So this week we celebrated International Women's Day. I started my day off with a very interesting discussion with 7 men during spin class! I offered that they could ask me any question they wanted re: what International Women's Day or being a woman means to me. I had fascinating responses that I think speak to the very issue that International Women's Day is trying to address. It started with one person signalling to the rest of the group that under no circumstances should the men in the room fall bait to this 'trap'!!! He said it jokingly but I was frustrated with being painted with brush of villain that would hurt naive men who happened to fall bait to my emotional manipulation. I had presented it with an open heart and no agenda to backlash at those in the room. However, I think this response actually speaks to the reason there IS an International Women's Day! I think, at some level, all men KNOW that women get hurt by men and that they may be on the receiving end of the projected anger if they wade into that conversation. And they too have been on the receiving end of men's anger and abusive behaviour so I think they are often conflicted about their own gender. I think that the only way out of something that isn't working is to have healthy, respectful, truly listening conversations about what the impact of what is not working is on everyone and then find solutions that will change it. And it has to start early. If women are to be treated as equals and men are to be respected as whole people who are powerful and vulnerable at the same time, then it has to begin in childhood.
The following video is an ad for a book written for girls about who they can choose to role model after. My point isn't to recommend you the book, instead I was struck by the powerful beginning re: how children's books are slanted re: shaping our gender identities.
I invite you to pay attention to how gender socialization is preventing you from claiming your power or your vulnerability because if you can't own both sides of yourself then you can't feel truly whole. And, I believe, if half the planet is prevented from owning their power and the other half is prevented from owning their vulnerability then we will keep having wars and the insane cultural issues that we're having. That's making a very complicated issue very simple but I do think it has many of it's roots in gender socialization.