Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Celebrating Womanhood: I am Woman I am Paradox

That which is yielding conquers the strong and the soft overcomes that which is hard--Lao Tse

There is a new woman out there. You can recognize her if you look carefully. She’s the one who blithely embraces the typical man’s world with panache, style and a confidence that may daunt without being hostile. She has no motive in doing this except to be the best she can be. In truth, she exudes the apparently paradoxical qualities of compassion and strength. She looks you directly in the eye, is openly vulnerable, sincerely human, yet ultimately powerful. She may intimidate lesser men.

Such a woman exudes a genuine self-esteem and warmth that is charismatic, and demonstrates quiet competence with humility. She is intelligent without the need to intimidate. She is a natural leader without being selfish or tyrannical. This is ultimately the power of woman: to lead with compassion. She is defining her world; not letting the world define her.

She naturally defies stereotyping. You could describe her as a hybrid of two worlds. Her karma and energy encompasses both feminine and masculine. In reality, she is neither “woman” nor “man”: she is divinely human. This scares most people, both men and woman. It takes both out of their comfort zone, out of their safe stereotype.

I hear my son’s friends throwing around terms like “girly girl” or “tomboy” without truly understanding the stereotypes they are conveying; without understanding that by using these labels they are reducing womankind to something far less complicated and into something manageable, safe and easy--and we're far from that.

"Woman" carries the power of “motherhood”, of noble goodness and kindness in her all-embracing heart. She is the fluid yielding movement of a rushing brook cutting through rock. She is the quiet harmonious power of a bending willow, diverting a bustling wind. She is the fierce courage of a mother bear defending her cub and the future of her world. She is Gaia. Mother Earth. Boadicea. Annie Oakley. She is Joan of Arc, Queen Elizabeth I, Amelia Earhart, Marie Curie, Anne Frank, Mother Teresa, Mary Wollstonecraft, Rachel Carson, Lynn Margulis, Antoinette Hunziker-Ebneter. She is you and me.

Today's western woman is the “sleeping artist” of the world. She is our hero on a journey, the altruist who will save the world. She is in the position to rise up from the mundane “ordinary” world of complacent self-imposed ignorance and challenge the incumbent tyranny of small men. She is in the position to challenge all self-interested parties from government dictatorships to multi-national corporations who lack vision or compassion.

She only needs to embrace the inner wisdom and beauty that time has etched so beautifully on her face. She only needs to embrace the paradox that is woman.


Joan of Arc
Elizabeth 1
Anne Frank
Rachel Carson
Lynn Margulis
Antoinette Hunziker-Ebneter

Nina Munteanu is an ecologist and internationally published author of novels, short stories and essays. She coaches writers and teaches writing at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. For more about Nina’s coaching & workshops visit Visit for more about her writing.


Steph said...

Well said Nina. :)

SF Girl said...

Thank you, Steph! :-D

Jean-Luc Picard said...

A fine post celebrating wom anhood, with somew excellent examples. The song 'I Am Woman' came to mind while reading it.

SF Girl said...

LOL! That's funny, Jean-Luc... I was thinking of that song when I wrote it! HAR! Ah... great minds think alike... :)

Thank you, Jean-Luc.

SF Girl said...

I just want to add that,while most of your will recognize most of the women I listed here, the last one, Antoinette Hunziker-Ebneter, merits particular mention, as she may not be as familiar to you. I met Antoinette at the Life and Mind Conference on "Altruism and Compassion in Economics" with the Dalai Lama in Zurich this past April, where she spoke as a panelist. She is currently the CEO and co-founder of Forma-Futura with her following mission statement:

"Empowering the investor to use capital as a resource for improving the sustainable quality
of life and to earn a competitive, risk-adjusted return at the same time is a central concern
of mine."

Here's a little taste of what she said at the conference:

"We, all of us, are responsible for our economic system, and the problems that arise out of it. Do we want to create a better system, with more sustainable outcomes, with more focus on people’s good, rather than materialism and selfishness? People are starting to question investment strategies to find stocks that coincide with their personal worldview. We are seeing a shift from a desire for quantity to quality, from pure profit to profit with a purpose. Intangible benefits need more prominence such as health, freedom of choice, etc. Revolution, rather than evolution, is necessary, as time is not in our favor to wait for the sustainable financial system to organically arise. Part of the solution is to invest in the companies that support our end-goal of compassion and altruism."

Anonymous said...

Anytime a philosophy harps on superior traits of a people that they inherited by birth, it is a dangerous philosophy.

Feminism has become such a philosophy. Womens rights are worth fighting for, but it seems like the feminists use their voices to subtly point out their superiority and blame men for the worlds problems.

It should be clear why those voices fall on deaf ears.

SF Girl said...

Dear Anonymous,

I so agree with what you said: "Anytime a philosophy harps on superior traits of a people that they inherited by birth, it is a dangerous philosophy." Fascism. Imperialism. Nazism. These are docrines and ideologies based on the supremacy of a superior group, always accompanied by the oppression of another considered lesser group. Dangerous indeed. And wrong. Terribly wrong.

As for placing "feminism" in this category, I think you gravely misguided. Certainly, there exist several individuals and factions of the overall movement that may be guilty of what you suggest. That does not mean the entire movement is bent in this direction. The Feminist movement was and still is concerned with raising women's status and position and recognition EQUAL to that of men. And to this end, it is and should be aimed at its own -- at raising the consciousness of women, at raising their pride in their abilities and unique talents, at raising their self-esteem and contribution in the world. You need only look at what is currently going on in various parts of the world to know that women are still treated with disrespect as lesser citizens, not provided with equal opportunities for education, employment, etc.

You bring up an interesting point. Consider, Anonymous, who the major power-wielding individuals have been and still are: politicians, corporate heads and bankers ... Are they not men??? And, yes, it's high time that changed ... What we need is BALANCE. And that balance can only be achieved by the respectful and full partnership of one and all -- men and women, black and white, Christian and Muslim, etc. etc. etc. ... celebrating who and what we are and respectfully cherishing the complentary differences between us. As the wise French say, Vive la Difference!

Nina Munteanu
p.s. next time you might like to let us know who you are ...