1. You embrace the truth: You write about it because you are facing yourself and the world
The world is changing my friends, and so am I; I hope you are too. Stagnation is never a good look for anybody, and for me, stagnation is my ultimate arch nemesis. In my pursuit of authentic growth as an empowered woman, I keep skipping over little gems of self discovery. I have come across many natural strengths and super powers like the ability to learn from my mistakes.
However, as in every personal journey, sometimes we trip over our own hurdles; and usually those are the most difficult ones to overcome.
2. You define it: What is a Male Chauvinist?
After a quick google search, Male Chauvinism is “male prejudice against women; the belief that men are superior in terms of ability, intelligence, etc…”
I could always recognize men who displayed those behaviors and value systems of pure superiority. I was an adamant opponent to anything resembling that. I however, never felt it applied to me, because I AM A WOMAN, so of course my opinion about my self and other women is purely shaped by me.
WRONG. Extremely, wrong thought.
In noticing chauvinism in men only, I failed to notice it in other women and myself too. I had become so deeply conditioned by patriarchal thought that, my mind became a byproduct of that exposure to desolate inferiority.
Usually, when we recognize on an unconscious level how terribly inferior we are believed to be, we can take on the attributes of that which we perceive as superior to us, in order to GET POINTS, or BELONG. It’s a survival mechanism, that many women adopt unconsciously in patriarchal chauvinist environments.
3. You own the setback and find a way forward
The moment I recognized this pattern I started tracking my thoughts. What did I think about when I impulsively felt the need to judge other women? Why did I struggle so much with self acceptance, self love, body image and period shame as a woman in a world where male narrative saturates everything?
Where did my male chauvinist inner critic come from?
Definitely NOT from ME. It came from a culture that prioritizes the unconscious male gaze, the male narrative of power, the male stigmatization of women [White, Asian, Black, Arab, Indian..], and women related issues as nuisances.
I believed my thoughts not just about other women, but about myself as well. I judged myself and other women for their sexuality, for their attitudes, for their sensuality, for their liberty, for their intelligence, for their choices….and so on. The walls get thicker however, because to judge others, is to reject what is within us too.
I allowed myself too to remain closer to what the male gaze or male perspective believed to be more correct. What the patriarchal environment determined as pleasing, and in that created my own prison from the inside out.
4. You practice forgiveness, and embrace your immense feminine power
The male chauvinist inner voice within me has been a powerful one and had been so convincing in my past. I thought that it was my own perception; up until I recognized how much pain that voice caused me. The weight of satisfying the patriarchal way of life as a woman is unnecessary and frustrating.
And once I started listening to women I respected and who were unapologetic, the war of the inner voice began. Do I listen to the limiting, shaming, repressive regressive voice? or the voice that sounds and looks more like me, that tells me it’s ok to feel, and express and explore and maintain a sensual creative existence in safe and free spaces?
I think that this male chauvinist consciousness has been so powerful and condemning to women that it pit women against each other, against themselves.
The examples of this are horrendous:
Women in patriarchal societies have adopted female genital mutilation for centuries because they had to do it too as girls. Women impose onto their daughters what had been forced on to them, and their mothers. Marriage of under age girls is still rampant. Not only because of men, but because women force their daughters into these marriages when they were culturally forced to marry young too. Women in so many chauvinist patriarchal cultures propagate the injustice forced onto them. I never understood that.
Now I do, because I caught myself doing the same. Fighting other women, unconsciously, fighting the feminine outside of myself and within me too. Now that I see, I can hold space for this, forgive it and walk away from it.
In owning my place in nature and in the world, I learned a lot about the world, and I continue to do so. I however, only lately began to open my eyes to my subjective experience as a woman, while actively freeing myself from the chauvinist conditioning in my head.
5. You Celebrate your journey, and that of other men and women out of chauvinism
We are all products of our nature and nurture. Our life experiences generally always allow us space to learn and expand; and it is up to us whether we choose to shrink or open up. In noticing “annoying” or “uncomfortable” or “dark” things about ourselves, we must always meet those aspects with a gentle compassion. Take accountability for all the times we could’ve behaved better but didn’t, and then actively choose to act from a place of love and understanding. Some ways of thought are meant to hold us captive to notions outdated and unhealthy. Freedom to think nowadays is a revolution, freedom to live authentically is the toughest process of expression, but the most fulfilling.
Looking at the dark within me, and knowing that I will never be perfect, nobody ever will, allows me the space to grow unconventionally. And today, I have chosen to continue my growth process out of my chauvinist conditioning, and the shame culturally linked to being a woman. In my case, being an Arabic woman.
Finally, it’s good to accept this fun fact about the growth process:
We have to grow out of a combination soil: of dead things, alive things, dirty things, scary things, sunlight, fresh water and consistency. Mix it up well, and watch yourself bloom.
Raw and simple.