Now here’s a topic I usually just listen in on and don’t readily engage other than the odd grin, and subconscious headshake. Not because I don’t have an opinion of it (of course I do) it’s just that I think so many feed off of this “movement” and bring it up to invoke conflict and stir reaction, and I’m not about that at all. I’m more of an observer, who prefers to remain somewhat on the outside of it all.
As I’m sure you’ve come to know, people intrigue me, (or is that inspire?) their patterns of acquaintanceship and interaction as well as the manner in which they arrange themselves proves to be endlessly fascinating. Fortunately, for me, to sustain the fascination furnace, one of the major perks of my job is that I get to be the observer in an exceptionally leveling playing field.
South Africa celebrates woman’s month in August, and today, the 9th, the day is celebrated by downing tools, and tea towels and doing, well, nothing. Now I’m not really one to endorse a month or a day, having to set a National reminder to celebrate or acknowledge a presence or struggle is oppression in itself, but non the less, the conversation has been stirred in multiple formats of late so I’ll use this opportunity to express my observations in this realm as experienced through my apparent, “male dominated” choice of career.
You see; here is the thing. Men and woman are different. In every possible conceivable way, we are different. I think the whole notion of movements that pledge to empower the formerly disempowered tend to get the message mixed up somewhere along the line. We are to celebrate and empower our differences, as its in knowing how we differ that we become a resource of strength, and a resource in demand. Yet, these movements paint the strangest pictures of what we’re meant to prove in order to assert ourselves as worthy equals. So what you see, as a result, is a movement of woman trying to force themselves into virtues and domains of the masculine in order to be recognized as an equal being, because that’s what our “sisters” have fought for, and we need to honor their fight. No. What we need to fight for is the understanding that the sum of our differences brings equal result. Equity over Equality. That being “better” than a man at a certain discipline doesn’t make you a better woman, nor does it make him a lesser man. To always choose collaboration of energies over conflict, to negate the need to compete.
Collaboration. I understand that it must be rather daunting for a man, of the exponent of my age, to walk up to a helicopter and sit next to me with confidence. I understand that, it is by no means a reflection of my ability, but entirely a reflection of his expectation and the perception he has of himself and the role he needs to fulfill. I respect that. So too do I respect that my role is predominately to teach, and in order for learning to occur, the student needs to be somewhat at ease and the dynamic in our difference is making him feel uneasy. If I took offense to his body language, subtle interrogative questioning of my experience and doubt in my ability he has based on face value, I’d take that defensive state of mind into the cockpit and my energy would antagonize his and my ego would torture his pride. But, as I said in opening, I’m not about stirring conflict and reaction. I’m about collaborating energies to create harmony. There is nothing more capable of disarming prejudice than a woman who knows how to play to her differences. There is nothing more powerful, than a woman who’s not afraid to call on her virtues in order to level the field. So you meet his pride, expressed as arrogance with grace, his frustration with compassion, his ego with prudence. And your worlds, when not under threat or competition, co-exist, solve and synchronize in perfect harmony. Harmony.
You see, exuding feminine energy is by no means an inferior force, it is not submissive, and secondary, it is in itself a quiet non-boasting strength that doesn’t need to be validated or assured of a place. It is fluid, and flexible and able to adapt, diffuse defiance and restore calm. It is beautiful. Beautiful in every sense of the word, and existing in a “male dominated” career does not require the absence of it’s essence, but rather its presence to compliment the nature of what can sometimes be, cold, dark, work.
What I struggle with, is women who oppress themselves by playing through the singular virtue of image and beauty, as if it’s the only notable difference we have to justify our place and harness power. All this does is create a one-dimensional avenue, detracting from our multi-dimensional artillery. The plethora of poses, likes and comments on our surface state speak nothing of our ability, and capability. Relying on image alone will not gain the respect we crave. Popularity maybe, but not respect. What creates respect is an energy in conflict that realizes you’re not occupying the Captains seat because a movement has promoted and placed you there and that the company succumbed to your aesthetic presence and the desire to appease those who’ve fought for your rights. That you’re occupying the Captains seat because you’ve earned it, that your energy is not there to dis-empower or emasculate his, but rather, to work synergistically towards a common goal and operational mission, and to do so safely, and efficiently.
So then, in the distant (distant…) future, when I’m able to exchange words with my daughter. What I would like to teach her is this. Your strength lies in your uniqueness, not in assimilation. That knowing who you are as a woman enhances your presence, and your presence alone has the power to pacify and disarm the most hostile hearts. That your “place”, is everywhere, and anywhere you so choose. That you’ll be able to love greatly, and with that love, and it’s degree, you’re going to have to be strong. That you’re a nurturer, and that you have the ability to heal, that means through the practices of self healing, you’ll be able to overcome any hurt and teach others to do the same. That sometimes you’re going to feel vulnerable, but in that vulnerability you’re going to need to be fearless. And this, fearless vulnerability is going to make you increasingly alluring. The fact that you can adapt and calculate your way through the odds without relying on your physicality alone, but instead your mind and how it has the ability to tie untie-able ends into petite little ribbons. That your words, and the way you articulately arrange them into bouquets of knowledge and meaning will captivate a ready audience. That your feminine frame and demeanor is an accessory to your soul, not the definition of it and the purpose of its power is not purely to persuade. To always meet resistance and doubt with kindness and understanding and not bitter offense, to be bold and courageous and to revel in your infinite potential and the power that comes with being a Woman.
2 thoughts on “Collaboration over Conflict – A Womans Day piece.”
Great insight on this topic. I seem to find that there are power struggles these days between men and woman, especially in relationships and when both are career driven. Which is unnecessary, there should be mutual respect for one another and more support
It generally is safer to stay indifferent in these discussions. I find they are inevitably very confrontational and personal.
I would imagine your point of view is quite unpopular but it is mature and thought out. I like to say that equilibrium over equality needs to be our long term goal. Nice in principle perhaps, but in practice, it probably raises tough questions. A ying to yang (to abuse a term) is perhaps a healthier and more realistic point of view to the differences in the genders. A balance of vectors is also a fun way to think about it.
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