The Masculine/Feminine Bugaboo

A recent reviewer of my book questioned whether women have innate feminine qualities and disagreed that there are inherent differences in the sexes. This was in response to my call to action to women to embrace their more feminine qualities, to see themselves as leaders and that feminine skills like empathy, inclusion, collaboration, care are not touchy-feely, but rather powerful. Soft is the new hard.

I’ve struggled with the masculine/feminine labeling but I haven’t found other words to represent what are regarded as right brain/left brain, animus/anima, ying/yang dimensions of the psyche. This is how I see it. Both men and women have masculine and feminine attributes, it’s an internal spectrum of skills and behaviors that are available to all of us. I think the more you can dynamically move between the two, the more resources you have at your disposal to be effective. So do women have innate feminine qualities? Yes, and so do men.  I love seeing the nurturing side of men come out.

Our culture, however, has given more credence and power towards those things masculine. So the more masculine you appear the more of a leader you seem to be. Women have developed these skills as a way of succeeding. I think this style of leadership has reached its limits in our interconnected, interdependent, global reality. We need to bring relational intelligence, a holistic perspective, web thinking, cooperation to the forefront. If women can’t embrace this, how can we expect men to in a world where being a man means not being a woman or have any trace of feminine? So that’s why I call women to lead the way, to model how powerful care can be. Ultimately we are talking about genderless leadership, what I call third possibility leadership that goes beyond all this masculine/feminine bugaboo. But for now to bring balance to a masculine-infused world, we need to swing the other way.

And do I think men and women have inherent differences? Well, ah, yeah.


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8 Responses to “The Masculine/Feminine Bugaboo”

  1. Hazel Bender says:

    “Soft is the new hard…” that’s Peggy Klaus, isn’t it?

  2. Elsie Hamilton says:

    Female is female and male is male. Feminine man is a sign of weakness in your higher position of strength.

  3. Karen Puckett says:

    I’ve read David Dieda’s book, The Way of the Superior Man, and my first and last relationship of one month has got me thinking that I’m more of a feminine man than a masculine one, but other things get me thinking that I’m a masculine man. and then sometimes I’m not sure and I think I’m balanced. How can I substantially tell which one I am?

  4. Patrick Song says:

    I try to look more at which qualities appeal the most to me, and what style of behaving, talking, etc are more appealing to me. Whatever particularity of personality you might have, chances are it can be used to your advantage. In other words, there are ways and there are better ways to make use of each personality trait, and this is what personal development, psychology and the PUA community teaches.

    Ultimately, I personally believe that any quality can potentially be used by anyone, in other words, I don’t think that there are qualities that belong to “someone else”, because that is his style, while another person would not be fit to embody those qualities because it would not be really “him” – I think we can take something good from any kind of person who inspires us.

    • Karen:
      It sounds like you are balanced if you have this dynamic flow between them. Are you a man named Karen?

      Do you think we become the people who inspire us?

  5. Malcolm Wagner says:

    Women are stronger than men. All over the world, women live longer than men 🙂