For over 18 months, we have heard women sharing their stories about sexual harassment and violence through #MeToo. For most of that time, men have been largely silent, with periodic comments or displays of support.
This has been true in Louisville, Kentucky as well. In the midst of the national #MeToo movement, we have had a local Metro Council member ousted for sexual harassment, and another round of accusations of sexual harassment in our state capital. As a result, we’ve had multiple speak-outs and other kinds of public displays by and for women – with men being primarily there (when we were) in solidarity.
As a consultant and activist, I felt it critical to add to the conversation by engaging men’s voices into this dialogue – with a particular focus of what we see as our role in responding to and preventing the harassment and violence that women and some men face. For the panel, we included representatives from various sectors of our community including Metro Council and School Board member. We also added the Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator from one of our universities, an Evangelical Southern Baptist minister, and a professor who focuses on Masculinities.
The panel focused on men’s responsibility to respond to #MeToo and our collective experience, as men, to #MeToo. The base for our conversation was that the #MeToo movement has which reminded us that sexual harassment, sexual assault, and the threat of sexual violence is so prevalent that it has become normal for women. Since men make up half (roughly) of any community, if sexual harassment and violence is normal for women, it must also be normal for men. And so what does it mean for men that men’s sexual harassment and violence is normal? Continue reading…
A couple of years ago I attended a workshop on relationship counseling. The room was packed with therapists looking to hear an esteemed author give his take on how to help couples reconcile their relational struggles. The ratio of women therapists to male therapists in the audience was about 80 to 20, women to men. The presenter at one point made a comment that made the entire audience laugh. “Hey, guys”, he said. “You know you aren’t a real man, right? You’re a therapist for God’s sake!”. Everyone laughed. I did too. Of course, he was being tongue in cheek, but it got me thinking. What actually defines a man?
Question. How would you define a woman? Maybe you’d say something like “caring”, “nurturing”, or “patient” to describe feminine energy or an ideal female figure.
But how would you define a man? We might hear something like “Well, a man isn’t feminine, he’s not a woman.” Ok, great. Got it. What else would define a man? “He’s not weak.” Ok. But what does this mean? What about this one. “A man doesn’t complain and gets the job done.” Slightly better, I guess.
The purpose in asking the question of “what makes a man a man?” is to point out we really don’t give men a whole lot to work with when it comes to self identity.
To sum it up, it seems in our society a man is defined more about what he isn’t, than what he is. Continue reading…
That is an excellent question that looks like it would have an easy answer. Unfortunately it doesn’t mean a power source consisting of pole throwing, beer chugging, gun shooting, gut bealching, bad ass gas passing, with a prowess for deftly handling a car at 102 miles per hour. Though it would be nice if it did.
Masculine energy is exactly that…masculine…energy. I am not going to go into energy because anyone who has seen a two year old fresh from a nap and hopped up on candy knows what that is. The masculine part is a little trickier.
It really doesn’t have anything to do with being a man, the male of the human species. It has more to do with the energy we draw from having those “male” or masculine characteristics. Within each of us, male or female, we have two kinds of energy that we tap into. They happen to be masculine and feminine. They work like Yin (feminine) and Yang (masculine).
Depending on what you are trying to accomplish, the world’s best bag session or whispering sweet nothings to your girl, you will utilize either your masculine or feminine energy. I know it’s confusing but here is a list that might help: Continue reading…
We are arguably at a time of social change in history like none other. The age of women’s empowerment is increasing and has been for the last several decades. Women’s position in our society has changed drastically. Women are more self accepting and are more accepted in various arenas, such as the workforce, than ever. Not just here in this country, but in most parts of the world. Any significant change in men? Not much. Not a lot of change going on. Right now, I would look at it as playing more catch up with women than anything. And it’s not that this is a good or bad thing, so before some of you get defensive, hear me out. Women and their roles have changed significantly while men have not and it’s affected relationships, marriages, and family life. Continue reading…
From Harvey Weinstein to like all of Uber, it seems each day a wealthy and powerful man is being brought down by accusations of sexual harassment or assault. And just today the New York Times reported that men are becoming less likely to mentor females out of fear:
“A big chill came across Silicon Valley in the wake of all these stories, and people are hyperaware and scared of behaving wrongly, so I think they’re drawing all kinds of parameters,” said a venture capitalist who spoke anonymously for the same reason.
Some are avoiding solo meetings with female entrepreneurs, potential recruits and those who ask for an informational or networking meeting.
While navigating professional relationships can often require that dreaded thing known as “any amount of work at all”, there is hope. You see, by following this one simple rule, you too can interact with women as people.
It’s as clear cut as this: Treat all women like you would treat Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
I know, this sounds weird, but trust me, this is a visualization exercise that will work wonders in your dealings with the women in your workplace. When a woman approaches you, just replace her in your mind with The Rock. Then, behave accordingly.
Still confused? Let’s try some dry runs. Continue reading…