“Marry a man who loves you more than you love him. A woman will always give more than what is necessary to her lover. It is ingrained into her, like maternity. But even when a man loves you more, he will still only be able to meet you halfway.”
Halfway?!? Really?! I’m sure I’m not the only man who read this is thought, “F*ck that”. I love like a powerhouse.
I saw this meme posted recently on Instagram and I thought to myself, if a woman subscribes to this she will always be in a victim state, “He didn’t love me as much as I loved him. He could never meet me where I was at. He, he, he _____ (not the laughing hehe).”
But this isn’t the first time I’ve read a quote that condescendingly referred to men and their ability to show up and be human. We are inundated with memes, culture and media which speak to what a “real man” would do or how if a man was “man enough” he would _______ blah, blah, blah.
Imagine how you end up treating the men in your life when you believe he is “less than” you? Even though, when I work with both men and women, they both struggle with communication. Because love and communication aren’t gender problems, they’re human problems. We are all struggling with the same bullshit. None of us have any idea, at the end of the day, what we’re doing. But yet, projecting our confusion and lack of understanding on men curbs responsibility doesn’t it?
Honestly, the language about men is, more often than not, appalling, and the message we send about men to young people, both little boys and little girls, is irresponsible and unnecessary. Because we’re not teaching them love. We’re teaching them to see each other as separate and as if something is “wrong” with men. We teach young men who are scrolling Instagram that they need to become a “real man” by subscribing to what some broken hearted women wrote during their time of pain. Because if the quotes and comments weren’t coming from a place of hurt, do you see how we wouldn’t say them? When we write and/or say things that are demeaning about the other sex, we cause more separation and polarity. We perpetuate the “me vs. you”, the “us vs. them”.
It’s interesting to me, because we’re in this time where what we allow in terms of conversations about men, is like we’re back in the 1950s listening to men talk about women. It’s as though, in all the efforts to move from a patriarchal society to a balanced world, we have caused the pendulum to swing in the other direction… and now men are the new women, and women, are the new men.
It’s kind of funny really, because the usual reaction to this (and you’re likely feeling it) is to say “but men have done this to women since the dawn of time!” And to be fair, you’re mostly right. But do you see what that does? It justifies continuing the separation of genders. It takes the “Men held down women” truth, which we are still trying to resolve, and justifies the same actions. In trying to eradicate inequality, we create inequality.
That’s why war can never be fought with war. Hurt begets hurt. Pain patterns continue.
As a man, I want to say this:
I’m sorry for what we did, but we didn’t know. Just like you we were taught what was right and wrong and what roles our gender was supposed to play. We were raised to be bread winners and to continue the pain patterns of the men who came before us. But, please see, a lot of us recognize that. We are trying to change that. But when you speak of our whole gender being “broken” or “not emotional”, or perpetuating messages about “a real man”, you hurt the ones who are helping create the world you dream of. You have to understand that in order for us to meet you where you’re at and love you from our depths we must go against the very programming which did anything but prepare us to do so. We wanted to love deeply but at the same time, we were told we’re not emotional. We were told “real men don’t have feelings”. We were told that we couldn’t show weakness. We were taught, just like you, to abandon ourselves to continue to satisfy a system.
You blame men, but men have hurt men too, and so have women. The truth is, we’ve all been hurt, and if we continue to keep the hurt alive, no one can ever heal.
We’re all in pain and upset about some parts of the world we were handed. We’ve all inherited hurt. We’ve all been given this planet and these feelings… and we can either fight over who’s to blame, or put our hearts and heads together to fix it.
We all need hugs. We all need understanding and love. We all want to be connected and to feel safe to be ourselves and pursue our dreams. But we also have a responsibility over what messages and narratives we’re not only sending to the world, but also the ones inheriting it.
Be the one who chooses to spread the message of wholeness and unity. See gender issues as human issues. Be the one creating a message, not perpetuating it.