I dedicate this post to the hidden man in you, if you are a woman.
And most importantly, I dedicate this post to the hidden woman in you, if you are a man.
And if the Lord has created you somewhere in between, endowed with the qualities of both, my friend, I hope that this post helps you to discover yourself more.
Today in my native place, we celebrate ‘Thiruvaathira’. This day is observed to seek the blessings of Lord Siva and Mata Parvati, the divine couple who is often considered symbolically as the parents of the worlds.
But, why do I bring up the topic of this divine couple here? There is a reason. One of their most celebrated forms is that of ‘Ardhanareeshwara’, which is a composite androgynous form, depicted as half male and half female, split down the middle. This form represents the masculine and feminine energies of the universe – the ‘purusha’ (masculine) and ‘prakriti’ (feminine). This is similar to the concept of yin and yang.
Now, the combination of masculine and feminine energies in every person is not something just metaphorical. Biologically, we all have a mix of male and female genes. But perhaps, this concept of yin-yang is more pronounced in human psychology. This was studied in great detail by none other than our famous Carl Jung.
According to Jung, anima is the unconscious, feminine inner personality of a man, while animus is the unconscious masculine inner personality of a woman. To give an example, the qualities of aggressiveness, competitiveness, courage, analytical thinking, athletic nature, and all such qualities that we often associate with the ‘alpha’ male (whatever that is 😂) make up the animus of a woman. Hence, when a girl exhibits such qualities, that is her animus prominently showing ‘himself’. (By the way..in case you haven’t watched ‘Dangal’ please do! I’m planning to watch too..😃).
Likewise, men have their anima. Understandably, Jung had studied and explained more about anima than animus. It is probably not just because he is a man, but also because anima is often suppressed and ridiculed than animus.
Think about it…In today’s world of stereotyping, we seem to be okay, and even applaud the manliness in women. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, this is a good sign. But what about the other way round? Do we appreciate the ‘womanliness’ in men?
Unfortunately, this world is still male chauvinistic. Else why do people cling to the idea of so called ‘alpha’ male who is all aggressive, active, muscular, stoic, insensitive and passionate? And why do people, including women, often shun men who are sensitive, romantic, gentle and empathetic as ‘girly’? (Gosh..I’ve often heard my friends call them so!)
To be frank, I find this pretty annoying. I personally appreciate, and even adore the feminine, soft features in men. I believe a sensitive, gentle, empathetic, emotional, moody, romantic, nurturing and caring man could be as appealing (or perhaps even more than) as the typical ‘masculine’ male. But most often, men are forced to suppress this gentleness in them to fit into the social norms.
To put it simply, I don’t think effeminacy is something to be ridiculed or frowned upon. I believe every man should cherish his sensitive side, especially if it is prominent. Just like every woman should treasure her courageous, heroic self. Gender roles should not exist as a rigid system. We must realize that there is a man in every woman, and a woman in every man. Accepting this truth and understanding this inner self can help us in nourishing our creative, higher selves. No more ‘boys don’t cry’. No more ‘girls don’t fight’. Boys can cry too, if they are desperate to do so. Girls can fight too, if they are provoked to do so. All that matters here is, whether one is a man or woman or other, that we apply our wisdom to know when and how to act and react.
I hope that a day comes when men can shed a few tears for his fellow beings without being ridiculed by his fellow men.
Foot note : People who are familiar with Hindu deities may know this. In Hindu philosophy, power or strength (‘shakthi’) is associated with feminine energy or Goddess. Also, the female planet of Venus, and the moon are actually represented as male gods with feminine qualities (and they are completely straight too!). But the most striking example for effeminate popular manifestation of the Divine is none other than Lord Krishna, arguably the ‘most desirable man’ in Indian culture and mythology :
As you can see, he is often depicted and described in the scriptures as having ‘moonly’ or feminine qualities and appearance. Nevertheless, he was one of the best and most skilled warriors of his time, apart from being a brilliant strategist and kingmaker.
I hope you enjoyed reading this. I would love to hear your views on this matter.