By: Dr Pauline Crawford, International Speaker & Facilitator
As an Image Consultant in the 1990s, I first studied the various shapes and sizes as they related to the characteristics of the women coming to me for advice. During this period of my life, I rapidly realized there was a range of female body types and that particular body types appeared to connect directly to certain personality traits and emotional inclinations. Simply stated, certain elements and/or functions seemed to be innately driven by a woman’s particular physicality. In other words, the REAL ME can be revealed in one’s own mirror. Short aside: definition of epiphany: a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way.
My epiphany occurred when I realized the deep meaning of what is stated above. It opened my eyes and mind to something that had haunted me for more than half my life, and now it was set out right in front of me. I knew that my somewhat masculine mind-set was natural for me. I realized too that it did not … that it could not … overwrite or override my being a woman … my femaleness. My body was not the curvaceous one I may have wanted at some point in my life, but that was alright because I really came to like one I had. It explained to me my reluctance to accept the words like ‘feminine’ or ‘pretty’ or ‘sexy’ as adjectives into my personal dictionary. Going into my 40’s, I could accept the description of myself as ‘attractive’ or even ‘stunning’ but not ‘beautiful’ or ‘gorgeous’. I came to like what I saw in the mirror. I knew how to dress my body and to see myself as attractive. This breakthrough released erroneous preconceptions and connected me to my realities. It was good to get to know and appreciate the woman I was. I was a female through and through.
From this point on I began to observe everything around me on a daily basis. I even observed that men also showed a range of physicality types that ranged from very angular through straight to somewhat softer. Men are not curvy like women, but the nature of softer lines sends a gentle, quasi-feminine message. This physicality range also appeared to align with what I saw in women, i.e. the more angular, straighter bone structure hosted a more masculine mode of thinking and behaving. I structured my thoughts into a simple mind-map designating MEN by a box, and WO-MEN by a circular shape. This mind-map was the initial incarnation of what would eventually become the basis for Gender Dynamics©. I was able to create a visual format, a codified embodiment that enabled me to articulate that which I could see in front of me as a lens through which I observed men and women in all situations.
By 2007, in addressing many audiences of business women and men, I recognized at this time that I was watching business and life merging as women transition from home into the workplace in greater numbers. My Gender Dynamics© map also gave me a lens through which to see the changing nature of work and home environments, and of society at large. I learned too, as we moved into the new millennium, that a new wave was rolling across the landscape, changing everything in its path. The centuries old male designed and dominated corporate economy was being retooled and reshaped by revolutionary new forces – technology which was driving global interconnectivity and the mounting feminine influence being fueled by greater numbers of women entering the workplace! We now had women emerging not only as corporate leaders, but as entrepreneurial free thinkers creating new enterprises and entirely new ways of running and leading a business entity.