Which is better: the masculine or the feminine?

female exec

“If you pay close attention, you will see that the most masculine man has a feminine soul, and the most feminine woman has a masculine soul.”

Masculinity is a trait of strength.  One that leads and solves.

Femininity is a trait of strength.  One that nurtures and creates.

Judging one as better than the other is a lost cause.  Both spirits are necessary.

And a life without either is a life that is devoid of beauty.


A woman’s place in society

In the basement of the brewpub there was a collection of enthusiastic youth from the university.  The graduate students were reading their favorite poet’s work, and one caught my ear. It was talking about penis.

“Is he reading from a female author or male author?” I asked a young woman nearby.

“Female,” she replied.

“Hmm. I’m kind of surprised,” I said. “I thought it would be a male.”
She gave me a look, “That’s sexist.” she said.

I started to explain myself.  “Well, I mean, I thought a man would be more likely to know about the penis…” I was about to explain that although I had deep and meaningful experiences with vaginas, I still wouldn’t feel comfortable writing a piece focused on what it’s like having the organ. But she had started looking elsewhere.

Later I thought, “Was what I said sexist?” Sexism is prejudging the person based on their sex… Like if you think a woman is better at raising a baby, or a man is better at being a soldier.

So what I had said was sexist, because I thought it more likely a man would be talking about a penis than a female…which thinking more on it, perhaps females talk about dick as much as men. I sincerely hope they do anyway…

In her New Yorker article, Jai Tolentino rightly observes the importance of furthering the feminist cause beyond the complaining.  She directs us on how to distance from the individualist and capitalist culture. Why individualism and capitalism? That’s a good question. And it that reveals what makes feminism uniquely female.

Feminism comes from being female (There is no other way to frame it, by definition). Therefore, it must come to be recognized that the female spirit is different from the male spirit. Not at odds, but different. The feminine is here to complement and balance the male’s tendency, which, Jai describes, as being for individualism and capitalism, ie owning things, buying and selling things, making things.

Individualism and capitalism are not automatically bad things. Individualism taken too far prevents a community from working together. Capitalism with only profit as the goal leaves a task that is without joy.

Asking Why females should try to distance society from individualism and capitalism uncovers our true natures: The nurturing, sensitive, relationship-building, maintenance-mindset of the female. And the male nature that is less personal, less sensitive, and more about economy and production.

These are generalizations, but they are from scientific studies that show the sexes are indeed different in their emotional IQ’s and their ability to relate to others in social interactions: Females simply connect better than males. Their ability to empathize makes them better nurturers. The male’s lack of empathy makes them better killers. (Look at prison populations and this becomes immediately apparent)

As Jai stated in her article, feminism should not favor female individual empowerment within the current patriarchal system.  This leads to the endless chase of high incomes and thoughtless accumulation of wealth. In pointing feminists away from this male, capitalistic paradigm, it clearly differentiates women from men, and counters the error of many feminists, who, in their effort for equality, have fallen into making the sexes the same.

The responsibility of feminists is to use their special spirit to improve society. And this larger scope goes beyond complaints of men’s negative influence on society, but in bringing the value of women into society. 

And so we come to the How to bring this change about, which Jai noted. Merely complaining about the paternal foundation of society doesn’t address how to address this obvious reality.  There is a feminine power that women must bring to bear in their partnership with men. And paradoxically, in order to be heard, women must gain the individualistic strength to force their message of soft power.

“Listen to us,” is clear, but ineffective. “Listen to us, because we have something to add to a society which has become focused on accumulation and growth instead of the quality of relationships and building your communities.”


Life: His and Hers

“Health insurance is a scam,” he said. “I refuse to purchase this useless farce.”

He set down the enrollment papers and looked at her.

“What? You are not.” she rolled her eyes.

“Nope,” he said. “Don’t need it. I am strong. Like bull.”

“Bull is right” she snapped, then went on. “Now, I don’t think you need it if you’re healthy and take care of yourself-”

He came to attention, his eyes focused on hers, “YES.” He paused, contemplating her. “You know?.. you are so sexy when you make sense.”

She rolled her eyes again: “BUT… you need health insurance in case there’s an ACCIDENT.”

He grew distant. She was no longer recognizing the appreciation he was giving.  “Leave me,” he said simply.

She had a look of confusion. He explained: “Leave me there. At the accident. No hospital, none of that technology that only extends our life into dementia and incontinence. What a terrible place to be, so confused that I’m unable to wipe my drawers after I shit myself!”

She shook her head, “The technology is there to save your young, dumb life. And you can’t refuse care if you’re hurt. They’re obligated to give you care-”

“WHAT KIND OF AUTHORITARIANISM ARE WE LIVING IN TODAY?” he burst out, making her flinch and then look at him, tired and disgusted.

He saw her reaction but rambled on, “A man just can’t be left alone to die? Why are we forcing unwanted medical procedures on our citizens?!”

She sighed, “We live in a society now. So you need to leave the cave and join us in this century.”

“I’ll tell you what all this health care is, at its core…” he leaned in like he had a secret gem he was revealing. She opened her mouth to cut in, but instead of her voice out came his:

“Health care is a system of manipulation…by the owners,” he proclamation.

“You’re a weirdo,” she responded, and started checking her fingernails.

“No, it’s true,” he was adamant. “All the industrialists, you know, the BIG ones. Multinational, international, the powers that be…It’s an elite club. And they want only one thing.” He paused.

She allowed herself to be drawn in: “And what’s that?”

He answered, “To make sure they stay on top, of course.”

She shook her head and took out her phone. She raised it above her head, checking angles on a selfie. He ignored this and went on, “…even those in government. They want to make us think we need them, so they force us to have insurance.”

She had settled upon the optimum angle for her selfie, and conjured up a seductive smile. He continued,  “…across every continent. The leaders in each major sector, they are all synchronized,” and this is where he brought his hands together and interlaced his fingers to put a finer point to it:

“They’re organized into a net, no, a web, that goes across everything, from government to business…They both know it’s far better to squeeze as much capital out of the workers, basically, to keep them busy working….then health care is there to provide them the healthy worker to keep everything going. Bring them in to work, clock in, releasing ownership over their lives. You know… to the overlords. And then they clock out, obediently, because the checks they get are like a bribe, a little treat, like a mouse running in a laboratory maze.”

She finally gave him her full attention and snapped, “Are you serious now?” It was a stern reprisal, like for a dog that peed on a rug…a rug that really tied the room together.

He was brimming with righteousness at the injustices of modern society, and then his face softened, “I don’t want to live past my prime. So, as a preemptive message to you, before I get too old to make my desires clear:” he paused, and then, “I’m dying with my boots on.”

“Your boots…?” she said with genuine wonder at what he meant. She asked, “Who ARE you?”

“What, you’re not impressed by my act?” he said with raised eyebrow. “I’m an entertainer,” he stressed the word, entertainer. A giggle escaped her lips.

“See, I do this because I know you enjoy it,” he smiled and reached out to pull her close to him.

She smiled and let him. “I do like it,” she said quietly.

He brought her face close to his and very slowly kissed her, then let his lips hover just out of reach of hers, so that they felt the heat of their breath on each other’s faces.

He said softly, “Actually… I love doing it. It doesn’t matter who it is I’m with.”

She pulled back, and then leaned in to push him forcefully with both hands. Her eyes were indignant but her mouth twisted into a smile.

“You’re a dick,” she said, and got up and walked away.

“What…?” he called after her. “You’d said you wanted honesty!”

I accepted the gender wage gap as a sexism problem…until I did some research.

Gender pay gap Fig-5_spring-2016


Recent data shows that the gender pay gap is not constant through a woman’s lifetime.

The gap stays low until 34 years of age. Why?

From Claudia Goldin, Professor of economics at Harvard University:

“Some of the best studies that we have of the gender pay gap, following individuals longitudinally, show that when they show up right out of college, or out of law school, or after they get their M.B.A. — all the studies that we have indicate that wages are pretty similar then…  

But further down the pike in their lives, by 10-15 years out, we see very large differences in their pay. But we also see large differences in where they are, in their job titles, and a lot of that occurs a year or two after a kid is born, and it occurs for women and not for men. ” (1)

If someone is out of the workforce for several years, this affects their number of years of job experience.

In addition, women work about 1 hour less than men, per day, which will lower their income in comparison to men, creating an income gap. (2, 3)

Hours worked by gender

What do you think?

Are employers using gender discrimination and causing the pay gap? Or is the gap due to choices made by each gender? Or is it both?

It’s definitely not as simple as I’d thought. And reducing this phenomenon to a one-line sound-bite is irresponsible.  I regret taking this assumption of sexism at face value, just because it was being stated by so many people, even our President. (4)

Another reminder to Think For Yourself.


Graph: http://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

(1) http://freakonomics.com/podcast/the-true-story-of-the-gender-pay-gap-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/

(2) http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/time-spent-working-by-full-and-part-time-status-gender-and-location-in-2014.htm

(3) http://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/womens-earnings/archive/highlights-of-womens-earnings-in-2013.pdf

(4) http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/obama-announce-new-rules-closing-gender-pay-gap-n506941



I was radically honest, and she ignored me


(35 seconds to read)

“Those jeans fit you almost perfectly,” I told her.

She looked at me and said nothing, but turned back around to wait in line for the cashier. I stood behind her awkwardly, then asked brightly, “How are you doing?”

“Fine,” she murmured without turning around.

Well, ok then, I thought to myself, I can’t do anything else. So I stood in line behind her and waited for the cashier.

It can be embarrassing putting your heart out there. But it’s not about how you’re going to be perceived or accepted or respected. It’s about being true and doing good. And those two things together are never wrong. It’s about her, too, and her feelings.  And him as well, because everyone deserves to be complimented if you think they are deserving of one.

It’s a cascade that starts with your initiation and then moves to their feelings: Just be genuine and go from there, because whatever happens is ok if you’re putting positive vibes out there.

The passive ironic attitude is not cool or romantic


“First you must see your attempt at gaining mastery as something extremely necessary and positive.The world is teeming with problems, many of them of our own creation. To solve them will require a tremendous amount of effort and creativity. Relying on genetics, technology, magic, or being nice and natural will not save us.

We require the energy not only to address practical matters, but also to forge new institutions and orders that fit our changed circumstances. We must create our own world, or die from inaction.

We need to find our way back to the concept of mastery that defined us as a species so many millions of years ago. This is not mastery for the purpose of dominating nature or other people, but for determining our fate.

The passive ironic attitude is not cool or romantic, but pathetic and destructive.

You are setting an example of what can be achieved as a Master in the modern world. You are contributing to the most important cause of all- the survival and prosperity of the human race in a time of stagnation.”

-Robert Greene

Follow me and I will take you away from the everyday.