Lately I have been reading and listening to all this stuff about femininity - what feminine energy is, how to express it, and its value within relationships and especially within dating and mating.
According to David Deida's book Dear Lover, feminine energy is marked by a deep yearning for love - to express it and receive it. Deida says that it is vital that feminine energy be seen and appreciated [think women value compliments]. The book of Genesis states 'Woman, your desire shall be for your husband...'
In her book The First Sex, The Natural Talents of Women and How They are Changing the World, renowned anthropologist Helen Fisher argues that women today are going back to work outside the home as we did before the invention of the plough, and this is changing everything about how the world runs and does business for the better as we become what she calls 'a collaborative society'.
Fisher says 'Men and women are like two feet; they were built to put their heads together.' Renee Wade, an Australian dating and relationship coach says repeatedly on her blog www.thefemininewoman.com , that femininity is about love and it begins with loving and accepting yourself as a woman.
While reading all this, it occurred to me that it is no wonder women dress colourfully. It is no wonder that we are more likely to get up and dance. It is no wonder that we need an entirely different set of skills to succeed in the corporate workplace, because it was not designed with us in mind.
Of course more women adopt children than men. Of course many of my Kenyan sisters were lining up in a park not too long ago to pray for husbands. Of course, of course, of course! God knew it, scholars knew it, perhaps you knew it but I am clearly having what Oprah would call 'an Aha! Moment.'
I don't know about you but when I was a little girl the focus was not on teaching me how to dance or to express the love I felt for those around me. If anything I was told to stop dancing all over the place and to walk straight.
I was told to hide what was feminine in me - baggy clothes to hide oversized breasts - and if my mother caught me flirting with anyone I was in trouble. I learnt from early on that there was something in me that might make men do something bad and for some reason whatever they did would be my fault.
Later on I learnt that the bad thing involved them touching me and that if they did I would somehow have led them to this shameful act. I felt defective and at the same time realised that I had a bizarre power that I could use even though I was not clear what I would use it for.
I am not the only girl in Nairobi who grew up this way. There are many of us whose mothers and aunties implicitly taught us that feminine whiles were for the uneducated woman and we were to be above that. Many of us who now wear suits to work, drive big cars and could easily hang in a conversation with Obama.
Many who think it is beneath us to cook for our men and massage their shoulders when they come home from a hard day at work. Many who say 'but I was also at work'; many who are unhappy in their relationships; many who do not feel attractive or feminine.
As we head towards Valentine's Day, I will keep telling you what I am learning about femininity and tell you where I am getting the information so you too can look it up. The point is to give you the permission and space to express all that is feminine in you so we can all enjoy that unique radiance that you have to offer.