There's as much magic in the little violet as in the greatest pine tree.
(from my current work-in-progress)
I recently participated in a conversation about womanhood, during which we got to confess our sins as modern feminists. Several women admitted to still shaving legs and armpits. Others said they liked prettiness. I said, amongst other things (for I have many sins) that I liked old-fashioned gentlemanly respect towards women, wearing dresses, romantic stories, motherhood, tea cups; that, in short, I liked being feminine, and was tired of apologising for it.
Another woman added that she thought the sadness of modern womanhood was how so often we are made to feel ashamed for being womanly. Of course, we have always been made to feel that way - it has been enshrined in laws and cultures for centuries. But sad indeed that now women have more freedom and equality (note the qualifying "more") we still carry within ourselves that sense of shame. So many of us try to develop the qualities traditionally held by men in order to succeed and be acceptable in the world. I'm talking about the Western world, of course. I can't speak informatively on the serious issues facing women in other cultures.
There's nothing wrong with a woman being manly if that's what she wants. But there's also nothing wrong with a woman being womanly.
I believe womanliness can be all kinds of wonderful things from fierceness to softness, from warrior to pearl-crowned princess. To clarify, what I'm talking about today is the concept of femininity which can also reside in men. The nurturing, the love of beauty over functionality, the opening-up and drawing-in, the hand rather than the sword. I personally think that one of the greatest misunderstandings of our time is that being a proper feminist excludes women from being feminine. And I think it's sad how the spirit of femininity, even considered separately from gender, is dwindling from our culture, and I think that's a shame because it's about shame - same old, same old, the belittling of the gentle feminine force, even in women's goddess spirituality, even in feminist circles.
For example : today a friend got on a bus but couldn't sit down because everyone had taken the aisle seats and left the window seats unoccupied, so that a person had to ask them to move if they wanted to be seated. The spirit of femininity, the womb-spirit if you like, welcomes others in. But more and more people are becoming closed down, which I think may be attributed to the increasinly ill health of our culture, the lack of nurturing, the loss of civility, the loss of community. So many people are too busy working outside the community, making money, serving the economy, to tend to its soul needs (except if they're being paid to do it).
I wish that anyone who is drawn to femininity may feel confident and comfortable in being that, and expressing it ... to have a soft voice, a quietness, to be a violet in the forest where everyone's reaching for the sky, to be nurturing and gently magical ... although I know in many societies it takes courage now to do so. We need it so much.
paintings by albert lynch