this was a brilliant essay. i’ve been thinking a lot (a LOT) about the feminine vs. masculine forces in society, in other individuals, and in myself. i’m not sure i’ve perfectly figured out the balance but one of the biggest ‘epiphanies’ i had around this topic recently was that i was never going to conquer a ‘man’s world’ by acting like a man as a woman. ie: to suppress my femininity to ‘fit in’ in areas where mostly men succeeded was not a winning strategy. to fully self-actualize would require me to own and confront where my power truly lies: in my feminine.

i don’t know exactly why it took me so long to realize that there was a way to be an embodied woman powerfully, and that the characteristics weaved into femininity are tremendous strengths, but alas, sometimes we take the long way home. perhaps it has something to do with what you pointed out about Jessica — famous among friends, but hard to see as a worthy and visible role model as a young girl. i think young, capable, ambitious girls aren’t told to own their femininity and use it in partnership with their masculine qualities to do the things they want to do. they’re mostly told (or more accurately, the nudges i was getting as a young girl were) to lean into masculine traits because *that* is what drives success. but i think this is quite backwards, and i love the quote you included here about how women have access to these subtler forms of intelligence than can be harder (in general) for men to access.

i am always shocked by how there are these undertones of emotion and social signals that many men miss among each other, and in their partners. it’s like: wait, you can’t see that?

i think in many ways, herein lies the power of the feminine — to harness perceptiveness and empathy, and all the other beautiful qualities we have access to instead of hiding from them out of the belief they’re not as ‘valuable’.

what i see as the consistent theme across all of the girlboss / hardcore feminism / tradwife movements and the reason all three miss the mark in some way is that they all try to make being a woman unidimensional. they say: JUST FOCUS ON THIS ONE THING YOU CAN DO WELL AS A WOMAN. instead of encouraging women to lean into their dimensionality, and to use all of their layers to propel themselves forward. because all of their layers exist in conjunction for a reason; it’s the depth a woman has, and the versatility of her strengths, that makes her so powerful.

why aren’t we told about what it means to be a powerful woman when we are young, instead of just being told there are powerful men, and there are the women that support them from the sidelines. and oh yeah, here are a few powerful women but they are mostly childless and highly masculine. as you pointed out: where are the jessica’s — the ones who have gracefully balanced a mission outside of the home while also raising a family and cultivating a successful partnership — and how can we learn more from them?

thanks for writing this, it glued together a lot of thoughts i’ve been having on this topic. your writing is beautiful as always.

i wrote a bit about feminine vs. masculine internal forces and trusting trust my intuition here (https://mindmine.substack.com/p/comfort) but you’ve inspired me to revisit the topic and perhaps go a bit deeper.

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Sofia Coppola also comes to mind?

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This is pretty much everything I've tried to explain to my wife over the years. Great job

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This line

"although Jessica more than anyone made YC unique, the very qualities that enabled her to do it mean she tends to get written out of YC's history." - I agree there are so many things women can done well but they are not viewed as valuable. eg: child rearing, upkeeping of the home, etc.

Even though I personally harbor the view that I'm good on my own, seeing how the world works, it is not easy or beneficial to be a woman standing on her own feet

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Maybe I'm an outlier male, but I find myself relating to all the "feminine" things you described in this piece instead of the "masculine" things. I want a few true believers, and I relate strongly to the characters in films and stories, even if I'm nothing like them. And I know a few other men who would answer the same way. Definitely a minority of the men I know, but it seems common enough.

The social programming theory always resonated with me. I didn't have any male authority figures growing up, and all the teachers that really believed in me were women, so it seemed to explain how I turned out. *shrug*

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Love this!!! So good! Thank you!

And a note that yin & yang is switched up in this sentence:

"The east understood this in their conception of the unique union between yin (sun, male, consistency, order) and yang (moon, female, darkness, chaos)."

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