A Nuance to the Concept of Frame Holding

Yesterday I posted the following excerpt on Instagram after a conversation with artist Sheila Darcey about how energetic power dynamics influence our patterns of communication, self-expression, and perceptions of the world.

If not you, there’s always someone holding the frame through which you see reality. There’s someone determining what’s important, what’s considered cool, and where you focus your attention. There’s someone deciding what’s socially acceptable, what kind of language is used, when it’s ok to laugh, how honest you’re allowed to be. I like the notion of the frame because unlike a filter, which covers the entire lens, a frame can be held up from multiple angles and can take many shapes and colors and textures. The content within the frame may be fixed but it can always be reframed. It assumes a common truth, which is the present moment, as well as one’s own designation of its meaning. The frame is both our power and truth, but also a reminder of how quickly we give them away. The concept of holding the frame allows me to detach myself from the cultures that I assume. It challenges me to question which frame I’m operating from and empowers me to hold my own.

After my conversation with Sheila and the Instagram post that followed, I decided to do a quick internet search to see if and what other people had written about the concept. On my quest, I came upon an article entitled “The Battle to Maintain Frame,” which positioned the concept of frame control as the harnessing of one’s masculine center characterized by the following three elements: (1) the ability to define and maintain the terms of social interaction, (2) the ability to project your masculine essence outward and (3) the ability to maintain your individualized view of physical reality.

According to the article, when you are projecting your masculine essence out into the world, you are exerting your frame onto physical reality. Deep right?

I was actually thoroughly enjoying the article until I realized that it was published to a website called Return of Kings (ROK), a “blog for heterosexual, neomasculine men who believe men should be masculine and women should be feminine.” The article was featured alongside “10 Things I Enjoy About My White Privilege” and “If You Hate Patriarchy, Give Us Back Our Electricity.” Principle #5 of their manifesto is that “a woman’s value depends entirely on her fertility and beauty while a man’s value depends on his resources, intellect, and character.” If you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the Editor In Chief describes his political ideology as “pro-rape.” I’m purposefully not linking out to this website in genuine fear for my safety.

Not gonna lie, it kind of felt good to be getting useful advice about harnessing my masculine energy from a website that was designed to keep me from it. But it also gave me one truly valuable takeaway: if frame control is a manifestation of our masculine power, than frame surrender is the equally important manifestation of our feminine power.

Surrendering to another’s frame is how ideas and movements are spread. It’s how partnerships and families are formed and how communities are created and upheld. To learn and grow is to surrender to the frame of someone you trust and admire while knowing that you will always come back to your own. You don’t always have to be holding the frame, but you do need to be deliberate about when and where you choose to let it go.

A big thank you and fuck you to ROK. Because of you, I am a little closer to being in my full power and when I’m in my full power, I am King and Queen and whatever the fuck I want to be.

Food-born thoughts about the moments in between.

Food-born thoughts about the moments in between.