Dylan Stewart Columnist
We are living in the modern world. A world where masculinity and mankind in general is under attack. Don’t take this as a misogynist post. I love women and think women have made amazing gains and steps towards a new way of being and thinking. Unfortunately, most men have not made the same move.
Whether it’s the perception of men and masculinity that we see on the news, in movies and TV, in the media in general… or the way that men have started to feel about themselves because of all of this negative press … it is no longer a great thing to be a man…
Men in general are held accountable for the state of everything that’s going wrong. Man wrecked the environment, destroyed countries, started wars. Men are to blame for the vast majority of the mass murders and shootings. Men are responsible for committing heinous acts against women, and children. The “me too” conversation is all about how bad men are, and how many acts of cruelty they have committed and gotten away with over the years. How do you think it feels to be a man in this culture today?
I have never raped anyone. I have never committed a crime (other than shoplifting once or twice, and the occasional pot smoking before it was legal) and yet I feel responsible every time another shooting happens. Every time another woman feels oppressed, or is held down in some way, shape or form. Every time a child grows up without a father or a positive male role model in his or her life.
So when we, as men, are under attack, suspicion and condescension from everyone around the world… where do we turn to improve our situation? When you call someone a monster long enough, do they become a monster? I hope not. But based on what I see in the world around us, based on the continual increased crimes caused by man against humanity … maybe we ought to be more careful about the names we call anyone. Men included.
It is a huge generalization that all men are bad. But I know from the experience of many of my relationships that even though I did not sexually molest, rape or demean the woman I am with … I still bear the brunt of the wound that another man created for her. I am still not trustworthy … I am just a man, a pig, an unchecked libido. But what am I really? What does the future of man look like if we continue down this path?
Unfortunately, much of the damage has already been done. Many of the women and children have been scarred. Absent fathers, abusive husbands, sexually harassing bosses … the cards are stacked against us. But what I love about men, and mankind in general, is our flexibility and resilience.
Now more than ever we need to see the Modern Awakened Man. A different kind of man who is aware of who he is and the impact that he is making on the world around him. Who pays attention to the words he chooses to use, the commitments he makes, the intentions he creates. A man who is not just looking out for his best interest, but for all of our best interests.
Do those men exist? I know they do, I have sat in circles with those men. With those men, I have fought side by side against the unfair expectations of the world around us. We are there; we are here; we are ready.
First we must take ownership of who we are and the damage that was caused before us. We can’t get defensive around what we see, but we also can’t own the blame and let it live inside of us. We have to understand that there is a lot of harm, scars and collateral damage to heal. And then we must take the first step and start the healing.
It starts with each man himself. We must find the love for ourselves and who we are. We must discover the special skills that are ours and learn to express them … build them up and practice them inside our own hearts. Once we know who we are and what we bring to this world, once we are ready … once we are full … then it is time to unleash our best selves on the world as a whole and start to make a difference.
Show the women in your life that you care. Show your girlfriend or wife that she is special and important, that you will protect her and you will fight for her. Let your children know that you always stand for them first. (Even if we haven’t always done that in the past, make the commitment starting now to do it moving forward.)
Let your mother know you love her, let her know that you appreciate all that she did that made you who you are. Stand up for the women in your workplace. Make sure they aren’t demeaned or treated badly.
But most of all, just be good. Be a good human being. Pick up the trash around you; don’t wait for someone else to do it. Let the person on the freeway into your lane without flipping them off and honking the horn. Allow your friend with the different political view to speak his peace without being made to feel wrong or stupid. Let love in. Let love win. And be OK with not being right about everything.
As this new generation of man starts to step out, and step up, and show themselves … the possibility of future generations becomes apparent. The possibility of who we can be as a society and civilization. Not as men and women, but as common people. With common purposes and dreams. With common ground between us.
What starts with “us vs. them” always ends in war. Let’s just start with us … you and I.
We are the difference; we are the change; we are exactly what this world needs.
Look in the mirror and see yourself staring back, and you will know this is true. You know that you can be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. But you can’t wait. You can’t hold your breath and assume that someone else is going to do it for you. It’s time to start making a difference. It’s time to start stepping into our own and stepping into our bodies, showing the world that men and women are in it together. That we understand what’s at stake.
The future is counting on us.
Together and unified.
It is time for the Modern Awakened Man to step forward and own his future and ours.