How kindness can soften the damaging focus on 'not getting it wrong'.
In a recent paper (“Advance Error by Error, with Erring Steps: Embracing and Exploring Mistakes and Failure Across the Psychophysical Performer Training Space and the Page", The Journal of Writing in Creative Practice¸ 2:1, 2009, 193-207), Dr Alissa Clarke talks about a number of our conditioned tendencies such as:
over-fixation on what is 'right' or 'correct'
judgemental treatment of the individual processes and abilities of self and other
Characterising these tendencies as stemming from a patriarchal culture with its own "symbolic order and its authoritarian, controlling linguistic structure", she suggests that the focus on 'not getting it wrong' tends to promote disembodiment by requiring us to occupy the critical mind rather than the error-prone body-in-relationship. She then discusses what she calls 'pedagogies of kindness and giving' in performance and movement training (that is to say, training that focuses on the body in movement).
She shows how 'kindness' helps to tackle our judgemental tendencies (which might seem obvious but it's quite exhilarating to see its 'benefits' explained and demonstrated so clearly) and to help construct 'a rightness without wrongs, with no mistakes'. And she explains that, in her view, "the refusal of the prohibitions 'don't' or 'no' or 'wrong' can be viewed as the refusal of jarring, masculine, exclusionary stopping notes by... affirmative, pleasurable [feminine] processes."
Finally she comes to Cixous's advocation of mansuetude. The term conventionally means tameness or mildness brought about by teaching an animal to become accustomed (suetudo) to being handled (manus). Cixous inverts this to create a 'feminine pattern of mansuetude', a taming of one's own hands and learning how to use one's hands in a good way - or 'the habit of holding out one's hand'.
In so doing, Cixous and, by extension, Clarke give a tangible example of the 'feminine' approach from kindness that can subvert the 'masculine', taming and authoritarian convention.
In her paper, Alissa Clarke refers extensively to the work of Phillip Zarrilli and Sandra Reeve (whose book on ways of viewing the body is published by Triarchy).