What I found was that to say I love men is precious, yet to let myself be vulnerable enough to sit in the dirt with my brothers is such a cracking open of my identity and the words I held onto. Even after years of looking, I still have to face the residuals in me of the worldview that has become so commonplace it has become a global blindspot on men and boys.
For instance, going to share a bit raw, #bringbackourgirls never once mentioned nor lamented the boys had been immediately brutally murdered. Why were they killed right away? This is the time old story of how the lives of males have been disposable since the beginning of humanity and the lives of women more valued. These criminals were also known to not go near the female dorms at all or tell the girls to go home and get married when they grew up while the boys were slaughtered like animals shot as they ran in terror.
The life of a boy was shown unable to be a strong bargaining chip which also shows our conversation as a whole as a society. It wasn’t just the criminals who killed those boys, I was made aware it was our lack of listening to the global reality of the violence enacted onto men. It was our lack of listening to the value of the life of males.
To ask men as a whole to say yes they are responsible for my personal abuse because they are male does not work as it is not true and also asks men to erase their pain and the pain of boys and men globally. It makes the distinction between man and criminal- which is not a gendered reality- imperative. Men are not criminals for being born male and so are not responsible for the actions of criminals because they happen to share their gender.
Just as I as a woman am not responsible for the actions of criminals because they happen to be women. We do not blame women for female criminals- actually as a society we are so sick in this conversation we even blame men for female criminals-we are clear in the distinction between woman and criminal. The detriment is we lack the clear distinction between man and criminal and this is literally killing men. I didn’t realize I didn’t have that distinction until I recognized it. It was a massive blindspot alleviated that forever changed my worldview and life.
I would assert there is a lacking of loving women until we see women as powerful and capable of action and a loving of men lacking until we see men the vulnerability and suffering of men. I’m not saying that from a make wrong but rather my personal experience.
To value men is to listen. To value myself and my voice is to listen as speaking is not complete without listening.
What I found was my ‘I love men’ statement and feeling was a beginning, yet for me personally- speaking for myself- I had only just began to peek through the looking glass.
And I found that nothing is as it seems.