It took me a while to let loose this tear in form of a blog post because I was wondering what does my blogpost really change? Does it help a woman in Kabul supporting Taliban regime since their take-over last year? Does it help stopping domestic violence?
Certainly a blogpost cannot change politics and hinder crimes. My persuasion is though that some words must be spoken. Reaching someone or not: these thoughts must be verbalised, put together into a text, finally made accessible to the collective whoever and whatever that is in the internet.
Even more so am I sure that urgent, but unspoken words present entities echoing in our inner space, becoming a train of thoughts translated into destructive feelings in the human body if not freed.
Despite all knowledge and mechanisms to protect women and girls, we still have too many crimes committed against them.
When the Taliban took over Kabul last year I asked myself if these violent men wanted to build their own country with male citizens only who are fighting against each other, a dark country without any female energy, no diversity, children and connecting endeavours?
Unfortunately, letting someone or something go testifies grandeur and deep acceptance of being solely responsible of our own actions; no qualities one can expect from terrorist groups. They would never let Afghan women and children leave the country, instead imprisoning and pursuing them, even destroying them. What happens to Afghanistan shows us also the tragedy of a disturbed male-female interaction and how that is impoverishing a whole country.
The male and the female are two entirely different energies complementing each other and they are in need of interaction in order to realise themselves. Men need to consider their female energy and women their male energy. Despite all knowledge and mechanisms to protect women and girls we still have too many crimes committed against them.
All around the world there is scandalous cultural connivance with femicides and a lack of justice for the victims ("femicide" means: „the killing of one or more females by one or more males because they are female“; for more information click here).
Sexual and romantic education, as well as mixed kindergardens, schools, universities and work places are sadly no guarantee for a femicide-free society.
Understandably, private and public femicides are haunting women on a deep level and make us aware of this invisible and thin dangerous line deciding over all our interactions in society. In fact, here is an uneasy dimension in our social existence that we try to hide with a smile and some sexiness manufactured with the help of male formulas.
By contemplating femicides happening every day on the globe I ask myself what it is that makes men wanting to damage or destroy women. Where do all these negative feelings come from and why are they immediately translated into harmful action?
With a look at Afghanistan, you might conclude that these men are not educated, belonging to a culture which enables murder of women and girls, but women rights' defenders can ensure you that there are also femicides in the Western world . Sexual and romantic education, as well as mixed kindergardens, schools, universities and work places are sadly no guarantee for a femicide-free society. There are broader definitions of femicides that include systematic ignorance of reported crimes and the lack of helping structures for women in need, which shows us the societal framework of these murder.
If we consider the poriferous legal framework girls have to grow up and women are thriving in, it is scandalous how even that category is tried to be invaded by men of the trans-movement. Not only have women no physical, structural and systematic space in society which is not always questioned by men, but even by men who became women themselves.
If someone wants access to my inherited category; a category born with much blood and raised with the worn hands of our political mothers in times of great danger; a category women must learn to defend throughout their lives; I have the right to not accepting it.
The female bestseller-authors and intellectuals Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and J.K. Rowling advocated for women’s rights and separated them fiercely from trans-women’s rights with regards to their legal and social status. Afterwards, they were accused of being transphobic and needed to apologise publicly by stating exhaustingly why they are against the fact putting trans-women and women into the same category. (For Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's apology click here, for J.K. Rowling's statement here).
Having empathy for transgender individuals is not like arguing in a political arena with them: the context changes significantly. If someone wants access to my inherited category; a category born with much blood and raised with the worn hands of our political mothers in times of great danger; a category women must learn to defend throughout their lives; I have the right to not accepting it. Even though the female has undoubtedly an inclusive quality, a man or a trans-woman have no legitimation to negotiate rules from within women’s category: for a woman is not only appearance or „result“, but most of all a girl's painful growth process of becoming a woman in society. In addition to that, women have specific needs around childbirth and family planning, men (how understanding and desirable of being a woman they might be) do not have and cannot advocate for with the same implication.
Of course, it is not just about the sex(ual orientation): we have stocked memory in our bodies; bodies that exist on several levels: physically, psychologically and emotionally. Therefore our liberation must be done by born women alone in order to be really acquired and deep-seated for the future female generation to flourish. Being a women is not only pleasure, but a duty and for many a burden they transform with much resilience into talents.
By engaging in political activism our lives and that of our children are at a very high risk and women are very well aware of that.
The oppression of women has never stopped, even though women right’s defenders achieved important mile stones in the last centuries. We need to honour our political mothers who fought for our rights for that we breath freely, laugh in the streets, are a citizen with the right to vote, wear what we want, have money on our own, choose our husband and/or lover, go to university or to work.
Long ago is the solely male-female, dualistic understanding of human beings; we entered a new age of functioning in the private and public sphere and the traditional social roles of women and men are obsolete.
Often women have no time to participate actively in politics: they have a family, need to take care of their household, job, children, marriage and themselves. Furthermore and this is a very underestimated aspect: the social and political framework we are moving in is porose, which means that nothing is ever certain: by engaging in political activism our lives and that of our children are at a very high risk and women are very well aware of that.
Just take a look at Angela Merkel’s and Aung San Suu Kyi’s lives to see how deeply political work affect a woman’s private life. Also local politicians and activists are under equal pressure and risk: women are harassed, sexualised and their life is threatened. Even more can we see how important is feminists’ precious work by making room in society for the female.
But as we can see with the very important and progressive trans-mouvement, society became truly complex, long ago is the solely male-female, dualistic understanding of human beings; we entered a new age of functioning in the private and public sphere and the traditional social roles of women and men are obsolete.
At the same time, change never comes without insecurity for the masses and it takes some time to appease them. Political feminists are protecting women against physical and psychological threats committed by individuals, institutions or a whole community. Because most of us have neither the courage, the abilities, nor the will to sacrifice our entire life for the cause of women’s rights, there is a smaller, but not easier thing we can do: looking inwards and taking action within the domestic sphere.
There is only a small corner of our psyche we have conscious access to and our thoughts, opinions and reflections often come from areas we are not conscious about.
If we really want to understand the friction of male and female, understand what we experience in the outer world, we need to talk further about our innerpsychic life. In her book „The Animus: The Spirit of Inner Truth in Women“ Barbara Hannah writes that we should accept that there is only a small corner of our psyche we have conscious access to and that our thoughts, opinions and reflections often come from areas we are not conscious about. We needed to make these elements of our unconscious psyche seen in order to contribute value to our world's set up and make sense of our lives.
What she means is the concept of shadow (which is the unconscious part of our psyche ignored by the ego and our consciousness), the animus (for women), the anima (for men) developed by the Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung. In Latin „animus“ means intellect, memory, consciousness, character. According to Jung „animus“ is the masculine spirit or unconscious mind in a woman, whereas „anima“ is the feminine soul in man. The animus is not the masculine soul because „the animus personifies the spirit in women while the anima represents the soul in man. In general we can say, (…), the animus in the woman is the producer of opinions whereas the anima in man produces moods.“ (Hannah, 2011, p.2).
Soul wants to be seen, spirit probably doesn't and if our real female body is reduced to the visible, it creates a disease in women because they feel sexualised and used.
Through this Jungian psychoanalytic concept of the male and female unconscious, we approach relationships and the male-female connection on a deep level. Up from adolescence each of us tries to approach the other gender through befriending, marrying, adoring: while men connect to the female via their emotions and images, women build a bridge through their thinking and logic. That’s why, we find tremendous amounts of anima portraits in literature, paintings etc., while the animus is more fugitive and hides behind the writings of a woman author, for example. He is the one who portrays, not the portrayed (Hannah, 2011, p.4).
I think it is an important step towards mutual understanding that soul and spirit have this kind of different functioning. Soul wants to be seen, spirit probably doesn't and if our real female body is reduced to the visible, it creates a disease in women because they feel sexualised and used. But are we really used by men who project their sexuality on us or are we used by the female aspect in them which wants to see herself embodied? Going beyond the stiff shape of sexuality, which is first of all body and then maybe soul and spirit, means understanding relationship better.
A society build solely on men’s imagination cannot accommodate enough space for women to free their male energy.
If men and their inwardly female aspect do not want to see women other than their projection of female, the anima is truly negative. First, because men are constantly projecting their female energy on women, which is chaining somewhat her inner flexibility, intellect and logic. Second, the natural animus’ flow is blocked where girls and young woman cannot access (higher) education or where there are no job opportunities after university or apprenticeship. Also job positions that are too rigid and aren’t able to integrate the demands of motherhood do not respond adequately to women’s condition.
So women find refuge within themselves, share ideas, opinions and might work a bit, without ever using their full potential. With this in mind, it is pretty logical that a society build solely on men’s imagination cannot accommodate enough space for women to free their male energy. It is not without any reason that female artists and intellectuals struggle in any society and are even killed or victims of other crimes for expressing their opinion or art in public. Oftentimes their art is mistaken for sexual seduction or ignored for the sake of personal projection. Though, if the woman refuses any outer expression of her male energy, let it be art, political activism, any kind of work, her animus becomes destructive, too.
Any war could be avoided if men and women held the tension of two diametrically opposed forces inside of themselves.
What have inner projection and outer expression to do with women’s rights? Questioned if an atomic war at the beginning of the Second World War could be avoided (Hannah, 2011, p.79), Carl Gustav Jung responded that any war could be avoided if men and women held the tension of two diametrically opposed forces inside of themselves. That allows us to believe that men and women hold nearly always a negative and a positive conception of anima and animus within themselves and that balancing these poles can help us acquiring solid rights for both sides.
So I would stress that our female body is in disease because our relation to the male is disturbed. We find ourselves under permanent male pressure from in and outside. Many women fall into the trap that they follow what men (and their anima) want. On the one hand women like to be attractive for men, but which takes, on the other hand, grotesque forms when women are so tightly bound on a female projection that they can barely move (and sadly cannot express their animus freely).
Men with a negative anima are usually surrounded by many women, (...) the negative male spirit in a woman cuts her off from her surroundings. He persuades her that she should surrender, sacrifice the individual for the collective.
We don’t understand the inner psychic reasoning for femicides in order to prevent them, we don’t have enough knowledge of men’s anima, certainly cannot blame her as an unconscious entity. What we know is that a negative anima wants to possess her man and does not want a real woman being part of his life! A positive anima on the contrary allows connection with a real woman and does not need irrelevant multitudes of images where she can project herself onto. That’s why, Barbara Hannah following Jung points out that men with a negative anima are usually surrounded by many women, as their soul wants to be projected in many and hinder any real contact with one woman, so that a real and successful physical and conscious connection between the male and the female is sabotaged.
For women, the negative animus proceeds the opposed way: the negative male spirit in a woman cuts her off from her surroundings, so that he can reign over her and her writings, thinking, creating. He persuades her that she should surrender, sacrifice the individual for the collective.
It is essential to understand that the actions a woman’s intellect asks her to do must absolutely being done by her and no one else.
But how can women get in touch with their spirit?
First of all, spirit wants to express himself and searches his realisation in the outer world through a job, art, thoughts and opinions put into action.
Then women need to defend this place from which they can follow their spirit, either creation time or putting this creation into action.
Denying space and time to connect and follow their animus, women suffer tremendously without ever knowing why. It is essential to understand that the actions a woman’s intellect asks her to do must absolutely being done by her and no one else.
But if she contents herself with a female expression of a projected anima, the animus can become very negative and tries to possess her by making her belief that no one is ever good enough for her as a partner, understands her better than, well, he does. All his irrelevant opinions will flood the woman and make her unsociable, lonely and bitter. Really it is to state that the animus does not see the benefit of our family life. His mission is solely to make us putting his opinions into action through our female body.
Carl Gustav Jung indicates that we should look at our dreams in order to understand shadow, anima and animus. Understand that men showing up in your dreams have less to do with the real persons you might know, but mean moreover an inner figure, a representation of your own animus; they want to tell a woman something about herself. Writing, producing art, working in a certain branch, becoming active in a certain area: anytime a woman follows her calling, her relationship to the people around her and to herself becomes better, given the fact that she equals her time between family and herself (because if she follows solely her inner spirit, she will lose her family as she devotes herself completely to her calling).
By understanding our soul (for men) and our spirit (for women), as well as our shadow, we can free the images, feed the soul, nourish the spirit, let them roam and hold tensions within ourselves.
Can we blame our unconscious for all evil happening on earth? Explain crimes against women with our psychic landscape? In fact, evil might work in an unconscious manner by giving human beings the feeling of being nothing more than victims of outer reality. Maybe we have more power than we thought: by understanding our soul (for men) and our spirit (for women), as well as our shadow, we can free the images, feed the soul, nourish the spirit, let them roam and hold tensions within ourselves; give space and time to express freely what we are capable of and leave the rest for later generations.
Is it playing in the hands of patriarch systems to have women with a negative inner representation of male energy (the spirit)?
Holding the pressure from within is key to stop crimes and destruction of any sort and this starts as Jung said with every individual. And once a quality obtained, we can not go back. For example, the women’s rights movement and how women gained access to higher education and work cannot be taken away from any women’s imagination. We know now that this is a possible and accessible female experience even though we might live in a country or culture where it is forbidden.
Is it playing in the hands of patriarch systems to have women with a negative inner representation of male energy (the spirit)? Yes, because women tend to stay at home, do not search for outer expression and project their animus solely on their male environment. No, because men see something projected on them which they don’t necessarily want and might feel rejected by the woman they are with.
This leads to extreme stress at home because the negative animus does not want a man and children in a woman’s life; he does anything to hinder a fruitful and loving relationship with a male counterpart. Letting him express himself freely leads to a more accomplished woman, fulfilled relationship and a stronger and innovative economy because women’s inner spirit can enrich society in all areas. Once men acknowledged soul and cared more about discovering their female energy, we could cultivate better male-female relationships marked by mutual learning and growth.
Note: This blogpost does not explain the psycho-analytical concept of shadow, anima, animus fully, but is more contemplating the topic as an outsider. For further information, please consult:
„The Animus: The Spirit of Inner Truth in Women“ by Barbara Hannah
"Traum und Schwangerschaft" ("Dream and pregnancy") by Regina Abt, Irmgard Bosch & Vivienne MacKrell
"Psychology and Alchemy" by Carl Gustav Jung