I could have easily called this article the dark side of gender in business or the dark side of gender in intimate relationships. However, I find the play in politics particularly fascinating and an overt example of the darkness in each gender. I am not sure why it is in the political domain that we see these shadows so pronounced. Perhaps the inherent insecurity in such a vulnerable and public domain brings out the worst in people. Whatever the reason, as long as we get the negative side of gender roles playing out in politics, we all lose.
First, let’s define what I mean by gender. As I see it, there are three elements of gender, which progress from very physical to subtle elements. These are biological sex, gender identity and gender energy.
Biological sex comprises all of the bits – the chromosomes and genitalia – that you were born with. Some people know biological sex as gender, or just sex (e.g. male or female). While biological sex sounds simple and binary, and it is for many people, there are many grey areas for many others. These complexities can be both physical and psychological. It is because the real world is complex and individuals are complicated that we need the idea of gender identity.
Gender identity can be the same or different as your biological sex. It is independent of your bits and is your sense of self as a man, woman, both or neither. Options include cisgender (has a gender identity the same as your biological sex), transgender (identifies as a gender different to biological sex) and gender non-binary (does not identify as either male or female).
These two elements – biological sex and gender identity reveal more subtle layers of understanding about how gender reveals itself in the world. The next element goes even deeper and looks into our beliefs, motivations, and behaviours.
What is Gender Energy?
Deida describes gender energy as an inner, psychological quality or character essence. While there are a small proportion of balanced people, most people tend towards masculine or feminine energy. Ultimately all people are searching for fulfilment and happiness, but the gender energies have different methods of achieving it. Here’s how the gender energies differ[i]:
|Searching For||Deep love||Freedom|
|Find it in||Relationships||Challenges|
|Moved by||Connection||A mission or direction|
|Life feels like||A flow of emotion||A problem to be solved or art to be mastered|
|Thrives in||Giving and receiving love||Competition|
|Wants to||Flow with the energies of life||Transcend life and be free|
|Is lessened by||Hoping or searching for love||Struggling for freedom|
|Grows through||Learning to live as love||Learning to live as freedom|
It should be noted that gender energy is not dependent upon your biological sex. Both men and women can and do display different gender energies. While a person may operate predominantly from one energy, we fluctuate every day depending on the situation’s needs. Our ability to change between gender energies to align with the context is one of the signs of conscious and adaptive psychology.
They Balance Beautifully
From the above table, it is evident that each gender energy brings a unique perspective and contribution. They are magical in their complementarity and support for each other. The masculine focuses on the tangible aspects of the problem and overcoming ingrained challenges. The feminine energy brings attention to the intangible aspects of emotions and relationships. They balance each other beautifully to bring a holistic response to any situation.
The Dark Side Of Gender
However, just like any coin has two sides, the positive potential of each gender energy can be lost in its dark opposite.
- For the feminine, the supreme state of giving and receiving love can be overshadowed by the endless pursuit, preoccupation and hope for this love. This dark side can result in the feminine chasing and clinging on to sources of love and submission to the will and whims of the targets of love she is chasing. Sadly, this can also mean that the feminine changes herself and her values (either consciously or subconsciously) to attain them.
- For the masculine, the energising state of competition can be surpassed by the desire to win and be free from the influence of others. When this dark side is present, you see manipulation, aggression, and overt displays of power. They are enacted to assert dominance over other people, position the masculine to be the winner, and ensure freedom from further competition.
The Dark Side In Politics
From my very naïve view, it appears that it is the dark side of gender energy that we see play out predominantly in politics. It is evident in two ways.
- Submission of the feminine. There is no doubt that politics and parliament are men’s worlds. They have been created by and for masculine energy. And so, unfortunately, it appears that many women feel the need to deny, reject or downplay the precious feminine energy they have. Yet, this energy can contribute to a complete, compassionate and balanced view of public policy. Perhaps they feel that their care for relationships and display of emotions will be used to belittle them, and they will lose their chance to bring their love to the world. The personal reasons may vary, but the result is the same – unbalanced decision making.
- Dominance of the masculine. When the masculine’s dark side is left unchecked, the outcome is the continual pursuit of power. To be free from anyone else, the masculine must disparage all of the competition, even within their party. Any challenge to their position and processes must be thwarted to maintain supremacy. In this situation, the feminine energy becomes just another enemy to control and conquer. As Deida states, when the dark side of the masculine is in play, there is a lack of understanding and fear about the feminine energy, with the result being that:
“We will hurt her, negate her, exploit her, run from her.”
Letting the Light In
So, how do we bring real gender equity into politics? It requires both the understanding of the different gender energies and the courage to respect and engage each one in developing processes and policies. Here’s what it means for each of the energies:
For the feminine energy, living in the light of your energy means learning to live as love. It means recognising that you have an incredible gift – your care, compassion, and consideration for individuals and relationships. It comes from the deep recognition that all the love you ever seek is within you. Living in the light of the feminine means having the same regard for your emotions that you want others to have for theirs. It means seeing your emotions as an asset rather than an interference to your decision making. The connection with and being true to the values you hold is the stage upon which you can deliver your best service.
For the masculine energy, living in the light of your energy means learning to live as freedom. It requires recognising that you can only achieve freedom when you live in alignment with your personal mission and values and not in conflict or competition against them. Being free does not mean decimating or dominating an enemy, for another will always take its place. True freedom comes when you are being true to yourself. Living in the light of the masculine means that you dare to be who you really are and bring your full self into each moment. It also means allowing others the same freedom. This is true bravery.
How Bright It Could Be
Could you imagine a world where each energy is operating in its light? It is a world full of deep respect and regard, and where each person, regardless of the energy they bring, is allowed to bring their unique contribution to the table. It is a world where one is not expected to change themselves to be more like the other or compete to prove which is best. Instead, it is a world where each energy is harnessed to benefit all. In this bright world, each energy is seen as both valid and valuable. The masculine is supported and celebrated for their mission and desire to conquer challenges. The feminine is championed for her concern about connections and care for all. Brought together in understanding and respect, these two energies could create a very bright world indeed.
This is a world I wish for my children.
[i] Based on the descriptions found in D. (2022). The Way of the Superior Man [Paperback] [Jan 01, 2017] David Deida. Simon & Schuster.
[ii] I found myself putting the masculine first out of habit – how ingrained is the belief that the feminine is merely secondary to masculine?