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Seeing Through the Gender Game

I wanted to share some of my experience, especially since a retreat I have done with Sandra, my partner. Our relationship is literally on a new ground. We are experiencing a depth, ease and freedom to love that we never thought would be possible before. I believe that what made it possible is the quality of understanding that pierced trough the all gender game, from prior to it, so to the speak-from that place where it hasn't taken place yet and in which not only we are already free from it but also from the only place where real meeting can occur.

The insight about our primary identification as either a man or a woman, and the all 'gender game' that follow, is not so much about  how to change it, bear it or transform it, but rather to be given the chance to relax our compulsive identification as a specific gender, to relax our attachment to our primary identification either as a man or as a women. From that place, being a man or a women simply unfold, and everything is being informed- but its very close to us, and hard to see, and it is a very unsettling and unknown place to be.

What would I be if being a man wasn't the first 'thing' I am? What would I be without fear and mistrust? Without anger and arrogance? Without numbness and being cut off? Without withdrawing  love! Without the granted expectation of everything conforming to my implicit superiority?  Or without a compulsive attachment to a self serving sexuality? Without the self given right to permanently sexualize women? What would I be?

I can only start to fathom at that question, yet I want to share a strange experience I had. It was short, and I had to make an effort to appreciate its significance. It gave me a glimpse of how my all experience of life is being conditioned trough the lens of being a man, and by contrast, how unknown it would be to be without that lens. Like a big blank canvas. I was watching a videos some men I know shared. There was a very attractive women playing guitar. The videos wasn't vulgar. She was just playing guitar. She was really beautiful. The best of what attractiveness could mean to me. And I was deeply fascinated by my experience, while aware of my fascination. This videos was only posted because she was very attractive, and all the comments where in that direction. Someone even wrote he would marry her even without knowing her name! I knew these were sexist comment. Actually shocking. But I kept staring at her, fascinated.

My experience was a big mix bag. I felt attracted, yet because of some sort of disgust there was a big no to any form of arousal or fantasizing. I also felt fear, shame and even despair. In the meantime I was aware that to constantly sexualize women is a very strong male conditioning. Well, we all know that right?

At that point it became very interesting. As I was looking I ask myself what she was feeling, how that must feel like for her to be at the top of the game of attractiveness. Maybe she was suffering. Or maybe she was having a great (momentary) time knowing how powerfull she can be in that man's world! There was no pity involved in that. Just a curiosity and a concern. Who is she beyond how attractive she is to me? What stroke me is a sense of her as a person, and the concern that even if she is enjoying the game she is missing to herself and to us. At that point the attractiveness dropped and I saw trough it. I saw through the whole game. And I could have a glimpse into seeing her. All was blank.

Here is what I understood from that experience. Women's attractiveness as we are used to it, is not natural, but is a deeply conditioned gender game we are playing, trough which both gender derive their sense of primary gender identity. I relate to women mostly in term of how much they are attractive to me. That is always the first impulse that comes, everything else that will condition our relationship is informed from there. Now we kind of all know it ... but what I saw was more: my very sense of identity as a men depended of my self given right to relate to all women in that way, to sexualize all women and give them value accordingly; so much so that from that place I cannot see persons. And that I also don't know how to be if 'who I am' is no longer about and how I feel in relation to women attractiveness! All that emotional turmoil I experienced didn't matter, its just the way in my case that game is played out. There could be many other ways, but all would confirm me in my primary identification as a man.

Joel Baillergeau

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About the project

The Awakened Life Project is situated in a beautiful and wild ecological reserve in the mountains Central Portugal. We offer volunteer programs, courses, events and retreats to support the liberation of the human spirit in a context of evolutionary emergence and communion with the ecological web of life.


Quinta da Mizarela
3305-031 Benfeita
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