I wish I could tell you exactly when I realized that there was a huge part of my life I wasn’t standing up for, but I simply cannot. Despite the fact I was raised by women it never dawned on me that I would have more to do for them than provide physical and financial security. Typically a man looks to protect his mother and sisters from the ways of the world as we do for children, but I’m discovering that’s the wrong approach. Coddling destroys communication which then keeps both sides segregated while only one side tends to enjoy such a circumstance, in this case that would be the male privilege.
There was a time in my life when I took great pride in being a “man” because that was the source of my power and purpose. Honestly, as a male do you truly believe that above anything else plaguing this world your “manhood” is enough to nullify it all? I say that taking a deep sigh and shaking my head not because it’s a pitiful mindset, but because of how long it took me to understand the error in such a superficial conjecture. After coming to this conclusion I started to understand how much of a threat men like me are to the feminist movement. The word movement bothers me because it gives those like myself a choice to join or not when there is no decision to be made here.
As I write this I can’t help but think about all the times my arrogance shined through whenever I encountered an outspoken woman trying to educate me on the struggle she encounters. Instead of opening my ears I only listened for the slightest disagreement to focus on in an attempt to prove the basis of her stance was flawed. Call it playing semantics, call it playing games, I call it moral apathy. Moral apathy in the sense that I and those like me are able to completely withdraw interest from such an important topic however we may choose, simply because we can. You see as a man I sit secured on a comfortable cushion in this “free” world that allows me to say whose problems are worthy enough of my attention and do not threaten my ego. Visualize hazardous signs being placed on a group of women by men from all walks of life and occupations. Soon after “proceed with caution” signs are distributed for those who would like to engage for the same reasons a politician visits a struggling inner city school, it looks good.
Well, I’ve grown tired of just looking good, it’s an empty feeling quite frankly. Change and growth never arose out of comfortability. In order to be the person you want to be, you must do the things that seem foreign to your mental make-up. This is just the beginning of what I know will be one of the most challenging experiences in my life.