I am always impressed by men who are interested in sitting down with women to have a two-way conversation about changing social constructs, gender roles, and female empowerment, to find a better way to relate to us. They are few, but these men are #RealMen. They can empathize with us. They may not always understand what we want, but are willing to listen. They are not perfect, but they are eager to step up and learn. They know that there is no war on men. Women are growing, stepping into their own power, taking charge of themselves, and these men are not threatened by it at all. They don’t react to our demands for equality, safety and respect with derogatory comments, private jokes, or bashing our experiences, they sit down, open their ears and listen. Some men actually are waking up.
Keep in mind that like women, men too have been conditioned by society, culture and religion, and they too have decades of social programming to unlearn. But, they are willing to engage in conversation to figure out what the humans of the opposite gender need in order to thrive. I see that we give these men very little credit. I see that they are the ones who are the most supportive of women’s empowerment, are the first to be ridiculed and bashed by males who are threatened by anyone who dares to feel equal. No wonder many sympathetic men are quiet. They see what we are going through, but every time they stand up for us, their masculinity is challenged and ridiculed by those who think that empowered women are the death of manhood. They understand that we have no interest in bringing manhood down, that men and women will always need each other, we are simply looking for a healthier partnership. Women don’t exist to serve manhood, or be subordinate to it. We are here to be human, equal, respected, and like all humans, we are here to enjoy life on our own terms, experience freedom, and create the best version of ourselves that we possibly can.
As a woman, I don’t want a man to permit me these things, I want to enjoy what is mine. I don’t want to depend on someone to dole out meager symbols of freedom, and equality when I can out-earn, outpace, and out-grow on my own merit. I am not looking to compete with men, I compete with myself. When I succeed, I don’t want to apologize for it.
Yes, there will be males whose roles are diminished when women take their power and when the open-minded men we deem as real benefit from partnerships with us. That is because their positions were based on our subordination. When we stand up and are their height, they can no longer feel superior. Their manhood was rooted in our passivity and submission all along. But there are #RealMen out there whose positions are not based on ego, but on their own healthy self-worth. They don’t mind us standing next to them and feeling equal. They are not threatened at all. They don’t want women to take a step back so they can be in the lead, they want an healthy, working, thriving partner.
Let’s thank the #RealMen out there. The ones who don’t need us to stay small. I know a few awesome men who have done their parts. Some have marched for us, some have stood up for us, some encourage us, and many are speaking up despite the attacks on their own manhood. Today, let’s find the awesome men, and directly say thank you.
This is really important for women to do. This movement is not just about us. Opponents of women’s equality are counting on our fear that once we step into our power, there will be no men willing to engage us, that if we take charge of ourselves we will obliterate institutions like marriage, kill femininity, hurt children, destroy family life. No, in fact once we are thriving in our own success and competence, we will be better partners, mothers, executives, and leaders.
We have to be willing to engage those men who are striving to understand us and work with us as equals. They possess the level-headedness, empathy and humanity to partner in this movement. These are the men who should be engaged in a two-way conversation. The others, who are threatened by us, cannot be counted on to act in our best interest, only their own.
As the owner of this blog, I receive e-mail from amazing men all the time. In fact, when I first started making these posts, my readers were mostly men. I was writing about subjects that very few women could agree with, and when they could agree, they spoke from a place of self-defeat, as if full empowerment and self-possession would never be possible. It was the men who kept encouraging me to find my voice, to keep writing, to stand my ground and not tone down my words. I had to be heard despite the fact that my views lost me many friends, and personal relationships. I am glad I had their encouragement, and thanks to them I kept speaking anyway.
We all are surrounded by amazing men. Contrary to what the media says, we do have strong, confident, supportive partners. In what the media refers to the war on manhood, they have not backed down in their support of us. Instead of screaming at the toxic males who won’t listen, let us thank, and engage the real men who do. It is the men who are willing too listen, who make the best partners in business, marriage, parenthood, or life.
So, to all the men who supported this blog from it’s first post, Thank You. To all the men who encouraged me to talk about hard subjects that weren’t always easy to address, Thank You. To all my male friends who are not threatened by women in power, Thank You. To the ones who stood up for us with the #metoo movement and believe us, Thank You. To the ones who believe in our choices, voices, and power, Thank You. To the men who freely and unapologetically speak up in our support via social media, in the workplace, or via their own blogs Thank You. To the ones who are often accused of not being real men because you refuse to dominate, have more liberal views about gender, who are shedding your own social programming, please know that you are #RealMen and we will always appreciate you. Let’s talk.