Archetypes are vastly underrated but are deeply important and make up the polarities of the world. The masculine and the feminine are the same as yin and yang, sun and moon, emotional and mental, earth and sky, and so on. Each archetype plays its essential role in the world and is needed in equal parts to create harmony and optimal function. The problem that we face, especially in the society we live in today, is that masculine traits and how we approach living and eating are overpowering the more feminine approaches many of us are internally seeking.
"The field of nutrition and the field of eating psychology both suffer from an intense, lopsided, and imbalanced masculine approach".
Heres are some terms that have been used throughout centuries to describe each archetype:
- Masculine: left brain , logical, linear, one-pointed, straight, to the point, goal oriented, intellect, mind, hard, heroic, purpose, clarity, systems, hierarchy, protection, boundaries, order, commitment, will, strength, information, science, numbers, calculating, measurement, penetration, problem solving, directional, singular, war, combat, fight, muscle, metal, survival, king, prince, father, brother, warrior…
- The feminine: right brain, creative, nourishing, embodied, artistic, circular, emotional, musical, unpredictable, chaotic, flowing, watery, colorful, connecting, associative, soft, loving, caring, food, body, fat, earth, soil, procreative, communicating, inclusive, intuitive, no boundaries, open, receptive, spacious, non-linear, curvy, sensual, touch, pleasure, images, pleasing, surrender, yielding, dance, birth, earth, mother, queen, princess, devouring mother, sister, goddess, unknown, mystery…
With our focus solely on nutrition and ways of feeding ourselves, do you notice how when you look at the terminology above that we are wired towards a more masculine approach? In a masculine approach we focus on numbers, grams, measurements, systems, more muscle, heroic exercises, the "right way", or the "perfect" diet. I'm not saying that these methods are wrong or bad, but what it shows for women is that it is an approach that simply won't work long term.
Men and women are very different, we may be equals but make no mistake, we were not created the same. All you have to do is look at the general anatomy of each and see that it's not rocket science to realize we aren't the same. So if we aren't the same, why are we told to use the exact same, cookie cutter methods of dieting and exercise programming regardless of gender?
You can fight me on this one but the fact of the matter is that women are not encouraged to embrace their femininity when it comes to eating. Adopting a more feminine approach when it comes to how we feed ourselves would look more like this:
nourishment over nutrition, pleasure over feeding, mystery over scientific certainty, flow over meal plans, movement over exercise, eating over will power, body wisdom over body knowledge, fat over muscle, garden grown over laboratory grown....
Until we start to embrace a more feminine approach to food, women especially will continue to struggle with body image, disordered eating patterns, and re-bound dieting. I want to just say again that masculine approaches aren't wrong or bad, but that for your average woman on planet earth they will not work long term because the woman will not feel embodied and will not be encouraged to find her natural appetite. Notice that the feminine approach is not only for women, but for men as well. Finding natural appetite, using self love rather than self loath as motivation, and letting go of the scale and this "perfect" number you may have in your head that you have to be, that has no real scientific basis, is essential for an overall healthy practice when it comes to the psychology of eating. Everyone would benefit from eating more naturally and freely regardless of gender.
1. Start to tap into your own body wisdom of what to eat and what not to eat. You know your body better than anyone else so let go of searching for the perfect diet because it doesn't exist. Eat foods that fully nourish you on every level, not just the foods you think you have to eat to meet nutritional requirements. Keep in mind that the body will always naturally gravitate towards foods that build it up if you allow it to. Even though you may crave certain foods out of circumstance, the body actually craves nutritionally dense foods.
2. If every exercise burned the same amount of calories, what would you do? Whatever your answer is, do that. This is called embracing movement rather than just simply exercising.
3. Go on a No Diet diet for one month and see what happens.
Information in this post was taken out of the lectures: Feminine and Masculine Psychology by Marc David, Founder of The Institute for the Psychology of Eating.