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Monique Ruffin Headshot

The Politics of Masculinity and Feminity

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Last week Senator Olympia Snowe, Republican from Maine, announced that she would not be seeking re-election, stating that she was frustrated with the "my way or the highway," polarization that is currently taking place in the Senate.

What is occurring in legislatures all over our nation is absolutely appalling. In Texas, Oklahoma, and Virginia, legislation requiring women seeking abortions to first have sonograms -- and in some cases with vaginal scopes -- has either been passed or is about to be signed into law. Several weeks ago, Representative Darrell Issa from California called a congressional hearing on religious freedom and women's contraception, and no women were called to participate. A female law student from Georgetown University, Sandra Fluke, was not allowed to speak on behalf of women and their contraception needs.

How did we get here? How did we reach a time in 2012 where a segment of our elected officials is working to render women powerless over their own bodies? Where is the empathy and compassion needed from our elected officials at this time in our history?

I believe that we are here because we, all of us, have created a male-dominated society that projects a male-oriented perspective; one that often lacks the very necessary qualities that women so easily embody. It's been proven by science that women's biology draws them toward working together and community building, being empathic, nurturing, compassionate, and visionary. Men's biology causes them to be naturally more competitive, individualistic, power seeking, controlling, goal oriented, and linear than women. The qualities are not necessarily gender exclusive; both men and women have access to feminine and masculine qualities. That said, the challenge is that we have grown out of balance in our society, devaluing our instinct for gathering while exalting our instinct for hunting. We have come to value capital more than human beings, conquering more than coexisting, and doing more than being. The result is a government unable to find middle ground or reason on issues that have a deep, personal impact on the lives of our nation's citizens.

In spite of our culture's disavowal of the nurturing nature of human beings, over the past decade I've been in countless rooms with women who are recognizing and awakening to their desire to have a deeper feminine experience of themselves. Some refer to this movement as Feminine Power or more dramatically, Goddess Awakening. The intention of most of these women is to ignite these feminine qualities in their lives in order to add balance and greater harmony to their daily experience.

I believe the answers to our imbalanced culture lay at our core, and they apply to men and women alike. As we are witnessing a systematic attack on women's reproductive freedom in Washington and across this nation, we can begin by asking ourselves, "What are the methods I can embrace in order to embody, or simply appreciate, a more feminine nature in my life?" This question might help in creating the change our male-dominated culture is starving for, a change that will ultimately saturate our political dialog. We can begin by accepting that politics drives policies for all people, therefore inclusion of all people's voices is primary.

What might our politics look like if it were more empathic, connected, and compassionate, and less controlling, capital-driven and individualistic? The "my way or the highway" perspective that is so prevalent in Washington, that so disheartened Senator Snowe that she chose to resign, might begin to shift. The male-dominated perspectives that attempt to control women and render them incapable of making decisions critical to their lives might end. It's time we reexamined our values and ways of being in this nation. What is currently occurring politically, much of it in the name of oppressive religious beliefs, is a noxious reinforcement of our society's great disconnection from its people's balanced, multidimensional, and ultimately divine nature.

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