Maiden, Mother, Crone – Women go through three lives. In each they have a significantly different hormone load, and therefore, to some degree, a different personality. How does female development affect creativity?
Girls are often encouraged to be creative – play instruments, draw and write. In womanhood, creativity becomes a profession – where we face the normal glass ceilings and exclusions, and where we are still working to balance mothering and housework and earning a living and finally our real work. As older women, we might feel diminished or invisible. And those of us who get “ornery” pay a steep social price. Think how often people call older women “bitches” or consider them “crazy.” The cat lady, the crone, a witch. Because there is a seismic shift and many of us – men and women alike – don’t trust or like that change.
As girls, we’re fine with wondering who we will be, or what we’ll be like when we grow up. As women, we are not encouraged to see “the change” as anything potentially positive.
Here’s an excerpt from my book: Sex, Lies & Creativity (2014, Difference Press) that gives an overview of the differences between men and women from childhood to retirement. This is the summation of the chapter: “There’s No Such Thing as a Grown-up – Developmental Differences”
Girls and boys play to allay their stresses, and so they play in different ways. Girls develop a much stronger ability to read facial cues and body language, and they play in a much more communicative and collaborative way. Boys like to jostle for command, and win.
If you ask men why they did a good job, they’ll say, ‘I’m awesome. Obviously. Why are you even asking?’ If you ask women why they did a good job, what they’ll say is someone helped them, they got lucky, or they worked really hard.– Sheryl Sandberg
In young adulthood, romance is the priority; men are chasers and women are choosers. Women have a cyclical view of the world, and develop Mommy Brain during pregnancy and birth, that is sustained in a “lite” mode as a Mommy Veil for much of their children’s youth. Once the Mommy Veil lifts, they simply feel the needs of their loved ones less keenly. They feel a return to their girlish personalities. Men begin to have a decline in T (making them what we call, “marriage material”) and seek status and power in their jobs. As T declines, fear can increase – so they seek control. In menopause, women often experience a personality change, and a return of ambition. By contrast, men may suffer a midlife crisis, and sometimes feel driven to chase younger women to prove their status. At the age of 50+, women take the lead in initiating divorces. They have beginner’s mind, whereas men have harvest mind.
In our 50’s, we have “beginners mind.” We have a whole new run at creating the life we always wanted. We are freer of obligation, pumped up with more Testosterone than we had in our bodies since we were kids, and we feel energetic, hopeful and focused. This is our time to be:
Fifty(ish), Female and Creative – stay tuned for details. I’m putting together a course just for us 50ish women who are ready to be more creative.