The first round of Ask Alanis questions will be shared next week, but here’s a sneak peek at one of the first answers. Stay tuned for more coming soon.
Q: Guys and feminism, how do we navigate these waters? I always feel like I want to be helpful and present and supportive of all the wonderful women around me (including you!) but worry about toe stepping and thunder stealing. Tell us how to support! 🙂 – Randy F.
Firstly, Randy, I want to thank you. Bless you for caring, and for being so considerate. Your asking this question already evidences your support and helpfulness.
I have always felt that the feminist movement is, at its core, the “feminine movement.” So what this looks like, much of the time, is that the feminine qualities are begging to be uplifted and supported in both men and women alike.
Too often, patriarchy shows up not only as a seeming hatred of WOMEN, but as a hatred of the essential feminine qualities in both genders. If femininity and masculinity are viewed along a continuum, we can see that the end that holds the feminine has been cut off, oppressed, vilified, shamed, and sometimes (at best!) relegated to a lesser-than position.
So, what a guy “navigating these waters” might look like is one who is honoring and celebrating the feminine qualities that show up in all his interactions with women—as well as within himself. He takes an honest look at where he himself finds his choices, words and actions mired in patriarchy, and might encourage his friends to do the same:
— Do we stop emotions short?
— Do we make fun of vulnerability?
— Do we shame having needs and leaning on each other?
— Do we still believe in win-lose mindsets?
— Do we rush and willfully barrel through everything?
— Do we still think “might is right”?
— Do we still want “power over” versus “power with”?
Patriarchy certainly shows up in a multitude of ways, such as unequal pay (standing up for this on behalf of a female colleague would be one way to support and honor the feminine), but it also shows up as being okay with WOMEN LOSING. Any man who sees that unless all people win (or both people, as in a business deal) the deal is not finished is honoring the feminine.
It can also look like your supporting women to be fully expressed and empowered. Heard. Seen. Empathized with. Validated. Given space to process (the art of processing is a decidedly feminine quality), space to BE.
Also, taking a stance… Providing an environment where a woman doesn’t need to decide between her feminine or her masculine. Where you help her to understand that you, in fact, support both in her…ALL. And that you would do and welcome the same for yourself. Because the last thing the feminist movement wants is for men be reduced. The feminine credo, after all, is that all interactions become “win-win.”
Feminist radicalism has always been saying an empathic NO, essentially, to this win-lose message that is so pervasive in patriarchy.
So, as she (the lucky women who you are looking to love well) is celebrated for her vulnerability and feminine power, both—so, too, would YOU be, as the divine masculine man. And you would come to notice your deriving a greater sense of power and peace as you behold her being honored—financially, emotionally, physically. Supported. Championed. Listened to. Made space for. And loved.
Godspeed, Randy. I can already sense the swelling of appreciation coming your way.