TOPAZ Issue 9 / 2004
Likes And Dislikes
North American Template Homestead
Balanced nutritional habits
In the Quest of the Man
The Honour between Men
Understandings about the xx and xy gender
Success: An end result or a way of life?
Gender and Singing - a Musical Exploration

Exploring new understandings about the xx and xy gender in the 21st century

An interview with Mary Noble, England by Monique Weber

In September I attended an exploratory seminar in the Netherlands with Mary Noble about the xx and xy genders. Previously it had also been run in England and the United States and since then Mary has met men and women interested in engaging in this futuristic research in Germany, Denmark and Italy.

For Mary Noble, one of the co-founders of the worldwide organization of Feminenza, the promotion of a new and better understanding between the genders has been a burning issue since she was young. During the seminar she managed to create an atmosphere in which everyone, both men and women, could feel at ease, to venture together into a research about a mystery we all want to unravel. After working together to get a better understanding of what is the best of the Male/Female, Man/Woman, Lady/Gentleman and Tenant, everyone found themselves in spontaneous theatre work, which was very captivating and described some of the aspects that had been discovered about the different lives. This was a very warm and humorous happening, illustrating and clarifying some of the ways the genders go on. During the seminar singing and dancing was also explored which is a wonderful way to feel the different lives of both genders. It was very special to be able to work together with men and women, trying to understand their own and each other’s gender better. The fact of that happening already was an enormous success, apart from the discoveries we made on the way, with the help of the inspiring guidance of Mary.

This interview was gathered from a series of telephone conversations with Mary in between the various seminars, in response to questions concerning her experiences and perceptions gained during her recent travels.

I understand that you are currently conducting exploratory seminars with both men and women about the best of both genders. What has it been like to do that?

It has been an amazing discovery about what some of the issues are in both men and women and what some of the problems are. Also seeing it in different countries, you start to realize that whilst there are similar issues, there are also different ones depending on which country the seminar is being held in. So I find it is a process of discovery each time I do it and I realize what a key issue gender is, and that men and women are both very concerned about it. There is such a cry for understanding, and such a healing when the subject can be approached fresh, without judgement, without blame or recrimination, from a simple foundation of mutual help and respect.

It seems to me that the whole world is waking up to the gender issue, and more and more books are appearing about the difference between men and women, to engender a greater understanding. Why do you think that is?

I think it is part of the natural process of evolution, where people don’t accept the way things were 20, 50, or a hundred years ago, and I think that the relationship between the genders is a very key feature in how society develops. We are at a point now where one of the issues that has to be in the forefront is understanding the way that men and women can work together for a better future. In the 60s in the West, you had the women’s movement, you’ve had huge changes in the last 50 years, and there was a period in which people were trying to say that there was no difference. I think that what is happening now is that people are accepting that fundamentally there is a difference, but they don’t want to go back to the ‘one is better and one is worse’ view. There has to be a whole new way of looking at it, which is, what are these differences about and what are they for?

Why do you think that it is especially important in this time to have a fresh look at the way the two genders go on (both individually and with each other)?

Something is very seriously out of balance in the world today, in the relationships between men and women. I’ve encountered some of it first hand in my travels. In some societies it turns up as extreme repression of women, in others, as extreme exploitation of or violence against women. Female infanticide is on the increase, caused by the fact that in many parts of the world, the birth of a daughter is seen as the greatest misfortune that can befall a family. Sadly, the great majority of people in the 21st century do not have the perception of men and women as two very high faces of how God turns up here on the planet, both vital to the development of the universe. Of course, the men suffer greatly too, by what this ignorance and suppression denies them in terms of access to their own humanity and spiritual development. It burns deeply in me that there is such an enormous amount of unnecessary pain in the world, caused by the kind of fixed patterns with which the genders are brought up and caused to look at each other. Some of these are to do with traditions that go back hundreds of years and some of it is to do simply with the two genders not knowing how to cope with the changes in society.

Men for example these days in the West have great difficulty in redefining what it means to be a man in the light of the changes that are going on with women, status, the economic situation and so on. I think within each man and each woman there is deep down, a tremendous cry of wanting something good to go on between them. If you look at the statistics of divorce, which is one in two marriages, the ‘how to get to that something good going on between them’, is an enormous question. It is saying that if there is something real, something good and something regenerative that can happen between men and women, what is it that we are not doing right or what is it that we don’t understand, or that we need to understand, to unlock that. It is like a huge potential, which when it is touched is one of the richest things in the world and yet it seems to be so hard to get to, because there is so much misunderstanding, and prejudice and difficulty surrounding it.

So, I know it has been described as one of the greatest wars on the planet, between the sexes, and I think it is very true and it goes further than humans, it is also to do with the whole relationship with the planet, the whole of the masculine and feminine way of things. It is absolutely vital that the way the two genders go on is allowed to be redefined if our human species is to survive.

What would you say might be important to research in the coming years to get to a better understanding, feeling and response about the way the two genders can work together?

The first thing is that there needs to be an openness to each other, because I meet an awful lot of people, men and women, who have given up trying to get to a better understanding. I meet a lot of women who say things like, “Men don’t understand me and that is the way it is, I have never found any that could.” There is the sense that it is an impossible quest. Or I meet men who say, “I can never work out what women want, I always get it wrong,” and I think the first thing is to remain open to the possibility that there is something new to be discovered, which can lead to a better understanding.

Then we get into the whole territory of what Feminenza is about, which is about the different lives within each of the two genders and recognizing that they are not one thing. The needs of these various lives, say the relationship between the male and the female life, is going to have different requirements to the man and the woman life and that is going to have different issues at play than the lady and gentleman life. I think that it is in the unlocking and understanding of these distinct levels in ourselves that we can start to know how these levels relate to those levels in the other gender. Through this there is a tremendous amount of insight and new possibility that can be opened up. For example if you take the ‘Male,’ the ‘Male’ is the most physical level, it is very much a free radical, does not want to be tied down, needs its freedom and is a bit of an unexploded box of fireworks. Whereas the ‘Man’ life is more ready to engage in some kind of contractual relationship, say with a woman, the building of a family and so on. The higher part, if he develops that part, which we call the ‘Gentleman,’ seeks something different yet again in the feminine gender, which would be a mutual respect and support to do with each other’s purpose. Depending on the degree of how these different lives are active, they can learn to dialogue with each other on different levels and understand each other’s needs on different levels. Then you can get a richness throughout. In these seminars I have tried to open up what these inner lives are and their different requirements, which can save an awful lot of confusion. You can ask why is it that a female at one minute wants a hug and at another minute wants to be left alone, needing her own space? This is because there are
these distinct lives in her that have different needs, just as a man does. We need to learn to understand what these are so that we can respect them and make room for them, rather than feeling upset or dismissed or not knowing which one you are dealing with.

Do you have imageries, ideas and insights as to how the two genders will function separately and together in the future?

That’s a difficult question, because we are all so conditioned by the way things currently are. But I do think it’s very important to constantly challenge that, and to never stop working towards our own and each other’s liberation. I don’t think we’ve even begun to truly appreciate the greatness and power of men and women, each in their unique way.

However, if I had one vision, it would be that humanity had evolved to the point where, throughout the whole world, the birth of a baby girl on this planet was as much a cause of joy, as the birth of a baby boy. Just imagine!

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