About The Author
Charly Flower trained as a classical singer, a martial artist, and as a bouncer. She now lives in the UK where she practises as a shamanic healer. With her considerable experience of voice production, movement, and personal protection, she has much to offer many women on the issues that are particular to them. Charly is also passionate about teaching women that identifying with the world's patriarchal value system can only lead to their power loss.
A particular area where Charly is most vocal on this issue is within the lesbian community. "Gay women," Charly is quoted as saying, "are violent because they internalize, and act out, what they see as masculine behaviour. Lesbians who choose to be violent are going in the wrong direction. It is softness they need to culture, not hardness"
Her book on personal protection, The Power in Softness: A Guide to Personal Protection and Empowerment for Women, starts where most finish: in it, the more practical side of personal protection is only the beginning. Charly Flower presents the whole issue of personal protection for women as both an outer process and an inner one.
Once the reader opens to the power in softness on a physical level, they will want to use it on all others. Softness, at its highest and most subtle level, eventually becomes a gateway, not only to safety but to health, feminine power, and the divine. If you are a woman wondering how to stay safe and reclaim your feminine power in a man's world, this book is for you. It can save your life , it can help you to heal on every level, and it can show you the path to becoming a true feminine presence - where you get to live as a woman on your own terms.
Writing exclusively for Foyles, Charly explains why women need to continue to assert their identities in a world that remains deeply patriarchal, and where more aggressive masculine values are prominent even in the lesbian community.
To find out more about Charly and her book, visit her website.
The Author At Foyles
'Softness' has been getting a very bad press for a very long time - we are talking at least a few thousand years. I should know: I spent eight years working as a female bouncer in some of London's roughest nightclubs. More often than not, I was the only female on a team of door supervisors, and almost all of the problems that erupted could so often be dealt with much more effectively, and quickly, using a gentler approach to door supervision. The worst word you can level at most men, however, is the word 'soft'. Even those men who are not fighting out in Afghanistan, or playing at soldiers as bouncers on the doors of Britain's clubs, are deeply insulted to be called anything resembling 'soft' or 'gentle'. The definition of masculinity is everything that a woman is not - to most men.
All this is unhealthy enough, but that so many women are now following suit is dangerous to the human body, and soul. Women, as a group, hold the antidote to healing the world's problems. They are, for starters, the balancers of the planet: a few exceptions aside, most women create life and are therefore far more reluctant to destroy it. The 'killing industry' that men have created is now 'a horse that has bolted without a rider'. There needs to be some force other than men that can jump back in the saddle and steer the horse back to a steady state - to equilibrium. Womankind is the force that the planet most needs to do this. It is the feminine quality of softness that can restore sanity. Softness is a power, not a weakness. It can move us to stop, for a moment, to obtain clarity. More than anything, it gives us three hundred and sixty degree vision so that we can accurately assess the consequences of any actions taken. The power in softness is, at root, a practical blueprint to use for life.
Many women, it seems, are taking on masculine priorities: so many have internalized patriarchal values. It's hard not to - I did. I, like many women, decided that if I couldn't beat them, I'd join them. While this serves as a coping mechanism, it is not really helping in the long term: when you trade in your femininity for the prevailing masculine way of things, you temporarily kill off a power that is greater than anything already here.
So, many women harden themselves in order to 'make it' in the office or the corporate world. They also become aggressive and stern in their relationships with the men in their lives, as well as with each other. One group where women are clearly imitating male behaviour, is in the lesbian community. As a gay woman myself, I had little idea of just how much 'girl on girl' violence there was. The statistics on this are grim: well over half of all lesbian couples have experienced some form of physical or mental abuse from their partners. When gay women indulge in violence towards each other, they are not quite seeing the wood for the trees. Firstly, they are regurgitating a fear-based, ego-driven, patriarchal power that is a false power. Secondly, they haven't understood that lesbianism is about the celebration of the feminine - not the glorification of the masculine.
The Power in Softness - A Guide to Personal Protection and Empowerment for Women represents my journey from hardness to softness. Through many true life stories of my time spent working as a female bouncer, I offer the reader insights and wisdom on the virtues, and necessities, of softness. I show that the power in softness can heal, protect, and open you to a higher force. The book is a call to women to recognize the most powerful force on the planet: them. With more and more women aligning to a masculine value system, we are in danger of losing the feminine entirely. If we do, an entire dimension of human experience will be lost. As Eckhart Tolle writes in A New Earth, "We now have a situation in which the suppression of the feminine has become internalized, even in most women".
© Charly Flower 2012
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