In the face of patriarchy, it is a brave act indeed for both men and women to embrace, rather than shame or attempt to eradicate, the feminine. (Alanis Morissette)
You, are brave.
Any journey that a person goes on, must start with a first step. You may have already begun your journey into damning the farcical patriarchal society we live in, or maybe you’re no more than a few words into it. Either way you are brave and should take pride in what you are doing. However, the bad news is that this journey is unlikely to have an end and in many cases you will have to take a step back in order to take any steps forward.
Many men can have misplaced confidence in themselves with the old ‘hold my beer, I can do that’ attitude, but many will lack the confidence to speak out regarding what they believe in and there are those that lie somewhere in the middle. In any case, the ‘step back’ that I am referring to, is in fact a metaphorical one that allows you to view yourself honestly and truthfully, as if you were looking at yourself on a cinema screen living your life, behaving the way you do. Or in black and white on paper, in an in-depth character profile about yourself, not in a fancy CV kind of way, but in a candid, naked sense. No matter how you come across to others, there is no one that knows you better than yourself and being honest with oneself is often a massive wrecking ball through the wall of progression.
Take a step back and really think about what you are like as a person, what you do day-to-day and the impact you have on others. Think back to your past experiences with your friends and family, colleagues, strangers, anyone! Think about how you treat people and how you respect others. I imagine that you would have thought of some positive experiences and perhaps some not so positive ones. It’s often a positive step to think negatively about yourself, but ultimately this can only be beneficially if you recognise the fault and learn from it. It’s all too easy to think negatively about yourself and develop insecurities and misplaced internal hatred. But being critical and honest is a great and brave thing to do. Don’t be an excuse kind of person, be a ‘what can I do better next time’ kind of person.
This will put you in good stead when thinking critically about the role men have played and still play in the f***ed up ‘man’s world’ we live in today and what you as an induvial can do to improve the state of affairs. Yes, an individual can make a difference. One man (typical) in 2019 take a bites of a bat in China and the whole world goes into lockdown – proof that one person can change the world. Of course unfortunately, we live in a world where bad news travels faster than good news and hinderances are easier to come by than their counterparts, but hard work pays off and being impactful in a positive, all-inclusive way can be just as contagious as any kind of pandemic!
Have you ever been to a theme park and bought a queue jump or a VIP pass that gets you onto rides quicker? I have, and boy oh boy, doesn’t it make your whole experience so much better, knowing you can glide by the onlookers and feel smug about how lucky you are to have sailed past. I am someone who has been so lucky in life to be born with a queue jump pass imbedded in my chromosomes that allow me into certain schools without having to struggle and beg. I have been lucky to be born with a non-existent melanin skin colouration that helps me skip queues into universities and go through life without being asked ‘can I touch your hair?’ or ‘where do you originate from?’. Put it this way - if Hitler had a checklist of what his ideal soldier would look like, it would be me: a well-educated, straight, white male, with blonde hair and blue eyes. Yes, this is Hitler we’re talking about, but then again, how come I’m still skipping queues? The reason is simple and self-explanatory. The present day is governed by history and the society we live in now has been created by white, males who decide what they think is ‘best’ for all genders and all races boosting themselves proportionally up the human food chain leaving the scraps for everyone else to clean up. In many cases, literally clean up.
With that in mind, I had to take a step back and appreciate the fact that if success in life was like a 100 metre race, I would’ve started the race somewhere between 80 and 90 metres ahead of a lot of the population. Taking that step back and learning about privilege is one thing but taking action and making a positive impact with the head-start I have is something that requires work and is something I hope to never stop working on. If you are lucky enough to have been born with a queue jump of a head-start of some kind, try and think about how you can use that to benefit others and make sacrifices that allow less fortunate people to not have to make them.
This website is for men and essentially anyone with a voice to learn and educate ourselves on how we can use it for the better.
Not everything I write will apply to you, your situation, and/or your circumstances and beliefs. If you don't like it, feel free to start your own space to write.
If however you're here for the fight for justice, welcome! Let's stay in touch.
*There will be bad language*