Sister is a consultancy that is pushing us towards the "Feminine Economy"
A good provocation by artistic consultancy Sister. What would a feminine economy look like? Here's their aim and ambition:
THIS IS ABOUT
TO THE EARTH,
TO OUR BODIES,
& TO EACH OTHER
This 2018 article addresses some of Sister's definitions, in an interview with its founder Jennifer Armbruster:
How are modern life and civilization as we know it not going to collapse if we stop working so hard and start paying so much attention to bodies instead? Our whole modern world was built on capitalism.
JA: I would argue that if we stay on the path we’re on, we’re going to self-destruct. We have reached critical unsustainability with the way we treat the Earth. We are on an untenable track. We are treating our bodies horribly. People are sick. People are angry. People are unhappy. People are depressed. People are on painkillers, opioid addiction. Things are not going well, so I don’t see that we have a lot to lose.
We will lose our stuff. The capitalist addiction is part of what will go. We’re consuming things we don’t need, that we don’t want, that we buy for ourselves as rewards for overworking. We eat rich foods. We drink alcohol after a long day. We’re in a constant state of rebalancing and rebalancing and rebalancing, because we’re out of balance.
What I’m proposing is a return to sanity, not a departure from it. I think capitalism has made us gluttons. It has made us narcissistic. It has made us selfish. It has made us terrible stewards of the Earth. It has made us competitive with one another. Slavery exists because of capitalism. It has definitely shaped our social relations, our racial relations. We’re on a path to destruction. I see what I’m offering as an antidote to that.
What are the roles of men in feminist business and the Feminine Economy?
JA: There is unquestionably room in feminist entrepreneurship for men. But in the same way that women have to unlearn their patriarchal and masculine thinking, men need to do that too, and even more so because they are the ones who have benefited from it.
Part of what it requires is self-work, an acknowledgement of male privilege, and an understanding of what that is. An understanding of what masculine principles are, and how those have been tied to success, to monetary value.
Then there has to be a concerted effort by men to reclaim and allow for their own feminine qualities and to see the value of those in others and to begin to embed those qualities in their business models. It’s going to take a step out of ego, a step out of the hero model or the charismatic leader, and humility and an openness to working in collaboration, to working in coalition, and to being in a constant state of learning and listening.
Your thesis is that we’re horribly out of balance between the masculine and the feminine. But is there room for the masculine in a Feminine Economy? What would be the danger of going too far toward the feminine?
JA: My idealized future is clear: a beautiful, unique mix of masculine and feminine qualities in each of us. Just because we’re born with male or female bodies wouldn’t mean we are masculine or feminine. Instead, we all as human beings would have access to and capacity for both masculinity and femininity.
With the Feminine Economy — sure, there is the possibility that it can swing too far, but I would argue that most Americans have no idea what it actually feels like to be in a feminine workplace or in an environment that really, deeply honors feminine values and feminine principles. Most of us don’t have a felt sense of what that even is. We need to cultivate spaces that allow people to feel that in their bodies. We know what the masculine feels like. We’ve all been in it our whole lives. In fact, I’d say that right now we’re in a really amplified state of it.
Ultimately, we will be in a more yin–yang balanced place. But first we have to feel what the feminine is. We need to hang out in that place so that we have a deep knowing of it, and then can combine that with our longstanding knowledge of what the masculine feels like and find a facility in between.
Jennifer is an artist primarily, and conveys her arguments through clear infographics and poetic statements. Here's her comparison of masculine and feminine economics:
And here, her 12 principles for feminist business: