The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Dispensing with Masculine and Feminine Traits

Much has changed in the relations between men and women over the past 50 years.  The feminist
movement of the 1970s challenged the fabric of patriarchy.  Some men responded by attempting to discover their repressed feminine aspects.  Until then, in the western-styled cultures at least, “masculine” traits such as strength, dominance, aggression and rationality were considered superior to “feminine” traits of submission, vulnerability and emotionality.

For the past decade or two the desire to balance “feminine” characteristics with “masculine” characteristics has been discussed in many popular articles, blogs and in personal development circles.  The ideal of balancing the feminine and masculine recognises that individual men can display some or all of the “feminine” characteristics and individual women can display “masculine” characteristics.  As some have said; there is no one way or right way to be a man; there is no one way or right way to be a woman.  Men can, and do, contain “feminine” traits.  Women can, and do, contain “masculine” traits.

With this balancing and equalising of “masculine” and “feminine” characteristics men can be emotional, nurturing, passive, accepting.  Similarly, women can be rational, the breadwinner, active, decisive. 

More recently the notions of the sacred feminine and the sacred masculine has arisen.  These notions seem to suggest that men and women can enter into a partnership where the qualities of men and those of women are treated with equal respect and value.  In this dynamic the sacred masculine and the sacred feminine manage to dissolve the age-old “battle of the sexes.”

But, is not the very notion of “masculine” and “feminine” qualities, traits, and characteristics unhelpful?  If men can display “feminine” qualities and women can display “masculine” qualities then perhaps the masculine-feminine duality is no longer relevant.  Indeed, the labels may even be inhibiting to both men and women.  If I (as a man) have the ideal of the “masculine,” sacred or otherwise, as my standard then how likely am I to explore “feminine” qualities?  Some men will, but many will not?

Perhaps it is time to dispense with the notions of “masculine” and “feminine” qualities completely, and look to describe our “human” qualities.  There already exist at least two models that we could use to describe our human qualities.  The Yin/Yang system is one, Carl Gustav Jung’s anima/animus is another.

Yin/Yang

Many of us recognise the continuous looping symbol for yin and yang.  Yin represents the parts of us that desire connection, relationship, and describes our intuitive abilities.  Yin is the submissive side of us, the side that seeks subjective experience.  Yang, the other part of the whole, represents our desires for separation and individuality.  Yang describes our deductive reasoning.  It is the side of us that is dominant and seeks objective experience.

Within the Yin/Yang dualism there is no need to label one “feminine” and the other “masculine.”  Each of us has yin, each of us has yang.  We are yin and yang, sometimes more of one, sometimes less of the other, but constantly flowing from one to the other – from yin to yang and back again.

Jung

Carl Gustav Jung was a pupil of Freud but departed from many of Freud’s ideas.  He coined the terms anima and animus to describe aspects within us.  The anima, according to Jung, is the unformed feminine forming in men.  Similarly, the animus is the unformed masculine forming in women.  Jung recognised that when the anima and the animus were allowed to develop and form then it opened up the wild and innate aspects of our self, leading to a more authentic human being.


Are we any closer to Jung’s anima and animus  being fully formed?  Perhaps, yet we still have much to learn.  Dispensing with the terms “feminine” and “masculine” from the way in which we describe human qualities, traits and characteristics can help us move towards becoming fuller, more formed, human beings.

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