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
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
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?
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!