7 Reasons All Men Should Be Feminists

7 reasons men should be feminists photo bryan reeves

To put up a good fight, it works well to think your adversary is evil. … Then you can hate your enemy and hate can fuel many confrontations. But in our hearts, we naturally love men. Just as men naturally love women.” ~ Alison Armstrong in Keys to the Kingdom

The word “Feminist” has a negative taste for some – especially some men. Throughout its history, some people (men and women) chose to fight for women’s rights by making men evil adversaries because, as Alison Armstrong wrote about this aspect of feminism, every fight needs an adversary, and making your adversary evil can powerfully fuel the fight. But at its core, the essence of feminism is a worthy one. Being a “feminist” doesn’t mean we have to set women on pedestals and toss men under buses. It simply means we can stand for every woman’s right to live fully free of oppression, just as any man has that same right.

It’s that simple. Being a Feminist means I stand for all women’s right to live on the planet with the same rights and freedoms I enjoy as a man. Nothing less. Nothing more.

I believe being a Feminist, in its truest essence, is a label every man should be eager and proud to wear. Here’s 7 specific reasons why:

1) It’s our sisters, mothers, girlfriends, wives, and daughters the world is still mistreating every day

If you personally know a woman – I’m not sure how you would not – then you almost certainly know a woman who is regularly harassed, demeaned, accosted (subtly or otherwise), professionally overlooked and denied, and who has probably been raped, or will be. One in five women in the USA is sexually abused in their lifetime. Countless women are harassed on the streets everyday, in classrooms, while jogging, at the office or the grocery store. While this isn’t as much about equality for women, it is absolutely about how men value women in general. I am passionate about creating a world in which my three sisters, two mothers and someday wife (wherever she is now) can walk through the world knowing the men in their midst value them as far more than warm bodies for their pleasure and control. So call me a Feminist. I’m in.

2) Businesses can thrive with women in leadership roles

A recent report by Credit Suisse Research Institute found that companies with women in senior leadership positions fare better on average – including higher return on equity and higher payout ratios – than companies without even one women at the executive management level. In fact, major corporations with women CEOs also generally perform better than businesses with male CEOs. Yet only 5% of Fortune 1000 companies are run by women. And women are forced out of their CEO positions at a rate higher than men (as opposed to leaving voluntarily). Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg wrote, “it should be a badge of honor for men to mentor women.” It would also just be wise for every economy in the world. According to the World Bank, closing the joblessness gap between women and men would increase the GDP of developing countries on average 1.2% in just one year. Imagine if many of those women went on to become business leaders, too.

This doesn’t mean men shouldn’t run businesses, or that women are simply better at it. It just means there’s a lot men can learn from women about how to manage well, and research bears this out. According to a study by KLCM, more people prefer leaders who embody management styles more common in women than men. The report says “female leaders are seen as markedly better at displaying far more of the attributes deemed important for effective leaders.” Simply put, women lead good business and benefit economies. Hiring a woman to run your company might be a brilliant call. So might proudly calling yourself a Feminist.

3) They are the Mothers to your children

Mom is likely the human your children will have the most direct contact with for the first 18 years of their lives. They will learn so much about the world from their mothers. Today, close to 20% of American adults may be clinically depressed, with women twice as likely to be so, many of them mothers. Why isn’t this a recognized national crisis? Research shows babies of stressed-out mothers experience more mood disorders later in life. There are other negative effects of stressed-out moms, too, the least of which is stressed-out kids. Don’t we want our children exposed to women who everyday feel safe, happy, fulfilled in their lives? Absolutely we do! By taking an active stand to ensure women are not just equally valued, but truly honored throughout society, we play a real part in ensuring women are safe to fully live in their joy, and thus help raise our children happier and healthier.

4) A happy lifetime partner is good for you.

As a man, some part of you lives to see your woman radiant and genuinely happy. If she isn’t thrilled about her everyday life, you won’t be, either. Not because she’s responsible for your feelings (she’s not), but because one of the best gifts she could ever give you is her authentic happiness. If she’s happy, it’s easier for you to be happy. If you’ve ever had a relationship with a woman, you know what I’m talking about. Since you’re going to spend more time with this one person than any other on the planet, and for a very long time if you’re lucky, wouldn’t you want her to be fully empowered to live in ways that light her up and make her happy? If you insist on the right of women to live as true equals – not the same, but equal – safe and free to pursue life, liberty and happiness, you’ll be your a woman’s hero forever. Your own woman will even gladly let you call her “your woman” because she’ll be so proud to stand beside a man who claims the world for her and all her sisters, daughters and mothers. Her admiration is the next best gift she could give you after her own happiness. Being her hero really turns her on, too … you sexy Feminist, you.

5) A strong woman can make you a better men

Throughout my life, women have made me a better man. Mom held my early world together with almost impossible strength and conviction. A single mom pulling midnight shifts at a Washington D.C. crisis center, I would sleep under a conference table while she worked to create a stable world in which I could explore, play, learn, eat well and grow stronger day after day for years. After mom, as I journeyed into adulthood, strong women peers started holding my masculine feet in the transformational fires of romantic love. They were forcing me to burn away all the adolescent bullshit stories, confusion and fears I was living in that prevented me from showing up as a Man and loving them fully. No one had ever taught me how to really love a woman. No man taught me how to be a Man, either, or what that even meant. It has mostly been amazing female friends and passionate lovers who enabled the mature masculine Man in me to eventually awaken. Whether through their loving patience and mysterious feminine vision, or through fiery rage when I showed up a boy rather than the man they yearned for, women have always been the wild, fierce winds slowly sculpting me into a much better man.

I’m honored to call myself a Feminist for their service to my evolution as a Man.

6) Women are not the enemy

Many of us were taught since childhood to view girls with suspicion. They’ll distract us, make us sin and seduce us into craziness. They throw weird, are weak and unstable. They’re a burden to be carried and put up with. These are the tall tales told by men still afraid of the immense and mysterious power that is woman. But like yin and yang bound together in one perfect circle, always flowing one into the other in an endless dance of opposites, we are forever joined in divine partnership with our female counterparts. We can resist this primal, sometimes chaotic dance, or embrace it. When we resist, we create the war of the sexes. That war is a lie. There is resistance to the partnership, but no real war. The moment we fully embrace women as our true equal partners in life, we end this made-up war.

7) As women thrive, so shall the planet thrive

Women are half the global population. They’re half the people in your city, your neighborhood. Martin Luther King, Jr, said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere.” Women are subject to awful injustices everyday, everywhere. Sure, men are, too, often at the hands of other men. But in calling myself a Feminist, I speak the language of a devoted humanist, committed to creating a world in which all people can thrive. Clearly, a consequence of a better world for women will be a world better for men, too. 

I’m a proud Feminist. Are you?

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Posted in Masculine Feminine, Mature Masculinity, Relationships, Sexuality

The One Big Mistake Men Make In Arguments With Women

Watch the video to learn more.

Men – or more correctly, the more masculine partner which could also be a woman – consistently make One Major Mistake in every intimate relationship argument: we engage our partner at the “level of the complaint.” We completely miss what our partner really needs to hear from us. Address this … and own your partner (poetically speaking). This goes for any more masculine person, gay or hetero, with a more feminine partner.

Watch the video to learn what I’m talking about.

I’d love to know your experience with this. Please leave a comment!

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Posted in Conscious Relationships, Love, Masculine Feminine, Mature Masculinity, Relationships, Sexuality

The Masculine Search For Freedom & Why It Matters To You

Ignorance of the masculine and feminine archetypal energies at play in our intimate relationships (straight or gay), can cost us everything. 

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The Author, Burning Man 2013

Freedom.

There’s something about the masculine nature that is always seeking freedom.

It’s that magical force in us all, men and women, that compels us to push beyond any limitation imposed on us by the world around us, and within us. It’s that onward urge that makes us create airplanes and rockets to break the heavy bonds of gravity so we can travel freely throughout the heavens.

The world’s economic system is set up such that the more money we make, the more social freedom we have to go wherever and do whatever we want. Thus the widespread obsession with making money. No one wants stacks of thin green paper piled high around in their living room; we want the social freedom it provides in the system mostly masculine people have created.Political leaders always know to rile up their base with cries of freedom: “Give me freedom or give me death!” Even those insane people terrorizing Iraq are essentially seeking freedom to live out their ideas as they wish, regardless of the hypocrisy they practice by brutally denying that same freedom to others.

Even sports are all about positioning ourselves within constraints (sidelined fields and courts, groomed fairways, etc.), setting a worthy adversary in front of us (a team, one person, ourselves), and then pushing at our limits until we break through to that one place that lives just beyond both adversary and constraint: the basket, goal, hole, end zone, finish line. If you’ve ever felt high after kicking a ball into a goal while 11 people tried to stop you – or just watched your favorite team do so – you know the ecstatic thrill of embodied freedom through sport.

wildwoman

Femininity – which also can express itself in men and women – isn’t so concerned with the search for freedom. She doesn’t insist, “I want out!” Rather, feminine energy carries our longing for the embodied experiences of love, radiance and beauty. She’s always saying in endless ways, “Show me the love!

Author David Deida writes, the essential “Masculine plea” is, “I want out of here!” That doesn’t mean a man (or a more masculine woman) always wants to run away, but rather that his masculine nature is going to have him constantly seeking ways to escape the constraints he experiences in the world around and within him. Sometimes that means staying put and fighting through difficulties or constraints.

Standup comic, Patrice O’Neal, makes the face of a man in love: a scrunched-up dissatisfied look of exhausted resignation. We laugh at that cliche because it looms large in our collective experience. We know the masculine force in men (and women) longs for freedom. Then he makes the face of a woman in love: happy and carefree. “Yay!” he exclaims to more laughter, because again, reality is entertaining.

I want to be clear this isn’t strictly a man vs. woman thing. Both men and woman can express masculine and feminine energy. However, like author Marianne Williamson says, most people in their lives are majoring in either masculinity or femininity and minoring in the other. While it is typically men who major in masculinity, some women are majoring in it, too, just as some men major in femininity.

Here’s the point:

Awareness of the archetypal forces at play in our intimate relationships can make it easier to see why they are often so challenging.

Our ignorance sabotages us. Our high divorce rates aren’t falling, and might even be rising. Awareness can help us move through our challenges with more grace.

Android Jones - "Love is a riot"

Android Jones – “Love is a riot”

But no one had taught me the differences between femininity and masculinity.

My parents and everyone else seemed to be winging it through strings of failed relationships and strained marriages. I had no idea these primal forces were beginning to conspire in the shadows of my ignorance to destroy the most important relationship in my life.

A few years ago I was in living with a feminine woman, my girlfriend. She loved to bring in little crystals and seashells from the beach to make our home pretty. She loved to wear glitter and sparkly jewelry and hear from me how beautiful I thought she was. She had an office job, and she was brilliant at it, but her passion was children. Her biggest dream was building a home on a small plot of land in Argentina that her parents owned, having a garden with a fish pond and raising a family with me. Deeply connected to the femininity flowing through her, she was never really concerned about freedom from anything, except having to work. She was obsessed with whether or not I really loved her.

The basic pattern of our downward doom spiral was this: Uncertainty caused her to demand evidence of my love that made sense to her. I resented her attempts to change my behavior. This made her feel more uncertain and make more demands. Which I resisted and resented. Wash, rinse and repeat for 5 years until you have no hair left and the love you once had is now buried under a putrid mountain of resentment, anger and pain.

We thought we were fighting about jealousy or who was making more sacrifices or who did the hurtful thing first. But we weren’t. We were only always fighting about her deepest desire to feel my love and my deepest desire to uphold my freedom.

Had I been aware that the the predominant feminine forces in her were yearning to experience the depths of my love, I could have shown up completely differently for her. Had she understood that the predominant masculine forces in me were only yearning for freedom to live on my own terms, she could have been more thoughtful about trying to force me into actions that pleased her.

Of course she had a masculine desire for freedom, too. She didn’t want me telling her what to do either. Just as I had a feminine desire to feel her love. But she mostly got angry when she saw me do things that suggested I didn’t love her enough. And I mostly got angry when I felt she would never let me be who I wanted to be.

love-kiss-man-woman-silhouette-fire-smoke

In any intimate relationship, whether between a man and a woman, two women or two men, where that tingly electricity flows that we all so deeply crave, the archetypical energies of masculine and feminine are at play. Like the opposite poles of a powerful magnet, these forces can draw us inexorably, mysteriously, irresistibly, ecstatically towards each other. But if we don’t recognize the different melodies and rhythms inherent in each of their unique expressions, we will only experience a mad cacophony in their clashing that will eventually exhaust us and have us begging for silence.

Men are not defective versions of women. Women are not defective versions of men. There are primal archetypical energies at play in all of us, which iconic psychiatrist Carl Jung began mapping out 100 years ago.

I have been ignorant of those different rhythms for 25 years, and that ignorance has cost me every good woman I’ve ever had.

TRY THIS PRACTICE

If you’re the more Feminine partner: Look for how your more masculine partner’s actions and complaints may point to their general search for freedom. Notice this and see if you can enthusiastically support their desire for freedom in creative ways that are still in alignment with your needs.

If you’re the more Masculine partner: If you’re the more masculine partner, notice whether your partner’s actions or complaints may point to uncertainty around your commitment to the relationship, or to them. Or, even if certain you’re offering it, they might simply not feel the full presence of your love. And you might not actually be giving it if you’re working too much, watching a lot of TV, etc. Try to see beneath their complaint and demonstrate your love in ways they will understand. They’ll be more at ease once they feel the full depth of your masculine presence and love, which just might make solving their complaint a whole lot easier!

There are surely a lot of subtleties to this exploration, as we all express both masculine and feminine energies. But this article is a good place to start. Even a little awareness of these dynamics can make a huge difference in your relationships.

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Posted in Conscious Relationships, Masculine Feminine, Mature Masculinity, Mindfulness, Relationships, Sexuality
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