The “Girl Boss” is coming under fire, especially among spiritual entrepreneurs (even if they don’t have a spiritual business).
Two weeks ago, I talked about the growth of tough love influencers for women online, and not long after someone with that very energy released a podcast episode about the problem with women emasculating men. I’ve debated with myself whether I should name the podcast or not, because on the one hand I want to prove that I’m not misrepresenting the position, but also I feel like it’s not a conversation that’s happening in a vacuum and I don’t want to single out one person. I don’t have a problem with the host, in many ways we are similar women and I have liked plenty of her content before. My problem is with what she has to say about this topic.
I also have to confess that I semi-ironically use the term to refer to myself. The Scorpicorn Girl Boss is a nickname a dear friend gave me.
As a photographer who loves to take portraits of empowered women and moves in spirituality spaces (psst…did you know I have a podcast about witchcraft?), the conversation around what it means to be a woman outside of the constraints of the modern capitalist patriarchy is something I am passionate about.
I want women to be fulfilled in their lives, whatever those lives look like, and many find themselves unfulfilled because of their relationships with men.
Is Girl Boss energy masculine energy?
At the core of the argument that inspired this post lies an assumption that I’m very familiar with coming to adulthood in traditional Catholicism. Gender as a social construct is a “woke lie”, men and women are biologically wired to be a certain way, and women who lead are emasculating men because they act like one and that’s only going to make them miserable.
I’m a firm believer in the ability to run a business in feminine flow while using masculine energy to create a container for masculinity to thrive. If you don’t like the idea of gendered terms, yin and yang in Chinese philosophy is more neutral. And I like how its well-known symbol shows that both yin and yang contain each other. I talked extensively about that in my first Witchy Musing back in December (Yin, yang and Yang), so you can check that out if you want to hear more of my thoughts on that.
Male and female are just one of the dichotomy of the dance of yin and yang. The seasons, the landscape, even the political order of order and chaos, all are examples of this duality between still and receptive, and fiery and forward-moving energy. But going back to the idea of emasculation, the premise is that women do not leave space for men to take charge and do things in their own time. My first objection is that how many adult males are men, rather than overgrown spoiled (or traumatised, which deserves compassion) children? Women often feel forced to take charge in relationships because if they don’t then nothing will happen. They aren’t emasculating men who are emasculating themselves.
Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine energy
Women exist in yin flow when it’s safe. Professional dominatrixes are some of the most feminine and flowy people out there when not in a scene, and many mummy dommes are soft in scenes too. That’s because it isn’t asserting dominance over a man that makes you exist in yang energy. Having a business or c-suite level career, even if you take pride in going at it from a Girl boss energy, is not going to stop you being a feminine woman. Even if our societies can do more to support women in business not having to live on a 24 hours rhythm built around men. Mothers, who are the apotheosis of traditional femininity, need this divine masculine energy to take care of their children. Any form of giving and proactive action is masculine energy in this context.
The idea gender isn’t at all social construct therefore women are not naturally meant to embody masculine energy is ludicrous. Especially when the given reason is because of our hormonal cycles. The speaker mentioned how men have testosterone as proof of that, as if women don’t (spoiler alert: they do, and it’s at its highest during the middle of the menstrual cycle).
Gender is a social construct because it expects conformity in personality traits and gender expression on account of the sex at your birth. Initiatives like The Lion’s Barber’s Collective show us that men indeed have emotional needs, too, and it’s not true that they don’t connect through conversation and the kind of emotional intimacy women crave. It may look differently, perhaps, but it’s just a basic human need.
The real problem in frustrating relationships
I cannot speak much about the idea that women get their acts together when someone points out their deficiencies, while men retreat in shame because they don’t need the tribe as much as we do, because to me that seems like a trauma response I have witnessed in individuals of all sexes assigned at birth. However, the actions she describes at that point are all clearly yang energy ones. Effectively, her idea boils down to “Instead of nagging your partner because he doesn’t do things or doing them yourselves, give him the space to do them” which circles back to needing them to actually do things.
No one enjoys nagging, I hope, and it’s how we dismiss women who have to voice unmet needs repeatedly. We can blame things like weaponised incompetence or the difficulties with life admin that can come with some neurodivergent brains for the kind of situations that we could term emasculating. Women being empowered and successful are not the problem.