Recently at a gathering I sat and listened to two femme people discussing makeup. Embracing my segender nature has allowed me to become far more comfortable with embracing things I enjoy that have feminine cultural connotations, so I was listening to learn. I learned a different lesson than I thought I would learn, and I think it was a valuable one so I am sharing it here.
As I listened, I noticed that these two people have a strong grasp of concepts that relate to materials science, chemistry, tools, and art. They starkly displayed critical thinking skills related to these topics and easily communicated their ideas. They also did so in a way that was filtered through the lens of deep emotional intelligence and empathy.
They displayed all the hallmarks of the types of knowledge and intelligence that men are supposed to value in our culture but they also did so in a frank and candid way, without any of the competition or one-up-manship our culture expects from men. The entire point of their conversation appeared to be sharing knowledge and skills in order to help each other figure out new ways of applying everything they already knew. Their conversation also intentionally gave each other space to verbally process new kinds of creativity. It was synergistic and beautiful.
Women already have all the things men keep saying they need to strengthen within themselves in order to be taken seriously at work or in other environments. They just use what they know to help each other instead of drag each other down; I think a lot of men can’t see that for what it is because of the lens of competition that our culture has forced over their eyes.
Women have both halves of the intelligence coin: the knowledge/skills side, and the emotional intelligence side. I don’t know how we can help our men gain the second half (or how to implement the sweeping cultural changes necessary to create and sustain that change), but everyone will suffer less once they do. Men, women, and everyone else.