I applaud your realness and your honesty. I too would love to see a real spiritual revolution, but how are we going to get men (or anyone) on board if they won’t even acknowledge that anything is particularly wrong? This is what’s underneath all of this backlash — the wounds are so deep that we can’t even acknowledge to ourselves, much less to anyone else that they even exist. Instead we lash our at those who are calling attention to them and pointing out that we have significant room to improve.

Perhaps it’s because men want to have their wounds rubbed by the big JP.” This is precisely why Peterson is so huge. He taps into the pain aspect and then says, “Mostly what’s wrong here is the outside world full of feminists and neo-Marxists. If you just clean your room, stand up straight and get to be as ruthless and competitive as is in your nature, then all will be fine again. Meanwhile, that element of ruthlessness IS the root of the wounds. It’s also keeping men from really doing deep self-inventory by putting their focus on SJWs and other externals as the real “problems.” Peterson is wrong — dominance hierarchy is neither necessary nor valuable. It’s destructive to all but a very few at the pinnacle of the hierarchy.

I’ve heard Peterson say that part of the element of respect that underlies interactions between men is they know that if they need to, they can resort to fisticufs — but you can’t do that with a woman. My reaction to this is, “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!?” If you aren’t able to comport yourself without having to engage in what is essentially dominance hierarchy posturing, you aren’t much of a human being.

Dominance hierarchy as reflected by patriarchy is approximately 10,000 years old. Before that (coincides with the advent of agriculture) humans lived in collaborative bands of about 50 people. There was no such thing as “husbands and wives.” You mated with who you wanted to because everyone shared everything, including care of children, so it didn’t matter who the father was. When you start having land to be farmed, you have private property that you want to be kept in your family, and you can’t determine who is your child unless you control women and their sexuality. This allowed population and civilization to grow exponentially but it came at a high cost to both men and women.

As bell hooks says, “Learning to wear a mask (that word already embedded in the term ‘masculinity’) is the first lesson in patriarchal masculinity that a boy learns. He learns that his core feelings cannot be expressed if they do not conform to the acceptable behaviors sexism defines as male. Asked to give up the true self in order to realize the patriarchal ideal, boys learn self-betrayal early and are rewarded for these acts of soul murder.” (bell hooks, The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love)

In the end, patriarchy gives only a few men access to power in society, and most men some small access to power in relation to women, robbing all men of core aspects of their humanity. This is a raw deal of monumental proportions. I see this as the core source of violence: the physical, emotional, and spiritual brutalization of boys and men.”

That’s excerpted from my article on The History of Patriarchy. So yes, men have a lot of wounds, but instead of really looking at them and dealing with them, many of them lash out at the women (and others) who are pointing out that they are tired of being shit on. “Everything was fine until the feminists started agitating, until the #MeToo movement started whining…..” Meanwhile, everything was not fine at all. You are a sensitive enough and evolved enough person that if someone is trying to hurt you, you probably can have some empathy for them, even as you also insist that they stop. Wounded people hurt others. Healthy people don’t. You can empathize with that and still demand better treatment.

When I experience this happening to me, my first priority is to stop the abusive behavior and then try to work with compassion for the demons that are driving the abuser. I don’t say, “Oh poor you,” first. Form needs to follow function. Performing the behaviors that lead to less abuse begin to create transformation. How do I know that is true? Because that’s what happens in sex/kink/swingers clubs. Men treat women with respect because they know if they don’t they will get thrown out of the club. What evolves out of that is an atmosphere where there is genuine respect and not just the performance of respect because of fear of reprisal. It’s like if you put your face into the position of a smile, you naturally begin to feel happier. This makes no objective sense but it does work. Give it a try if you never have before. Make yourself smile, with your mouth, with your eyes for 60 or 90 seconds and notice how you feel afterwards.

Mostly, I think none of this is either/or. It’s all part of a larger system that needs to be addressed all around. I just don’t know how we get men who are so conditioned to never show any cracks in the facade to admit that there is anything that needs addressing. As always, I’m open to suggestions…..

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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