Actor Andrew Garfield takes: A Stitch in Time
By Dr. Nicki Monti -
I think its time for us to bring in our claws and figure out for ourselves what we mean when we say…well, whatever.
It’s hard to tell these days what’s up or down. Night has become day and day night. All over the world down-low news gets disseminated at warp speed, which makes every nook and cranny statement instant game for assumption, distortion and misunderstanding. That’s what happened in a recent London interview during his Amazing Spiderman II press junket when Andrew Garfield answered a young boy’s question about how Spiderman’s costume came about.
When I heard his answer I thought it an interesting tiptoe into a very challenging topic, but the papers reported him being “called out” as sexist. Naturally there was an ensuing hullabaloo. Headline articles labeled him anti-femininist. Red carpet questioning pursued him along these lines. Our young apparent hero suddenly became public villain.
In thinking about this I’ve been somewhat mystified and even miffed. Garfield appears to know well who he is in this area and how he feels. He represents himself as a justice guy. A man who wants “right” to triumph. Who believes in complete equality. Who desires to fight the good fight. That’s why, we might guess, he’s jumped into charitable foundation work so early in his career [Starlight Children's Foundation, Stand Up To Cancer, and Worldwide Orphans Foundation ]. But is this intense actor still trying to find his way in the what’s-feminine-what’s-masculine mishmash? Sure. Who isn’t.
So how does a gentle, well-intended response turn into the gaff heard round-the-world?!
Easy. In a generation with words and ways gone wild, we’re most of us yearning for clarity. If only we can pin a construct or concept on this luminary or that, maybe we can nudge our own confused lives into the eye of the storm known as modern times and, if only for an instant, be safe from the chaos. The daily who-are-we-supposed-to-be-now questions are driving us to distraction. Thus, in our instant soup let’s not take more than 140 characters way it’s an easy shuffle from simplicity to simpleton. Why dive beneath the surface when stone-skipping will give us more traction.
And so it was when Andrew Garfield “blasphemed” by calling sewing a feminine pursuit. Actually, as subsequent interview have revealed, he was training his stitching fingers on qualities not equipment. Indeed, he was braving a far more difficult topic than what men do or what women have. He was talking not about guys and gals, but about the feminine and the masculine.
Maybe you know this as the yin & yang of it all. Great psychiatrist Carl Jung, among others, extensively explored these terms and ideas, however for easy access we might say: the masculine is about discernment and difference, whereas the feminine is about union and connection. The great masculine symbol is the sword [not because it’s warrior-like, but because it severs one part from another] whereas one of the fabulous symbols of the feminine is the weaver. Notice we’re verging suspiciously on the sewing image. Knitting, weaving, joining otherwise disparate parts into a unit.
Now, the buried point Garfield was attempting to make is that these qualities vividly exist in all of us. Often one is more obvious than the other and that palpable expression does not at all depend on gender. In other words, many men exhibit primarily feminine qualities and many women exhibit more apparent masculine characteristics.
By the by – there’s nothing new here. This has forever been so. And shall always be.
These days, of course, we’re so nervous about proving who and how we are, that we get uncomfortable with comments poking the gender topic beast. As if somehow saying there are distinctions between feminine qualities and masculine qualities means we’re saying there should be inequality in pay, respect or opportunity when it comes to men and women. Certainly not. That’s not what’s being said.
Whether upon consideration you determine yourself to be leading with your masculine qualities or with your feminine features, what’s most important is that you claim it. None of this has anything whatsoever to do with your social conscience, value as a human being or your capacity to create a quality life.
So grab your own needle and thread. Or if you dare not, pass it to another. One way or other, in the final analysis we all reap what we sew.
Dr. Nicki J. Monti: Author, Teacher, Psychotherapist, Media Expert
Books include: Stuck In the Story No More:
Our Love Matters: Find it, Fix it, or Let it Go!
Contact: Ana Markosyan - Breakthrough PR (818) 421-9982 to interview Dr. Nicki
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