How can you be healed?
To be a man, a male, this day is no easy task. It is a bramble of intersectional issues; each ailment affecting each group differently with regards to social status, race, upbringing, interest, sexuality, the list goes on. There is much that is expected of you; the legacy of thousands of years of patriarchal society. You are anticipated upon birth, the hive mind of many cultures prepared to welcome a new heir to the bloodline, the traditional vessel of the family name. When you arrive, the testing begins.
Children experience challenges regarding the expectations of their parents, but while small girls have gained ground in acceptance of tomboy behaviours...you dear ones are systematically stripped of your feminine attributes. I say feminine, but truly these are masculine also for you are born with them. How can the being you were born into this world as be 'wrong'? It is well within the purview of masculinity to be sensitive, nurturing, loving and every possible attribute that has been foisted upon the feminine to take up the yolk. Men, you are expected to be strong, in heart and body. The expectation is destructive, insidious, and corrosive.
The tears are conditioned out of you. Self-acceptance is conditioned out of you and exchanged for what is socially acceptable among your friends whose parents still believe in the myth of a stronger and weaker sex. Our genitals do not define us. Gender roles are horse shit we invented on our own.
Dare to be vulnerable, to be weak, to be feminine, to be fucking fabulous. Wear make up to hide the scars that make you feel unattractive. Plenty of other countries do this, America, and it needn't be overt or garish. Wear some damned concealer for your senior photos if it makes you feel confident. Banish the notion that you must present strength at all times, project confidence in all things...it's exhausting to watch. I'm sure it must be more so to experience. If you are comfortable and delight in traditional trades and handiwork, by all means pursue these things. Be a lumberjack; it's ok. It is no secret to any of you men that know me that I'm staunchly feminist in the traditional sense. We are all born equal, and we should fight for that equality together; not by shutting you out.
I am told by men, "That's just the way it is, period." as though the conversation regarding their pain and self sabotage must there end.
How many times must I hear the godawful phrase uttered "Men cannot be raped."
"The mother should always get custody; the courts favor the mother."
"She wasn't abusive, he was just weak."
"Women and children first"
Or perhaps controversially
"The father has no say in the pregnancy whatsoever"
How many times must you endure this shit? I'm so sorry. I believe you. I believe you when you have had to swallow a bitter pill and said nothing. I believe that you were abused, that you were raped, that you were wronged. And I'm so sorry.
I see the turmoil inside, the quiet acceptance that this is how things are despite pushing the broad male demographic toward a self destructive cliff. They break. They become violent. They take lives.
And if they are white, they are given fair treatment. If they are a person of color, usually they die.
Men, I am telling you that you do *not* have to stand as a bulwark against the world and it's injustices. Your fellow human beings can shield you, too. Female, non-binary, however our gender roles are defined you are not alone. And you are NOT to blame for ALL of the world's troubles, but if you see inequality you must call it out. I will call it out for you as I see it. The system which values you and places your gender far above everyone else, especially if you are white, is also the very system which is destroying you.
We face a variety of different issues, but to heal us all and to make headway against the wounds left on ALL of us by a patriarchal society we absolutely must honor each other.
I honor your sacrifices; big and small. I honor your bravery. I honor your years of dying "like gentlemen" as though your life was some small thing.
No life is so small a thing. I have no wisdom in me to say that one method or another is going to heal the world of its wounds, but I will start with this simple thing:
I believe you.