Men are rarely taught a healthy way to relate to womyn as we grow up.
In general the message we receive is that womyn are a collection of body parts for our personal use.
We are not taught that girls and womyn are actual people that deserve respect.
This may be shocking to you.
I assure you it is true.
As a teenager I remember this feeling very clearly. I was so focused on the body parts. It was such a loss really because I couldn’t have real relationships with womyn. There was always this body part haze around everything. I know not many men talk about this. It’s quite dangerous to reveal this!
I deeply wish somebody had told me that females are not creatures for my amusement; they are people with feelings, hearts and minds.
I honestly didn’t know that. It seems quite unbelievable, but when I was 13 and the hormones were raging through my body, all I could think about were butts and boobs.
That was the message I received from the media, video games, my peers, the entertainment industry including cartoons, my home life and the adults in my environment – womyn were only flesh for my use.
Over 24 years ago I had what I call my feminist awakening. Which really just means that I realized that I was not seeing womyn as humans and not treating them with respect. It took 25 years of life before I even started to realize there was another way.
From that day on I have engaged in a process of undoing and rebuilding my perception and relationship with womyn.
The misogyny is still in me.
I can feel it.
It haunts my every thought.
It affects every interaction I have with womyn.
And I have to fight it every day,
because the seeds of patriarchy were sown deep.
This is a hard thing to admit because I really want to believe that I’m a good man.
How can I feel like a progressive, feminist ally if I admit to having such feelings and thoughts about womyn?
In my opinion, I can’t do a good job in trying to change that attitude in society if I ignore its existence in myself.
I think my life would have been much different if someone had just told me when I was a young boy in a loving, non-judgemental, clear way:
• That womyn were people deserving of equal respect and consideration.
• That the sexual feelings in me were natural, but didn’t have to control my thoughts or actions.
• That the messages I received from society were NOT the truth.
• And that I could CHOOSE my own thoughts and actions.
Yes I would have turned out very different from the very beginning.
I believe that I would have been able to integrate it and see womyn differently.
Can we share this message with our young boys and men?
I think it would do the world a world of good.
0 thoughts on “My Feminist Awakening”
Thank you Vivek! It takes a lot of courage to admit and accept the not so great parts of our thinking and being. But that is the only way change happens.
The world is in dire need of men like yourself. Men who feel whole without having to control, use, and abuse others (especially women) to make themselves feel superior. It takes a real man to feel, cry, respect others, and share their learnings (no matter how difficult and embarrassing it is) with others.
Once again – THANK YOU
Thank you Shivani.
You are one of my biggest, feminist inspirations!
Great insight once again Vivek. I love the comment on “undoing” . We tend to think that doing is what is needed to better ourselves. But there is a lot we need to undo, and unlearn so we can UNderstand more deeply 🙂
Very well said Piera!
I love UNderstanding!
Finally! I meet a fellow man who respects and loves women for who they are. Please continue to be my friend, Vivek. You would be a very good influence.
Thank you so much for this post. It’s inspiring to know that men like you exist. We must all work hard – men AND womyn – to throw off the shackles of this culture. Sadly, we seem to be regressing as a species.
Thank you for the kind words Joy. It does seem like the world is in a lot of trouble. That’s why we have to keep fighting the good fight!