Today, we need to talk about sex. As in gender. The male/female thing.  

I know, I know. You’re thinking: how does that feed into a series about the intersection of true wants with work and money, the subject of this series on Working With Wants?

Bear with me. It’s relevant. Key, actually.

In thinking about these matter it’s useful to distinguish between sex, which for most of us is a biological given when you’re born (boy or girl?) and gender, which is the social traits attributed to each (blue or pink?) The first polarity is male/female; the second feminine/masculine.

Marilyn Munroe, the female star onto whom millions projected their ideas of femininity, had indeed many feminine assets and liabilites — but also the ambitious, workaholic drive that is a masculine trait.  The male biblical character Samson, whose name is a very byword for masculine strength, was helpless before the entreaties of his wife to tell him the solution to a riddle. Yes, a riddle.

We’re a reasonably evolved lot around here at Creative Intelligence Towers, so I’m guessing none of us feels threatened by the idea that we embody both feminine and masculine?  Research by psychologist Jean Twenge shows us that although men are generally more masculine than women (generally, not my friend Vin) and women are generally more feminine than men, the association between sex and gender is weakening in capitalist societies.

This is a good thing, leaving more people more free to align with their essential selves than in the days when men were he-men and women knew their place. Those of us who lived through those days know what a lie all that was.

But how do these two contrasting ways of meeting the world intersect with wants?

Feminine Wanting
The female in us is particularly vulnerable to the spending pressures of consumer culture. Within that culture women are disproportionately sold to (as the primary shoppers for most retail items) and also disproportionately sold (in advertising, in the beauty industry, in the sex industry, in popular culture…).

We see the harm wreaked by this syndrome in how it corrupts our most primal relationship, that with our own bodies.

Millions of women – and now men too – spend billions starving, pumping, primping, squeezing and cutting themselves, in order to fit a body shape that is unattainable for most, and unmaintainable for all.

Masculine Wanting
The male in us is particularly vulnerable to the earning side of consumer culture. Within that culture, men are disproportionately expected to attain power, status and money, over and above other needs and wants.

We see the harm wreaked by this syndrome in how the drive to acquire and accumulate exploits or maims or even kills people in the name of profit and in how it is now exploiting, maiming and killing parts of our planet too.

Millions of men – and now women too – are caught on this mindless drive for consumer-driven “success”.


MASCULINE & FEMININE WANTS: AN EXERCISE

Here is a list of some masculine strengths and weakness and feminine strengths and weaknesses. Which ones apply to you?

Masculine Strengths:

Analytical, Self Confident, Strong, High IQ, Clear, Disciplined, Direct, Enthusiastic, Active, Independent…

Feminine Strengths:

Flexible, Creative, Caring, Open Minded, Allowing, Facilitatory, Encouraging, Nurturing, High EQ, Trusting, Sharing…

Masculine Weaknesses:

Opinionated, Dominating, Intimidating, Close-minded, Unemotional, Dismissive, Aggressive, Rapacious, Driven, Blaming, Inflexible, Witholding…

Feminine Weaknesses:

Passive, Clinging, Dependent, Weak, Chaotic, Naive, Grasping, Manipulative, Whining, Passive-aggressive, Overwrought…

1.  SCORE YOURSELF
for each quality on a scale of one to ten, one being ‘not at all’ and ten being ‘extremely’.

2. F-R-E-E-Write
how knowing this information about yourself feeds into:
What You Want To Create

How You Want To Create It

Why You Want To Create It

Next Time: Essential Wants

Previously in this series: Working With Wants, Part 1