Masculinity, femininity and reconciliation
Many of us observed the moments when we did not feel fully congruent with our own gender. I asked myself many times: am I fully a woman? I do not have problems with the female body that I have, and yet at times I feel that something is off, and I don’t fully meet the expectations of my own gender. If not processed openly, these doubts may cause a great deal of confusion and disturbance.
Essentially, the fact that many people today question their own gender means that gender definitions became too narrow. As my recent conversation with other therapists at C. G. Jung Institute of Chicago has confirmed, rejection of gender is widespread and a common phenomenon today.
Psychological traits are not the same as gender traits. We cannot attribute human traits such as compassion, empathy, care to female gender only. Likewise, aggression, determination, logic, and orientation to success are not masculine features.
According to C. G. Jung, each of us has both masculine and feminine parts. Thus, animus is an archetype of masculinity in a woman. Similarly, anima is an archetype of feminine in a man. However, due to historical oppression of women, anima features had been seen as negative, unwanted and undesired. Masculine features, on the other hand, became way too desirable attributes for both genders. Today, as gender develops, people become more and more androgynous. We don’t need this profound division between masculinity and femininity anymore. Gradually, gender becomes fluid and changeable characteristic. However, big social and political institutions are still based on patriarchal ideals. As a result, we observe this ongoing battle between masculinity and femininity, contradictions between men and women are at an acute stage.
Dr. Kurisko spoke about the birth of a “new third,” something that may reconcile contradictions between masculinity and femininity (https://jungchicago.org/store/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=410).
According to Dr. Kurisko, this way of the “new third” is the way of a “psychological individual.” Psychological individual is not necessarily an individual who is well versed in psychology, but anyone who can be strong enough to become a container. He, she or they will contain both femininity and masculinity, will be able to process contradictions and reconcile at the end. Reconciliation is what a contemporary society needs. Each of us can become a “psychological individual” through lots of self-reflection, therapy, art, education, and self-care. There is a hope that an individual may achieve a secure ego stage, even though sometimes it is a long and painful path. Secure ego is quite opposite to the ego of oppressor. It does not attack and deny something that is not this ego. It does not overpower, but simply occupies its niche instead.
Ego is not everything. It is important to remember that ego is just another force along with unconscious, super ego, nature, divine, collective unconscious, etc. Personally I want to believe that the birth of the “new third” within us is achievable and tangible goal…