Monday, April 12, 2010

A Free Thinking People

"This is my feminism, that I might think the thoughts which I would like to think. And then choose, from personal power and clarity, where my allegiance and attention will be given." from Shiloh Sophia's blog

Girl Power Can Save the World

Replace the word "girl" with "feminine" and this totally supports my thoughts in the previous post on feminine leadership.

"Imagine that girl is the part of each of us that feels compassion, empathy, passion, intensity, association, relationship, emotion, play, resistance, vulnerability, intuitive intelligence, vision.

Imagine that compassion informs wisdom. That vulnerability is our greatest strength. That emotions have inherent logic and lead to radical saving action.

Now remember that those in power essentially taught us and conditioned us to believe the opposite:

Compassion clouds your thinking.

Vulnerability is weakness.

Emotions are not to be trusted.

Don't take things personally.

To be a boy means not to be a girl.

To be a man means not to be a girl.

To be strong means not to be a girl.

To be a woman means not to be a girl.

To be a leader means not to be a girl.

It must be very powerful to be a girl if everyone Is taught not to be one."

Feminine Leadership

Let me start by explaining what I mean when I use the words masculine and feminine. This isn't about gender. I am not writing about women vs. men. I believe in an evolved version of Jung's ideas that all human beings have masculine and feminine qualities within them and it is part of emotional health to be an integrated expression of those qualities.


A brief description of the qualities that are associated with each (every quality having its own light and shadow expressions):

Masculine: Logical, assertive, active, initiating, tender, risk-taking, focused, rational, providing, protective, independent

Feminine: Intuitive, passive, receptive, responsive, sensitive, intense, connection oriented, emotional, creative, nurturing, relationship oriented


I believe that a healthy approach to all of life honors the light qualities of the masculine and feminine. However, we are not balanced as individuals or as a collective. We live in a culture (a world) that honors masculine qualities more than feminine, especially outside of the home. One does not have to be an academic or fierce feminist to understand that we are slowly moving out of a rational and patriarchal paradigm...and we still have a long way to go. I believe it is important to focus attention and intention on nurturing the feminine in order to bring eventual balance. We need to lift the feminine to the same honor and respect that the masculine receives.

We also need to shift away from shadow expressions of the masculine (aggression, domination, violence) and feminine (helplessness, co-dependence, drama). It is by nurturing positive expressions that we become healthier, happier people and ensure humanity's ultimate survival. What people don't tend to consider is that men suffer as much as women from the patriarchal imbalance. A man who is not allowed to be emotional cannot have empathy for others. A lack of empathy leads to isolation and violence. Similarly, a woman who lacks assertiveness cannot be empowered to resist oppression. We all need to find the healthy balance.


Over the last two years some community members have expressed their thoughts about the Society being led by three women. Someone called us a matriarchy. Young women tell us that we are their role models. People have expressed an overall appreciation that women are in charge. There hasn't been a deep discussion that I'm aware of, just comments here and there. It hasn't been something that I gave much thought to. In the moment I would have a flash of resonance that it seems significant that we are a women-led organization, yet I didn't really sit with it until recently.

Another blogger shared a definition of feminine that resonates with me: "Feminine is a force to be reckoned with...nurturing, inclusive, and intrinsically and actively compassionate. Midwives and caretakers of ideas and community, Feminine is sought out for guidance, inspiration, and comfort."

It isn't that we are women that is so significant, it's that we are feminine leaders. We believe being "caretakers of community" is the most important aspect of our work as erotic hostesses and sex-positive activists. Discussions have come up in the Imps leadership recently that emphasize how we make decisions differently than others might, especially those with more traditional, or masculine, tendencies. It is becoming apparent that what makes us different is that we operate from a feminine perspective.

I am really beginning to see the importance of feminine leadership. We don't have many role-models for feminine leaders, female or male. Women in leadership tend to express more masculine qualities, often out of necessity to have a chance at leadership at all. Would you use the description of feminine above to describe Hilary Clinton or Condaleeza Rice? I hardly think so. The workplace virtually demands that we choose rational over emotional, logical over intuitive, and authoritative over collaborative. Every dysfunctional work culture I have participated in suffers from a lack of feminine awareness. Feminine leadership is needed to show there is a different way of doing things.

Within the Imps we are trying something different and I think it's just as revolutionary as being sex-positive. Love is our bottom line. We lead the Society from a relationship-centered point of view. We intentionally work for compassion and inclusiveness, even when it challenges us to do so. We recognize that most of our challenges involve relationship. We put our people management efforts into solving relationship challenges and nurturing positive relationships with healthy communication. Our staff meetings involve activities with the intention of building and strengthening relationships.

We also honor the emotional. We hold space for emotions as they arise, especially the painful ones. We produce our events with an awareness of the intense emotions that are stirred up by erotic parties, which is why we have a Vibes crew. We know we have to do more than facilitate a safe physical space, we need to facilitate a safe emotional space for people to feel they can be vulnerable in expressing themselves. The emotional matters very much when it comes to expressing sex and gender, identity and relationship. The emotional also matters in building community.

I am coming out as a feminine leader and I am finding my confidence and my strength as such. I lead with my heart. I am intensely emotional. I make decisions based on intuition and compassionate relationship. I consider how others, individually and collectively, are impacted by our decisions because I see and feel the ripples that happen with each choice we make.

As far as my own balance is concerned, I have masculine qualities to balance my feminine. I am assertive, risk taking, focused and authoritative/decisive when needed. But I have more work to do. I still try too hard to please everyone and I take it personally when I don't. I can be too passive/receptive and not take an active role in building individual relationships. I can be co-dependent rather than appropriately independent (on the other hand, I can also be too independent and not ask for the help I need).

I am working toward my balance, but I feel focusing on a feminine approach to leadership is a vital experience for myself and for the community. I think we need to understand what feminine leadership is and how it works before we can truly integrate it with the masculine for a holistic approach.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

First Video Interview

Dave over at Manifest Positivityrecorded a video interview with one of my business partners and myself while we were at HSU's Sexland Sexpo last Saturday.