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There is an undeniable firestorm in America; and men, our actions, and our behavior are the root cause.
There’s a need to talk about these things that aren’t comfortable to talk about.
I’ll admit that I’m not sure how to talk about them. But, we need to start.
So, I’ll start with this—
It should all be very simple. As kids, we’re taught The Golden Rule: Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.
Compassion. Awareness. Sensitivity. Courtesy. Respect.
We are told this; yet, all along the way, we see adults bend and break this rule. Make exceptions. And, so often, those exceptions are based simply on anyone who doesn’t look like us, think like us, believe like us, and act like us.
For men, this has so often meant acting like sexual predators, treating women as prey.
Every day, it seems, there is a new story (or multiple stories) of men abusing, harassing, harming, and assaulting women. And, the systems in place have empowered the abusers, while the women who have been hurt are shamed into silence or ignored, and witnesses look away and accept it all as normal.
From the aspect of The Golden Rule, this reprehensible behavior is beyond explanation. But, that fails to take into account all the messages that constantly bombard us, reinforcing this bad behavior. My whole life, culture, media, and experience have been filled with the narrative that a real man is masculine, sexual, and powerful; that men can’t control their animal urges; and, the relationship of men and women in society is defined by this power dynamic.
I am grateful to see that narrative being burned up. We men need to be shaken awake to the harm and injustice we have and are causing. We need to be accountable, and to atone.
It puts us all on notice, as a society, that the imbalance of power is shifting. That there will be consequences for harm and abuse.
That we men can choose to be better, and that we must be.