The Armored Amazon

by Peter Milhado PHD on January 23, 2010

Women who are disconnected from their feminine center.

Looking at newspapers and television one has to wonder whether the world isn’t lost in some collective slam dance. People racing around frantically going nowhere. At bottom, this madness has been promoted by corporate and patriarchal cultures. Never have we been so cut off from our intuitive insights and wisdom.

Wounded by a society that has devalued the worth of the feminine too long, women, in the last 50 years, have lodged the strongest assertion and rebellion against the dominant patriarchal principle in history. No longer is it acceptable for men to define what women can and cannot do and unconsciously project and impose what femininity is. Both men and women have suffered in this era of transition regarding the traditional masculine and feminine roles.

In this article I want to address a particular kind of woman who has suffered tremendously in these times of rapid changes.

Psychologist Linda Leonard refers to her as the ‘Armored Amazon’, who identifies too much with the masculine principle at great expense to her feminine nature. In one way this makes sense, because in order to succeed in our patriarchal society one often has to wear a strong and powerful armor. This armor is frequently helpful in business and the professions, however for some women the armor also shields them from their own feminine feelings and their tenderness. The danger is that the feminine principle of relatedness and love succumbs to calculating intellectual ambition. Eventually a woman can lose her spontaneity and vitality, become alienated from her own creativity and from healthy relationships with men.

The Armored Amazon builds up her masculine ego identity through being in control, through achievement, fighting for a cause or perhaps as a mother who runs the family with an iron fist. She attempts to rule from a power complex.

Jungian analyst Marion Woodman tells us that women have proven beyond question they are equal and sometimes better than men: excellent doctors, mechanics, journalists, business consultants. But they are also, in many cases, unhappy women. To the outside, these women appear strong and confident, but inside is often total exhaustion, terror, an injured self, rage, and the ‘great loneliness’. The masculine protective shell turns out to be an armor against fear of rejection, abandonment, vulnerability and weakness.

The chief sign of the pursuit of perfection is obsession. When the daily routine is completed chaos breaks out. Will power can only last so long and here come the addictions: food, alcohol, constant cleaning, compulsive exercise, etc. It is a fatal error for any woman when masculinity burns out her femininity. On the other hand there are some women who are dutiful and become enslaved to the ‘patriarchal system’ or dependent upon the masculine principle. They express their rage covertly by withholding sex, having a retaliatory affair, charge up their husband’s credit cards, become depressed, sick or hypochondriacal.

So how does the “Armored Amazon” heal ? Well it certainly isn’t on the treadmill of blame, which locks a woman forever into the role of passive prisoner and helpless victim. First of all, the Armored Amazon has to become conscious and cop to the fact that she is wearing a masculine armor, which keeps her from vulnerability, softness and her feminine center. It’s okay to wear a masculine identity to be successful in business, but you can’t let it dominate on a date, or friendships or intimacy. Only consciousness allows a woman to put on or take off the masculine persona. The Armored Amazon has to stop running around in frantic activity, sit still, be quiet and listen inwardly to intuitions, feelings, nighttime dreams and fantasies. A vision for her future will eventually surface. She has to take risks in intimacy (in-to-me-see) and slowly reveal her true self, including vulnerability, weakness, loneliness and express her true needs, which is quite frightening at first.

She has to do “Shadow Work” and cop to her power and control issues, perfectionism, coldness, cruelty, relentless ambition, etc. Anger has to be expressed in a related fashion, not covertly or through steam rolling others. She can no longer sacrifice love to power. Often, the Armored Amazon has a negative relationship with her personal mother. This causes her to frequently have painful relationships with other women. The negative mother archetype in her psyche must be transformed into a loving connection with the Great Universal Mother. Sometimes therapy carries the energies of the Great Mother until she can be internalized.

lonely+girlThe Armored Amazon needs to cry – not the tears that harden into aggressive icicles, they are not redemptive, because they keep the woman frozen in bitter resentment (Linda Leonard). Not the flooding tears that wash out the ground underneath in moroseness and self-pity. She needs to simply let down and cry – the soft, transforming tears that allow feelings to show, and promote growth and re-birth. She needs to learn that her strength comes primarily from her feminine core not the masculine armor. When she imitates the patriarchal masculine, she devalues the feminine by accepting the masculine as superior. The goal-oriented, rationalistic masculine principle has to be balanced by related, loving and creative femininity.

Note: These articles are also published In our local paper

Peter Milhado © 2010

These articles are also published in our local paper the

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

isabella November 19, 2011 at 11:08 am

Thanks I needed a reminder this am.

Doris (Dodie) Theune, PhD March 17, 2012 at 8:57 am

I am a retired bank executive (SVP) and helped create a course for Temple University (Philadelphia) “Investing for the Future” and although it was a definite contribution to the students it did not bring me satisfaction because my true passion is about helping women achieve their goals. I wrote my dissertation in Transformative Adult Education on the topic of “Women Being Coached to Advance Their Careers to Positions of Power and Influence.” My next project is a book: Working Title is “What Women Want – What Women Need”: A Guide for Life Coaches. I found your article helpful and would like to include some of it in my book in the chapter “Armed Amazon”

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