Is it time to move beyond feminism?
I’m lying in bed with my laptop at 2am, unable to sleep, with a gazillion words spinning around in my head which are just bursting to be written, so here goes, its rant time!
The reason for my restless mind is, of all things, a frigging Facebook post, but it is SO SO much more than that.
Those that know me and follow my work know that I have my opinions about certain things and generally I’m pretty vocal with them. Of course this means not everyone is going to agree and I’m going to piss some people off. I’m really ok with that, it’s a risk that I’m willing to take in order to speak my truth and speak up about things I’m passionate about. And I’m always willing to be challenged on them too by the way.
One of the things I’m most passionate about and the one that holds the most risk of pissing people off is men’s advocacy. Why should this piss anyone off you ask? Well that’s a great question! The reason why is that to speak out on behalf of men you have no choice but to speak up against certain aspects of feminism, and for some that’s still a big NO NO.
Before I even get started I want to be really really clear. I FRIGGING LOVE WOMEN! There is nothing that excites, inspires and delights me more than an empowered woman! A woman who knows herself, who stands her ground, who creates her own world, and who, with her radiant power makes the world a better place for us all without even trying. I will stand up, lay down my life and shout from the roof tops in support of any feminism that helps every girl and woman achieve that. You have my hand on heart, knees in the dirt, vow on that. That is the prayer I have for my 3 daughters that rides on my every breath.
I am extremely fortunate enough to know many amazing women who fit this description and they all inspire the hell out of me. They’re just rocking this shit!
In fact just last Friday I was blessed with one of the highlights of my career. An opportunity to be the only male guest in a room of approximately 100 women speakers, coaches and student coaches at the Sydney Inspiration Day for the Beautiful You Coaching Academy, of which I am a faculty member. One of the many gifts I received that day was to share a space with 100 beautiful, super powerful, super inspired and super fired up women who are ready to go out and do their bit to change the world. This provided me with a very rare perspective that few men have had the privilege to see, and it had a very big and very positive impact on me.
One thing I realised that day was that this experience would not have been possible without feminism, and that is something I will whole heartedly celebrate! We all should.
Another thing I realised is that the work I do with men is as much for women as it is for men, and this fact was confirmed by the many women who offered me their thanks, their support and their amazing stories, some of which were partners of former clients. This was just gold!
But here’s the thing; what I can’t and won’t support is the ugly part of “feminism” that speaks of equality but then in the next breath puts men down, brands them all as “the problem”, perpetuates fear and mistrust, and does not advocate for the same level of support and equality in the places where it’s crucially lacking for men e.g. mental health, family court etc. (I put “feminism” in quotes here because my feeling is that it isn’t feminism at all, just hate wrapped up in a nice word).
Now I realise that we’re on the back end of a few of thousand years of a patriarchal paradigm which has done a massive raw one on women, which absolutely needs to be acknowledged and owned by us all. And I know this isn’t going to be healed in a few short decades. We have come a hell of a long way and there is still more we can do, but we’re doing pretty darn well in the west.
What also must be mentioned here is that patriarchy has also had a huge negative effect on men for a couple of reasons; firstly because men have also been robbed of the majesty that is women in their power for so long. And secondly, through patriarchal rule men have been segregated from their own innate feminine essence, taught to deny it, suppress it and mistrust it, and so have lost touch and missed out on this fabulous aspect of themselves. And of course this is what then gets projected outward in the form misogyny, homophobia and abuse of nature.
So back to the facebook post that spurred this rant. The other day I came across this video: Girl destroys feminism in 3 minutes which I then shared. I liked and agreed with much of what the woman had to say but what I especially liked about this video was that it was delivered by a young woman and that I felt this provided a much more powerful wallop and a fresh new contemporary perspective than any man could ever offer.
As expected the post generated a bit of interest and a bit of, what I thought was healthy debate with a few good points made from both men and women, until I got the comment “Geez…” from a dear female friend of mine.
So here’s the little process which then ensued: My initial response was confusion. “What does she mean?” then annoyingly I imagined all possible reasons that could prompt a “Geez…”. My next response was concern. “Oh shit have I gone too far? Have I said something I shouldn’t have?” This totally activated that good old little people pleaser in me that can’t bear to hurt anyone’s feelings! (soo tired of that one!) Then my next response was a great big “FUCK THAT!” which then lead me to think of some possible responses, all of which could have gone anywhere from inciting more hot debate to losing a friendship to creating world war 3!
Thankfully over the years I have developed the self restraint and self awareness to know that neither of those emotionally fueled responses were going to serve the higher good, and so what better way to do that then write a bloody blog at now 4.30am! WTF! When the creative flows a’happnin you gotta go with it right?!?
So let’s wrap this baby up!
My feeling is that it really is time for a new conversation when it comes to gender issues, but where do we go from here?
To steal a wee snippet from one woman’s comments on the post:
“…But maybe it’s time to close the feminist chapter now & start a group called Gender Equality, where feminist issues AND masculinist(!) issues are advocated. Life continually evolves and the advocacy needs to stay current.”
I am totally onboard with that vision! My strongest, Soul felt belief, and what is the core driving force of my life and work, is that humanity is in the process of moving into a radically new evolutionary phase of the human story, and that a core component of that new way of being is how we relate to gender, sexuality and relationships.
The new paradigm is one of loving union; union within ourselves, integrating our own innate masculine and feminine, light and dark, transcendent and imminent, and then bringing our own internal union into union with all others. We cannot hope to achieve this while we’re still having the old polarising conversations and perpetuating the old adversarial beliefs and behaviours, which have been rampant in both camps.
My vision is that we can get to a place where we as men and women, regardless of our sexual preferences, can wholly meet each other, stand hand in hand, holding each other’s vulnerable hearts in our own, and be each other’s advocates, champions and cheerleaders. And this is why this video inspired me as I feel like that was this woman’s shared vision and intention.
And thanks to the women at the Beautiful You Coaching Academy, I now sit, more comfortably than ever, in the knowledge that I too am playing my part in creating that vision with every man and woman who’s life I touch with my work.
Will you join me in that vision?
Done! 5 am. Now for an hours sleep!