The Feminine Principle

Form time immemorial, humanity has enjoyed the presence of what we might call feminine influences and masculine influences (which don’t necessarily involve one or the other sex). These masculine and feminine principles have jointly molded humanity, and our progress has required them both.

Feminine influences have been things like kindness, understanding, connection, nurturing, sensitivity, supportiveness, being emotionally expressive, and so on. These things have influenced us to turn away from knee-jerk responses, to consider multiple viewpoints, and to seek reconciliation.

Male influences, on the other hand, have skewed more toward decisiveness, action, ‘stoicism’, focused passion, persistence, and things of that sort.

And as I say, our world has been home to both masculine and feminine influences as far back as we can see. More than that, a successful family life (families being the center of the human experience) requires a balance of these two principles: When one or the other is lacking, personalities and relationships get out of balance and may remain that way.

Speaking simply as a male, I can say that I would have gone in wild directions more than once, had I lacked feminine input. And I’m quite sure that an opposite version of this has been true for many women. We need both feminine and masculine influences if we are to be healthy and stable.

The Present Imbalance

There have always been battles between the male and female principles, but most commonly within families, where they were generally worked out to some level of satisfaction. Over recent decades, however, the feminine principle has been attacked and rejected. It is my opinion that a good deal of our present troubles trace back to a lack of feminine influences.

The cultures of the West, to put it simply, are suffering from a lack of the feminine principle. Because feminine influences have been reduced or eliminated, our cultures are overflowing with masculine assumptions, even though our rhetoric can make it seem much the opposite. Here’s how a friend of a friend recently explained this:

[F]eminists are much more interested in having women achieve recognition as CEOs and other classically masculine roles rather than in promoting them in roles like motherhood or care-giving, which are classically feminine. It would be more accurate to describe them as “masculinists” since that is the modality they tend to pursue and promote.

This rejection of classically feminine influences has led many to believe that no one would behave in a feminine manner unless they were inadequate… that kindness is born of weakness, that connectedness arises from insecurity, that supportiveness is evidence of neediness, and so on. These beliefs condemn feminine influences and establish a hyper-masculine perspective.

Such beliefs are misguided. It is more the case that kindness evinces stability, connectedness breadth of vision, and supportiveness wisdom.

The feminine principle is deeply necessary to us. Without it, we break into angry and outraged groups, ever-warring against one another. At the same time, we come to recognize aggressiveness, winning and status as virtues, while feminine influences and those who carry them are pushed aside as embarrassing and primitive.

The feminine principle once formed the backbone of our civility, understanding and forgiveness; things we need back. Our cultures are, to be direct about it, out of balance.

A successful human civilization requires both male and female principles. When either one is removed, we are personally impoverished and our cultures become distorted. We need to repair this.


Paul Rosenberg