Men serve and lead, women receive and obey

Men serve and lead, women receive and obey

OBEYING AND SERVING

Some time ago I had a dream in which I was a waitress. To my surprise it was one of the most intense dreams I ever had and still has not left me. Though there was nothing overtly sexual about the dream or my attire or actions, this “waitressing” thing, this serving, made me feel like I was being prostituted and brought a feeling of deep nausea to my stomach. I'd found myself getting the same feeling when I came across BDSM type sites where the woman was expected to put her partner's needs and feelings first and hers on a back burner. And the same nausea again when I explored many Christian sites that advocated the woman either being a super woman type at home (basically a full time servant and maid for her family), or even worse, husbands who force their wives to become a vulnerable servant outside the home and work for a stranger. Where the bleep is the providence and protection in that? But at the same time as these things feel wrong to me, the feeling of obeying one's partner in relationship feels extremely right to me, and in many regards I am deeply drawn to traditional relationships. Seemed like quite a contradiction and I felt rather lost.

Then I noticed that in the traditional Christian wedding vows, a woman does not promise to serve, she promises to love, honor and obey. The word “obey” does not mean “serve”, and that is the key. What's more, if you want to find serving, the place to look is actually in the man's traditional promise, to love, honor and cherish. Cherishing is serving. And yet this has been neatly glossed over for a very long time.

When I look back at my own life, my girlhood was always full of images of fairy tales and ravishment and rescue, and my adult heart has stubbornly refused to make the mistake of so called “growing up” about these things. I know I'm not alone here. In my little girl heart, and later, in my not so little girl heart, I wasn't riding off into the sunset on my own horse next to him as an “equal”, I was on his horse, with him in charge of the reins, being held close to him. I was obeying. And he was serving.

This really does seem to cut to the core of things, but what is the difference truly between serving and obeying? It was Patricia Allen's ideas (see Getting To "I Do", by Patricia Allen: a book review, Respect and responsibility and An alpha female bares her throat only to her mate) that helped me articulate this distinction. In tune with traditional wisdom (and even biology if one looks at the act of intimacy), she stresses that feminine energy is receiving-based, receptive. That is definitely a more vulnerable way to be, and also more inward-focused, and being receptive to one's own sensations and feelings and comfort level is critical for female energy. The result of this as Pat Allen puts it is a woman must “love herself more”, rather than overall putting another's feelings first and losing her center. And many things unfold from these realizations.

RECEPTIVE AND ACTIVE

According to Pat Allen, a woman centered in her feminine energy does not give to someone else in an initiatory way (that would be serving), but rather she gives back, which is receptive-based. It is receiving and then naturally wanting to give back as a result. In giving back she is still being responsive to self-comfort cues and feelings rather than losing her female center through self-sacrifice. A feminine-energy woman also naturally gives back a little less than she has received, because that allows her to remain in her naturally receptive mode. On the other hand, when a woman is giving the same or more overall, then she is no longer being receptive, no longer being in her feminine center, and this is going against her very nature and so quite harmful. As I experienced so strongly in that dream for example, a woman serving feels deep down like a burnt-out waitress, used, taken from, as though she is being prostituted.

So while serving is harmful to female energy, obeying on the other hand is very suited as I see it, yet most people mistakenly see serving and obeying as somehow one in the same. The problem I have realized is that we have misunderstood what true obeying really is. To go back to the waitress example, on the surface it looks like a waitress is simply obeying, but true obeying is not about “taking orders” like that, it is a much more profound thing. Obedience does not happen in an impersonal vacuum, it is a response. It happens in context, as a response of respect and trust when one is being cared for and cherished.

What obedience really is is a natural response to being cherished. A “waitress” like I was seeing in that dream is, instead, a woman serving, and since a woman is not wired for the active imparting focus of serving, it is harmful. And the women I hear about from every direction who are not truly provided for and protected are likewise harmed: their obedience is not the response to being cherished as it should be but rather they are being used. So in both of these cases what looks like obedience there is really a kind of psychic rape, a siphoning, a burning out. No wonder it can feel like being prostituted when a woman is serving.

The only time serving is something else altogether and not prostituting a woman is when it is in the context of her obedience—she is cherished and given to, her feelings and comfort are thus given priority, thus she naturally desires deep down to obey and please back, it can become even an ache to do so, and so serving can happen as a part of this desire to make the one we are obeying happy. In this case it is part of the deeper desire now and so part of receptivity, and this desire is born of having been so cherished. This is not the same thing as a woman simply serving in itself.

HEROES AND HEROINES

However, serving in itself is very suited to male energy. Like true obedience is for a woman the deeper receptive desire, so is true service for a man the deeper active desire. And unlike obeying, we do seem to have more of an accurate idea in general of what serving in itself means—it is initiatory, active, giving, imparting, impacting, and accommodating to the feelings of others—all core male energy stuff according to Pat Allen, and also in line with traditional wisdom. Choosing to lead and serve, and promising this to his chosen partner come what may, is something male energy is truly suited for, and in the end this is what fulfills a masculine-energy man. And serving the one you love is what cherishing is all about.

Pat Allen says that a boy becomes a man by realizing that women children and the earth and her creatures are not there to serve him but rather he them through the imparting of his manful bounty. He becomes a man by ending his focus on his own immediate self-gratification and committing himself to the active imparting of the male gifts he has to give, which in the end actually brings him the deeper gratification he seeks when those gifts of his truly help heal and protect those around him. Pat Allen uses the Fisher King wound spoken of in the heroic Arthurian legends (or rather the healing of this) to illustrate this.

A girl on the other hand becomes a woman when her self-love deepens enough to where she follows her intuition and feelings and sense of comfort, helping her deepen her own receptivity. Allen speaks of the heroine in the Princess and the Pea (happens to be my childhood favorite, smiles) to illustrate this. And it is this deepened self-comfort and feeling focus and receptivity that allows a woman to even recognize the man whose leadership she can trust and whom she can promise to obey with grace and gratitude. Obedience becomes her deeper desire, it is a very naturally feminine response to being cherished.

SLAYING THE DRAGON OF JUDGEMENT

What most people don't realize is this self-comfort focus of feminine energy is completely critical to developing and accessing her “woman's intuition” as well, and her receptiveness in all other areas. It is her opening to her own inner signals and needs and cues and heeding them that underlies both her deep intuition developing, her needing her comfort level overall maintained, and her deepening in other ways of receptivity. They are a package deal. Yet what we seem to expect nowadays is that a woman be intuitive and receptive in ways that benefit others but not focus on being receptive to the priority of her own inner comfort. We want her to benefit others with her feminine receptivity yet at the same time force herself to be the male energy and serve. And it simply doesn't work that way, without this self-comfort focus female energy atrophies.

But instead of embracing these basics of female energy, we wrongly judge them selfish and immature. I was following a discussion about Pat Allen's ideas in which a couple actually practicing her system received the following charged response: “...you don't, as far as I can make out, inhabit the normal world at all. Your lives are so far removed from anything that I recognise as reality that I can't imagine what planet you come from. Certainly not Earth.”

What particularly annoyed the critics was, you guessed it, the husband's insistence that it is his responsibility as the masculine-energy man in the relationship to lead—but also to serve. His wife is the complementing feminine energy so he takes the view that she should not work outside or inside the home, including housekeeping and the like, unless she desires to. He knows that for her to stay in her feminine energy she must maintain a true comfort level there and only give what she truly desires to give, plus it is the nature of a masculine energy man to prioritize the happiness of the one he is cherishing.

The criticism that this couple was living in a fairy tale rather than in the real world really struck a nerve in me. Making life a fairy tale is actually our only hope. The heroes of our deeper fairy tales served. They labored, and they fought the dragon, and they rescued the princess. Nowadays we attack the women who naturally are geared to be that princess (heroine), and we try to turn them into a similarly serving hero, much to our harm. As Pat Allen puts it, cherishing/serving is masculine energy, not feminine energy. Likewise, I'd still argue, obeying is feminine energy not masculine energy.

In the end, the loving giving of serving is what creates heroes and fulfills masculine-energy men. Serving of this same sort done by feminine energy has the opposite effect: it is soul killing. A man anchored in his masculine energy is not looking for a woman to serve him. He is looking for a woman anchored in her feminine energy, one whom he can lovingly give to and one who can gratefully and gracefully receive this bountiful giving of his. She can then give back from a place of deeper desire (i.e., desired in the long run, if not necessarily always in the short run), giving back from a place of being cherished, and thus still true to her female receptive core. This receptivity of hers also includes her receiving his leadership and direction (i.e., her obedience). The healing irony of polarity is that the very act of his fulfilling her is what deep down ends up fulfilling him.

THE SERVANT LEADER

Giving/serving/cherishing is also what the Christian concept of headship is about, where a man is aptly encouraged to be a servant-leader. Headship calls for the man to lead, provide, protect and serve, and the cherished woman to receive and obey. It also ties in with the “curses” Adam and Eve were given in Genesis. Adam was given the work/serving curse, not Eve. Eve's curse was to be ruled by Adam and to receive his seed and bear his children, even when these things involve pain (well, plenty of articles on this site on that topic!). This may seem to contradict the focus on self-comfort but it does not, as these things are not stand-alone but intricately connected with the deeper desire of being cherished. It is as ironic, and profound, as how a boy becoming a man gives up his focus on his own self gratification only to find it leads him to the deeper gratification he truly wants through serving.

I have long felt in my gut that those “curses” actually held the healing that Adam and Eve (and we, their children) need, as a loving God does not punish to harm but to heal. They also seem designed to work only together. Eve is receptive, so her obedience must be inspired by Adam's cherishing leadership, which makes it possible for her trust him. Her obeying without his cherishing would not be healing, but the two together are another story—a healing story, a potential fairy tale.

RETURN OF THE FAIRY TALE

The image of the couple on horseback remains etched in my mind, ancient, archetypal, and I know I'm not alone in this. He has the reins, is leading and serving. And she is held by him and opening to him, trusting and obeying. And it is through his cherishing and her obedience that they both know they are truly loved.

Something to think about when one hears the groom promise to love, honor and cherish—and something to cringe about when one hears a woman saying the same thing as the groom rather than promising to love, honor and obey. Because the modern woman is no longer cherished; rather, she promises to be a cherisher. And God forbid she should want to obey, or worse yet expect her groom to be provident, protective and trustworthy enough to be obeyed. Instead this precious treasure has been stolen from us both. Deep down many of us long to be with someone worthy of our obedience—and deep down many men long to be that man. We do not want to harm our self and our partner by pretending to be a man by cherishing and serving, we want to embrace our receptive feminine energy and trust and obey.

If this is “not living in the real world” please give me the fairy tales any day, they feel to hold far more wisdom. At least fairy tales understand the difference between cherishing and obeying, and who is suited for which. No wonder we see tragic endings all around us in the “real world” and yet fairy tales end...

Happily Ever After.

Under His Wing

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Comments

Pat Allen does not say that a woman should do NO work

While I am in sympathy with the idea that being obedient does not mean being a servant, I do think it is absurd to suggest that the woman need not work either inside or outside the home. That IS a denial of the reality of life for most people. Most men can not afford to support wives and provide them with servants. NOWHERE in Pat Allen's book does it say that the woman should do NO work. what she does say is that tasks should be devided up according to what suits each couple "There are no gender-specific tasks" she says, and I totally agree with that. She does not advocate that the woman should be a parasite with no responsiblity for anything. If you think that Pat Allen's book says that the woman should take no responsiblity for anything, then I don't think you have read it with sufficient care.

Fairy tales

As far as living in fairy tales goes, I have always preferred those fairy tales in which the heroine takes an active rather than a passive role. I admired characters like Kate Crackernuts, Molly Whuppie, Tatterhood, etc. I think passivity can be taken too far, and the notion that a woman should be responsible for NOTHING does not seem to me to be the way to have a healthy relationship. And it is certainly not what is advocated by Pat Allen.

One of the aspects of her books that admirers of hers often seem to prefer to overlook is that she is not inflexible in her attitude to gender roles. She believes that women can take the lead in situations where they need to, moreover she also believes that with age women and men are likely to swap roles, with women becoming more 'masculine' and men more 'feminine'. She is by no means as infexible as most people who write relationship books, which is one of the reasons why I like her. There's a lot of twaddle in her books, but there's a lot of sense too.

The feminine way

I have to desagreewith the ideas proposed here. I feel that my submission is an active thing.. in my personal myths I have always been the priestess, the good witch, taking care of people and healing them... my vision of submission includes service and sacrifice and I think there's nothing un-feminine with that, is there?

Serving with love

When you love and have no fears, you wantonly serve. You do this to make life better for your loved one(s). This took growing up for me to realize. It also took excellent communication from one who loves me. It does not make me feel taken advantage of or secondary. I serve because I love. Cheerfully.

Becoming a slave or servant

I agree absolutely that a woman becoming a man's slave or servant is wrong. However, the author of this article has interpreted Pat Allen's theory as meaning that a woman need contribute nothing to a relationship, and that it is the man's responsibility to provide everything. That is not what Pat Allen says in her book at all. When she talks about a woman being a receiver rather than a giver, she does not mean the woman should be totally passive, and she believes that chores should be shared between a couple, which strikes me as eminently reasonable.

On Becoming a Slave or a Servant

I think Louise hit the hot button here on the head when she said "the author of this article has interpreted Pat Allen's theory as meaning that a woman need contribute nothing to a relationship, and that it is the man's responsibility to provide everything". It seems like Louise holds the standard politically correct feminist brainwashing we have shoved down our throats from every direction that tells us it is only male qualities that are worth anything. Thus by a woman being in her female energy and receiving/receptive based and instead giving BACK she is "contributing nothing".

I’d like to see just how long we could last without feminine receptive energy in this world. We couldn’t. It is far from "nothing" even though we are over and over again told it is. In fact it is just as sacred and central as male energy, and what true male energy craves as his complement. A masculine-energy man wants a feminine energy woman, not a servant. And a woman who is forced to act outside of her female core and become more male like and provide and protect is definitely a servant.

Also, thank you so much to the anonymous writer that was pointing the servant issue out more.

Only male qualities?

You obviously know very little about the history of the human race if you think that a woman being totally passive and being expected to do nothing at all except what she wanted to is somehow the way life was in pre-politically correct days.

Women throughout history have ALWAYS been expected to contribute materially to life. For most of prehistory , we were hunter-gatherers, with women responsible for gathering the bulk of the food, i.e. the fruit, nuts, roots etc that made up the bulk of the diet, while men brought home the meat. With the change-over to agricultural societies, women found themselves working a lot harder in the fields, and producing more children. During the Middile Ages, women were actively involved in their husband's businesses, and even aristocratic women were expected to be actively involved in the running of their households, not just passive. With the seperation of home and workplace, you got an increasing number of stay-at-home wives whose sole responsibility was running the home and looking after the children, but nevertheless it WAS regarded as a responsibility.

Unless you were the wife of a sultan languishing in some eastern harem, or the mistress of a wealthy man, there was never likely to have been a time when you were a woman who was expected to have no responsibilities whatsoever. It's not to do with 'political correctness' it's to do with the fact that every grown-up has some responsibilites in their lives, and "feminine energy" women are not for ornamental purposes only.

Although this entire thread i

Although this entire thread is intriguing and speaks loudly and broadly to many taken in hand/BDSM-based relationship issues, I believe it only accurate to point out that Under His Wing's general point of view seems to be one formed by an obvious faith and belief in what appears to be a Christian-labeled religious theme/organization/lifestyle/church/viewpoint/fill in the blank. I am reminded once again to "beware any fundamentalism" and although I am not presuming the written viewpoint to be from a fundamental POV, I do encourage all readers to take into account the author's and their own POVs and for all of us to remember we are free to choose to live with or without religion. These are scary days in the world and it's getting more and more challenging to rely on our instincts, research, analysis and smarts in an increasingly faith-based environment.

That said, one thing the essay really brought up for me (recently removed from a four-year lifestyle d/s relationship) is an on-going discussion between my exdom and myself that went something like this: he became less and less interested in initiating "play" and leadership and cherishing because he did not want to be in the role of "servant". This compromised his general belief that once the sub started expecting and enjoying the interplay, he was no longer in control. This unwavering and non-growth-oriented MO ultimately led to my great emotional, spiritual, mental and physical discontent; not because there wasn't enough "healthy" physical and emotional and psychological "play" (there wasn't, it's true), but because I was no longer cherished. I agree with Taken's idea that, at least in my alpha-female-sub ways, to be cherished and to trust that I am cherished, is the single most important key to giving myself to an alpha-male-dom. Without the cherishment (new word, eh?), I am just giving, giving, serving and giving and serving some more and, as I learned, I ended up empty. (But full of smarts and insight!)

Thanks for the provocation.

On the Feminine Way

Response to Regina:

When a woman is cherished and comfortable and thus “in her own skin”, then a desire to please and heal comes forth that is a naturally feminine way I feel. I felt that was also what was hidden under what one of the anonomous replies said, that "When you love and have no fears, you wantonly serve". You are cherished then, so you are safe rather than needing to fear, and so it is a natural response then and feels very right. Moving, in fact.

But when a woman is instead sacrificing it is not an extension of being cherished, it is rather stepping out of her core and comfort cues and her own skin by serving, it is “sticking her neck out”. And I think that is definitely different, and definitely masculine, it is heroic. So I strongly feel that sacrifice and serving like that deep down fulfills a hero, but in the long run harms a heroine.

It is only when a woman is “serving” in the context of being cherished that it instead feels right, it is then not really serving in the same sense at all but rather giving BACK and so still staying in one’s receiving/receptive to inner comfort cues female core, staying in one’s skin. Without the cherishment part, to me it definitely feels like prostituting one’s female energy instead. I wrote a part two to my article that goes into this topic more, though I’m not sure if it will be posted here or not.

But I am a deep believer in personal fairy tales, personal myths, and from the sound of your post you feel very in tune with your inner realms. And well, a woman’s intuition is always her final guide isn’t it?

On Cherishing

Reply to Louise:

Yes I knew this article would press buttons. I noticed a similar response to Mike and Mike’s Girl when you told them “...you don't, as far as I can make out, inhabit the normal world at all. Your lives are so far removed from anything that I recognise as reality that I can't imagine what planet you come from. Certainly not Earth” , and when many others attacked them as well. This was on http://www.takeninhand.com/respect.and.responsibility and it was actually that particular article of Mike’s and then the following after comments/expansions of his partner Mike’s Girl and also the further comments of Mike’s there that drew me to Pat Allen’s stuff in the first place. To me what was written in them is the essence of what is good and healing hidden in Pat Allen’s stuff, particularly what was expressed by Mike.

But though there is a heart of things in Pat Allen’s stuff that resonates with real truth for me, I never said she would agree with all of my conclusions, nor that I agree with all of hers (such as some of her more politically correct type stuff you are drawn to, I think the politically correct scene has caused us more harm than anything). What I was doing in the article was showing how some of her key ideas that I spoke of have truly inspired me and helped me articulate this critical distinction between serving and obeying.

However, Pat Allen definitely does say that all forms of giving are male energy. It is only giving BACK that is female energy. Many women out there working, inside or outside the home, are not giving back (ie remaining receiving-focused by giving less than they are being given in the situation), instead they are forced to be the male energy and serve by giving the same or more and betraying their female receiving based core. If a woman desires the work she is doing, then great, that means she is still acting from her female energy and inner comfort cues. But many women (or feminine-energy women if you prefer Allen’s specific views) are truly harmed by the unrealistic expectation that they become should play the male role and serve by doing undesired work and stepping out of their comfort based receptive female core. This comfort base is *truly critical* to remaining in one’s female energy and the reasons are in the article.

I absolutely don’t buy the whole two incomes are mandatory thing at all, nor the woman as household servant expectation. Though thanks to feminism they are dangerously dwindling, there are still plenty of men who make cherishing a *true priority* and therefore are the sole provider. If they don’t earn enough for the basics then they find or create a better position. And if they do earn enough for the basics but would rather be more affluent by having her income too, they instead put their wife’s happiness above getting to show off the wonderful car or perfect house that her second income could provide. Whether you think it is possible or not, I know plenty of people who live comfortably enough on one income, they do not buy into the brainwashing that it is not possible, they make it work. And though this is rarer sadly, there are also those who have woken up enough to not turn their partner into a household servant because of this. Those that want a servant, inside or outside the home, are no longer being the male cherishing energy.

When cherished, women will naturally want to give BACK in the ways they are drawn to and suited to, and that may very well mean keeping the house lovely and cooking up a storm or even doing a job she loves, or whatever it is the woman is instead more suited to. But this is not at all the same as an expectation of serving and doing these things desired or not, and thus a woman stepping outside of her comfort cue based female energy. A masculine-energy/cherishing man wants a woman’s giving back to be based on her desire rather than on her prostituting her female energy by being forced to serve. A cherishing man puts the feelings and comfort of his partner first. A man who instead expects his partner to serve inside or outside the home by having her deny her own inner comfort cues is not cherishing her.

“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust” (Psalms 91:4)

Giving back

Yes, the idea that woman will want to give back if she is cherished is very nice, and is no doubt true. But nevertheless, there are certain things in life that HAVE to be done, and women have responsibilites as well as men. If you are looking after children, for instance, you have to get them washed and dressed and get them to school and get them to do their homework and brush their teeth and go to bed etc, this isn't to do with feeling cherished it's just the business of life that has to get done. Some things we just have to do regardless of whether we feel cherished or not.

Throughout most of history, the majority women have been expected to work at least as hard as men both inside the house and out, whether they felt cherished or not. I don't agree with women being made to work harder than men, but nor do I agree that a woman should be entirely without responsibilities.

I do not believe that two incomes are mandatory either, and I think if a woman is happy staying at home (I am) then she should. But I think that's something each couple has to work out for themselves "negotiate" as Pat Allen says. I never said I thought a woman should have to work outside the home, and I can't imagine why you think I did. I have constantly pointed out on this site that I am a stay-at-home wife myself, and moreover that I also have a husband who still does a great deal in the home in spite of having a demanding full-time job. I said I thought it was silly to assume that a woman had no responsibilities, and I do. That's reducing a woman to the level of—well, I won't say a child, because even children have some responsibilities. It's reducing a woman to being like a fluffy toy cat or something. Which I do not believe is a good thing.

We are a team

I agree with so much of what Under His Wings says. It is so true that a family can live on one income, if they so choose. We are a family of 9 doing it. Is it easy? Not on your life! But soooo worth it. My husband works tirelessly (ha, what an oxymoron!) to take care of us, and in response to his efforts, I work "tirelessly" to make what he does for us sufficient to meet our needs. I have friends who work every bit as hard as I do to survive, but their husbands are not cherishing them, and they do not know the joy and peace, or fulfilllment, as they are initiating and not responding. Oh, yeah, I gladly serve my man and my family, because my man is ALWAYS serving us in some way or another. For the record, our annual income would be below $50,000—and with 7 children, that's barely middle class here, but in our opinion, we are rich beyond measure!

Cherishing in Our Past and Present

One small note to start with, I thought a criticism of women not working was implied in the “Most men can not afford to support wives and provide them with servants” part, so I’m sorry if I misinterpreted that, I didn’t mean to offend you.

I do need to point out something again, and that is that my article was not just simply about Pat Allen’s theory, it was also about my own conclusions that were rather inspired by it. Though there is some core overlap, it is not just simply the same thing, and so I do not share *all* of Allen’s ideas. I have simply embraced those that feel in my body to have the ring of truth, which is a very feminine-energy way to discern things. My feeling about her is that she comes upon some VERY core truths, but then she also muddies them up with political correctness to fit in with the mainstream. And I just embrace the core stuff there that rings true for me, not the muddying-feeling stuff that does not.

If something really feels like drudgery to a woman, though, I sense Pat Allen would be the first to agree that that woman has entered the male giving realm by doing it. Or to put it more in her terms this would apply to a feminine-energy woman. The feminine energy is the cherished follower, and her feelings come first. Once another’s feelings take priority and she has to deny her own and step outside of her skin, outside of her comfort cues, then she has been forced to leave her female core. And that is where I think she has become a servant.

Giving IN CONTEXT of a generally cherishing relationship is one thing, as this still keeps her in her female receptive core. Without that cherishment, she is being forced to be a servant by stepping outside of her female core. And when a woman is cherished her feelings truly matter, her partner does not want her to be unhappy by doing something that her body says no to.

In your example with the children, if this really felt wrong to her doing these things overall then it would yes be irresponsible to just not do them on the spot and leave the children neglected. But if she brought this issue to her partner if he is cherishing her they would find an alternative solution, whether that be another way to do things or getting help somehow. Male energy is not just talk but manifest action, he creates solutions.

I’ll admit this is a strange example, as most women would not have a problem deep down I think with the standard childcare stuff. But some might. I for example have a serious neck injury and if and when I have a child I will need some very real help in that area. Others might need it for another reason. A woman may not feel cherished in each and every situation standing alone, but yes she SHOULD be generally cherished overall, and overall be giving more in a way that is truly COMFORTABLE for her, whatever niche she will find that is in, not being forced to just “buck up” and serve. Though there are times this may need to be stepped out of, overall that feeling comfortable, that listening to and heeding those inner comfort cues, truly is the key to female energy. And if I’m understanding Allen’s stuff correctly that comfort cues focus is what she presents as well. If I am misunderstanding it, then it is still what I strongly believe.

As for our earlier history, in reality we know precious little about it, and we tend to interpret it through our modern standards. I will need to find the link, but there was a blog article about this that really struck a chord in me. I will find it and post it later. The author there was pointing out how misguided we were to just assume that women were not cherished before. She was touring an ancient castle in Germany when it really hit her. She noticed how careful and convenient things were arranged in the ancient castle’s kitchen, the sinks, the cupboards. She noticed how sanitary and not smelly the waste disposal was (not the “dark ages” as we tend to think of it). How things were built sensitive to a woman’s sensibilities, not more just the “man’s world” we just assume was the norm back then. She saw the shoes that had survived, the men’s boots were high because they went in dangerous places and needed protection from snake bites and such, the women’s were very low since they were more protected at home.

Then most of all she noticed that there was a special room off the side of the dining area for women that was particularly beautiful and smaller than the rest with a big fireplace and special feet warmers. The guide explained that this was there so women back then could be kept warmer than the men as they were understood to be more sensitive to the cold. Now THAT was cherishing. And I don’t think it’s atypical of our past either, I think this sort of thing is in many places in our history but glossed over and downplayed because it does not fit the mainline view that men and woman are the “same” and so a woman needs no special treatment or cherishing. I’m not saying there are not the examples you speak of alongside as well, but I am definitely not going to assume that they were just the norm. I think there is A LOT of cherishing that is not given attention from our past, far more than we even imagine.

Overall cherishing

My comment to Mike was intended to convey that I thought it was a silly idea that women should have no responsibility at all for doing anything, whether inside or outside the house. I certainly don't believe that all women should go out to work whether they like it or not, th mere mention of that dread word "juggling"makes me want to go and lie down in a darkened room. But that's not the same as believeing that a woman shouldn't contribute anything of a practical nature to a marriage unless she feels like it, which I think is daft.

I mean, Mike's idea seems to be that the man should be responsible for earning a living AND running the household as well, and that the woman should do only what pleases her. But much of life, whether you are a man or a woman, consists of doing things that don't particularly please you but that just have to be done. You accept that the whole of life cannot be about simply pleasing yourself. It would be a physical impossibility for my husband to earn a living, do all the housekeeping and look after the children as well while I sat around doing nothing, yet Mike implied that this would be a reasonable thing for me to do. Which is crazy.

My husband cherishes me quite a lot, more than a lot of husband do their wives, I know. But he can't do everything, and I don't think he should have to. I'm lazy God knows, but I'm not so lazy that I expect him to do everything. It can't all be about what you want to do, some of it is just about what you have to do.

I think Pat Allen's comment that there are no gender specific tasks is very sensible, my husband is certainly better than I am at all practical tasks, including those traditonally considered to be "women's work". It's very nice to be cherished, but however cherished women were in the past, there's never been a time when women have been expected to be purely ornamental, they have always had responsibilities, just like men. And I think to suggest, as Mike does, that a woman has no responsibilities in a relationship is actually a way of diminishing women. If you don't have any adult responsibilities then you're not an adult.

I have not always taken responsiblity for the things that I should in the past. I've let the house get in a mess when I know my husband hates it like that, I've let the children run wild when I know he hates that too. But these days I try harder with those things, just as he tries harder not to lose his temper with me. He's actually kept his side of the bargain rather better than I have.

For instance, the other night he was due back (I thought) at about 10pm. so, I thought complacently, I'll start tidying up at about 8pm, that's two hours before he'll be back. But he walked in at 7.30 pm (I'd got the time he was due back wrong). Seeing the house looking like a bomb had hit it though did not cause him, as it might have in the past, to blow his top. He said it was almost worth seeing the house like that in order to enjoy the expression of guilty dismay on my face when he walked in. He doesn't let things anger him so much any more, and this in turn makes me feel like trying harder with the housework etc, so it is in a way because I feel he is giving more to me that I am able to give back.

Archetypes

I like your response very much, Under His Wing, and your nickname too. In my favourite song there the lyrics say: "Close the curtains and turn out the lights / Beneath my wing it's gonna be alright".
Our archetypes are individual, and even the common ones seem to have a different meaning for each of us. So sometimes you get disgusted by the feeling that somebody has "exploited" your most private fantasy or violated it. It's a good idea to admit, I think.

Also (Louise) we have too keep in mind that it's a pretty difficult thing to express and share you inner feelings and so-called archetypes and one may fall into the danger of making them sound racional and by doing so, adding other aspects—religious beliefs, political, evolutional... these may be pretty subjective and even untrue, but you have to interpret them in the light of the unique personal experience.

Hey, I get p****d off too every time I read about the "paradise 50's" or the "men-provided archaic society", but I count to ten and realize that not everybody is a history fan like me. In fact it is probable that the first people were semi-vegetarians. And innocent people were executed by hundreds behind the Iron Curtain during the fifties before Stalin's death made some major changes in he politics of the communits party.

Archetypes

Well, I don't know much about archetypes, but I do know that women have always been expected to look after home and family, as well as doing a lot of other stuff, and have never been considered to be there to do only what they feel like doing.

What I mostly feel like doing is reading books and watching reruns of 'Columbo' and 'Diagnosis Murder' on Hallmark, but life, unfortunately, isn't like that, and I find myself having to do a lot of other stuff as well. Such is life. I wouldn't actually mind all that much if my husband was to leave the running of the house to me, so long as he was satisfied with the way I ran it. If he was content with the quality of my housework, and if he would eat food the way I cooked it, that would be all right with me, but he isn't. He likes to clean things so he gets them as clean as he wants them, rather than the way they end up when I do them, and he cooks things that he doesn't trust me to cook the way he likes them (sometimes I feel I'd kill for a slice of underdone beef). We teeter on the brink of driving each other round the bend, but mostly manage to retain our footing on the side of sanity (so far anyway).

If I said to him "I am a feminine energy woman, so I'm only going to do what I feel like doing from now on" I can't imagine what he'd say (actually I can, but I couldn't repeat it here). I mean honestly! The world just isn't like that!

The lyrics of my favourite song by the way are;

Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men,
Feared by the bad, loved by the good,
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood.

They simply don't write songs like that any more.

Missing Link

The link referred to in the Cherishing Past and Present comment is this.

I got the part about having actual foot warmers wrong though, I was just remembering how they were talking about a woman needing to keep her feet warm. But I LOVE this post and this deeper understanding of our hidden cherishing past. From the post, “So even in those times, when life often was extremely difficult, men were trying to make it more comfortable for ladies... I think even in those times good men did everything to make life easier for women and to protect them from hardships.”

Re: What I learned during my vacation

I went on the homeliving website and I know about the castle. I was born and raised in Germany. Without a doubt the place is beautiful, if anyone wants to see it, this is the link. To see the picture you have to write: Burgen/Mosel by : Stadt eingeben and than click on: Los
It`s a real nice place.

I can imagine that the castle and the nature around it left quite an impression on the author of that articel. However let me tell you some things that we learned in school about german history. Only the very rich women had that kind of life style. In those times women wasn`t allowed to learn how to read and write, they had to carry heavy baskets of clothes to the river to wash them and no the men didn`t help them with it, it was a womans job. They didn't always own shoes so they had to walk around barfoot. When a woman got raped during them times it was considered her fault and they were definately willingly or not under the authority of their husbands, they had no other choice.

Autumn

Hidden Cherishing

I think this part about not just assuming we were not cherished in the past is really key. The article on the ancient castle in Germany mentioned had two comments to it, and both very much tie into what I am trying to express here and having a hard time doing. From the same link:

In spite of the 20th century modernists' attempt to re-write the history of the previous generations, making us believe that people were sick, poor, miserable and unhappy, there is still evidence left behind by the people of the past (for example, in the castle walls themselves) that shows us they weren't as primitive as we are taught to believe…The idea of a woman being protected from hardship and keeping her feet warm, seems like a fairy tale today, but thanks to some of the stories, the truth is revealed

and

I think that it is possible many women embrace revisionist history to feel better about our state in society now... They may not want to admit how bad they think it really is because that would be to admit they were wrong so instead they go with the theory that it's better now... It's a far more comfortable idea to hold for some, I think.

A Woman’s True “Contribution”

THE WIFE (Prologue)
by Washington Irving

The treasures of the deep are not so precious
As are the conceal'd comforts of a man
Locked up in woman's love. I scent the air
Of blessings, when I come but near the house.
What a delicious breath marriage sends forth...
The violet bed's not sweeter.

I think it is important to stress that the very same actions can be done by a woman as giving back from cherishment or as a more harmful serving, completely depending on the context. Housekeeping and the like is a key example. Taking a look at the image on this page for example. This is clearly a cherished woman caring for her home and family---NOT as a servant but as naturally WANTING do this, and so still being in her female comfort-cues core. No, I don’t mean every wife in that era matched this, but the one in this image sure did. You can see the glow in her face, picture a pleasant humm as she rolls that dough, a peace that effects not only herself but her family. It transforms the whole home, when a woman is giving back from being cherished like this you can feel this peace as a palpable energy.

And it is this peace one can feel in a cherished woman’s presence and home that is the deep and critical gift to her partner and family, worth far more than the actual “work” itself. And a gift that only cherished contented female energy can bestow. The work itself someone else could have done if needed, but that peace is something only SHE can personally give her family like that, the peace that flows from her contentment and giving back from that place. It is not the same coming from someone else. And it cannot happen without her cherished and contented female energy.

A woman instead serving, uncherished and “outside her skin” pushing herself to do something that does not feel right to her, cannot offer this at all. And it is a profound loss not only to herself but to her family. THIS, this peace you can feel, is a woman’s true “contribution”, and as deeply valuable as any “work”. “Parasite” and “not contributing” my as-prin. As Washington Irving said in his prologue to The Wife:

I scent the air
Of blessings, when I come but near the house.

Further Thoughts on Serving

Louise, by doing the housekeeping more to your own desired standards and comfort level like you do you ARE being the feminine-energy woman, it’s actually a perfect example of it. You are giving in a way that does not violate your true inner comfort cues. By these cues I do not mean that every little thing must feel right (as in by giving into your desire to watch TV all the time for example), but rather that overall one is able to remain “in their skin” and true to one’s sense of feeling right about things, knowing things can be shifted if one feels wrong about them simply because what one feels is actually cherished. This distinction matters very deeply.

If a woman is serving, then overall she is expected to just clamp down on her inner receptivity (deeply much to her harm) and ignore her body speaking when things feel wrong, because she is just expected to “buck up and shut up” like a servant, outside OR inside the home. If you were doing the housekeeping to your husband’s specifications when this puts you way outside of what you naturally are suited to do, and thus having to ignore your inner comfort cues, now THAT would be serving.

Masculine/feminine energy

Would a kind reader explain 'feminine energy' further?

Please imagine you are telling a visitor from another planet how to identify the gender of human beings based on behaviors that are easily observed. Please explain to the alien that one gender exhibits behavior that is:


'initiatory, active, giving, imparting, impacting, and accommodating to the feelings of others'

while the other gender's behavior is:


'receiving-based, receptive'.

Please also explain how the alien recognizes that one gender


'naturally gives back a little less than XXX has received, because that allows XXX to remain in XXX naturally receptive mode'


(for 'XXX' please internally substitute your favorite gender reference term)

RichM

The Matter of Ideals

(Inspired by Autumn’s comment)

Those who lived in the castles and such were the more privileged of their times of course, that is assumed. But I don’t think it at all negates the true cherishing seen in past times when we find it, such as that seen in the special ladies room in that castle in Germany I mentioned. When people are presenting our present as a good thing, they are pointing to what they feel is the best of the present, not to the huge amount of examples there are of things gone very wrong. So why on earth should this same approach not be taken in looking at the past by also looking at things one feels is the best of it as well? The typical “best” of a time can show the deeper ideals of that time, whether all achieved those ideals or not. And achieved by all or not, what ideals exist in a time has a HUGE impact on things. And personally it is the more politically correct ideals of our times that have me truly worried.

What is under the expectation of a woman needing to serve, of her needing to give like a man by not staying in her female receptive core by heeding her comfort cues, is a very key harmful belief, one which is the key reason I see such harm in our PC ideals right now. And it is this, that female energy in and of itself is not worth anything, that she must be male-like and thus actively “imparting” (that’s male oriented energy) to be worth anything instead, that her feminine core of receptivity is not a gift in itself, that her femaleness is not a gift in itself, that she must “earn” the right to be cherished by being male-like and giving like a man and betraying her very core in the process. I can’t even imagine a more horrific view on female energy when you get down to it, yet that is exactly what we are surrounded with from every direction today, and exactly what I have sensed under many of the comments posted. A woman just being in her natural receptive female energy has been called here a “parasite”, “not contributing”, dot dot dot. It is only if she becomes more male-like and gives in the same sort of duty oriented rather than comfort cues oriented way that she is seen as worth anything. In other words she is only worth anything, when it comes down to it, if she can be male–like. Because just being female-like is not worth anything.

Really, being in one’s female energy (and I mean JUST female energy, not forcing ones self to be male-like too) is just as deep a gift as being male energy is. Just because she is not “working” like a man, in or out of the home, and not imparting-oriented, does not mean she is not “contributing”.

*It Is NOT only “giving” that contributes!*
Please see the comment on a woman’s true contribution for more on this.

I think the criticisms about women trying to be “merely ornamental” are particularly apt here for example, as ironic as that sounds. An ornament isn’t actively imparting anything, yet just by being what it is it actually DOES impact those around. Like a jewel does. A jewel receives the light around it but gives it back in a magical way that the light just in itself could never do, a true gift. It is not actively giving, it is giving back, receptive based, and yet it is truly impacting those around it with its gift. Now, we are also human and so we are a LIVING jewel, and because of that being more than ornamental will naturally happen of course, and yes since we are living and human there are things around us that need help. But the point is that the key thing we are “contributing” is not that sort of work in itself. The key thing we are contributing is our female receptive core, the one that lights up the house and her partner’s life just by being around her when she is exuding that cherished “glow”, the one that enables her care and obedience and receptivity and the true impact that has. It TRULY has core impact, just as core an impact as her husband’s cherishing. Take away a man’s giving orientation and he is no longer cherishing because that giving is core to cherishing and to male energy, which is imparting based. But take away a woman’s active imparting when she is no longer “working” like this and she is STILL offering her feminine receptive gifts! I think this really is key.

In giving back rather than giving, the important things in life can still get done, but they are getting done in a way that is healing rather than harmful. Housekeeping is a prime example. I think for many women keeping a lovely home and cooking nourishing meals and such would deep down be a natural desire, even a very healing one, so long as she is able to do so in a comfort-cues vs servant-based way. When following comfort cues one does things according to ones own rhythms overall, stopping when a headache starts and resting for example (no I don’t mean doing that if your kids are there waiting to be picked up at school and there is no one to replace you, I mean when it is possible), or switching a task to another day when one’s body prompts the need to do something else unless it truly is a timed matter, or someone else doing the things that are truly not suited for you to be doing (for some woman that is a short list, for others like me for example who deal with serious chronic pain it is a more substantial one, each body knows its limits by the comfort cues given). Thus a woman is still overall honoring her receptive comfort cues core.

Serving is far different. A woman serving is heroic, putting her comfort second, which is the male path not the female one. When serving one would press on anyway when that horrible headache hit, and do the tasks to the specifications and rhythms of others even when they seriously clash with her own natural abilities and rhythms, and do even those tasks she knows deep down may put her at risk of harm, rather than honor the voice of her own body. Because in serving, the others’ feelings come first. A woman serving is not in a safe place to be able to voice what her body needs and how she needs to do things, and so she must clamp down on her essence, on her receptive nature, her comfort cues, her female core. And this is more harmful than most imagine.

To look at one of Allen’s concepts, one can cannot have it both ways: one cannot benefit from a feminine woman’s gift of receptivity if one is not cherishing her feelings, they are truly a package deal.

“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust” (Psalms 91:4)

A Few Questions

How did the "demand" that women serve become somehow the fault of the politically correct (read feminists)? In fact, women have had to serve the interests of men. Maybe there were some nice accommodations for them, but they had very few real choices. A woman back then didn't get to choose her husband, didn't own property, didn't decide how many children she would have, etc. etc. I'm sure some women managed to be happy even so. When you don't have other options, you make the best of it, or you are permanently depressed.

Furthermore, the contempt for women as ornamental came from MEN. At a certain point it became a matter of honor for a man to say, "My wife doesn't have to work." And yet, women and their opinions were summarily dismissed because they had no knowledge of the world outside the home. If you're upset by man-bashing today, maybe you're too young to remember all the woman-bashing jokes that were de rigeur in the past. Women were made fun of in every which way. Women drivers were a joke (sorry Louise), mothers-in-law were stereotyped as nasty leeches, and woman = airhead in many jokes (this survives in the blonde jokes today).

So I don't know why feminists are the ones blamed. Women got tired of not being taken seriously, and decided to do something about it.

It's also true that we can't always do as we please, things have to get done. Not every man can up and change careers or start his own business midstream, and it seems to me that it is very unrealistic to put that demand on men. "Make more money" is actually an old fashioned woman's nag! If there's a shortage, there are two able bodied adults present, one hopes, and the slack can be picked up by the wife too.

The simple truth is that a lot of women who'd like to stay home have to work, and have to park their own kids in a crummy daycare situation so they can wipe some more privileged child's nose. Yes, it can be worked out to have the wife stay home...if you are solidly middle class.

Finally...if she just is receptive and gives back less than she receives, and so on, where exactly is she obeying her husband? Obviously he is not requiring her to do anything she truly doesn't wish to do..or if it is necessary he is allowing her to do it in her own sweet time. Where is she obeying him? What does obedience look like if all you need to do is receive and be the "feminine energy" presence in the home?

"Pat"

Essential Energies

RichM, the answer I offer to your question is unfortunately a rather graphic one. I think the “aliens” could best see the deeper natures of men and women by seeing how they “copulate”: A man imparts/gives his seed and the woman later, if that seed has been received, gives back a child. It is from those core essences that the rest flows, as such a core and central activity does not spring from nowhere. Perhaps for a machine it could spring from nowhere, but we are not machines. Such a core act is not merely physical but a key illustrator of our more archetypal realm.

I don’t know if an alien would understand human archetypes though (he has his own species archetypes). He might be able to understand them, or he might not and rather simply need to be satisfied with just the graphic picture alone. And perhaps that would be enough for him to get the basic idea of male and female energies. Or enough for those that do not believe in archetypes.

“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust” (Psalms 91:4)

True Obedience

Louise, I have been following your page “Letting Yourself Go” with interest, and I loved how you described your views there. What jumped out at me is when the boss said this:

“But acceptance goes both ways, and I think Louise's acceptance of her husband's desire for her to wear nice underwear is just as special as his acceptance of her as she is now. Some wives would stridently refuse to indulge their husband's penchant for nice underwear (no doubt on the grounds that their husband should jolly well accept them as they are, underwear or no underwear) but Louise doesn't. She accepts her husband as he is, underwear preferences and all.”

And you responded with this:

“…Of course, I also find it sexy to feel that I am pleasing him by wearing the underwear he likes, I like it when he tells me what he wants me to wear, or when he's away and he rings up he always asks what I'm wearing, "You're not wearing BKs (boring knickers) are you?" he asks sternly.

And if he wanted me to start wearing makeup or something because he thought it was sexy I would probably make the effort to try, it's just the idea that it is somehow an obligation to look a certain way that I rebel against”

To me this is EXACTLY like the difference between serving and obeying. Obeying is wanting to please him, wanting him to be happy, joyfully accommodating him except where your body really tells you no, because that comfort cues focus your body gives you is what keeps you in your receptive female energy in the first place and brings you to truly WANT to obey, and to obey with a FAR different gift than one who is not really obeying but rather serving. True obedience is not forced but pulled forth, inspired by cherishing. But a woman living in fear and “obeying” by forcing herself to because she knows she must no matter what she feels, she is a servant. True obedience, it is almost an ache, something truly pulled forth from you when you are both cherished and receptive, and overall your body gives you positive feedback (that inner happiness you spoke of when you knew your wearing what was asked pleased him). That doesn’t mean everything you do in obedience is convenient, or comfortable in the smaller immediate sense all the time, but overall you DO have a feeling of rightness about it, you do not resent it, it feels GOOD in the long run, the right thing to do, and you feel loved.

But it becomes serving when you are expected to do it even when your body truly tells you no. This is what I mean by the comfort cues. Not necessarily that you are wearing that underwear for the purpose of comfort or that it would make sense to refuse just because it was inconvenient, but rather that in complying it still does not in the deeper sense violate you and what your body is telling you. If he wanted you to wear something that didn’t just make you “feel silly” (the boss’s lipstick example) or was inconvenient but that truly your body said a real no to, you are cherished enough by him I gather that you could say so and not be less loved or viewed as “not contributing” or whatever because you would not do so. So that makes obedience natural rather than resented. It is the OBLIGATION to just give whether or not it violates these deeper comfort cues that becomes a woman’s serving. But giving back to please, just like in your example, actually ties into positive inner feedback/comfort cues (“ I also find it sexy to feel that I am pleasing him by wearing the underwear he likes, I like it when he tells me what he wants me to wear…”) instead. And I think that is absolutely key to what “giving back” is about.

A cherished woman WANTS to please, to obey, it becomes the deeper desire. It’s the same feeling a woman can get when caring for their home or cooking a wonderful meal etc too---if she is able to do it knowing her own comfort cues will be respected, that she can do these things in a way that do not violate her deeper cues, that she is free to shift the rhythms of how things get done to suit or say no to what would truly feel wrong to her without being judged for it as a female serving would be. A female serving is fear based when it comes down to it. She would be wearing that underwear because she would be attacked judged or unloved if she didn’t and deep down she knows it. If she didn’t do what was expected of her for some reason because her feelings truly told her no, she knows she will not be cherished but rather will be judged a “parasite”, “not contributing” etc because she dared to honor her feelings and comfort cues and did not “serve” well enough. Being fear based like that is a real thing, with very real things to fear. And it cannot lead to that wonderful “serving with abandon” feeling that anonymous commenter brought up either. That feeling of “abandon” to me is far different than being a servant, it is a feeling of trust, a trust for a very real reason, his cherishing. You really CAN abandon yourself to obeying him, because you know it will not truly harm you. And a man cherishing you would never want you harmed in the long run by something anyway, and if he ever asked something your body told you was truly harmful then you are safe enough with him to say something.

The assumption that obedience means doing whatever asked harmful or not, or means ignoring your own feelings and body cues, makes zero sense to me, and I suspect (though I don’t know) would feel wrong to you as well. True obedience in the end feels RIGHT. That is the true test of it. I think so many hold the view that obeying is about simply taking orders and serving whether our body tells us it is right or not. To me, it is not this at all, it is something much deeper. Because why on earth should we assume obedience is just doing as ordered what harm may come? That is not obedience, that is becoming a servant.

True obedience is not demanded, it is inspired, pulled forth. It becomes true obedience when deep down we know it is the right thing to do in the end, good in the end not just for him but for us too because we are being cherished through our feelings and needs truly mattering. If in the long run a partnership dynamic does not benefit us as well and not just them then that is not a woman being loved but merely her giving self sacrifice, which is definitely harmful to a woman's receptive based core. Self sacrifice may be part of heroism, but heroism is for male energy not female energy.

I think self sacrifice and self denial is what many think obedience is. But that is NOT the same as obedience. The difference may be subtle but it is a profound one.

So true obedience is offered in lots of ways, even in examples like yours for instance of things that may seem inconvenient or “silly” at the time like the underwear or lipstick. Because deep down these are not violating and prostituting you by forcing you to do something your body truly says no to, they are simply pleasing the one you love.

Sometimes expressing subjects like this is a real challenge, so I’m hoping more personal examples like this might help.

“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust” (Psalms 91:4)

Doesn't Seem Like Obedience

I never said obedience had to be harmful to the person doing the obeying, but to me obedience implies that you do what you are told to do even if you aren't pleased with it. This goes way beyond wearing silly underwear or lipstick because your husband likes it. Maybe you're happy to take the orders because the cage is a gilded one, but it's not the same as what I hear Louise saying.

To me, that's not obedience, it's just being cooperative and pleasant and getting along. Unless we're talking about the women that Dr. Laura likes to use to characterize all of us females...the selfish harpies who would never think of doing anything to accommodate their husbands...I can't see why it wouldn't just be simple getting along to do what pleases one's partner, especially if it is no skin off your teeth.

If that's being obedient and taken in hand, then every woman who is the least bit pleasant and kind to her husband is "taken in hand" and I think that waters down the concept tremendously.

"Pat"

Obeying and serving

Thank you for saying you enjoyed my 'Letting yourself go' thread, it is true that I get pleasure out of obeying my hsuband in a lot of things, but the important thing for me is that I have freedom of choice in the matter. The thing about obeying and serving is that, in the past, these things were expected of women, whether they liked it or not. The modern society we live in now gives us freedom of choice. I don't have to obey my husband if I don't want to, but I do want to. If I didn't, I needn't. This is why I dont have any nostalgia for the 'good old days', because I think these are the good old days now.

There are things I have to do that I don't particularly want to, but I'd have to do those things, to a certain extent, even if I wasn't obeying my husband. And the same goes for him. Ideally, he'd like to be able to chuck his job in and spend all day in the workshop doing strange things to bits of metal, but he can't. What I mean is, some things you have to do whether they're within your 'comfort zone' or not.

I think with all this talk about feminine and masucline energy one point is perhaps overlooked. The 'feminine energy', the Yin as they call it, is in the Daoist philosphy that gave birth to the idea, definitely considered not 'complementary', but inferior to the Yang (masculine) energy. I'm reading 'The last Empress' by Keith Laidler at the moment, his biography of the last Empress of China, Yehonala. Last night I read this paragraph, which gave me a new insight into the whole yang and yin thing(it's about the making of eunuchs, the only men apart from the Emperor allowed to live in the Forbidden City):

Maleness was yang, characterised by strength and action: the feminine principle was yin symbolised by weakness and passivity. So it was believed that males deprived of their yang would tend towards yin; they would be forever accomodating and acquiescent and could therefore pose no threat. What they overlooked was another 'fact' of this quintesentially Chinese philosophical system; the association of the yin principle with evil.

That makes the whole 'feminine energy' idea look a lot less appealing to me. 'Feminine energy' implies weakness, passivity, even evil. None of these seem to me desirable qualities. Obeying because you choose to and because it gives you pleasure is one thing, obeying because you are took weak and feeble to do anything else (which is the real meaning of yin and yang)seems a lot less desirable. It totally puts me off the whole 'feminine energy' idea.

Obedience and Feminism

Pat, I went more into obedience in the comment True Obedience before posting this. With feminism, I think the best summary of that can be found through a couple of excellent articles. But I need to find the links for them, which I will post later assuming the server/comment option is still up.

Taken in Hand Underpinnings and Obedience

Pat, yes I see can how things could look watered down if all you are looking at is the examples in that comment. I used them because they were concrete ones from one of Louise’s posts on a thread I found of interest and so seemed a common ground to perhaps open to. It doesn’t mean smaller things like this are the ONLY ways to obey, they are just two examples.

I do not have the perspective of most. To me the underpinnings of a Taken in Hand type relationship simply IS a normal relationship, one where a man is a man rather than a Peter Pan and a woman is a woman rather than his mommy/servant. Though it is rare to find today, those underpinnings are still in my mind what a simply normal relationship should look like in its general set up. Instead the typical relationship out there is a man being allowed to be a woman and a woman forced to be a man. I phrase it that way on purpose as the particular female qualities men are encouraged to take on are those that tend to benefit them and the particular qualities women have been encouraged to take on are those that tend to harm them. Women have NOT overall benefited from feminism but men HAVE, and that says something profound.

Those promised links on that topic are here and here. In that first article I was offended until I realized she was being tongue in check about the “con” thing, as throughout the article she stresses woman really DO need the protection we have had stolen from us. And with the second article there is a quote that sums up to me the core problem that created feminism in the first place: “When men lead, women will follow…The feminist movement, which was fueled by men abandoning manhood, required women to completely abandon womanhood". So Taken in Hand and the like to me are simply a way to cut past all that abandoning manhood and womanhood nonsense we have had shoved down our throats and allow a woman to embrace being a woman again and a man embrace being a man again. Not that everyone on this site does that by a long shot from what I can see from many of these comments, but some do really feel to, and it still to me feels to be the unspoken idea behind it.

The thing that goes beyond this in a Taken in Hand relationship specifically, in other words beyond this general male female dynamic stuff , is the INTENSITY of this dynamic (its real amplification) and things like the area of force and physical discipline. And the first and the latter one I agree with (not sure about the second). I do think that offering respect and accepting discipline is part of obedience and female receptivity to the one you love, and this is definitely more than “just being the least bit pleasant”.

But obedience is not about a woman just denying her own feelings and needs, it is rather a kind of opening, a trust, a softening, a letting him in. If she is simply “not pleased with” doing something and says no, then yes that is disobedience. But if her body truly tells her no, she would not be obeying but rather being his servant by doing it. A woman as a servant is like an object because what she feels does not matter to the one being served, she should “just do it because commanded”. That is impersonal, objectifying, and not obedience. That is being a servant. There truly is a line there.

A man CAN reach a very noble and healthy level of serving by being the servant leader, but that is because male energy is imparting based at its core, which truly IS different from being more recieving/receptive based like female energy is. Serving can enoble a man as it suits his core, but it objectifies a woman because it crushes hers. As a servant leader a man is leading and respected and she is obeying and cherished, and so her feelings are not ignored but rather critical to him. Once she is instead just ignoring her feelings and simply "doing what she is told" even when her body truly says no, she has stepped out of her receptive core and so is truly harmed, and he has also stepped out of his role of cherishing. Obeying and serving are NOT the same thing. That's what the whole article was about.

Maybe I am wrong of course, but what I feel under your posts is that it isn’t obedience if it benefits you or if you are still having your feelings given priory and still COMFORTABLE overall. I think a Taken in Hand relationship should deep down be COMFORTING to a woman if it is real. I don’t mean always comfortable in the immediate sense (certainly in discipline for example that isn’t the case), but in the long run. I feel a belief from you and also in many of these messages as well that obedience must mean “sacrifice”. That is heroism, not obedience.

It looks to me like a hidden belief, and I do think it is a belief not just a given, that women like it or not must accept being in the deeper sense uncomfortable and serve and self sacrifice just to be in the world and be worthy of taking up space. I personally think that is a VERY harmful belief for female energy, which by being receptive based truly is more comfort/body based. Again I am talking about that in the deep sense, not that every little moment is comfortable but that overall there is a feeling of in tune-ness/resonance/rightness in her body, and that the one cherishing her truly cares about that.

A view that instead encourages women to deny what their bodies are telling them and “take it like a man” and be the heroic and imparting worker suited or not, goes right to the core of negating female energy as I see it. I think it is one of the deepest attacks there is. And why this whole PC/feminism area is such a charged one for me.

Is your own body honestly telling you it is best for a woman to “park their own kids in a crummy daycare situation so they can wipe some more privileged child's nose”?. And if not, then why on earth are you simply accepting it?

“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust” (Psalms 91:4)

"The Way of Water" and Female Energy

(response to Louise)

Daoism is called The Way of Water. In Daoism water, which is the epitome of yin, is seen as superior in my understanding. Maybe there were different branches of Daoism or different periods though. Certainly there were different writers. Lao Tzu (also spelled Lao Tsu) is a classic Daoist writer I’ve followed a bit and one of his verses for example goes:

Water is fluid, soft, and yielding.
But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield.
As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding
Will overcome whatever is rigid and hard.
This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.

I don’t agree with all of Daoism (such as it’s focus on not desiring) but still through verses like this, which were typical of the Daoist Lao Tzu, yin is valued and upheld, not maligned. Though it is maligned in some other verses in a sense with the focus on not desiring. But overall it is supported, and in very moving verse. I used to have a little book of his kept right on my nightstand when I was growing up, right beside my prized Little House on the Prairie books (ah memories). Lao Tzu’s little verses really comforted and inspired me growing up. They were contained in The Tao-Te Ching, which is the oldest scripture of Daoism.

But maybe some other Doaists did see yin as more inferior or evil, especially in later periods when they may have became more mixed with quite opposing Confucian ideas, which definitely did devalue female qualities a great deal. Certainly people of other religious paths did this devaluing too, such as the Hindu and Buddhist. But to me that is just the point. These wrong judgments of archetypes really DO influence us, and over and over again we are told that the female archetype is inferior or evil, just like you were noticing happening in that book. Really, the female qualities of receptivity and “weakness” are not about inferiority they are about softness, an opening, one of the most sacred things there is.

I think a misinterpretation of this is what led in some ways to it being misjudged as evil, as good and bad can both enter in as it is an opening energy. But that is why polarity is so important, as with the male protective active yang by yin’s side that is guarded against. Not because he is “better” but because he is more suited to battling and challenge. It was Adam’s failure to be the yang energy and protect Eve from Satan in that garden that some, including myself, view as the true original sin. As a man he should have been Yang. Not because Yang is better but because Yin truly needs Yang, not because she is inferior but because she is more vulnerable due to the gift of her openness and receptivity. Water might wear away rock in the long run, but the enemy around the bend will drink up and dry out a little pool of water far easier than he can destroy a bunch of rocks. Water really is more vulnerable, and receptive. But these are sacred qualities, not inferior ones, they just need cherishing and protection to thrive. But somehow that has gotten all twisted into meaning yin is inferior to yang. It is not. Need does not imply inferiority. That is another ancient misjudgment.

To me feminism is just the latest version of a bashing of the view of female energy---that we all must be male like to be worth anything because female qualities are inferior. Ideas and ideals like this truly effect people. Ignoring them and just preferring not to think about female energy etc, I personally think that won’t change anything, I think we need to wake up and shift this stuff.

I don’t think the past was perfect either. Definitely being forced to heed to someone you did not love and who was not cherishing you because you were trapped there would have been a nightmare, and I’m sure this happened far too many times. But I still think that there were eras of the past with much healthier ideals than we have now. The militantness and androgyny focus of feminism scares the “fill in the blank” out of me, and that is our most influential and rapidly expanding ideal. So I am very reluctant to think of today as the good old days. YET. Though I am deeply leery of the present I actually do have very great hope for the future, I think if we healed things more it could be the best era of any.

I’ve never really given up on the fairy tale : )

“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust” (Psalms 91:4)

Little House on the Prarie

I used to love those books too, but Laura Ingalls was the epitome of a woman who is not a Yin person, soft, feminine, receptive etc. She was tough and strong and active and decisive, and that's what I liked about her, she always rebelled against being a goody-goody 'ladylike' girl like the tiresome Mary. And she remains unchanged when she grows up. I love the bit at the end of 'Those Happy Golden Years' where she tells Almanzo she can't promise to obey him in the marriage service.

Feminism doesn't scare me at all, because I think equal rights for women have meant that we can choose how we live and what we can be, and I think that's a good thing for men as well. Men don't have to try and fit themselves into a mould to which they are not suited, they too can choose the sort of life they want to live. A couple can be equal, or one can be dominant, or whatever they like. It makes life more complicated, granted, to have more choice, rather than just to have one mould into which you have to fit regardless of whether it suits you or not, but I also think it makes life more interesting.

And that's what I think is wrong with all this femine energy/masculine energy stuff, it doesn't make allowances for all the difference between people, and that not everybody can fit into one form or the other. Most people are, I think, more of a mixture than any of these 'men are this, women are that' philosophies allow for. My own nature seems to me to be more mixed than anything that can be fitted into a neat categorisation.

I mean, take fairy tales for instance. I haven't given up on them either, but the fairy tale I fantasise about being in is the one where it is I, the brave heroine, who slays the dragon!

Could not agree more with eve

Could not agree more with everything you've written here.

If you look at science a very masculine/rational field you can se how yin/feminine values have been completely eroded by it—things like Mystery,emotion,intution.

Science more than any other field is opposed to mystery watching it unfold is like watching the destruction of mystery.

Remembering the Fairy Tale

I received an unexpected gift today, a cd set called “The Essential Barbara Streisand”, and what immediately jumped out was her singing of Disney’s “Someday My Prince Will Come” from Snow White. I knew it was not a coincidence gift. I played it and it left me in tears.

This experience here has really been teaching me. As it is my first article I was wanting to be really involved in the conversation, following it and jumping in. These are important topics for me. But tonight I noticed just how quickly I had set aside the fairy tale calling inside and had quickly come more and more from my head. Having an academic background, it’s a very old habit. But not necessarily a good one. I know for myself I lose something really precious when I get stuck in analysis.

We all have our own process, mine is led a lot by dreams. And though I had that waitress dream that was underneath the article posted, it was not stand alone. Because I also had kind of a “sister dream” to it a few months later. As the waitress in the first dream I was serving and deeply miserable. In the second dream it was a kind of journey, a rather mythic dream. And in it I saw this ancient Japanese woman humming while she was sweeping in her home. In her and around her, I felt the most profound peace I think I’ve ever felt. She is who woke me up to that focus on the ”glow” mentioned before. I will never forget it. And I long for that so much. I long to “sweep my home” with care and have a wonderful homemade soup simmering on the stove and all of those very domestic sphere sort of things. I just don’t want to have to do them as a waitress/servant, that changes everything. I want to instead be humming like the cherished woman in that sweeping dream and reflect that peace, that glow.

Anyway, taking a pause from the analysis here and sharing some songs from Snow White, from http://www.go2lyrics.com/D/Disney/album33034.html

SOMEDAY MY PRINCE WILL COME

Someday my prince will come
Someday I ‘ll find my love
And how thrilling that moment will be
When the prince of my dreams comes to me
He’ll whisper I love you
And steal a kiss or two
Though he’s far away I’ll find my love someday
Someday when my dreams come true

Someday I’ll find my love
Someone to call my own
And I know at the moment we meet
my heart will start skipping the beats
Someday we’ll say and do
Things we’ve been longing to
Though he’s far away I’ll find my love someday
Someday when my dreams come true

Someday my prince will come
Someday we’ll meet again
And away to his castle we’ll go
To be happy forever I know
Someday when spring is here
We’ll find our love anew
And the birds will sing and wedding bells will ring
Someday when my dreams come true

WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK

Just whistle while you work
And cheerfully together we can tidy up the place
So hum a merry tune
It won't take long when there's a song to help you set the pace

And as you sweep the room
Imagine that the broom is someone that you love
And soon you'll find you're dancing to the tune
When hearts are high the time will fly so whistle while you work

“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust” (Psalms 91:4)

Disney movies

Her's a prime example of what I was talking about, people being different from each other. Because while you are moved by 'Snow White', the Disney film that moves me is 'Mulan'. The lyrics of 'Some day my prince will come' leave me cold, whereas the lyrics of 'Be a man'from Mulan go through my head often.

Let's get down to business to defeat the Huns
Did they send me daughters when I asked for sons?
You're the saddest bunch I ever met
But you can bet before we're through
Mister, Ill make a man out of you

Tranquil as a forest but on fire within
Once you find your centre you are sure to win
You're a spineless, pale, pathetic lot
And you haven't got a clue
Somehow I'll make a man out of you

I'm never gonna catch my breath
Say goodbye to those who knew me
Boy, was I a fool in school for cutting gym
This guys' got em scared to death
Hope he doesn't see right through me
Now I really wish that I knew how to swim

(Be a man)
We must be swift as the coursing river
(Be a man)
With all the force of a great typhoon
(Be a man)
With all the strength of a raging fire
Mysterious as the dark side of the moon

Time is racing towards us till the Huns arrive
Heed my every order and you might survive
You're unsuited for the rage of war
So pack up, go home you're through
How could I make a man out of you?

And that's the moment when she's turning away defeated and suddenly she realises how she can use the weights to help her climb the pole, and everyone is gazing up at her as she climbs to the top, and Captain Shang walks out of his tent and sees the arrow at his feet where she's hurled it down. That's my very favourite moment in a Disney movie, almost I think my favourite moment in any movie ever.

And that's what I mean you see. You and I are both women, yet you are inspired by Snow White,and I am inspired by Mulan, two heroines as different as they could possibly be. We cannot be squeezed into the same 'yin' box.

When growing up I was so fasc

When growing up I was so fascinated with Laura Ingalls Wilder that I not only read all her books but also all the journals of hers I could. She is definitely a feminine-energy woman to me, in my view not the hero type you see her as, and she married a very cherishing man in Almanzo. I remember that part about not obeying too, but I also remember the reasoning, that she said she must act from her own conscience, or something similar. To me that is letting Almanzo know she will be listening to that inner voice, those comfort cues. And that was NOT what the typical folks around her meant when they said obey, folks then as in now can really tend to misinterpret obeying as really being serving. So I don’t blame her for saying she would not “obey” like that because of that context, I feel she was really saying she would not be serving. And she didn’t. I never once got the feeling that Almanzo was giving orders and setting his own standards on her housework, or expected catering, or disregarded her feelings.

My favorite image of Laura from the books is this. They were in their first home and she was finding it was making her stir crazy. Not that she hated the household stuff but that she was getting claustrophobic in the small house when her mind was on the big wide world she wanted to explore. So her solution was books. She learned she could “travel” while she read them. And so while she was doing her household stuff, more often than not Almanzo would come in to find her with a book in her hand reading as she went. That is a woman cherished, she was giving back in a way that still suited her now, she had found a way to still be comfortable and it was supported. If Almanzo had not cherished her he probably would have told her “Look, the house would get cleaner if you’d FOCUS on it dear, not go around reading a book all the time”. And he never did that. I see an image of him coming in from the fields, a nice soup is simmering on the stove but as Laura is stirring it she is engrossed in her book.

But vows or no, I still think she was obedient in the true sense and respected and loved him. I think that book was automatically closed as soon as he came in the door for supper and they shared their evening together. And they did not end up traveling the world as she wanted (though they did have some moves). Her direction there in wanting to see the world was not what led the relationship, it was Almanzo’s and his farming which needed a more stable life. YET it was done in a way where she was still made comfortable over all (hardships or no she really was I got the impression). She was cherished I felt and her feelings and needs were respected, such as by her cleaning the house with a book in hand. Her comfort and feelings truly mattered to Almanzo, even if he was the leader and directing the larger outer things in life. And even in his leading he really was cherishing her feelings. With the farming he asked her to try it with him for some number of years and if she really hated it he said he would instead get a job in town. And well, you know the rest of the story, they kept a farm (when it wasnt being burned down and such).

It’s true the standard roles looked reversed as she was older in a sense, when Almanzo was left injured from illness and later they were really struggling financially. It was actually her writing of her books then, with the help of her daughter Rose’s editing, that kept them afloat. But I still see that as her being in her female energy rather than betraying it, as she had always loved to write so I imagine she rather enjoyed gathering her memories like that. And she was not doing so because Almanzo wanted to abandon his providing, I still picture him cherishing every way he could rather than expecting her to cherish him.

She was also not bold and forward and “heroic”, she was soft spoken and shy and rather introverted really if one reads the books closely and particularly her journals. Folks who have just seen the series (not saying that’s you, I know you’ve read the books too) miss that completely, since the series absolutely butchered her character and turned her into a more mainstream-expected little spitfire rather than the quiet reflective woman who wrote those books. The movie Beyond the Prairie is the only screen adaptation in my view that even got close to her character and Almanzo’s (not perfect, but at least close). There is no way I can picture Laura slaying the dragon, and I don’t think Almanzo could have faced himself in the mirror again if she had.

Her daughter Rose on the other hand was another story, she may have been more a “yang woman” as she grew from what I’ve gathered on her. I really don’t think Laura was though.

I truly do believe in honoring one’s personal fairy tales. But when you talk about a heroine as being more like a hero and slaying the dragon and the like, or being spurred on by songs like “be a man”, I can’t help but get this warning sign in my stomach that prevents me from saying “you go girl” and the like. Because I’ve seen the impact of similar views all around me. Feminism and the politically correct movement are definitely NOT about freedom of choice, there is very harsh attack and judgment for a woman who wants to be more just in her feminine energy and a more classic heroine. That slaying of the dragon and “be a man” is actually expected now—by a woman that is, it doesn’t seem to be expected of men anymore. It turns my stomach so much it’s hard to even write about it, in my gut I just know without a doubt that this is a truly dangerous thing.

It would be different if it weren’t expected and shoved down our throats. Different if women were allowed to be in their female energy and truly supported in that and when one was more suited to step out of it they could and find a partner to match them, and likewise for men and their male energy. But it’s NOT like that at all. Instead a woman being in a more classic female energy is called a “parasite”, “not contributing”, she is judged and attacked from every direction. This is definitely not a benefit or improvement to our lives, it is a slow killing of our souls.

I even see it in this group. I'm here because I am drawn to what I see as the real underpinnings of this Taken in Hand stuff, and I think the boss keeps a truly excellent website. Out of the other similar ones out there, this is one of the ones I would recommend to anyone if they asked me. But I still have issues with the group. For example it’s posts like The resistant woman that just leave my blood cold. I got so nauseous reading that post that I didn’t even have the heart to respond, although at some point I might, I can’t be the only one appalled by it. The guy writing that post wanted a dragon slayer for sure, a battle buddy, and definitely will not be a servant leader cherishing her feelings, which is why he does not want her to obey, it would demand too much from him. Well what a perfect male fantasy for him, but it is very dangerous for a feminine energy woman to be expected to be such, YET WE ARE, it is all around us, even cropping up in groups like this that could be a refuge from that.

Yin and Yang, Heroines and Heroes

Just a small reflection on the yin and yang area. I do think there is male yin and female yang (those little inner circles), but I think these things support rather than battle male yang and female yin. In other words a woman embracing her female yang aspect is not simply becoming male yang, rather her female yang benefits her female yin. I see female yang as the part that not only receives those inner comfort cues but voices them, and the part that not only receives from the world around her but says something when she then feels something is out of sync. And male yang, when it is complete by having that little circle of male yin inside it underneath, will listen to that voice she expresses. He will want her to be comfortable, and he will also want the world to be a better place.

I believe earth energy by the way is female, as do many others. As women speak, the earth can be heard too, I think many of us feel her pain. And a true yang man will listen to that pain being expressed through the help of his male yin and then act upon it from his male yang. That is what makes a hero. The heroine is “contributing” that voice that is heard, like the princess was when she felt that hidden pea in the princess in the pea. A yin woman is the one who tends to feel those hidden peas that are bringing pain to the world, and a yang man cares about those “peas” being revealed and acts on them.

More on Yin and Yang

Yin holds receptivity, so I realize in a woman being receptive to her individual nature this will not always take a stereotypical form. But it will still be comfort based when a woman has embraced her FEMALE yin, female energy is more vulnerable and comfort based (see article), and that to me is the hidden key, and the real hot button I think for many. That’s why for example I see Laura Ingalls Wilder as still very yin even though she didn’t go around in lace and just nodding politely to everyone as stereotypically expected etc. A woman who did that when it was not her nature would NOT be in her female yin energy because she was denying her inner comfort cues. I really do see that.

But…I’m trying to be open, but I just honestly find it so hard to understand why any woman would want to “fight the dragon” (be heroic, physically battle anywhere including in the workplace, serve by self sacrificing overall, stick one’s neck out etc) based on her own comfort cues, as these types of activities tend to put one’s more vulnerable female energy in real danger and it seems to me a woman’s body would tell her no if she were true to it. It's not the same as the risk inherent in childbearing (if one is healthy enough for it) as there is usually a deeper desire present to receive that child that has been in essence given to you, it is not self betrayal. So right or wrong, I tend to think this “female dragon slaying” stuff is more an ideal we have had forced upon us and so many have just grown up with it now and taken it as a given and been convinced that being anything else is “selfish” or “boring” or “parasitic”, whether this “dragon slaying” actually pulls them outside of their deeper comfort based female yin or not.

I do see female energy as yin with her female yang energy that SUPPORTS her yin, not puts it in danger. It is male yang that is outward and risk taking, heroic, as male energy is the provident and protective force. And so his male yin aspect is receptive in a way that supports those outward and risk taking and imparting yang aspects of his, leading to the servant leader. That is how I am seeing things at this point.

The Other Side

Louise, your Mulan post has been mulling in the back of my head. When one feels attacked the tendency is amplify one’s self protection, and as a more feminine-energy woman as Allen might put it, I have found myself attacked in every direction in my life for daring to just want to be who I am. So every time I come across a woman “dragon slayer” so to speak (one who idealizes such), or a man who wants one in a woman, in the back of my mind I find myself thinking “Oh great, one more person adding fuel to the attack.” That is, the attack of the “female dragon slayer ideal” (in all its subtle and not so subtle heroic forms) being forced upon me, and others like me, from every direction, when in fact it is soul killing for us. Not that you have personally attacked me, I’m talking about a much broader world sense.

If a “feminine energy woman” was cherished and supported for being who she was (support and cherishing IS the polarity a feminine energy woman truly needs I feel), then deep down I really wouldn’t have a problem with the “female dragon slayers” of the world and the men who are their desired polarity, whatever that would look like for them. In my mind it really is natural to think of things more in terms of the feminine energy woman and the masculine energy man as I see them (such as what I expressed in the yin and yang comments etc). But I know that doesn't necessarily mean there arent also other polarities existing in our archetypal realm as well, like the female dragon slayer and the ____ (you’d be better filling that in), alongside this. And honestly I don’t have a problem with that.

My problem is this. The feminine energy woman is attacked, from every direction, and more so today than ever before. As an upper class woman at least, in many past times I'd have at least had a chance of thriving as a feminine energy woman. Not so today. Even as part of the elite I would still be surrounded today by the attack and judgment of our mainstream ideals. Wherever I look, wherever I turn, I feel attacked just for wanting to be who I am and needing what I need as a feminine energy woman. That’s why Pat Allen’s stuff caught my attention, because she put at least some of that feminine-energy stuff into words and so supported some of it rather than attacking it. Some folks in the Christian world have done the same (though most of them still hold to a female servant image rather than cherishment, and only give lip service to the man as the servant leader). But these small islands of some support are very rare. Overall in the civilized world and all over the media, the “female dragon slayer” type is toted as the ideal and the feminine-energy woman is judged and attacked. More like mutilated. She is called boring, parasitic, not contributing, irresponsible, selfish, immature, I’m sure some might even add “evil” to the list. She is almost under a misguided witchhunt really, trying to burn out every trace of her at every turn by making fun of, devaluing, or maligning her. And I can feel the toll on my body and soul building each day.

It’s taken me YEARS to even realize this was the problem, before that I tried to be the hero type in many subtle ways, over and over, rather than having a hero beside me supporting and cherishing me. And it deeply harmed me, in SO many ways. It was only when a very serious injury hit and forced me to take care of myself and listen to my own body and comfort cues and intuition that I realized I had been betraying the feminine energy based core of who I was all these years---because pretty much everyone around me was betraying it as well and judging or attacking me if didn’t betray it along with them. It really IS soul killing stuff. And barely anyone will talk about it. What is outside the feminist PC ideal is quickly attacked or ridiculed or judged or squashed. I for one cannot live this way, and so I cannot help but speak about it. (One side note: there is a small and generally attacked sub branch of feminism that I feel much truth in, that of “difference feminism”, but most feminists do not consider them part of their group).

So I’m hoping that might lend a little perspective. That I’m not out to attack the “female dragon slayers” of the world. I’m just at the breaking point with seeing myself and other feminine energy type women attacked for just being what we are and needing what we need. Feminine energy woman implies I just mean Allen’s stuff, but really I mean more than that. I mean the stuff I’ve written, which overlaps a lot with her stuff though it’s not just exactly the same. I’ll have to find a new way to say it at some point.

Anyway, I thought that was important to share for perspective.

Ironically, I am drawn to the Samurai very much by the way. Had that song not been about "be a man" but rather "find your center" (the parts of the song like that I loved actually) I would have been drawn to it too probably. I have a huge draw to Japan, and I think martial arts practices have a ton to offer for their centering and their focus and their grace and simplicity. It's the self-denial/self-sacrificing/battle aspect of things I balk at as I think that is heroic. And I do not want to have to betray my feminine energy soul and play the hero, I want him beside me.

Yin and Yang

I honestly think it is not a good idea to get too hung up on the "women are like this, men are like that" thing. We're all such a mixture of things.

I mean, take me for instance. From a very early age my ambition in life was to be Robin Hood. They were re-running the old Richard Greene tv series and I loved it with a fierce passion that has scarcely ever been equalled in my life since. I went everywhere with a bow and arrow, I wouldn't go out without it, because you never know when you might meet the Sheriff of Nottingham.

When I was about eight years old I saw an episode of the Lone Ranger in which he spanks a woman who has been stirring up trouble of some kind. I was almost as thrilled by this as by Robin Hood, and ever since then the two fantasies have run concurrently in my mind, the one about being Robin Hood, and the one about getting spanked by a strong, attractive man.

The being spanked fantasy has proved much easier to achieve in real life than the Robin Hood one, but still I am always thrilled when I hear about women having daring adventures and doing brave things. In the past, a lot of the women who disguised themselves a men in order to have adventures weren't doing it because of any scarificial impulse, but because they longed for adventure and wider horizons than they could achieve as women.

I despised (and still do) the fairy tales where the goody-goody heroines take any shit that is handed out to them and wait patiently to be rescued by a prince. I particularly despised Cindrella for letting herself be put upon by those horrible stepsisters. I admired the girls who didn't let themselves be put upon. They stood up for themselves, which I think everyone should do, male or female. It's not about sacrafice, as far as I am concerned, but about not letting yourself be kicked around. Which I think is one of Pat Allen's notions, that a woman should not let herself be put upon.

And those feisty heroines I admire usually end up with a handsome prince in the end. My favourite fairy tale, Kate Crackernuts, ends with the words "So the sick son married the well sister, and the well son married the sick sister, and they all lived happy and died happy and never drank out of a dry cappy."

I think that people need to find the sort of life and relationship that suits them without worrying too much about whether they're feminine energy or masculine energy or whatever. Accepting yourself for what you are and others for what they are is the important thing I think.

The stuff in Pat Allen's book that I found most useful is the stuff about negotiating, deciding who does what, and what the 'non negotiables' are etc. If my husband and I had done more talking about those sort of things before we got married (or for that matter before we got divorced) it would have been better for us. And I wholeheartedly agree that a woman should not make herself into a man's servant. And the stuff about 'finding the toad in every prince', about accepting the things you don't like about a person as well as the things you do, that I like very much. All the rigid insistence on men expressing thoughts and women expressing feelings etc I found rather tiresome. My husband has always been much better at me at expressing feelings and emotions (it's one of the many ways in which he does not fit into a typically 'masculine' definition, I've always been much more reserved than him). Once you get hung up on this 'masculine energy/feminine energy' thing, I think it can get to be a bit of a hindrance to being yourself.

A Consideration

“I think that people need to find the sort of life and relationship that suits them without worrying too much about whether they're feminine energy or masculine energy or whatever. Accepting yourself for what you are and others for what they are is the important thing I think.”

Louise, I think this is all very well and good but it simply cannot happen when your “type” happens to be the one that is under constant judgment and attack from every which direction. That rather changes things, believe me.

To Under his Wing

Just what do you mean by being attacked by other people? If it bothers you so much what those other people say, why do you hang around them? I can`t choose the kind of people I have to work with, but I can choose the people I want to have contact with privately. And if somebody else wants to judge me I ignore it, it`s nobody's business how I want to lead my life and I wouldn`t tell people exactly what is going on in my home anyhow. I think you should build up enough self-confidence that it shouldn`t bother you. Live your life and try to be happy in what you are doing. It`s as simple as that.
Autumn

Here it Comes, the “D” Word

Amber that was a really good question you asked, but a big one to answer. For now, I offer a link to an article that talks about the harm of our mainstream values upon those who have a more naturally submissive nature here. Many of the things she speaks of there tie in to the answer to your question. Not all of us are as able to be so detached as to the judgments and impacts from others around us, the more “female yin” one is (or the more vulnerably receptive one is, vs a male yin’s being actively receptive/listening in order to act), the more these things truly do matter because they are more deeply received and felt.

People mean different things by submissive. I don’t agree with all of what the author of this article says, but some of it strongly resonates. Early in the article she sees a natural submissive as yearning to depend on (yes, depend on), and follow the lead of, a man stronger than herself. She then goes on to say:

“In thinking about this, I have come to question the cultural determinants of what is considered the highest good. Here in Western society, we place highest value on independence, on "pull yourself up by the bootstraps", on the lone pioneer, the trailblazer, the less needy and more self sufficient...There is something wrong with believing that such independence is the only good. It is especially wrong for the most relatedness-oriented among us, the submissive female.

Part of the newly aware submissive's task is to separate out the internalized voices of her culture: those voices that tell her she is too needy, too dependent, too focused on the others in her life. Once she can articulate what those voices tell her, she can begin to question not HERSELF, but the validity of those internalized values, using her own yardstick to measure her life, rather than our culture's standard…

(So that later) the healthy submissive accepts herself as she is, knowing that while her culture values independence and self sufficiency, she has strong dependency needs and that there is no inherent "wrongness" about those needs…

The healthy submissive hunger is to be the object of an intense and penetrating understanding. When her nature is understood and she is held in a loving and firm frame, her devotion is almost limitless.”

So maybe you can see why a nature such as this does not find your advice to be as easy as you suggest. A more detached attitude you seem to find so simple is much more of a challenge here.

As a sidenote, I feel an underlying question in your post as to why would I visit or post here if many are not agreeing with me. And there are a few things there. First, I am not the only one who has posted who has gone against some of the grain here, nor do I suspect I’ll be the last, even of these are in the minority. The second reason is because even with the areas I conflict with I still find some very real common ground with the Taken in Hand concept, which is not found in too many places really, and also I find some really excellent articles here, even if there are others I disagree with. And third, because I suspect those with similar personalities and concerns are being silent as it is not their nature to just “have confidence” and go against the grain, as I have been the same way in that silence for years. It is only recently I am gradually finding I want to speak a bit about these things so I am following that right now.

Hope that helps.

The Healthy Submissive

I read the article, but there wasn't anything in it that I recognised as being me at all. If a submissive personality is what is described in the article, then I haven't got one.

I noticed it said that a healthy submissive is a 'giver' who wants to please others, which seems slightly at variance with the 'feminine energy' theory of Dr Pat Allen. Dr Allen says that a 'feminine energy woman' gives less than she receives, the healthy submissive, on the other hand, gives a lot. There seems to be a slight conflict between what is a 'feminine energy' woman and what is a 'submissive woman'. I feel that I personally probably have more in common with the 'feminine energy' woman as Dr Allen describes her than I do with the 'healthy submissive' described in that article.

The sweet, gentle, giving, anxious-to-please woman described in this article is someone I have nothing in common with whatever. I recognise nothing of myself in her at all, whereas I did recognise bits of myself in Pat Allen's book, and also have found things here on Taken In Hand that I recognise as being relevent to me. There's nothing in that 'submissive' article that rings any bells with me at all. I think perhaps I am after all more of a 'resistant' woman, even if my resistance tends to be mental rather than physical. The submissive feeling is something that has to be induced in me, it's a response that my husband is capable of bringing out in me, but it's not something I feel all the time.

Cleaving and Obedience

The area of need is a hard one for me to explain. I don’t simply mean only practical need. I also mean this inner ache, this desire that comes from such a deep place it is a need. The kind of submissive nature that resonates with me actually NEEDS a more traditional male led relationship, NEEDS that sort of strong and healing male energy next to her, it truly is what “completes her”, and she admits that. Merely saying she wants it and it’s a lifestyle choice is not at all the same thing. Submissive in my book has a true need to actually “become one” with the one she is meant for through the intensity of the bond, what the bible calls “cleaving”.

Cleaving is definitely not about independence or detachment or mere want. The mainstream in so many subtle ways tells us that this cleaving etc is wrong or immature or “co-dependent”, dot dot dot. And it may be ok in some smaller circles to just want it (a “lifestyle choice” one can just take or leave in the end at the drop of a hat), but saying it is this more innate and true need gets everyone’s panties in a bundle. And when such a deep need is attacked or trivialized, yes that does have very real impact.

To me true obedience cannot happen without cleaving. Without cleaving, which to me is a big part of cherishing, one’s “obedience” is instead just being a servant. To me the resistant woman type in particular is not about cleaving, which is why some men like the one who wrote about it probably love it, it allows them to be detached and irresponsible. You don’t cleave to and cherish and take care of a battle buddy, you can tell yourself she “doesn’t need it”. And that is why it’s being so embraced in so many places in various forms as the ideal (the PC stuff is particularly in line with it) raises such a red flag in me. Because I know this cleaving, and cherished obedience, and “inequality” as some might say, is actually a true need in me. It’s not just a “lifestyle choice” I am playing with so that it just “doesn’t matter what people think anyway”. Because it can’t really be hidden so easily like that to be real. It affects one’s entire life because to me this way of being is not just surface but deep, so it cannot help but be behind so many of the choices one makes in one's life. And others not understanding the reasons behind those choices because those reasons are said everywhere to be wrong or immature dot dot dot, yes it truly does have impact.

Innate and true needs

This desire to be totally submissive and 'cleaving' etc may be a true deep need for you, but that is a personal matter. You have been saying in your comments, as far as I can make out, not just that this is how you are, but that you think it is how all women should be, and that those who are not like that have something wrong with them. You suggested that there's something wrong with me because I prefer Mulan to Snow White. But that's just the way I am. I admire heroines who have the spirit of adventure.

This is the thing that invariably irritates me when I read comments like yours, it's not "this is what I want because this is how I am" it's the "this is how I am therefore this is how all women should be". There's a big difference. There's nothing wrong with you saying that you want to be totally dependent on a man, but there is something wrong, to me, in your assumption that this is how all women should be, and that there's something wrong with those who are not.

I don't think that a man who enjoys a resistant woman is a man lacking in responsibility, there's nothing wrong with a man who enjoys being with a woman with a bit of spirit. I enjoy feeling submissive, but my husband has to put a bit of effort into making me feel that way, and he seems to accept this as being his job. This doesn't seem to me to be indicative of a lack of responsibility, I would say that a 'resistant' woman probably requires a bit more effort to deal with than one who is totally submissive. My husband seems to enjoy me being "submissive but feisty" as Pat puts it. In any case, it's the way I am, and I feel that my way is just as normal and natural for me as the 'cleaving' mode of being submissive is for you.

Under judgement

Who is your type under judgement from? I've never particularly felt that I was under judgement for who I am. It's true it's tiresome to have people saying that women shouldn't stay at home with their children, when it is what I do, but there are enough women still doing this to make me feel that I'm not entirely alone. Nobody has ever criticised me personally for not being a career woman, and if they did I think I would just tell them to get lost.

As for being submissive to my husband, well that's not something I would particularly want to advertise, because it's a personal thing as far as I am concerned, but I don't feel particuarly under attack about it, I mean nobody has ever said to me personally "you shouldn't obey your husband", and again, if they did, I would think it was none of their business.

I just wonder why you feel yourself to be under attack, and from whom?

To all posters

Please, everyone, re-read The posting rules and do not get into a meta discussion about what kinds of posts should be put up on this site and the like. Please ensure that posts are strictly on topic for the thread as well as for the site as a whole.

Please also ensure that your post sounds friendly and calm and not snippy, grumpy, sarcastic, defensive or contemptuous. Posts failing to sound as though they assume the other person is well-intentioned will not be selected for publication on this site.

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