Feminine and Masculine Energy in Business

Feminine and Masculine Energy in Business

How to Smash the Patriarchy With Your Workflow and Avoid Burning Out in the Process

It has recently come to my attention that part of my work here on planet Earth this go-round is to remove the patriarchy from business.

When I refer to the patriarchy, I’m referring to the system we live in where men hold the power (most often cis-gender, heterosexual, white men) and anyone who doesn’t hold that identity is excluded from power.

The patriarchy also shows up as an over-identification with the masculine way as being the only normal and valuable way to do things.

This is a PSA letting you know that when I talk about the patriarchy I’m not saying that men are bad or that there’s anything wrong with masculine energy when it’s being expressed in a healthy way.

The patriarchy and the masculine are not the same thing.

The patriarchy is a system of oppression.

The patriarchy is not a few powerful men who are “doing it” to the rest of us.

We all participate in the system to one degree or another (systems of oppression have multiple levels: individual, institutional, systemic, etc.) and our liberation from the system is a lifelong journey (during which we, of course, liberate others and the ones who come after us).

When I talk about the masculine I’m talking about a kind of energy that we all run through our bodies to varying degrees at varying times, no matter what our gender identity is.

The problem with conflating the patriarchy with the masculine and men is that you can get so distracted in defensiveness around your own identity or the identities of those you love that you miss the opportunity for liberation.

We need the masculine and the feminine for everything. One is not better than the other.

What’s been out of balance for thousands of years, though, is our over-emphasis of the qualities of the masculine as that which is good, right, and valuable.

That’s the patriarchy.

In business, over-identification with masculine energy has us:

  • Pushing past the point of exhaustion because we’re so focused on results that we’ve lost any sensitivity to the journey
  • Focusing on domination and competition so we miss key opportunities for collaboration and mutual benefit along the way
  • Trying to do everything ourselves because we’ve been brainwashed that asking for support is a sign of weakness
  • Relating to time, creativity, and energy in a linear paradigm where we expect ourselves to be the same every day, and ideally “better” (whatever that means)
  • Putting productivity above quality of life and the needs of our bodies

So much is lost in the hyper-masculine.

The over-identification with masculine energy in business happens no matter what your gender identity is.

Removing the patriarchy from business does not mean removing the masculine from business.

If it did, we’d all be blobs of chaotic creative energy with no boundaries, no direction, no systems, and no practical way to help other humans.

Removing the patriarchy from business does, however, mean asking ourselves if we’re being:

  • Transactional or relational
  • Overly results-oriented over process-oriented
  • Too rigid
  • Competitive to the point of restriction
  • Artificially invulnerable 
  • Too linear and if perhaps we need to bring more cyclical planning and awareness into our workflow

When we find the dance between masculine and feminine energy in the way we run our business, we get a life-giving business that’s not only good for us and the people we work with, it’s also good for our customers. 

Win-win-win-win-win!

Want to take the patriarchy out of business with me and find the dance in your daily workflow (not to mention increase your profits and decrease your stress in the process)? The Origin® Collective, a membership about growing your business while doing less, opens for enrollment again in May. Get on the waitlist so we can let you know when it’s time to join!

I’d love to know: How do you see patriarchy showing up in your business? How would you like to do it differently? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

Want More?

Everything I’m doing now is with The Origin Company

Head on over

11 comments

  • OMG you hit the nail on the head in this article! SO GOOD!

  • I just love this article Kate! I was just speaking with a man in real estate about patriarchy in business (and relationships) and how it isn’t helpful to men either. He totally agreed and there was also this connection between male guilt and patriarchy. We need to breakdown the system NOT the men.

    • Kate Northrup

      Yes – we totally need to break the connection between patriarchy and male guilt because it holds us back. Very similar to white guilt and white supremacy.

  • This resonates so much with me today. Personally I have to block many of my hours to less-‘masculine’ workday hours which allows me to mother/supervise in my son’s day. And today instead of banging through something Speedily, I leaned into letting him sit on my lap while we watched a YouTube video that I had to watch for work… Luckily it was on something he likes — space! All about redefining this stuff. At least doing so where we can and having the courage to ask if we can… especially ourselves.

    • Kate Northrup

      Yes – redefining this stuff and allowing ourselves to melt into those sweet moments. I love this. Thanks for being here.

  • Thank you for this! I don’t know why I was cringing when I clicked to read it (I love all of the things you write, I was just like OH GOSH THE PATRIARCHY.) I know I have a tendency to want to push myself past the point of exhaustion and restoring this balance in my life has been a crucial thing for me in the past year since I added my fourth kiddo to the mix.

  • Štěpánka Vontrobová

    True story. I hope, we are still learning to be more feminine again and enjoying our lifes and businesses with joy, fun and love. But I still don´t know, how. There is always pressure and success in the background.

    • Kate Northrup

      The how is what we’re all gathered up here in this community to practice. When enough of us change on the inside, the ripples shift the culture. That’s what we’re up to here.

  • Stace

    The term patriarchy is used in such aggressive and agree with me or else ways that i have an aversion to it… yet i did resonate with what you wrote. Would it just be partiarchy or also.. maybe this sounds anti American – there are many wonderful individual and national qualities – and then that hyper American consumer success culture that seems to have spread across the seas trait may not be? As i think different countries and cultures also focus on the overwork thing more as a result of globalisation and pressure but now also the spread of the “american model”?

Leave a Comment

Want to stay in the loop?

Everything I’m doing now is with The Origin Company.

Head on over

LET’S CONNECT

I’m an extrovert through and through so if you see me IRL or online, please say hello! Here’s where you can find me:

Connect