Within the limits of physical strength, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that women are capable of doing anything men can do. For me, that is not the question. Rather, I think our culture needs to address the mistaken idea that women can’t be powerful, and even more importantly, what “power” looks like.
As Ms. Atwood so succinctly points out, in a patriarchy, women are not perceived as powerful. And why would they be when, by definition, a patriarchy is a culture where men hold a disproportionate amount of power. A female with power would certainly be an anomaly. But as the pictured above can attest, women are now able to reach many of the “powerful” positions once reserved exclusively for men. Not only are three women currently serving on the Supreme Court, there are female CEOs and elected officials at many levels. That is richly deserved and important progress.
But the bigger issue for me is what “power” looks like for women. I believe the feminine principle’s view of power is different from the masculine’s view. In a patriarchy, power usually deals with an individual’s ability to control their environment and often manifests as one side “winning” over another. The feminine principle’s concept of power is more about consensus and what is for the greater good. This is missing from our world.
I challenge us all to broaden our view of power so there is room in our culture for the feminine definition, so a powerful woman is not an anomaly, but a necessary part of a balanced culture.
Seek Balance: What does power mean to you? Do you frame power within the construct of a patriarchy? How can you change this?