Masculinity and patriarchy are closely connected, but they are not the same. There is such a thing as conscious masculinity. There are ways for men to be masculine and true to our nature in ways that actually serve society.
I am asking men to help me develop a course on conscious masculinity. I’m currently calling it “the better men project.” What is it that we have to learn in order to make this a culture that is safe for women?
I myself am a straight, cis man. And my central concern is with the harm that men like me are doing to women - simply because that’s what I am, it is what I know, and so it is the best place for me to start.
You can read about our work below, our next men’s call is August 5 at 8:30pm ET.
If this speaks to you, please sign up below.
oday I’m thinking about fathers. A dear friend visited this weekend. We are both fathers to young boys. And we were talking about all the stuff that we blame on our parents when we get to therapy. They probably deserve some of that blame. Some of us had parents that truly and thoroughly failed.
But we also talked about the things that they simply could not have known. About the fact that our consciousness is shaped and warped by our cultural moment.
I am a Latino man. The shooting in El Paso was perpetrated against my community. My heart is broken. And I stand in prayer with those most impacted.
But there is a thread to these shootings that runs much deeper than hatred towards people of color. And that is the thread of hatred towards women.
Today we gather again. A group of men committed to the lifelong process of relinquishing patriarchy.
adrienne reminds us to:
recognize that as a man, you are a part of patriarchy. even if you have made some effort to break out of it, the system/insanity of patriarchy is still there for you to fall back into under pressure or duress.
Patriarchy does not happen by osmosis. It is not something that is simply in the water. Patriarchy is transmitted. We are educated into it. Words are spoken. Often by our elders. Certainly by our peers. And always through the culture. Booming through the media.
Feelings and drama are not the same thing. Too many of us don’t even know how to be with our own feelings. So we lack the capacity to be with the feelings of the women in our lives. adrienne names it:
You aren’t encouraged to feel your feelings. in fact, the opposite is the case. you are told it isn’t manly to cry, to need comfort, to feel longing. you are ridiculed for emotions that aren’t weaponized, for gentleness, for what is categorized as feminine behavior.
What is it that comes up for you when you contend with someone’s feelings? What happens to you when a woman expresses her feelings around you or to you?
his week I have been involved in ceremony work with men. I am deeply moved by the love and tenderness that is opening up among us. It is certainly exceptional. It is quite rare for men to express care and affection for each other in the ways that I have witnessed in these spaces. It is deep personal work that truly matters.
We need to work on the way patriarchy shapes our inner lives, our emotional lives, our capacity to be with each other in authentic and vulnerable ways.
We had a powerful first call. I was moved by the quality of conversation. And by our willingness to lean into this effort to relinquish patriarchy. By looking deeply at ourselves. By turning to one another. And by staying curious about an emergent process.
This is an experiment. Here, to be emergent means to focus on “the most elegant next step.” And right now what we want to do is to come together again. You are invited to join us on Monday, August 5 at 8:30PM East. So that we can deepen our conversation.
There is something about the word freedom that appeals to the warrior archetype that lives within us. Many men can be moved to deep emotion by scenes from movies like Bravehart, or a serious contemplation of the slave rebellion that led to Haiti’s independence.
There is something that appeals to us. Something that moves us. This is the same something that can be used to manipulate boys into signing up for wars of Empire. But it is also something that can be made conscious. It is an energy that can move us as we aim for a truer freedom.
Our call is to become righteous. It is not to become self-righteous.
I want to invite us to focus on feminine pain. On the pain that women have to bear in this patriarchal society. It is easy for us to intellectualize. To “understand” it by abstracting it. This is one of our tendencies. We can talk about something without embodying it.
To know in your head is very different than to understand it. It is different than feeling it. Are you able to tune in to those women in your life who might be willing to share their experiences with you? Are you able to do it without being consumed by shame, without asking for answers, without rushing to solutions?
Consider just listening. Consider learning how to listen deeply. Let’s learn to develop the capacity for holding the pain that the women in our lives have been holding.
Let’s start where adrienne begins. Here is the simplest definition of patriarchy:
the system of society/government in which men hold the power and women are excluded from it.
She tells us what it is. She asserts that it is collapsing. And she admonishes us to give it up and get ourselves out.
She reminds us that it won’t be easy. But conscious masculinity is not about the easy path. It is about rising to the challenge. Specially when we hear a call to freedom.
People are gathering around adrienne maree brown’s books Emergent Strategy and Pleasure Activism. I’m inviting men to gather around her recent blog post Relinquishing the Patriarchy. Let’s take a deeper dive into the conversation.
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.