Does anyone else feel like they aren't feminine enough?
Last year I was having dinner with a friend and we started discussing feminine energy. I shared that I wanted to be more feminine or get better at exuding it, whatever that meant. She laughed, leaned in, and said, "Erica, you give off feminine energy. You have nothing to worry about."
The thing is, I was never worried about being "feminine enough" before that.
Feminine energy is characterized as "being." It's centered on receiving, flowing, creating, feeling, and being vulnerable. On the converse, masculine energy is rooted in "doing." It's based on giving, planning, achieving and remaining focused. We are constantly floating between our masculine and feminine energy, and maintaining a healthy balance of both energies allows us to live a harmonious and fulfilling life. Unfortunately, we live in a society dominated by "doing," and patriarchy deems feminine energy inferior and only purposeful for domestic duties. So, many of us live out of balance because we fear seeming weak or unproductive. But feminine energy is powerful.
I started thinking more about the power of feminine energy when I stumbled upon Ayesha K. Faine's work Women Love Power in 2017. I loved that she was helping women recognize the importance of harnessing their feminine energy and telling the world that bringing feminine energy to the forefront would be crucial in establishing balance and harmony worldwide. I also enjoyed learning about my feminine archetype (I was a Gamine then). Ayesha taught us how our archetype manifested in our lives, how to use feminine energy to be successful, and how I could use it to gain a deeper understanding of myself and improve my relationship with others. Her work was empowering.
Recent conversations about feminine energy seem focused on shaming. Statements like,
"You're not feminine enough."
"You're too masculine."
"You need to lean into your feminine,"
seem to have replaced with statements like,
"You need to do this to get a man."
"You don't know how to let men lead."
and (my favorite),
"This is why men don't like you."
The conversation is tired, old, and problematic.
Attempting to shame someone into embracing more of their feminine energy isn't helpful or loving. Black women can be loved and encouraged to make decisions that will help them love, nurture, and care for themselves. Encouraging Black women to embrace softness instead of unyielding strength is an act of love. Reminding Black women they are worthy of receiving help from others and that they aren’t a burden is an act of love. Creating safe spaces for Black women to be vulnerable and receive care is an act of love. All of these things give Black women the freedom to incorporate more feminine energy into their lives in a way that benefits their mental, emotional and physical well-being. None of these benefits are men-centered or men-focused.
Everything can't be about men. Everything can’t be about appealing to the male ego. If you are someone that wishes to be in relationships and community with men, it's natural to care about what they think. But it isn't healthy to be controlled by what men think. Because who is the deciding voice on whether or not you're “feminine enough”?
Who are you giving that power away to?
I would hope no one. But I'm on the internet more often than not, and I have conversations with women I love all the time. The femininity conversation always goes back to finding ways to maintain or obtain a man's attention. And it doesn't serve us to be men-centered in that way.
Centering men in our decisions can cause us to abandon ourselves. We attempt to bend, fold, contort and conform to fit a phenotype or personality that doesn't come naturally to us and become resentful when it doesn't result in us being chosen. It's madness and deeply unfulfilling. But the reasons were ready to listen to someone tell us were inadequate or fail to measure up are understandable. We’re scared. We don't want to be alone. We don't want to be the person that doesn't get chosen.
But allowing people to continually profit off of our insecurity is hurting us.
Some of the femininity rhetoric is anti-Black and being used to shame Black women for adapting to environments that required us to lean into more “masculine energy.” For example, I struggle with letting people help me; many of us do. It's not intentional. I'm not resisting my feminine energy to be combative or difficult; I doubt anyone is. Framing the conversation that way doesn't help. There are various reasons someone may be unable to embrace more feminine energy. Maybe their environment isn't safe enough for them to be "soft." Perhaps they aren't around people that can lead in non-egocentric ways. Maybe they had to become hyper-independent to survive as children.
The way we approach people and the way we approach having these conversations with ourselves is important. Conversations rooted in kindness, compassion empathy are transformational. Conversations based on shame lead to low confidence and a lack of self-love.
If you're going to embrace more feminine energy, do it for yourself. Do it because you love yourself. Do it because you see it improving your life and your well-being. Don’t do it because you’re seeking the validation and approval of a stranger. Don't do it because you're hoping to obtain something outside yourself because you can't control anything outside of you.
Stand in your power and be the deciding voice on whether or not you are enough.
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