My Lesbian Lover is a sex educator and occasionally teaches classes on Tantra. Because of this, I tend to spend time around people who use the phrase “sacred feminine” quite a bit.
I hate this terms because it is essentially meaningless, referring only to an assumed short-hand of “feminine” qualities that are ultimately arbitrary and most often negative, based on current cultural standards.
People who throw around the term “sacred feminine” most often equate it with traits like “passive,” “gentle,” “docile,” “intuitive,” and “receptive,” pleasantly ignoring the fact that women all also possess qualities like strength, shrewdness, cleverness, creativity, rage, and so on. Yet, we divide these traits into “masculine” and “feminine” categories. I might be declared a more “masculine” woman because I like science, don’t get too emotional, have limited intuition, am highly sexual (as a sprinter rather than long-distance), don’t enjoy wearing skirts or long hair, enjoy carpentry and making stuff with my hands, and so on.
My question is, What good does that do us? If culture determines that I’m a more masculine woman because of these superficial qualities, what does that actually say about me? Does it affect my possible mates? My career? Does it help people understand me before they meet me?
Society has told us for decades that girly-girls should mate with manly-men. If you want to be happy- to get a good a job, a good spouse, to have a good life- you have to fit into a narrow mold of proper gender identity. If a woman wants to feel sexy, she’s told to put on some heels and lingerie, buy some perfume, put on some makeup, and go out and flirt with some guys. If a woman wants to have good sex, she’s told to be more open, more relaxed, more receptive, because that’s what the sacred feminine does.
The logic that follows is that if I don’t embody these classically feminine traits, then I am less of a woman than those who do. The butcher among us are assigned the “male” role in society and relationships, because they are less womanly than their femme counterparts. If we assign clout by how well one embodies the mold given to us, then femme boys and butch girls are automatically lower in the hierarchy of life.
The underlying premise is that if one does follow the rules (by learning to soften her rough edges, for instance) then great things will follow. By learning how to belly dance, a woman can become more sexually embodied, or by striving to make more money, and man can bolster his dignity. What this doesn’t take into account is individual preference and personality. Not every woman is going to feel sexy jiggling in a metal covered bra, and some men may be happy making less money.
The fact is, these gendered traits are completely arbitrary, yet we are sold them as if they are real things. Once you start getting clued into the sheer ridiculousness of gender, you start to see it everywhere: water=feminine, sun=masculine, rock=masculine, flower=feminine, wood=masculine, silk=feminine, and on and on and on. We extrapolate these things until we create entire mythologies around them. And in creating these mythologies, many people are naturally excluded, determined to be “less than” because of their inability to live up to a false set of standards.
As an integrated person, I both feel and create. I hunt and gather. I pursue and seduce. If there is anything sacred about me, it is not my femininity, it is my humanity.