(photo courtesy: "Psychology Today" magazine - "Bullying in the female world" by Ditta M. Oliker)
Feminine aggressiveness! Well, that’s a term you probably never heard before. It might even upset some of you. How can one characterize aggressive the energy that we all know as maternal, receptive and tender? And how can the feminine energy manifest itself in a “bad” and aggressive way (under certain circumstances)? And so “badly” and aggressively as the masculine one? Personally I was not aware of this kind of “feminine aggressiveness” until I discovered its existence through Astrology!
Some ten years ago I was writing an article on the six zodiacal “Pairs” (which was published in 2004 on the historical “American Astrology” magazine. You may read it here). As I was beginning to conceptualizing this article I realized that there is in nature a particular “feminine selfishness” that is equivalent – but not identical – to the masculine one. And consequently there is a feminine kind of aggressiveness corresponding to the masculine one! They both have the same intensity but they are actually developing in “different phases” (I am explaining this further on)!
Astrology might be of help to us here, because the very zodiac is somehow built upon this “masculine – feminine” pattern. You probably know that the zodiac is symmetrically composed of six masculine and six feminine signs. Aries is a masculine sign, Taurus is a feminine one, Gemini is a masculine sign, Cancer a feminine one and so on. On my aforementioned “American Astrology” article I was depicting the masculine signs as “mountains” and the feminine ones as sort of gorges or “ravines”. Thus, we might picture the masculine aggressiveness as a “mountainous” one and the feminine aggressiveness as one that emulates the “concavely” traits of a ravine!
Let’s take a person traveling in a varied landscape, on a clear day. S/he can easily spot the mountains around him/her, because they are prominent, obvious and explicit! Similarly, we can all perceive easily and IMMEDIATELY the masculine type of aggressiveness! Just picture somebody shouting loud at you or violently pushing you, in front of other people. That’s masculine aggressiveness alright! What about the feminine aggressiveness though? What would they be its key characteristics?
I began my quest on this subject by considering the feminine aggressiveness as a “ravine” kind of aggressiveness. When we are traveling it’s hard to spot the eventual ravines in our landscape. And if we are careless enough we might even fall in one of them, before even realizing that there was a ravine in front of us!
This means that the feminine aggressiveness is somehow invisible to our social environments. And although it is absolutely equal to the masculine one (they are both equally aggressive but they don’t seem so because their “phases” and “polarities” are opposite), it’s not easily perceived and thus is not evaluated as an acutely aggressive energy! In reality the feminine aggressiveness (called “passive aggression” in psychology) works in rather IMPLICIT ways, moving through corridors that are hidden and behind the curtains. Thus, the feminine aggressiveness is somehow “silent”, not leaving obvious “trails” externally!
We need though to clarify something here: when we talk about the “feminine energy” we do not refer exclusively to women. Many men (even the allegedly “macho” ones) have prominent “feminine” energies in their charts and thus may resort to feminine aggressiveness!
The “Ego” drive (as defined by astrology)
It is imperative for each person to be special, unique, self-sufficient and secure, to have stamina and momentum, to impose its own interests and to dominate as much as it can the people and the situations around it. If the average Joe/Jane lacked an elementary strong “Ego” then s/he would be “crashed” by the multiple external pressures s/he would be constantly receiving in life. This process of building and strengthening a human being’s “Ego”, of achieving his/her individualization and “diversification”, is supervised by the first two signs of the zodiac: by Aries (which is a “masculine” sign) and by Taurus (a “feminine” sign). The secret now is that the aforementioned process is handled by the signs of Aries and Taurus “in tandem” – by splitting that is the process in half and by assigning to Aries its masculine “phase” and to Taurus its feminine phase! The signs of Aries and Taurus (and all the remaining adjacent signs) are in reality astrological “Pairs”, small “wholenesses”, two equal but opposite – complementary “polarities”.
Regarding Aries we can easily understand why it is considered the sign of “Ego”, the sign impersonating the overt aggression: it is a masculine sign ruled by the belligerent planet Mars. What about Taurus though? How can a “low key” feminine sign – ruled by the planet Venus – be so selfish and eventually belligerent? Is there indeed a feminine ego? Astrology is telling us that there is – and that it is as acute as the masculine one! If the masculine Ego is manifested through overt aggressiveness – by even being an all too clear “bully” – the female selfishness is mostly manifested through INERTIA and self-protection, through hidden and somehow “manipulative” behaviors and actions!
Feminine aggressiveness entails the art of “invisibly acting”, of not participating in those situations that are not yielding some kind of gain (emotional, financial etc.) to the individual! Under this point of view we might say that the insecure, “feminine Ego” is habitually fudging things up, resorting to a skillful “imbroglio”, to a smooth “withdrawal” and “absenting” every time it faces a non convenient situation!
Actually, the sign of Taurus is representing – in the most archetypal way – this kind of “feminine Ego”! Don’t get me wrong though here. Not all Tauruses are by definition “femininely aggressive”. Moreover, we should not forget that there is in literature the notorious “feathered Bull”, representing a spiritual, elevated human being! Actually, the raw, unrefined Tauruses are the ones that tend to be extremely egotistical and consequently “femininely aggressive”. You see, the feminine “Ego” is somehow urging the person to act “invisibly”, “behind the curtains”, to promote his/her own “plan” while keeping at a minimum level the expenditure of energies (sentimental, financial ones etc.) – especially when forced to participate in non desirable activities that seem unprofitable to the person.
An individual partaking to the “raw, unrefined Taurean type” is usually avoiding to employ overt acts of selfishness and aggression. If there isn’t around some crucial reason s/he will religiously abstain from any action that might visibly upset the energies in his/her environment (not necessarily out of “goodness” but because s/he is aware that s/he will be immediately targeted by the people around him/her – and that would mean a lot of hostility and aversion thrown over him/her. The feminine energy is “ever self-protecting, ever preserving its own self” – meaning that the people representing it are fully aware of how important it is to act silently and behind the curtains, without overtly provoking the others.
Thus the “raw Taurus type of individual” is generally displaying a meek and polite face outwards. But if it encounters a situation that ultimately jeopardizes his/her own personal interests (i.e. if s/he must financially assist someone or house needy people) then most probably such an individual will attempt to skillfully withdraw him/herself from the “acting stage” without being noticed – so that s/he ultimately protects his/her own interests and does not suffer the slightest loss or “damage”. And s/he will do this without apparently squabbling nor displaying any explicit aggressiveness or violence towards anyone. Simply, s/he will skillfully withdraw from any perilous to his/her own interests scene…
This kind of withdrawal though, this “silent refusal” to partake i.e. in a charitable activity is a sign of strong selfishness – and therefore of aggressiveness towards the people involved in that activity. Of course the “raw Taurean type of individual” did not swear at someone, nor s/he violently pushed anybody. Indirectly, however, s/he behaved as if s/he had sworn at them or as if s/he had violently pushed them away! Actually s/he did behave aggressively towards the people around him/her but without offering them any tangible “handle”, without leaving any visible “trail” so that they promptly recognize how aggressively s/he behaved! That’s “feminine aggression” in a nutshell !
The art of maneuvering without leaving trails
The fact that the “feminine Ego” works in implicit ways – meaning that it cannot be easily spotted as aggressive by the others – does not automatically render it inoffensive and less “mean”… In reality it is as powerful and “mean” as the masculine one, as the “raw Ariettid” kind of selfishness. Let’s make a “thought experiment” and set two individuals – each representing a “polarity” – in a controlled (i.e. business) environment, with identical provocative stimuli. An “astrologically masculine” individual will react to the negative stimuli most probably by shouting loud, by over-gesturing or even by overtly behaving violently. But in such an instance the prominently masculine individual would have totally exposed himself, disclosed his/her intentions and attracted hostility from the people around him/her!
Instead, the prominently feminine individual would have more methodically and carefully promoted his personal interests – without overexposing himself/herself and without attracting too much aversion and hostility. Such a person (even if physically present) will be skillfully “absenting” any situation not yielding a meaningful benefit to himself/herself – no matter how critical this situation might be to some other people. Only in time – and only by those who delve deeper in human interactions – the full extent of the incident will be revealed and only then the participants will realize how selfishly the “raw Taurean type of person” behaved!
Therefore, we should define as selfish and aggressive not only those people who are overtly behaving in an aggressive manner but those people too who are intentionally “withdrawing” and “absenting” in critical to their fellow-humans situations, all those individuals who are not there when the people around them need them the most. Any person not helping his/her fellow humans – in the name of not minimally jeopardizing his/her own personal interests – should be considered a selfish and aggressive person!
Whenever someone remains silent and uninvolved is front of a critical situation, of an emergency, of an injustice committed in his/her own vicinity, then that person is actually displaying a “femininely aggressive” behavior! Whenever i.e. a wealthy person is not assisting the needy people around him/her – for example the unemployed ones who cannot afford even their daily bread – then this wealthy person is employing a “feminine aggressiveness” towards his/her fellow humans (and society in general). The feminine aggression is not easily spotted by third parties as the “perpetrator” might employ highly manipulative behaviors.
How many times i.e. have you been confronted with a person who has (directly or indirectly) wronged you (or wronged somebody else), who has behaved in a acutely selfish manner (although covertly, so that nobody recognizes it as such) and who not only is stubbornly refusing to acknowledge his/her wrong doing but is skillfully trying to reverse the situation, by putting you down and leading you into an disadvantageous, defensive state (adding thus insult to the injury)…
In front of such a person – and his/her humongous hypocrisy – you might lose your temper and start yelling and gesturing. And then YOU will be the one looking aggressive in the eyes of the people around you! In such a way the “prominently feminine” person will have managed to doubly victimize you – while thanks to his/her own “manipulative” skills s/he will be projecting a “goody two shoes” image to the people around! This kind of behavior is immensely aggressive but in a convert, feminine manner! Meaning that it might not look aggressive in the eyes of any third party – who may ultimately target you as the aggressive person!
To put it in the words of the clinical psychologist and “Psychology Today” author Ditta M.Oliker:
“What struck me as I was watching the film “The Help” is how it also dramatically and effectively captures the emotional and psychological violence of social aggression, including the sting and cruelty of the verbal “weapons” women use. The words now associated with female aggressive behavior include: excluding, ignoring, teasing, gossiping, secrets, backstabbing, rumor spreading and hostile body language (i.e., eye-rolling and smirking). Most damaging is turning the victim into a social “undesirable”.
The behavior and associated anger is hidden, often wrapped in a package seen as somewhat harmless or just a “girl thing”. The covert nature of the aggression leaves the victim with no forum to refute the accusations and, in fact, attempts to defend oneself leads to an escalation of the aggression. What the film doesn’t show though is that the effects of social aggression can be longer lasting and more damaging than physical aggression. Since the “weapons” have a stealth nature to them, there is less possibility of anticipating the specifics of an attack and fewer actions to defend against an attack.“
Personally, I would like to stress once more the fact that the feminine aggression is not limited to women but it extends to the “astrologically feminine men” too. If this is still a “neologism” to you, here is my definition of it: An “astrologically feminine” person is the one having in his/her chart as many as possible of the preconditions described below (the more such preconditions s/he has the more “astrologically feminine” s/he is. Points 1 and 2 should be considered the most critical):
- A predominance of feminine signs.
- A feminine houses emphasis
- Many “feminine planets” in the angles of their charts
- A feminine “supremacy” over the planetary aspects of his/her chart etc.
(Note: the term “astrologically feminine” does not coincide with the term “effeminate”. In reality, there are many “astrologically feminine” macho men out there…)
In the final analysis, we are all familiar with the bitter “taste” of feminine aggression, as we are experiencing it – more or less- often in our everyday lives. It is a particular kind of methodically structured and veiled aggression that is not easily perceived externally. And that’s exactly what makes it dangerous, the fact that it is an extremely sharp and corrosive type of aggression that our societies have not still fully acknowledged!
As I already mentioned, the feminine aggression is more directly linked to the sign of Taurus (but not all Tauruses are femininely aggressive) and to the feminine signs in general (think i.e. of a Cancer or Scorpio. They are capable of “tuning” themselves to very “femininely aggressive” frequencies)! And as I repeatedly pointed out, the “feminine aggression” is not limited just to women but it extents to all men having predominantly “feminine” energies in their charts.
Copyright: Thomas D. Gazis