Seven years ago I began a new life.
What began as a job offer quickly morphed into a life-changing and highly productive daily event.
As a person dedicating several hours per week to helping others improve and redirect their lives, it became clear early and often what many of the women in the space thought of me and men in general.
As men in “soft” ( read traditionally female jobs) occupations we are often looked at with pity (clearly we have limited and pointless skills) and suspicion.
Many of us grow up with the patriarchal dominator model of living and coexisting with others.
Whether it’s the bully on the playground or the insanity that is our home life, we learn that the only way to interact and be in relationship with people is via domination and one-upmanship which provides no productive and life-affirming ways for any of us.
We are all taught and schooled in ways to intimidate, victimize and upset.
Interestingly enough, I am not a part of that limited conversation and many people refer to me as passive, nonaggressive and other not so nice terms and yet when I speak in a direct manner, questioning why certain behavior is allowed, folks still get mad.
It always amazes me that people feel the need to be a badass which usually means a bully or at the very least a person who can not or will not hear the opinions and most importantly the experiences of others.
Recently, in a moment of guts and bravery, I pointed out what did not work or certain behaviors that prevented us (work folks) from moving forward.
Instead of listening, I was shown the flawed thinking I had regarding the situation.
Nothing makes us feel less heard than someone jumping in with a solution or defensiveness and blame disguised as good ol’ fashioned “explanations”.
I almost burst out laughing but decided against it knowing that it would not help.
It pisses me the fuck off (especially when I hear this from folks who should know better) when men get dismissed as problematic, short-sighted and sex-crazed.
Which often leads to folks believing that if men would change, go away or let women run things the world would be better.
I remember twenty-five years ago when my critical consciousness was born/ reawakened that I hated and was disgusted by my gender.
That foolishness didn’t last long and instead was replaced by my love for and awe of the male form and things that are male (identified).
I began reading great work by superb male writers: James Baldwin, Essex Hemphill and started to design the life, purpose, and voice that I wanted to have.
While not always perfect, it did provide me with multiple opportunities to look inward and figure out how I wanted to show up and be in the world.
Men are not the problem. I repeat- men are not the problem!
It is our behavior and our devotion to patriarchy that is the problem.