Then an androgynous younger person said: Tell us about men and women.
The next child answered:
To be a man is not merely to be masculine, and to be a woman is not merely to be feminine. Both are found in each.
Masculinity is the concept manifest in the male body, and so with the feminine and the female body. The minds of men and women have access to both of these concepts. As we are more than our bodies, we are also more than the masculinity and femininity of our bodies.
The masculine provides us aggression, physical strength, decisiveness, focus, mental discipline, and analysis. The feminine provides us incubation, retreat, receptivity, emotional strength, comfort, spiritual discipline, and intuition. Some of you say that the feminine is weak and irrational, while others say that the masculine is domineering and insensitive. Such claims fixate upon what is absent in these two concepts.
We do not disparage coffee because it lacks salt. Indeed, if we were to add salt to coffee, it would be ruined. Nor do we disparage a coffee farmer for not also owning a salt mine. When we want salt, we turn to something salty without accusing coffee of imperfection. And when a bitter coffee is wanted, we turn to coffee without accusing salt of imperfection. Just so, when a feminine quality is needed, we turn to the feminine. When a masculine quality is needed, we turn to the masculine.
Our minds are not a whimsical admixture of masculine and feminine. A man is given to masculine strengths as a woman is given to feminine strengths, not merely in body but in mind. When a woman says men are predictable, she indicates that a man’s rational mind is normally strong but his intuitive mind is underdeveloped. When a man says women make no sense, he indicates the opposite. Although there are always exceptions to this principle, these common sayings are well spoken, though unexamined.
A man or a woman who lives according to natural strengths without developing natural weaknesses cannot flourish into a complete human being. A body is complete as male or female, but a mind is not complete without both masculine and feminine.
So you men, consider your woman well: does she have an overabundance of feminine qualities without access to the masculine? Is she unreasonable and catty? Then it must be that you lack feminine qualities that you must get from her. You must learn to be sensitive, intuitive, nurturing and graceful so that she may learn to be analytic, mentally disciplined and self-sufficient.
Or does she undercut your masculinity by “wearing the pants?” Does she dictate your life and make decisions for you? Then it must be that you lack the masculine qualities that she must provide. You must learn to be decisive, direct, courageous and independent, so that she can feel feminine again.
And you women, consider your man well: does he have an overabundance of masculine qualities? Is he controlling and insensitive? Then it must be that you lack the masculine qualities that you must get from him. You must learn to reflect upon your emotions before expressing them, to make your thoughts rigorous, and to be willing to do the dirty work so that he may learn to listen without problem-solving, to attend to your subtle signals, and to treat you like a maiden.
Or does he undercut your femininity by forcing you to make up for his spinelessness? Does he refuse to make decisions or to stand up to you? Does he always ask permission? Then it must be that you lack the feminine qualities that he must provide. You must learn to stand aside and allow him to find his own masculinity; you must learn to be passive and receptive to the flow of your experience so that he may find the freedom to give his experience direction.
No man is complete who is not also feminine and no woman is complete who is not also masculine. Find your completeness, but beware the danger of trying to complete the mind by changing the body: the body cannot be any more than it is, nor can its efforts alone heal the wounded mind. Rather, let the healing of your mind guide the changes in your body, just as your mood guides your adornment.