One of the most explosive topics of our time is gender roles. I think men are especially confused. Do we embrace our masculine side and step up and take charge. Or are we supposed to embrace our feminine side and be more open, tolerant and emotionally engaging? And what about at work – how are we supposed to act there?
This hot button topic is full of complexity and confusion. But, I’ll try to bring some clarity as my experts and I discuss how traditional male and female roles are being broken down and whether that’s a good or bad thing. My guests joining me on this episode come from very different backgrounds and they’re bringing a wealth of experiences with them. We’re talking about the evolving roles of men and women and how to find ways to improve communication between the sexes. So who’s really to blame for the tension, are men just clueless or are women behaving badly?
Founder of Rewilding for Women, Sabrina Lynn’s work as a personal development facilitator has helped thousands of women transform their lives. Sabrina tells me women are actually behaving badly toward men, but not necessarily on purpose. “We’ve placed a lot of value on masculine ways of being,” she says, “as in accomplishing goals, making things happen, being that corporate woman who goes and kicks butt out in the world.” As women are basically being taught to leave their feminine side behind, Sabrina tells me, it affects communication between the sexes.
Everybody’s confused because the dance between the masculine and feminine comes from the polarity between the roles. Taking it a step further, Sabrina says society now actively devalues the feminine as weak, leading more women to move away from that side of themselves. Women are apologizing for raising their children, “I hear women say, ‘I’m just a stay-at-home mom’,” she says, “It breaks my heart.” Sabrina explains to me exactly what she means when she talks about masculine and feminine roles, and it’s probably not what you think.
Life and relationship coach Bryan Reeves has a deep and innate understanding of the difference between the weak and the strong. Bryan tells me he had very strong female role models when he was growing up, while at the same time his father was emotionally absent. “What I learned at an early age, is that really women should be leading things and men are just kind of holding on.” A Captain in the U.S. Air Force at just 26 years old, Bryan was a real man’s-man, so to speak. But he tells me something was missing, “I just felt dead inside.” So, in searching for a connection, Bryan married a woman he’d only known for five weeks while he was living in France. He tells me he knew it was a mistake, “Everything in my body said, ‘Don’t do this. Don’t do this.’” The marriage lasted eight months.
Bryan says men tend to live from the neck up. He says men will tell you what they’re thinking, not what they’re feeling. In my discussion with Bryan, we talk about the importance of listening to your body. “If I don’t know what’s happening in my body,” Bryan tells me, “I won’t know what’s happening in my partner’s body, and then I can’t really navigate that masculine/feminine divide.” It’s not easy though, Bryan discusses with me the fear he still has to overcome to work to stay connected with his emotions.
Highly sought after relationship coaches Satyen and Suzanne Raja teach couples around the world how to embrace their gender differences. But they tell me how the traditional male/female roles now work against us. Satyen says, ”We’re at the next level where we can embrace the whole spectrum and develop our whole capacity to become really great lovers and livers of life on all levels of being.” Suzanne shares that while it’s important to be happy inside yourself, you need to think about more than just yourself, “How about being the best that you can be as a blessing for your partner, for the world?”
High school sweethearts, a couple for 30 years, and they work together – I ask the Rajas how they keep things fresh. Surprisingly they tell me they keep separate bedrooms. Satyen explains that polarity equals passion, “If you’re hanging out with each other too long, sleeping together, doing a lot of stuff together…what will happen is you’ll go from lover energy to friend energy and then that passion between you will start to diminish.” With the help of audience volunteers Mark and Jo McAllister, Satyen and Suzanne give a demonstration of what they call the three energies. For men it’s presence, claim and penetration. For women it’s invitation, surrender and expression. Watch as things heat up for the McAllisters — and everyone else in the studio — as the Rajas teach the McAllisters how to reclaim intimacy.