Gender Polarization. Can you be too masculine or too feminine?
Triggered by my recent blog on positive internal dialogue, I wanted to talk about polarization of another kind! It is something I see and experience every day. You could say it is something all of us practice every day.
We all have an element of masculine and feminine energy within us. From a young age, we are conditioned to behave and ‘act’ according to our gender. Girls play with dolls and boys play with trains. You know, that kind of cultural unconscious bias stuff...
As a society, we have defined exactly what it means to be a woman. As women, gender polarization essentially preconditions us to play towards our feminine energies. We are natural caregivers and use our emotions to drive decisions more so than men.
Digging into understanding your masculine and feminine energies can play such a pivotal role within the workplace.
Over time I recognize my clients have been conditioned to cover up their true essence or energy and this has forced them to either feel beaten down and lack self-esteem or they have fundamentally ‘toughened up’ to fit in.
Men no longer belong in the blue corner and Women no longer belong in the pink corner.
The kind of “men are blue and women are pink” black and white thinking can really lead to issues within the workplace and fundamentally within yourself. Men are not the only ones with access to the boardroom and women are more than just receptionists or secretaries - right?
Both masculine and feminine energies have positive benefits, which when recognized and embraced can be used to really propel your self worth and your career. Our energies are unique to us. Even if you were brought up believing girls played with dolls and boys played with trains, you inherently know if you wanted to play with that train and throw the doll in the trash.
Are you man enough?
However much the workplace is shifting, there are still too few women at the top.
There is a fine line when it comes to how you act within the workplace. Of course, we are female and have different genes, emotions, hormones and pretty much a lot of biological factors which are out of our control.
Do you ever ‘feel’ like you coming across as aggressive or bossy in the workplace? These actions can often be associated with masculine energy and should be cultivated and embraced in the right way. There is nothing wrong with being assertive.
I have found that when you have or find a balance of both masculine and feminine energies, it puts in you a really good place mentally, not only in your work life but your personal life too.
When it comes to recognizing and feeling your masculine and female energies there are often subtle characteristics or in some cases not so subtle characteristics.
Check out the basics of each characteristic below and circle which ones apply to you, ideally within your work environment.
We can often lose our sense of self when we are forced to work in an environment where one of the energies is stronger than the other. We then find ourselves having to ACT in a more masculine or feminine way and in the long term this can lead to frustration and unhappiness.
Find your balance!
I think the word balance is somewhat overused, but in this instance, it perfectly explains the way in which finding balance between the two energies can have such a powerful impact.
See my tips below on how you can start to channel your true inner energy.
1. Even the scales!
If you are more masculine; try to implement a nurturing way of speaking to a colleague or maybe you notice you are aggressive in a meeting. Tone down your voice or wear a softer piece of clothing to an important meeting to remind yourself of your feminine energies. If you are more feminine; why not think about your posture in meetings, stand taller and sit upright or use your words more to express your thoughts without bringing too much emotion to the table. Wear a trouser suit or simply stand up when you are speaking to a client on the phone.
2. Call out your workplace
Notice the environment in your workplace. Do you feel like it is too masculine and could use some feminine energy? Adding color to a meeting room or even a fruit bowl can soften the atmosphere and balance energy. Equally, if the workplace feels too feminine; think about encouraging colleagues to start a competitive sports night once a week or in meetings insist people stand up when they talk. Subtle changes = big differences.
3. Them or us mentality?
When you drop ‘them or us’ mentality, you start to feel empowered. Who said that the sales manager job was just for them (men)? Who said that internal promotion was not for us? Believing all opportunities are available to 'them and us' break down what society has led us to think. Drop 'them or us' thinking.
Look, we know it took goldilocks three attempts to find her perfect oatmeal. All of these changes take time and perseverance. Recognizing where your energy lies and if you are out of balance will help you grow in all areas of your life.
We are not trying to change your authentic self, we are recognizing who you really are and using the tools above to grow.
“It’s time to strip away the masks and embrace who you are at your core.
When you become able to embrace your true energy, be it masculine or feminine, you will not only be true to yourself, but you will be able to give your authentic self”