My favorite topic came up on my date the other night.
“It’s just in this culture we’re socialized from a very early age to have a one-sided view of women. Women are constantly oversexualized and then pinned against each other on the basis of physical beauty or other petty materialistic and superficial concerns. Women do other things in the real world but the majority of our representation in the media is not representative of that.” I said.
“You know, Jen, it’s really hard for men too. We used to be the providers, the protectors and the breadwinners. Our roles were clearly defined, but what is the definition now? Women can do everything by themselves. Even in dating, men don’t know what women want anymore. What can a man do for you that you can’t do for yourself? Men are in a state of crisis right now,” he said.
I sat staring at my Malbec and thinking about all the one-sided dialogues I’ve had with myself all these years about the topic. I hadn’t thought about how difficult it must be to be man. When I was confronted with the question: why do women need men anymore? My mind went straight to: why does the moon need the sun? Why does the ying need its yang? Why does the soil need its seeds?
I did a walking meditation years ago. I asked for God/The Spirit/ Pachamama to teach me about the masculine and the feminine energies. My senses sharpened; the sounds became crisper and the forest was ALIVE. I saw a serpent: phallic and long, slithering in front of the hallow crevice of a tree and immediately I understood. In nature, the serpents protect the feminine: the caves, the crevices and the shallow earth. Males are built externally and women internally. The internal: those caves that encompass you and provide shelter through the storms or the great wombspace we all used to inhabit.
In today’s world of challenging social dynamics between the sexes we need our men to understand and protect the sacred. We need them to plant seeds and watch how they grow. We need them to bear witness to our differences with respect while women learn to see them with awe and wonder. Today, we need them to listen and support our new roles. In turn, we will love and respect theirs.
The masculine and feminine isn’t just a matter of men and women. All men carry feminine energy and all women carry masculine energy. As a society we must learn to live with our constant duality. A man can enter that intuitive introspective space in his mind and a woman can assert her strength sprung into constant activity.
The revolution is barely starting and our liberation exists in limbo ebbing and flowing from one day to the next. Men don’t have to ONLY be the providers anymore. Instead they can choose to be much more than the typical male script and fully come into their own as whole and complete human beings.
Feminism never was just something for women. It is for everyone that wants true freedom from oppression.
I myself am grateful for all men: the one who raised me gently; the ones who I call when my intuition failed me and I’m in a bind; the ones I don’t need to explain myself to and the ones that show up in front of my house for a late night bike ride to get me out of my head just when I need it.