Sexism Versus Taoism

Sexism is defining a person’s abilities, limitations and role in society by the gender they are born. Taoism is the philosophy which is symbolized by the yin-yang symbol. In my experience I have learned that a yin or feminine nature and yang, the masculine energy may have nothing at all to do with what gender a person is born. For the most part, people are mixes of the two but tend to be dominant in one or the other depending on the situation.

I know this is true because it explains so well why gender identity is so confusing and why some people simply can’t fit into the gender roles society demands.

On the other hand, growing up during the feminist movement, with a single working mother, only made my self-acceptance harder for me. I was supposed to want it all, but I didn’t. I wanted to stay home, have babies and make cookies. My husband expected me to do it all without his help, nor was I supposed need his respect or understanding. That was what feminism had taught my generation.

After three babies born in less than four years, divorce was inevitable. He was no help to me , I had no time for a fourth (adult) child who expected unquestionable respect yet took no responsibility for his family’s needs. I’ve been a single mom for over twenty years, I know what Hell it is.

That is why I am actually very sexist. I do believe that it is best if children have the input of both a masculine and feminine parent, one parent to be nurturing and another to be protective. Having a parent that takes care of the physical and financial needs of the family and a parent that encourages the emotional and spiritual growth of the family is obviously advantageous for any child.

Biology gives women a natural advantage to be nurturing, especially when breastfeeding. Men’s bodies are faster to make muscles and therefore have the advantage at working jobs that require strength. Many societies reinforce these advantages, when boys are taught to be tough and not cry, while girls are encouraged to be soft, compromising and care more about others than themselves.

Yet I am Taoist in that I think that these roles should have less to do with gender and more to do with each person’s awareness of their own yin and yang flowing inside. It is important to take turns for, always being yang is exhausting and, always being yin is depressing. Allowing each person’s energy to flow between the two is the best path I know to healthy relationships with others; parents, children, siblings, etc. Learning to move forward when the other moves back and back when the other moves forward may seem like playing games. (I hate when people say it is all just a game. That suggests that people break each other’s hearts on purpose or for their own amusement.)

Rather I think it works best to describe the nature of masculine and feminine, or yin and yang, relationships as a dance.

The first step to dancing is to show respect. Bow to your partner. The second is to hold hands, leaving breathing space between the two, gently enough that the other may pull away if they want yet firmly enough not to be pulled apart as you move. Third gaze into each others eyes, want to know your partner and let your partner know you. Fourth practice moving together, forwards, backwards, sideways or in circles. Last, end the dance as you began, with respect, bow to your partner.



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