Let's Relinquish Patriarchy

adrienne maree brown is a prophetic voice for our times. She just wrote a clear and precise admonishment for any man who dares to pay attention. Relinquishing the Patriarchy is a helpful and concise way to focus that attention.

People are gathering around her books Emergent Strategy and Pleasure Activism. I’m inviting men to gather around this blog post. Let’s take a deeper dive into the conversation.

I launched the Better Men Project soon after the #metoo movement forced our society to contend with the horrors of patriarchy in a new and deeper way. It is my own work of atonement. A commitment to become a better man and to help men become better.

Let’s have a zoom video conference call together. Join me and other men on Monday, July 8, 2019 at 8:30PM East Coast Time. Let’s take time with this clear text. Let’s allow it to impact us and how we show up as men.

Sign for our men’s video call on Monday July 8, 2019.

On this first call, we will come together, break into small groups and do three things:

  • Talk about the impact of patriarchy in our own lives.

    • How does it limit us?

    • How are we contributing to it right now?

  • We will share our insights from adrienne’s post

  • We will each commit to one action step towards relinquishing patriarchy

I launched the Better Men Project because I want to take responsibility. And I want to be with men who are willing to do the same.

I launched it because I have made the mistake of equating patriarchy and masculinity. The mistake of making these one and the same. The truth is that we know a lot about toxic masculinity. But we know very little about conscious masculinity. Masculinity is not a bad thing. It can, should, and must be good for the world.

As adrienne puts it:

“this is mostly a note to straight, cis men; but also includes trans men, queer men, and all who participate in masculinity – if you see yourself in these words, this is a love note to you.”

I am a cisgender heterosexual male in a committed relationship. This is the perspective that I bring. But it is my hope that this invitation resonates with all who participate in masculinity.

adrienne goes on to say:

patriarchy (the system of society/government in which men hold the power and women are excluded from it) is collapsing, and it’s time for you, too, to give it up, to get yourself out.

it won’t be easy.

i don’t believe total revolution or liberation happens in one generation, but i know from my own life and many lives i have witnessed and accompanied, that it is absolutely possible in your lifetime, in a generation, to personally relinquish an unjust ideology, to begin to practice a more evolved way of being.

when enough of us relinquish injustices that only pretend to benefit us, we tip society towards justice.

It feels like the right invitation. adrienne’s work is solidly anchored in the social movements of our day. This is the space in which most of my work has been held. But it has long been my hope to expand my work beyond that space. It is my desire to learn to reach men who are outside of this social movement discourse.

In order to do this it is important that you come into this call with a strong commitment to her 3rd point of practice:

don’t get into language supremacy, or read-the-most-feminists supremacy. don’t think that you are better than other men because you know the language of patriarchy, feminism and other isms. it’s the overcharged competitive nature, the desire to be better than, the inappropriate topping itself that is toxic.

This is not a space for performing wokeness.

I have been learning a lot from the 12 Step Recovery Programs like Alcoholic Anonymous (see post Machos Anonimos). Here we come together not as people who know a lot. But as people who have been hobbled by a shared illness. It is humbling work. Not grandstanding work. It is about asking for help. And it is about coming together.

I want to get to a point when we are strategically talking about widespread disruption of patriarchy and its norms. But let’s start by taking a close look at ourselves. Let’s do the emergent strategy fractal thing that adrienne is inviting us into.

Please only participate if you can do so by video. It is important to look each other in the face as we do this work.

I also invite you to do a weekly reading of adrienne’s post between now and then. These are texts that we need to study. We need to read and re-read. This is how we can start to feel our way into this wisdom. To get ourselves deeper than our heads.

Come ready to share. What is the action that you can commit to? What is the step that you are ready to take?