Why are women still hiding?

Here’s my question: Why is the conversation about women’s empowerment still happening in a masculine paradigm?

And why has the women’s empowerment movement not delivered on its promise: that women can be just as powerful as men?

I believe the answer lies in the misunderstanding of women’s power.

Now I in no way want to minimize the progress that has been made with regard to women’s liberation and women’s rights; I am hugely grateful for all the work that went before my growing up in the 80’s in a Western middle class family with feminist parents and being able to take many things for granted that throughout most of human civilization (and indeed in many parts of the world, even today) are by no means a given.

However, as Tara Mohr offers in her fantastic book “Playing Big“:

Western women are liberated but not empowered.

In the 80’s it was all about having the same rights as men, and being able to do the same things; so was born the infamous “power woman” – the women who adapted to the greatest possible extent to the masculine, ego-driven corporate world. In the 90’s the ideal became a little softer; women could ‘have it all,’ could be the driven career woman AND have a family – cue massive rises in burnout and other stress related disorders.

The new millennium has seen a dramatic rise in stress-reduction activities such as yoga and meditation, and the driven career woman now has permission to ask for help and take some time for herself. In addition, younger feminists are now busy reclaiming the symbols that were rejected by earlier generations of feminists, which looks (in its healthy aspect) like a move towards a more integral feminine expression.

But the bottom line today is that women are often either in a constant mode of striving and feeling like it’s never enough, or are hiding and playing small.

Neither of these groups are embodying their power as women. The first is still caught up in the masculine power paradigm, the second is rejecting it, and both are disconnected from the feminine power source.

This is because we’re pushing (acting from the ‘masculine’ locus of power in the solar plexus) rather than accessing our feminine power – which sits in the belly, in the womb, that magical space of creativity, in our hips, our ability to open and surrender and receive, to express our passion and our emotions (all of them), our intuition, our mystery, our connection to life and death, and our innate sensuality.

The power women are trying to embody is what we have grown up with as an example – often as the only example. Women who truly embody feminine power are few and far between in the masculine-energy-dominated structures of cities and corporations.

And on the big picture side of things, the imbalance of masculine and feminine power in the world is clearly visible and has come to the point of being unsustainable; the current situation is no longer viable for sustaining life and the rebalancing of energy at all levels in society is now of critical importance.

To get to the next level we are going to need to break out of the paradigm we’re currently still limiting ourselves with.

A few weeks ago I went into researcher mode and hunted the web for large events for women. Events aimed at transformation. Events that explore women’s empowerment in a truly integral and holistic way, including all dimensions (the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual) with an experiential, embodied approach.

Nothing. Not one.

What I see is the women’s empowerment movement bumping up against the ceiling of the current (immature masculine/patriarchal) paradigm.

The way we’re thinking about it, the contexts we’re having the conversations in, the fact that most of it is happening in settings and structures that have little to no intrinsic appeal to feminine energy. The way we refer to it as a conversation (heady), and that even though it’s often referred to as a movement, I don’t see many embodied aspects in it.

My vision is for this movement, rather than a mere conversation, to become a dance, a celebration, an exploration, a tuning in and allowing to emerge. For us to be facilitating change in a way that is aligned with the feminine; easeful, flowing, and receptive as well as fiery, fierce and powerful. From the inside out; adopting a mode of existence where BEING is primary, and DOING emerges as an inevitable and easeful consequence of what we are. 

Changing ourselves and from there creating new structures, systems and processes that emerge from an integrally feminine way of being (rather than continuously trying to adapt masculine structures and systems to be more “feminine-energy-friendly”).

The truly powerful woman, an integral woman, is one who has embraced all that she is. Who is embodying her feminine and has integrated her masculine. The world will not change until women step into and embrace who we are in our wholeness again – only then can we bring the world back into a healthy balance of masculine and feminine energy.

Women who are deeply connected to their power are unbelievably radiant, magnetizing, sensual, and powerful. They have a viscerally different energy to women who are predominantly in their ‘masculine’ power and in ‘pushing’ mode. This, ladies, is what we’re aiming for.

And creating contexts in which this state of being (the integral feminine) is fostered, is, I believe, the next step for women’s empowerment.


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5 thoughts on “Why are women still hiding?

  1. I love this subject and how true it is that no matter how much as women we strive to empower ourselves, as long as we do it within this masculine paradigme it’s like we don’t really mean it. We don’t want to make too much noise, take too much space, a woman does not disturb…
    Also I was talking to girlfriends recently about how most of everything comes from a masculine perspective and took the examples of all the buildings in the European Quarters in Brussels. And we started to wonder how would women conceive and build and design such quarters. How would cities look like if they were created by free women? Think of all the financial towers…. Would we go for more horizontal choices? :)
    Wow, this is a new view of the world for me and it feels so liberating, to dare envision a world with truly real balance.
    It’s also up to us women to dare be fully our true selves, to dare reveal our true nature to the world, to dare go wild and manifest our vision of the world.
    And yes we need each other, we need fostering, we need to embody together, support and lead each other to fully expand our feminine powers and create the new world.
    Thank you Steph! ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your article. It’s a wonderful read. I love the quote about Western women being liberated but not empowered. I wonder if that’s true for western men too. One thing that I believe is that all genders are made up of masculine and feminine. As Jung said we have our anima/animus aspect to work with alongside our physical gender. As a teacher of a dance practice based on the chakra system I find that most women are either unbalanced in the sacral (feminine) or the solar plexus (masculine). I think you’re right when you say it’s about integration. Many women, myself included needed to power up in the solar plexus, we are the quiet ones. Others had completely lost touch with their feminine power, so many of us having experienced sexual or emotional trauma. Bringing balance to these energies for all genders is the key, I think. Thanks for the great article. Very though provoking :)


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