Shall we get right to it?
1. Unlearn the Ways of Patriarchy (this includes sexism, white supremacy, and capitalism)
I know not all men are incapable of running the world. I also know many women who believe that to run things in this world (e.g., Fortune 500s, international NGOs, countries, etc.), one must think like a man and present as un-woman-like. I say, no more!
Traditional patriarchy centers on the belief that men hold the power, while women are largely excluded and conditioned to be subservient. This is a problem, and it is the root cause of sexism. In a patriarchal society, men are considered the more dominant, stronger sex. They are the experts — the authorities here to protect humanity from both real and perceived danger.
Think all the former presidents of the United States.
Meanwhile, we cannot even begin to unlearn the ways of patriarchy if we do not address white supremacy, i.e., the belief that white people are superior. Considering that white men have been mostly responsible for how things are run in this country and in this world, you have got another layer of patriarchal rule.
Go a little deeper to examine the structures of capitalism, an economic system that puts power in the hands of private companies and corporations mostly led by white men, and you have got yet another layer of patriarchal rule.
If we are going to make this world a better place and run it unlike men have throughout millennia, we must unlearn the ways of patriarchy.
FYI, this also involves weeding out internalized patriarchy, oppression, and sexism that manifests as inherited biases. If you grew up in these here in United States of America, bias and prejudice most certainly lurk beneath the surface of you like a new genetic DNA strand.
2. Think for yourself (don’t be sheeple, people)
The world is such a beautiful place because its inhabitants are uniquely beautiful creatures. So, to think that our contributions to society would look a certain way, or embody similar forms, is absurd and naïve. I value the innovation of science and technology, and the ways in which such innovation has helped us evolve. I also value the innovation of the Arts, and what is often referred to as soft skills. Bottom line: what you give in life is what you get out of life, and whatever that is will be different for everyone. It is essential that you decide what that is for yourself.
Living under the presumption that life must flow and unfold as dictated to us only keeps us enslaved and oppressed. As African anti-apartheid activist Bantu Steven Biko said, “the most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” There is no set template on how to be and thrive as human beings. Success is relative. Abundance takes many forms. Each of us is unique.
The only thing that is universal in this world is truth, truth that liberates us from a culture steeped in white, patriarchal, supremacist rule, and aids in cultivating a shared humanity. To run the world unlike a man, we must learn to think for ourselves based on truth.
3. De-center Whiteness (yes, you read that correctly)
This may not sit comfortably with some of you who identify as White/Caucasian, but I need you to sit in your discomfort and continue reading anyway.
Privilege is defined as a “systemic conferral of benefit and advantage triggered not by merit, but by affiliation, conscious or not, and chosen or not, to the dominant side of a power system.” Meanwhile, white supremacy is the belief that white people are superior to those who are non-white. When you combine privilege and white supremacy, you have got yourself the dominant culture in America.
This is precisely why there are committees being formed, with great urgency it seems, to promote diversity at the workplace. Just the other day, someone sent me a job posting for a Hate and Bias Coordinator. White supremacy is the platform of rule in this country. All our structures of governance — yes, all of them — were designed to keep white men in positions of power.
It is insidious and sustains systems of oppression. To combat this, we must de-center whiteness.
This means that whiteness, in general, can no longer be the standard. This means that cultural differences need to be embraced, celebrated, and respected. This means people of a different hue need to be treated equally.
This means that we can no longer expect people to assimilate to this dominant culture, we must unlearn the teachings of white as good and black (or brown) as bad. It is the end to American culture as we know it.
Specifically, it means valuing the contributions of people of color, primarily women — our mental acuity, spiritual practices, and other gifts and talents. Specifically, it means prioritizing the rights of people of color, putting us at the center of change and transformation since we are the most marginalized, and thus, know best how we want to be treated.
Specifically, it means building relationships with communities of color, recognizing our autonomy instead of expecting us to do things the white way. Specifically, it means reparations — helping us reclaim our time and heal trauma that began at this country’s inception.
Our colonizers were mostly white men. To run the world unlike a man, we must de-center (and decolonize) whiteness.
4. Forget Titles and Labels (being called President of the United States does not make you qualified for the job, as we are currently learning)
It is one thing to choose your own pronouns, which would be self-defining. But I’m talking about labels that lead us to assume, stereotype, generalize, and pass judgment.
One label that has forcibly been assigned to me is African-American, a label I do not wish to be assigned. Politically correct or not, my being considered African-American does not define who I am. Like Prince Easaid, “When I drive my car, no one would ever confuse my car for me.”
But when scientists (i.e., white European men) developed the social construct called race, suddenly the color of my skin determined my fate. Add my gender for yet another determining factor.
The only thing that should matter, what I would consider a true identifier, is how I live. How I show kindness, compassion, and empathy. How I treat myself. How I treat others. How I am growing and evolving. I do not have CEO, PhD, Mrs., or Rev. attached behind or in front of my name, but that does not make me any less ambitious, intelligent, whole, or spiritual.
When we classify others with labels, we become divided. We begin to see people as superior or inferior, comparing ourselves to those we were never meant to be in the first place. Our standards, worth, and value are suddenly tied to the labels we hold and assign. This is dangerous. It diminishes our dream of a world where we are all, in fact, seen as equal. It limits us from thriving as who we were meant to be.
Keep your labels, please. You can just call me free.
5. Practice the Art of Receiving (masculine and feminine energy join forces)
Carl Jung described it as the anima and animus. Chinese philosophy describes it as yin and yang. Astrologers reference it as Venus and Mars. These are all descriptors of feminine and masculine energy respectively, and we each possess both.
Masculine energy is assertive. It is the pursuer. It is competitive and conquering. Feminine energy is receptive. It is intentional. It summons and conjures. Both forms of energy are powerful. But in a male-dominated world, feminine energy is perceived as weak, fragile, and docile. Because we live in a patriarchal society, we are all prone to using masculine energy to reach our societal aims.
These two polarities are complimentary. Masculine energy needs feminine energy, and vice versa, to develop authentic power. The problem is that we rely too heavily on the features of masculine energy to seek purpose. Furthermore, we continue to downplay the real power of feminine energy.
I have a friend who read all the main religious texts, even L. Ron Hubbard’s incomprehensible writings on Scientology. She was so astounded by how women were oppressed in these religious traditions that it begged her to question, “What is it about our power as women that men so gravely fear?”
To practice the art of receiving involves opening to the inherent wisdom of feminine energy — wisdom that cannot be bought, sold, or marketed in a capitalistic economy. It means listening to our intuition, and using our divine gifts to manifest what we want instead of aggressing it. It means being patient and trusting. It is humbling, it involves learning from others instead of appropriating what is not ours.
To run the world unlike a man, both men and women must be more cognizant of using feminine energy, and practicing the art of receiving.
6. Command Respect (I do not mean demand respect, I mean command (/ke’mand) respect — there is a difference)
People who command respect do not try very hard to get it. They exude a genuine power that can only be cultivated in a life-death-life cycle.
In other words, one must be on a constant journey of change, evolution, the shedding of old skin, the dismantling of outworn patterns, limiting beliefs, clothes that no longer fit, outdated mindsets, un-evolved relationships, unhealthy habits, along with whatever else that inhibits growth.
Every day, we must die a little to be reborn. A woman’s menstruation cycle is part of the life-death-life cycle — we get it. People who willingly participate in transformation are the people most respected without even trying.
This kind of respect isn’t always confident. It is aware of its shortcomings, knows its weaknesses, and still shines bright, even though flawed. Those who command respect do so by their actions and the way they lead their lives both on stage and behind the scenes. These folks ooze authenticity. You cannot help but respect them, even if begrudgingly. We all know someone who fits this description.
Commanding respect requires little to no effort. It is the perfect example of feminine energy at work. It takes this kind of humility to run the world.
7. De-Center Men (yes, this too)
Every time I see an article entitled something like “What Men Look for in a Woman,” or, “How to Meet the Man of Your Dreams,” my immediate response is, “Who the fuck cares?” And shouldn’t it be the other way around: “How to Worship the Women in your Life?”
Because patriarchy has led women to believe that we are inferior, we often seek validation from men, validation that forces us to read these types of articles found in any glamour magazine. We are taught that a man’s love and choosing of us determines our worth. This is patriarchy at work.
Toxic masculinity is a real problem, and as Queen Michelle (aka former First Lady Michelle Obama) once said, “Women can often be the enablers of this behavior.” I remember reading in a blog post years ago that women cannot expect the god-force in men to show up if we are not showing up in our goddess-force. The blogger was essentially saying that if we want to be revered, we need to set the tone and command respect.
It is true in politics as well; I shudder to think of all the men who currently hold elected positions in government. Time’s up, y’all! As previously stated, not all men are incapable of running the world. But, if we are to run the world unlike a man, we as women need to take a seat at the table without permission, and step into our power.
I always tell my coaching clients — mostly women — that no one will believe in you if You do not believe in you. It is the same when it comes to running the world: we must center ourselves and our abilities. We must believe in ourselves, regardless of what men say. Don’t even listen to them.
So, in summary, here are the seven ways to run the world unlike a man:
- Unlearn the ways of patriarchy
- Think for yourself
- De-center Whiteness
- Forget Titles and Labels
- Practice the Art of Receiving
- Command Respect
- De-center Men