Australian author Jennifer Granger has been observing contemporary relationships for 10 years and has a theory about why we’re struggling so much with our modern identities.
It’s no secret the last fifty years have held immense change for society, especially the way we think about men, women and relationships – but have we got it right by now, or are we still way off track?
Author Jennifer Granger thinks we’ve lost our way, and is trying to help clear a new path with her book Feminine Lost: Why Most Women are Male which is resonating with readers all over Australia.
“We’ve all landed in the soup and we don’t know how we got into the soup,” says Granger. “I think we need to be a little kinder to each other and it can work, but if you don’t even know what’s wrong, how can you fix it?”
She’s talking about the way men and women interact and form relationships in modern society, a topic the book explores using her extensive experience as a transformative coach and case studies from clients to make her argument.
After a terrifying collapse in the shower showed how her body was literally paralysed from the stress and overwork in her life, Granger decided to make a real change to improve her life by reconnecting with her femininity.
“Doing is a very masculine trait and being is a very feminine trait, so if you’re constantly on the go, and you have so much responsibility, and you never sit down, and you’re just over-committed non-stop; you’re going to develop your masculine aspects,” she says. “Basically the theme of the book explores how women have lost touch with their feminine aspects and they’ve overdeveloped their masculine aspects.”
Granger says this imbalance is causing frustration and dissatisfaction in women and men alike.
“What we did find with women becoming so masculine is a lot of men have tended to take more of a backseat and they retreated into their feminine selves, so I explore the masculine woman in the book and her counterpart, the feminine man,” says Granger. “They’re very disjointed and they’re very confused, and a lot of them are very angry because they’ve lost their masculinity – somebody else is occupying that space and that somebody is wearing a dress.”
Granger found over time her clients were constantly looking for the same solutions to similar problems so wanted to spread her knowledge to a wider audience to help others benefit from her experience.
“It was really quite amazing as more and more of my peers came to the practice and I started noticing that we were all making the same mistakes,” she says. “We all had similar issues, problems, similar health issues. It took ten years to theorise the whole process and watch and see what worked and what didn’t.”
So what does work? Are modern women supposed to simply don our aprons and head back into the stereotypes of the fifties?
“It’s absolutely not a return to the patriarchy! Let us be very clear on that, I can’t stand the patriarchy,” says Granger. “But what we don’t want is what I call a female patriarchy. We don’t need to have had a bad patriarchy and then swing the pendulum to a female patriarchy, which would be women in their masculine – we can actually bypass that and we can just be balanced.
“But it takes time to reconnect with the feminine. I used to have a saying in the practice which is “being feminine isn’t wearing pink”, because a lot girls think, ‘Well, I’ll doll up more, put more makeup on and wear higher heels’ – that is not being feminine. That is being a caricature of the feminine.
“The feminine is large; it’s not disciplined like the masculine aspect. It doesn’t meet deadlines, it doesn’t do that – it’s quite vast and creative and chaotic and unfocused. It’s very different.”
Feminine Lost: Why Most Women are Male is available from April (RRP$19.99).