As a witch, synchronicities are something I pay attention to a lot. Something that has been on my mind lately has been authenticity in the context of empowerment, especially for women who are socialised since birth to be nice. I talked about it before in the post about rewilding.
So I was intrigued when I saw an article on Dazes titled: Andrew Tate for Girls, the new wave of woman self-help gurus. I don’t consider myself an influencer, nor do I aspire to be, but I have an online platform because I am committed to be there for my younger self. A mentor at that critical time in my life would have helped me not let go of my vision for myself for over a decade. I want to be that mentor for someone else.
Having an online platform comes with a sense of responsibility to me. I often think about how there are future historians who’d be listening back to our podcasts and reading our blogs and piecing together what life was like in 2023 from them. So I committed to authenticity and insightful vulnerability, because I want young women to know that it’s okay to want things for themselves.
The Dark Side of Empowerment
I don’t know any of the people mentioned in the article, but I know others like them, and more unlike them who are all committed to creating a future where women don’t keep themselves small. I’m sympathetic to the author’s position that they bring something of value to the table, and also that it can easily slip into just emulating male toxicity in retaliation.
Honestly, some days that’s tempting. Revenge is a shadow of Scorpio, and that’s where some of my strongest placements lie. But it feels too simplistic to assume all of my “good qualities” were just conditioning and are not part of my authenticity. I’m not in the kink scene, but I am familiar with it, and something that challenges me a lot is the mummy domme.
The TLDR is that it’s a dynamic in BDSM where the dominant partner is characterised by their nurturing nature. It’s a far cry from the popularised image of a dominatrix, almost always shown engaged in humiliation play. And, yet, she isn’t any less dominant.
Since femininity is dismissed as weaknesses, it’s hard to distinguish them in a way that recognises their equivalence. The reason I’m talking about this is because it shows one of the difficulties we face in defining female empowerment.
Working with the dark feminine without toxicity
As Tara Kenny wrote in the Dazed article, “It’s easy to tell women to radically accept themselves and lead with love, but such advice doesn’t always cut the mustard in the real world.” But if the tough love self-help gurus “fall into the same toxic thought patterns as those manosphere channels they’re trying to counteract”, how can we truly empower ourselves and each other in a way that is both powerful and authentic?
I wish I had an easy answer.
We need a broader shift than women “aggressively assert(ing) their value in a world that constantly seeks to diminish them.”
Life is neither the love and light communitarian utopia of mainstream spirituality, or the zero-sum game that these women espouse.
I love to live in the grey areas. That’s why I dedicated S2 of my podcast to working with light and shadow. One cannot exist without the other. Like Persephone is the Goddess of Spring and Queen of the Underworld, we too are creatures of complexity and contradiction. And, maybe, the nature vs nurture debate is a fallacy and authenticity can include things we learnt from our environment.
The manosphere’s self-styled alpha males need big shows of power because they don’t have as much as they claim. That’s why they reduce women to a portrayal of femininity that is bidimensional and disempowering.
Stepping into our true feminine power
The female empowerment that these influencers propose is also bidimensional. It’s a direct reaction to the patriarchal limitations imposed on us in our society, so it’s defined by its limits. And, frankly, it looks exhausting and lonely to live in the society that these two camps see the world as.
We can step into our power without cutting off our empathy, and create a world that honours our complexity.
If you are a witch, or are curious, I loved this podcast about 5 key goddesses for the Summer Solstice.
I also compiled my favourite podcasts to empower ourselves and create a life that is fulfilling. I plan to curate more over time, so let me know if you have any specific topics.