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Nov 052013
 
Reading Time: 5 minutes

I’ve been experimenting with a situation that concerns me and I’d like your participation in my experiment. I want to include women’s voices and the Sacred Feminine Wisdom in our social conversation.

Whether it is in a literary soiree, a social gathering or a business meeting, I notice that ~with some exceptions~ women often tend to stay silent and men tend to monopolize the conversation, even when women are the majority and even when the topic is the expertise of women or the women present are more informed or experts in the topics.

It goes something like this.

The topic arises and we start discussing it.

At some point, men start using their learned conversational techniques. This include debating, sparring, talking louder, staying “with the ball” and going on, using absolute declaration to sound confident and using bullying phrases and upmanship.

But the men usually do not realize that the women’s silence indicates an imbalance in the collective. They are used to women’s silence. They are used to the belief that he who keeps silent admits defeat. They are used to a competitive, sparring, aggressive communication. It works well with their testorene-enhanced system. They are used to it. They do not even realize that it does not work for women. They don’t even realize that it is competitive or aggressive. It’s organic to them.

So time and time again, conversations are monopolized by men and women fall back silent. Even when they talk, because they do not use men’s modality, the men in the group tend to disregard, devalue, interrupt and dismiss women’s input.

  • Women’s language is emotional. Patriarchy has ingrained in men that emotions are less valuable or valid than logical thoughts.
  • Women’s voices are in a higher pitch, which men have been trained to associate with questioning, doubting, insecurity and squealing.
  • Women’s language is collaborative and explorative. We share our experience as a springboard for collective exploration. This is an invitation to a laboratory, not a debate.
  • Women shy away from hurting each other’s feelings because they seek to communicate in order to bond, not to win.
  • Women in general, listen deeply not only to the words, but the tone, emotional vibration and micro movements of the person. They respond to all these signs and don’t focus on rhetoric.

 

The Gender Communication Structures

Women’s communication structure is the spiral. There is a circle in eachpersonal  narrative, akin to storytelling. It is then picked up by another, who ads her story. Questions may be asked back and forth, elevating the spiral. The thread is picked up and threats are added. Colors are added or subtracted.

We seek resonance, bonding, empathy, understanding and collaboration.

Men’s communication structure is the pyramid. They seek to build a foundation that will hold the topic or goal and then to quickly escalate the building by stepping on top of the previous presentation to achieve a more efficient premise.

Men seek building, winning, asserting, solving, advancing and standing out.

The two conversational structures are important and should be complimentary.

Women’s communication can sometimes drive even me crazy.

“What are you really saying? Be direct!” I sometimes think.

“We are all patting ourselves and grooming ourselves, but we are avoiding the conflict that can expand our vision and generate an original solution,” I sometimes observe.

Men’s communication can rapidly digress into ego punches, upmanship, sparring with words, trying to snatch the ball and discussing about theories and rhetoric instead of addressing the topic. Instead of a collaborative effort to find a solution it can become a competition and an aggressive debate.

We need to marry the two conversational modes. And I’m on a mission to do this.

But here’s my problem.

Solution 1: stay in the Sacred Feminine Zone

If I stay in the Sacred Feminine Zone, I get stressed out by men’s aggressive and competitive modality. I’m not interested in winning a stupid argument, but in finding an effective solution or exploring the richness of a topic. I pull back, join the silent women rank, and we become the spectators of men displaying their plumage in a gender monologue. Few men realize that women’s silence is meaningful and quiet down to ask or listen to women. So the conversation goes on without women.

We then meet in only-women groups to talk about these things without the noisy, aggressive, overbearing men. This is great, except that it increases the cultural barrier between us.

Solution 2: Shift to the Sacred Masculine Zone

If I join the conversation using men’s modalities, I have to escalate more than the men in order for them to go down a notch, so I end up becoming Kali and devouring them to wear their skulls around my neck, which is not really that fun and makes me stressed out and cranky.

And the women freak out when they see me like this and pull away even more.

Solution 3: Be the Bridge

In more mature scenes, I am able to observe these things and get some collaborative responses. But that is rare because understanding this takes sophisticated gender, communication and dynamics consciousness and I don’t want to dampen the conversation with a lecture.

Solution 4: Collective Female Stance

I’m beginning to think that women need to discuss this and make a stance as a group. I can only open a space for my sisters to join. If they stay silent, I can’t speak for them. If the men keep interrupting, invalidating and ignoring what they say, women will eventually stop saying it. What’s the use?

And history keeps repeating itself.

So I’ve been considering that we need a group response. Something like this:

When the men are not passing the ball to women or are not listening to what we say, One woman may initiate the shift by standing up and saying: “I will speak now.”

The rest of the women will stand up and say:

“She will speak now. We want you to listen and not interrupt. We want you to listen with your heart and value the female voice, though it speaks softer than you, this is our strength.”

Or something to that effect. The message is whatever the women have agreed to that opens a space for the female voice and informs men that they need to listen.

If the men interrupt, all the women stand up and say:  “She has not finished.”

If a woman interrupts, the women closest to her touch her gently and say: “Let him/her speak.”

The difference in response is the difference in limbic systems and gender culture.

This strategy, however, presupposes that the women discuss this issue and that they all agree to a  response and then carry it on.

I don’t even know if this is possible, even in groups that know each other and meet often.

But in my other responses, I’ve frequently been alone and I believe that either each woman needs to insert herself in the conversation or women as a group need to help them insert themselves.

What do you think? Have  you tried these solutions or others? Share your experience?

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About Maria Mar

Maria Mar is a Sacred Storyteller and shaman who champions you to change your old limiting story to create the new story of your brilliance illuminating the world. She helps you awaken your magic, express your creative genius, embody your purpose and live your potential now.

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