I’m usually not one to jump on a bandwagon. If everyone’s doing it I tend to turn the other way. But this one could not be ignored. I, as other angry men and women already have, must respond to a certain backward-thinking op-ed article. (A particularly good response is here.
I recently read Suzanne Venker’s article: The War on Men in which the author blames us liberated women for upsetting the “proper” way of the world by forcing men to compete with us instead of doing what they all prefer, which is, apparently, look after us incompetent creatures. Apparently we’re just not womanly enough anymore and – poor guys – they’re so confused. But, the author, happily concludes: “there is good news: women have the power to turn everything around. All they have to do is surrender to their nature – their femininity – and let men surrender to theirs.”
OK, so here’s what I say to that: YES, LET’S! Let us all surrender to our nature!
Our natural nature… not a societal, cultural, patriarchal version of it. (Note: Patriarchy does not mean Men. It is a hierarchical, dualistic system that has hurt men as individuals as well as women – and nature and anything else that is considered the “Other” of the moment.)
Feminism, even with its rough patches, has done one very important thing: allowed women to see there is another way of being – their own way. Women are looking inside and asking themselves what they want, what they can do, what their own dreams are, where their talents can take them. And while 1970’s feminism dismissed the possibility that any woman would want to be chained to the kitchen sink and having babies, and ostracized those who did, modern feminism is slowly accepting a more holistic view of “equality.” We can be and do what our hearts tell us we can. For one woman that might be becoming an astronaut, for another it is raising her children (after flying to the moon first – if she chooses.)
And the same applies to men. They too have to stop living by the script society has written for them. Macho Smacho. Being a real man means just that – be REAL! Dance, draw, heal people, stay home with the kids, cry, collaborate… be whatever youare and quit hiding behind this whole Manly Competitor/Hunter Image Thing. Guess what? That Image thang ain’t real; it’s Life, Photoshopped.
I recently read a quote that went something like this, referring to Adam and Eve: You’ve got to know that when you try to make a women out of a man, there’ll be trouble. And it’s true. Which is why I put equal in quotes above. The truth is we should be striving for equity, not just equality. Women are not men, can’t be men, and neither is a man a woman. We are biologically and psychologically different – NOT better or worse, just different. We are two sides of a what should be a balanced equation, not a hierarchy as patriarchy would have us believe. What we are searching for is, yes, equal rights, but also equitable rights.
Equality means treating everyone the same without needing to know their personal story. Equity means hearing their story so you can treat them according to their needs. This means we have to get to know each other and ourselves – our true selves – and our needs by listening to each others’ and telling our own stories.
So PLEASE do surrender to your nature, in whatever form that takes. Listen to yourself, to your emotions, your body – who are you? Really? Once we as a culture can fully embrace both the feminine and masculine energies in us all by accepting and using ALL of our talents, integrating ALL our emotions, and understanding our full capacity for love, we will have finally ended the war on, not just women or men, but on Humans.