the equation. Women, by default, are supposed to repress their sexuality. A man who sleeps around with women is a stud, a cool dude. A woman who does the same is described in unprintable words. So we have a world of men obsessed with sex – something most women despise. A friend once pointed out that God has a strange sense of humour. He created two totally incompatible genders that would otherwise not get along with each other at all. Then infused them with hormones that attract them to each other!
The question begs to be asked – is there anything that we can do to check this imbalance of yang over yin? With the world moving away from hard core industrialization and exploitation of natural resources, the answer increasingly appears to be yes. Corporations are turning maternal in their attitudes towards employees and intuitiveness is being valued as much as strategy.
Corporate social responsibility is in many ways a call to corporations to start behaving in more feminine ways. It is a call to look beyond the selfish profit-above-all attitude to nurturing communities in which businesses function.
Innovation also inherently requires fuzzy logic – intuitive rather than rational thinking, which is something that comes more naturally to women. Emotional intelligence is also clearly a differentiator in performance and ability. And women are inherently far more perceptive and emotionally in touch with themselves.
So it is a good time to be a woman – to start ‘coming into your own’.
Interestingly, power as a concept is feminine. After all, true power, or at least the only one that should matter comes from consensus, agreement and acceptance.
The masculine opposite of this power is authority, which is aggressive enforcement.
So how can women save the world?
For one, the transition from soft love to tough love needs to be made. There is no denying that the feminine principle is the source of inspiration and direction for the masculine. The greatest monuments and art works are in dedication to the feminine. The need for achievement is linked with libido in several studies. And clearly one of the greatest influences on any man’s life is his mother.
But mothers need to move from mothering their kids to being tough mothers – not too different perhaps from Jijabai who was Shivaji’s friend, mother and mentor. The character that Shivaji built was from the training given to him by Jijabai, when his father, Shahaji, was mostly away on campaigns. From telling him stories about brave men to reading scriptures, she created a worldview that guided Shivaji to be the just and honourable king that he eventually became. When a general offered the princess of Kalyan as a trophy for a war conquest, Shivaji looked at her and said, “If my mother had been as beautiful as you, I would have looked really handsome”. He restored the woman to her family with due respect. The other is for women to be comfortable in their own skin – in being themselves.
A 33 per cent quota for women is pointless if we are going to end up with 33 per cent women who are trying to behave like men or competing with them. Women bring value to the world by being themselves and not by aping men – and that perhaps comes from being able to love the fact that one is a woman. Research reveals that women in girls’ schools turn out stronger – they have the space to be themselves. On the other hand, men become even more brash and nasty in boys’ schools. A friend’s resort has a sign that says ‘All-male groups not allowed’ – an interesting testimony perhaps to how males behave as a group when the yin energy is absent.
Finally, at some level, women need to share the responsibility for the persisting gender equations. In the book, Iron Man, the author talks about how men need rites of passage. It is important for women to let boys reclaim their masculinity, by not cocooning them and making them mama’s boys, but letting them be exposed to role models of refined masculinity.
Ultimately, it is men who are comfortable being masculine, who can move towards harmony. And as a mother and a wife, a woman is in the best position to do this.
So then, the ‘secret of success’ in today’s world is this:
1. Women should stop behaving like men. Liberating oneself is not being what men are and doing what men do. The men’s way is not the only way. Stop acting out of a grudge or hurt towards men but out of love and compassion that come so inherently to women.
2. For men to start imbibing feminine qualities – from being more intuitive and using emotions to connect to being more loving and caring towards themselves and others. We move towards being more complete human beings.
In conclusion, the world needs women and men who work towards balancing themselves. So, power to the women who bring to the table what they inherently are! May they act as a balancing force to the overdose of masculinity that is destroying our beautiful planet.
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How will the world look like with women in charge? We asked our special in-house expert
1. In case of breakdowns in diplomatic talks, the leaders would hold each other and start weeping. Each time there are some deaths or a war, the response would be emotional
2. International Men’s Day would be observed – however given the generosity of women, it would be celebrated twice every week instead of once a year
3. The budget would actually benefi t families
4. Men won’t have to fi ght for equal rights – women will gracefully give it to them
5. The world will be a really beautiful place. Instead of sky scrapers and blatant deforestation we will have sprawling spaces where we live in harmony with nature
6. There will be lesser abusive words, porn, rapes, road rage, robberies and physical fi ghts everywhere
7. Beers would be replaced by wine. Fast food replaced by intricately cooked home meals. Toilets will be more accessible and free for women as well
8. Life Positive will do a men’s special on its 50th Anniversary and carry an article on how women truly managed to save the world (from men)!
A Personal Journey
My mother has been a huge influence in my life and hence respect for the feminine principle was something I believed in from early childhood.
As any man would, I have struggled with being able to express my emotions and get in touch with them. But today, I can feel as deeply as a woman, and cry without shame.
I personally interpreted being a man as being rough with my body. Self-caring was meant for women. Today, I love my body much more and care for it.
I realised I love women! (who doesn’t). But most of my female friends find me feminine – not as much in my gestures and body language as my orientation. When one of them tells me ‘you’re a woman’, I take it as a compliment!
So I love having long discussions about my emotional problems as much (if not more) as ‘hanging out with the boys’. I do come from a space of nurturing and tenderness.
And given a choice to be born again, I’d want to be a woman. The power to create is far too valuable – it is the power of God herself. It’s the priceless connection to life that I want to enjoy.