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Bond Like the Big Boys

Vivia Chen

October 13, 2010

17400-women-playing-music-tintoretto

My readers have been wagging their fingers at me. They are telling me that I'm badly misinformed about the merits of certain bonding retreats--particularly ones that call for a lot of soul-baring and maybe a bit of baring of other parts.

Remember my recent posting ("So That's What Men Do!") about the California firm that allegedly required male lawyers to attend a retreat run by ManKind Project, where participants sit around naked and pass around a wooden phallus? Apparently, some people feel that I didn't give that organization its proper due. (Above the Law has picked up that thread, providing an update of the lawsuit by lawyer Steven Eggleston, an unwilling participant of the retreat, against his former firm Bisnar/Chase.)

Well, readers, you are so right. There's so much I don't know. For starters, who am I to say that nudity among colleagues won't promote team spirit and better lawyering? In fact, several lawyers e-mailed me about the "transformative" power of those retreats. To focus on the sensationalistic stuff without putting it in the context of the whole experience is unfair, they tell me.

But the big revelation I learned from readers is that women have their own primeval bonding retreats. Just like the Big Boys. Turns out that the ManKind Project has a women's division--like a sister college--called "Woman Within International." And like its male counterpart, it stresses sensuality and empowerment--personal, fiscal, and all other forms.

According to the Web site, "over 10,400 women worldwide have attended the Woman Within Training weekend, and many of these women have continued their journey at other Woman Within retreats and workshops, including Healing the Wounds of Shame, Your Sexual Self, Woman Within Level II, and Women Empowering Women."

I am so thrilled that women can now partake in the same rites as men. After all, women have long been excluded from those proud traditions. The ancient Greeks didn't allow women in their power games. And even today, there are male-only retreats, like the uber-exclusive Bohemian Club, where luminaries like Henry Kissinger, the George Bushes, and Ed Meese reportedly frolic naked in the Northern California woods, while chit-chatting about ruling the world.

But I know what you really want to know: Does Woman Within have a nudity component? Its Web site is a bit cryptic on that point: "We have also created our own ways of honoring the sacred feminine. You can choose to participate or not."

I wonder if any law firm will require its female lawyers to participate in one of these retreats. An even better question: What will women be passing around as the symbol of womanhood in those bonding rituals? Might it be a Manolo Blahnik stiletto?

Do you have topics you'd like to discuss or tips to share? E-mail The Careerist's chief blogger, Vivia Chen, at VChen@alm.com.


Art: Women Making Music by Jacopo Tintoretto


Comments

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I have attended a WWE wknd. There's absolutely nothing sexual about it. And yes, it IS life changing.. if one is willing to allow the process in. I, too, was VERY skeptical beforehand, as the website is very cryptic. I felt the same way. But having experienced it, I now understand why.
Please do not knock, or even write about, something you have zero personal knowledge of, or experience with.

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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