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Masculine or feminine which is more powerful?

Which is more Powerful…Masculine or Feminine?

Masculine or feminine which is more powerful?I think by now we’ve established that when it comes to the masculine and the feminine there is no ‘better’.

We all have both masculine and feminine inside us, and most of us tend to have one that feels more natural, more comfortable, more “home” than the other. That doesn’t mean that we don’t or can’t use the other, it just means that there’s one that’s our ‘default’ position.

There are situations that come up every day in which the masculine is more effective, or the feminine would be a wiser choice, and if we refuse to ignore or deny EITHER of them we can find ourselves missing out.

But the question that I hear asked on a regular basis is “Which is more powerful, masculine or feminine?”

I saw a story posted in a Facebook group that I’m a member of recently that inspired me to write this post:

There is a native American tale in which a mother takes her son down to the river to teach him about the nature of power.

She asks him to put his hand in the water and describe to her how it feels. He says, “Cold and wet.”

“Good,” she responds.

She then hands him a rock and asks, “How does this feel?”

“Hard,” he replies.

“Good,” she responds and puts his hand into the water and asks, “Now how does this feel?”

“Soft,” he replies.

They walk further down the river to a bend where the water has worn a huge hole through a giant boulder and the mother says to her son, “Soft always wins.”

What cause me to want to write this post though was the comment that was shared after this story: “Somewhere along the line people began confusing feminine with passive and masculine with power. There is nothing passive about femininity and it is one of most powerful forces in the universe. Feminine energy is soft and receptive and it wins every time.”

While I like the analogy of soft not necessarily being weak, I believe that we need to be very careful with the concept of ‘winning’.

When we look at things in terms of winning or losing, we’re likely to be in our masculine (as competitiveness is a very masculine trait)…and the important thing for everyone to understand about masculine and feminine is that they are EQUALLY powerful.

Neither is better / worse, stronger /weaker than the other. The power is very different, but when either is being viewed as ‘winning’ against the other, both loses.

Masculine and feminine are designed to work together, to empower each other and raise the other up. As soon as we begin comparing or competing either direction and looking at which one is more or less powerful, we disempower both sides.

If the feminine is seen to ‘win’, then in reality both lose, because the two sides exist to work together…so that there is no winner or loser…they just are.

Part of the reason that we’re so challenged these days with masculinity and femininity is this very concept of power. For years the men in our society had the ‘power’….until the women had had enough and decided they wanted to take the ‘power’ for themselves.

The feminist revolution, while doing incredible things for our society, also cost us dearly…because it put men and women definitively on two different teams, and convinced us that in order for one to win, the other had to lose.

As with all things in life, it was subjected to the ‘pendulum effect’…the perception was that the power was with men…so to rectify the balance, culturally we have swung to the other extreme of believing that we had to move to the opposite extreme…where the perception is that the power was with women…or the feminine more specifically.

…in order to ‘win’ the ‘power’ women took to emasculating men in a way that is now prolific in our culture. But when we take away men’s ‘power’ we also lose the incredible potential power that is open to us all when we choose to work together… which, as with most things in life, is greater than the sum of it’s parts.

My hope is that sooner rather than later the pendulum swing gets to balance out in the middle where we realise that neither is better or worse, more powerful or weaker than the other…that we are simply equal and opposite.

I was at an event earlier this year where they talked about the concept of ambivalence.

While the dictionary definition of ambivalence is having mixed or contradictory feelings, the definition they gave at this event really resonated with me.

They talked about ambivalence being the sweet spot between seeing something as good, or bad, light or dark, positive or negative…where you can see and appreciate that it is actually both.

The same is true with masculinity and femininity – and I hope that we can all get to the ‘sweet spot’ of recognising that masculinity is both powerful and weak…and that femininity is too.

AND that when we get the feminine and masculine to work together, both within ourselves and with others around us and society in general the result is definitely greater than the sum of the parts.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

So what IS feminine? What does it look like? Can you learn how to be feminine?

feminine

So…the question that everyone keeps asking me…what IS feminine?

What does being feminine look like? Well having established why femininity is important, in order to explain what it is, let’s start with what it isn’t. There are so many misperceptions about what the word feminine actually means, and I think it’s important that we address these up front.  Over the last couple of decades, the word feminine (unless referring to the latest Ralph Lauren line) hasn’t always been seen as the most flattering description for a woman.  This summer when Susan Walsh suggested that women “try on” femininity for a short while to see how it fitted, one woman remarked that she saw being described as the most feminine member of staff at her place of work insulting as she believed that feminine = weak and that it meant that she wasn’t being taken seriously.

Does Feminine = Weak?

So let’s start with weakness.  Feminine has about as much to do with weakness as Manolo Blahnik has to do with aubergines (cue lots of emails telling me he is an aubergine addict…).  In fact, a genuinely feminine woman is incredibly strong; feminine strength just presents itself in a different way to masculine strength.  Masculine strength comes from tension and contraction whereas feminine strength comes from flow and flexibility.  A feminine woman is a force of nature.

Does Feminine = Submission?

Another common misperception is that being feminine involves being submissive and appeasing people around you (especially men).  Again, nothing could be further from the truth.  It’s about being true to yourself, finding your inner strength and self respect and being proud of who you are inside.

Does Feminine = Pink and Fluffy?

I’ve also heard several women say that being feminine is about being girly, pink and fluffy, or replicating old-fashioned domesticity.  Every time I hear femininity described in this way, it is always followed up with a comment along the lines of “but that’s not who I am”.  Femininity comes from the inside out;  it’s not something that you ‘put on’ in order to give an appearance.  The time that a woman is truly feminine is when she’s being totally authentic.

So what does Feminine look like?

Femininity can take on many forms, because it is unique to the individual woman.  For example, when I’ve asked for examples of feminine women in the public eye, three women who regularly get mentioned are Kate Middleton (the newest member of the royal family), the actress Kate Winslet and Dita Von Teese.  I’m sure you would agree that the appearance and behaviour of each of these women are very different, and yet they are all viewed as feminine women…because each of them are being completely authentic from the inside out.

Now I wouldn’t want there to be any misunderstandings, I don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with being pink, girly or fluffy, if that’s who you genuinely are…but I wouldn’t want anyone to think that the route to femininity consists of dressing daily in a pink fluffy dress! 🙂

Being feminine is about being who you authentically are inside, plain and simple.

…and as such defining it in specific terms can be a little challenging, as being feminine looks slightly different for each individual woman.

However, there are some core aspects of femininity which are common to all feminine women.  They may appear to a greater or lesser extent from person to person, but they will all appear in some shape or form.

In order to make it nice and easy for us to remember these aspects (in case we decide that we would like to focus on developing any of them), I’ve pulled them together into a simple acronym.  It couldn’t be simpler…it’s about being F.E.M.I.N.I.N.E. first.

Flow – Being feminine is all about being open, and letting things flow.  The crucial element of this flow is that it is two-way; it is about giving AND receiving in equal measure.  If you can maintain an openness in your daily life, you will naturally feel more relaxed and feminine.

Emotionally connected – Women are natural relationship builders; we use our ability to connect emotionally with ourselves and others to develop genuine bonds with the people around us.  Our ability to express vulnerability, compassion and kindness are our biggest assets when it comes to connecting at an emotional level.  Emotion is such a crucial aspect of being feminine and as love is the most positive and powerful it is the best place to start, both with yourself and with others.  Love has managed to get itself a bit of a bad rap though…we’ve all heard sayings such as “Love Hurts” and “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”.  So when we talk about love it’s not the 21st century kind with all the rules, restrictions and pain associated with it.  We are talking about natural love, the kind that you have for your mother before you even know who she is.  Unconditional love…pure and simple.

Magic – I’m not referring to Harry Potter or David Copperfield here!  This is all about re-capturing the sense of magic from our childhood.  Being playful, childlike and having fun with life!  Most importantly…don’t take yourself too seriously!  Being feminine is about remembering the wonder that life held when you were a child and bringing that joy and ability to appreciate the little things into your everyday life.

Inspiring – Unlike some of our male counterparts, feminine women don’t have any inclination to use force or pressure to affect people around us…our core strength lies in being able to inspire, motivate and positively influence anyone we come into contact with.

Nurturing – Women are at their heart nurturers…but this doesn’t mean that we all need to have children, or spend our afternoons tending flowerbeds!  Our feminine nurturing nature can be applied in any area of life…it is about supporting and helping to inspire growth in both ourselves and those around us.

Intuition – Everyone has heard of female intuition – tales of it are legendary!  But it doesn’t have to take the form of some sort of supernatural ability…intuition can simply be a blend of awareness, knowledge and experience.  At times I’m sure that we’ve all had a gut instinct about something…often that we couldn’t actually explain or rationalise…it could be that we’re connecting with some sort of “higher ability” or it could just be your subconscious is aware of things that your conscious mind hasn’t noticed.  Either way…if it serves you and steers you in the right direction, then it’s got to be a good thing!

Natural – Femininity comes from a place of complete and total authenticity.  As a feminine woman it is about getting back to who you naturally are at your core…embracing and embodying it completely.  Being feminine is owning, honouring and celebrating the real you, from the heart…and sharing it with the world.  It’s not about looking, or acting a certain way or wearing certain things…it’s about being you, through and through, inside and out, and recognising how beautiful that is.  It’s really getting in touch with who you are inside…with your ‘essence’…and allowing that to radiate out.

Energy – Energy is where the spark is added to the mix.  This is where our sense of strength, passion and real power comes from.  A feminine woman is an absolute force of nature.  She doesn’t seek out power, or to prove herself like her male counterparts…and when she’s really in her element there is absolutely no need for either.  She can feel the flow of feminine power coursing through her…and every single person she meets can feel it too.

So there, as promised, is my definition of feminine.  It’s come as a result of researching lots of different sources…as well as from my own personal experience.

…and the question now is – what’s YOUR experience of being feminine?

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts…

Stay fabulous!

Claire x

feminine weak or strong

Feminine – Weak or Strong?

feminine weak or strongSomething which I’ve noticed coming up on a regular basis when talking about femininity is the perception by some people that it equals weakness.

I have to say that, more often than not, it’s women who bring up the subject. They are reluctant to be associated with the word feminine, because they believe they will be perceived as weak as a result.

I think that many years hearing sayings like “Cry like a girl”, ‘Throw like a girl”, “Run like a girl” (which I’m sure we’ve all heard from time to time) have probably contributed to this belief.

But femininity has nothing to do with weakness. In fact, a feminine woman in her element can be very powerful…and I’d like to share with you a story that demonstrates this.

The story is of a woman called Angela Cavallo from Lawrenceville, Georgia.

It was April 9th in 1982.

Her son Anthony was working on his car in the driveway, while Angela was in the house.

He had jacked up his 1964 Chevy Impala and was working on the suspension.

However when he removed the rear suspension spring, disaster struck.

The jack slipped away and pinned Anthony under the car.

If you have never seen a Chevy Impala it’s weight is comparable to that of a Volvo estate….so it is a very heavy vehicle.

Luckily a neighbourhood kid happened to be passing at the time and saw what happened. They ran to tell Angela who was in the Kitchen.

Angela was described as being in her 50s, around 5’8” and quite large framed. She ran out to the car and seeing her son trapped underneath it, she grabbed the corner of the car and lifted the weight off him.

Unfortunately as Anthony was unconscious he couldn’t move by himself, so the neighbourhood kid went to get help.

It took around 5 minutes for help to arrive, and Angela was holding the weight of the car the whole time.

Luckily Anthony was pulled clear and made a full recovery. But they were curious as to how Angela had performed this seemingly impossible feat so they consulted with a doctor.
The doctor confirmed that Adrenaline would have run out way before the 5 minutes had passed.

It was explained that her endurance came from the consequence of the extreme pain she would have suffered had Anthony died from the incident.

Her instincts as a woman and a mother to nurture, love and protect her son were what gave her the ability to do the seemingly impossible.

You see, a Feminine Woman with a purpose, is a force of nature. She can do the seemingly impossible and draw on a tremendous amount of strength.

So as I’ve said before, Femininity has about as much to do with weakness as Manolo Blahnik has to do with Aubergines…and now you can see why…

Have an amazing week, and remember to stay fabulous!

Claire x

P.S. A quick reminder that the All Woman Workshop, is this Saturday!  If you would love a day for yourself to indulge, be inspired and meet other like-minded ladies, then click here to snap up your ticket now.

femininity single woman

Femininity for the Single Woman…

femininity single womanWhen you start focusing on your femininity, it can be a bit of a challenge.

If you’re in a relationship it can be tough to step back and give the man in your life space to step into the masculine role.

If you’re not in a relationship it can be even harder, as there is no-one there to take on those masculine traits and step into the space that you’re creating.

You’re independent.

You’re strong.

You’re used to handling everything yourself.

So when a man does come along, it can be very hard to step back and relinquish some control when you’re so used to doing it all on your own.

How can you prepare yourself to become a partnership, when you’re used to running the show by yourself?

The first step is to stop doing it all yourself.

I know that you CAN do it all yourself…but does that mean that you WANT to?

Allow yourself to let others help you, more specifically the men in your life.

Male friends, male family members…if you could use a little help with things, then ask for it. If you make them feel needed the men in your life will be more than happy to help out.

The other thing is to get used to relinquishing control.

Take up a hobby where you have to step completely into your feminine…and simultaneously allow a man to take the lead.

A great example is dancing…such as salsa or ballroom.

As a salsa teacher myself, I know that if both the man and the woman are trying to lead, it doesn’t work.

In order for salsa to flow, one partner has to take the lead, the other has to follow.

When salsa is at it’s best, the man is leading, the woman is following.

The man is the frame, the woman is the picture.

The man provides the structure, the woman provides the beauty.

It requires trust.

For the woman it requires a belief that the man will step forward and take the lead.

For the man it requires a belief that the woman will step back and let him take the lead.

As a woman and a follower it requires letting go of the control we’ve been used to and going with the flow.

It’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean that the man is doing all the work.  Definitely not.  It’s a dance, a balance.   When dancing women need to provide some strength, resistance and assistance to the process, otherwise it doesn’t work.  Likewise she needs to be signalling that she’s ready for the move that’s coming (because trust me…a quadruple spin if you’re not ready or paying attention isn’t likely to work out too well!!)

Both in salsa and in life, learning to follow can be a challenge when you’re used to taking the lead all the time. But when you step back and let it happen, it can be fantastic.

Sometimes though, in order to move things along quickly, the ladies decide that they are going to ‘help’. Unfortunately they do this by taking over the lead and doing it all themselves…and the guys just have to watch, then try to catch up.

If this happens, the man never learns how to lead, and the woman never learns how to follow….they’re both just going through the motions.

Have you ever been in a relationship which has felt like this?

Neither get to really experience and enjoy the dance…it either becomes a battle (with both sides trying to lead) or the roles end up the wrong way around with the woman ‘back leading’ the dance and the man trying to keep up.

One question I get asked regularly, both from a femininity point of view and from teaching salsa is “What if he doesn’t take the lead?”

You will see it more obviously with salsa, but it’s true in both situations.

The simple answer is that if you show that you are ready and want him to make the move and then you don’t move, when he tries to lead…then he will know that he’s not being clear enough with his lead.

Firstly, you need to indicate that you are ready, in a way that is clear to him, in order for him to understand the move is his (there are a number of different ways of doing this, both in dancing and in life).

Once you’ve done this, if he’s trying to lead you to do something on the dancefloor, and it’s just not happening, he’ll understand that he’s not being clear enough with the lead he’s making.

If this happens a few times, he’ll soon work out that he needs to really step forward and take the lead in order to get the result he wants.

It might take a little time, but if you really step back and give him the space to lead (and let him know that it’s OK that it doesn’t work first time!  Have a laugh about it with him, smile!), he will soon step forward and learn how to do it so that you can both get the results that you want.

…and when he does, the best thing to do is to encourage and support him.

He might not get it right the first time, but with the space and support of a great partner, you’ll soon be dancing beautifully together.

The dance is all about balance…and the best way to find the balance?  Play with it! Have fun with it! Try different things, see what works and what doesn’t.

As a single girl, doing a hobby like this regularly will mean that you will get used to stepping back and handing the lead over to someone else (specifically a man). Which will make doing it in life so much easier…

Plus you can get fit and have fun in the process…it’s win-win!

Oh and remember that you only have 2 days left of the exclusive Feminine 1st subscriber offer! Be sure to get in before the offer ends on Sunday, as I wouldn’t want you to miss out! 🙂  If you don’t have any clue what I’m talking about, then put your name and email address into the pink box near the top of the page and I will send you all the details…!

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

The $64,000 Question…What IS Femininity?

female symbol

So…the question that everyone keeps asking me…what IS femininity?

Well having established why femininity is important, in order to explain what it is, let’s start with what it isn’t, there are so many misperceptions about what the word femininity actually means, and I think it’s important that we address these up front.  Over the last couple of decades, the word feminine (unless referring to the latest Ralph Lauren line) hasn’t always been seen as the most flattering description for a woman.  This summer when Susan Walsh suggested that women “try on” femininity for a short while to see how it fitted, one woman remarked that she saw being described as the most feminine member of staff at her place of work insulting as she believed that feminine = weak and that it meant that she wasn’t being taken seriously.

Does Femininity = Weakness?

So let’s start with weakness.  Femininity has about as much to do with weakness as Manolo Blahnik has to do with aubergines (cue lots of emails telling me he is an aubergine addict…).  In fact, a genuinely feminine woman is incredibly strong; feminine strength just presents itself in a different way to masculine strength.  Masculine strength comes from tension and contraction whereas feminine strength comes from flow and flexibility.  A feminine woman is a force of nature.

Does Femininity = Submissive?

Another common misperception is that it involves being submissive and appeasing people around you (especially men).  Again, nothing could be further from the truth.  It’s about being true to yourself, finding your inner strength and self respect and being proud of who you are inside.

Does Femininity = Pink and Fluffy?

I’ve also heard several women say that femininity is about being girly, pink and fluffy, or replicating old-fashioned domesticity.  Every time I hear femininity described in this way, it is always followed up with a comment along the lines of “but that’s not who I am”.  Femininity comes from the inside out;  it’s not something that you ‘put on’ in order to give an appearance.  The time that a woman is truly feminine is when she’s being totally authentic.

So what does Femininity equate to?

Femininity can take on many forms, because it is unique to the individual woman.  For example, when I’ve asked for examples of feminine women in the public eye, three women who regularly get mentioned are Kate Middleton (the newest member of the royal family), the actress Kate Winslet and Dita Von Teese.  I’m sure you would agree that the appearance and behaviour of each of these women are very different, and yet they are all viewed as feminine women…because each of them are being completely authentic from the inside out.

Now I wouldn’t want there to be any misunderstandings, I don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with being pink, girly or fluffy, if that’s who you genuinely are…but I wouldn’t want anyone to think that the route to femininity consists of dressing daily in a pink fluffy dress! 🙂

Femininity is about being who you authentically are inside, plain and simple.

…and as such defining it in specific terms can be a little challenging, as femininity is slightly different for each individual woman.

However, there are some core aspects of femininity which are common to all feminine women.  They may appear to a greater or lesser extent from person to person, but they will all appear in some shape or form.

In order to make it nice and easy for us to remember these aspects (in case we decide that we would like to focus on developing any of them), I’ve pulled them together into a simple acronym.  It couldn’t be simpler…it’s about being F.E.M.I.N.I.N.E. first.

Flow – Femininity is all about being open, and letting things flow.  The crucial element of this flow is that it is two-way; it is about giving AND receiving in equal measure.  If you can maintain an openness in your daily life, you will naturally feel more relaxed and feminine.

Emotionally connected – Women are natural relationship builders; we use our ability to connect emotionally with ourselves and others to develop genuine bonds with the people around us.  Our ability to express vulnerability, compassion and kindness are our biggest assets when it comes to connecting at an emotional level.  Emotion is such a crucial aspect of femininity and as love is the most positive and powerful it is the best place to start, both with yourself and with others.  Love has managed to get itself a bit of a bad rap though…we’ve all heard sayings such as “Love Hurts” and “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”.  So when we talk about love it’s not the 21st century kind with all the rules, restrictions and pain associated with it.  We are talking about natural love, the kind that you have for your mother before you even know who she is.  Unconditional love…pure and simple.

Magic – I’m not referring to Harry Potter or David Copperfield here!  This is all about re-capturing the sense of magic from our childhood.  Being playful, childlike and having fun with life!  Most importantly…don’t take yourself too seriously!  Remembering the wonder that life held when you were a child and bringing that joy and ability to appreciate the little things into your everyday life.

Inspiring – Unlike some of our male counterparts, feminine women don’t have any inclination to use force or pressure to affect people around us…our core strength lies in being able to inspire, motivate and positively influence anyone we come into contact with.

Nurturing – Women are at their heart nurturers…but this doesn’t mean that we all need to have children, or spend our afternoons tending flowerbeds!  Our nurturing nature can be applied in any area of life…it is about supporting and helping to inspire growth in both ourselves and those around us.

Intuition – Everyone has heard of female intuition – tales of it are legendary!  But it doesn’t have to take the form of some sort of supernatural ability…intuition can simply be a blend of awareness, knowledge and experience.  At times I’m sure that we’ve all had a gut instinct about something…often that we couldn’t actually explain or rationalise…it could be that we’re connecting with some sort of “higher ability” or it could just be your subconscious is aware of things that your conscious mind hasn’t noticed.  Either way…if it serves you and steers you in the right direction, then it’s got to be a good thing!

Natural – Femininity comes from a place of complete and total authenticity.  As a feminine woman it is about getting back to who you naturally are at your core…embracing and embodying it completely.  Being feminine is owning, honouring and celebrating the real you, from the heart…and sharing it with the world.  It’s not about looking, or acting a certain way or wearing certain things…it’s about being you, through and through, inside and out, and recognising how beautiful that is.  It’s really getting in touch with who you are inside…with your ‘essence’…and allowing that to radiate out.

Energy – Energy is where the spark is added to the mix.  This is where our sense of strength, passion and real power comes from.  A feminine woman is an absolute force of nature.  She doesn’t seek out power, or to prove herself like her male counterparts…and when she’s really in her element there is absolutely no need for either.  She can feel the flow of feminine power coursing through her…and every single person she meets can feel it too.

So there, as promised, is my definition of femininity.  It’s come as a result of researching lots of different sources…as well as from my own personal experience.

…and the question now is – what’s YOUR experience of femininity?

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts…

Stay fabulous!

Claire x