This week marks the two year anniversary of the UN’s HeForShe Solidarity Movement for Gender Equality. HeForShe invites men to join and support women in the fight for women’s equality and strives to reframe feminism from its man-hating stigma to a movement that seeks to benefit men and women alike by embracing the feminine side of our humanity.
My soul responds to this initiative and its mandate with a big yes! In the many seasons of my life — from my academic studies of feminism, gender issues and Goddess theology, my work as a gender equity consultant, my perilous healing journey with my own woman’s story in a misogynist world, my travels with the Goddess into the mysteries of the sacred feminine, and my Path of She writings — I’ve been on the trail of the lost powers and ways of the feminine elements of our humanity.
In my journey, one thing has become abundantly clear to me: what ails humanity, men and women alike, is the degradation and repression of the feminine half our nature that holds not only our nurturing and emotive capacities, but also our anchor in Mother/matter: our bodies, the natural world and the mysteries of the Divine feminine.
I would add that we women have to reach back, SheForHe, so we can heal our world together.Walking in the Other’s Shoes
The saying goes that we can’t understand another person until we walk a mile in his/her shoes. This most definitely holds true in the case of men and women. Only by actively increasing our awareness of the other gender can we begin to understand the world through their eyes and experiences.
Ask someone close to you, such as your partner, sister/brother or a best friend, to join you in a gender-sensitivity activity. Explore together what it means to be men and women in a gender-biased world, and what expectations, constraints and inequities this imposes on each of you.
Talk about the degradation of women and women’s values, and the mirror distortions and limitations on men and masculinity. Share, in turn, what parts of you are denied and distorted, and how you would like your life and this world to be more respectful and inclusive of your true, deep femininity, masculinity and individuality.
Bring this gender awareness into your everyday life when you’re at work, in a public place, at family gatherings or in your own home. Imagine wearing a pair of gender-sensitive glasses that filter out your projections and biases. Bear witness to the members of the opposite gender who cross your path. Don’t intrude on their space or interactions, just watch with your mind empty of judgements and your heart wide open. How does the world see and treat them? What would it be like to walk in their shoes?Healing Our World Together
We share this Earth and can only heal it together, hand in hand, heart to heart, and soul to soul.
Together, we can confront and transcend the strictures of gender stereotypes that bind women and men. Together, we can embrace the life- and relationship-centered values and ways of women for ourselves, our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, and lovers and friends. Together, we can reclaim the mysteries and powers of the sacred feminine and our deep-dreaming magical capabilities. Together, we can free the true, profound expression of our masculine qualities from its encultured shackles.
Together, we can reweave our world into one that is inclusive and respectful, where we can live and express our whole humanity, men and women, from the bigness and beauty of our feminine and masculine natures.
Together, HeForShe and SheForHe, we can make this vision our reality.
Related Post: The Wounded Beloved: Exploring Your Inner Gendered Tear