I viewed my strength as a weakness

monique aislabie

At high school the boys used to laugh at me and say I should have been a player on the All Black rugby team because I was so huge. As I walked passed they would make sounds of the earth cracking under my feet like a giant. Back then I viewed my strength as a weakness because the world around me was saying.. Attractive girls are soft and delicate not big and strong.

Thank god I grew out of that one and reached a point in my life where I can fully embrace and love my masculine qualities just as much as my feminine ones. Through doing this I realised that one is not better or stronger than the other, both are powerful and being connected to them makes me feel whole. Sadly this feeling is a privilege because there are still a lot of people in this world that have no choice and are confined to only being able to express or explore half of themselves.

There is a part of me that feels sad when I look at my two sons and think about how I (as a woman) get to explore both my feminine and masculine qualities. Yes our society is making progress with gender equality, and saying girls can do anything the boys can! But it doesn’t go both ways because the boys are still very much restricted by normative masculine streotypes that give them very little space to explore their feminine side. Our society still raises good old masculinity onto a throne as the alpha-of-all-traits and femininity is seen as weaker, less than, and a step down on the food chain. All I can say is… there is obviously work to be done here!

Photo: Maren Michaelis