I believe in you. I believe that you are ready to redefine what it means to “be a man.” I believe that you are incredibly intelligent, amazing, and capable human beings that no longer deserve to have such low expectations placed upon you by our culture or the women in which you share this world. I believe that you are tired of being treated like children, where we encourage you and tell you that it is ok to place the responsibility for your actions on someone or something else such as—tradition, or alcohol, a flawed institutional policy, her clothing, or the time of night.
Men, I believe that you have realized that the old “boys will be boys” story is no longer serving you, and that you know you have reached a pivotal threshold in the history of men. This threshold marks perhaps the most significant step in the collective evolution of men since the beginning of time. I believe that only you—men who inhabit this world right now in 2014—are strong enough and courageous enough to step across this threshold and embark upon the heroic journey of redefining the word “Man.” I believe that only you deserve to bear the gifts that await you on the other side, and those gifts are plentiful by the way. If those who came before you had been strong enough, they would have done it, but they didn’t.
Men, I believe that you are tired of having to keep up the image of the “alpha,” and the “man’s man,” by proving your masculinity through the disrespectful mistreatment of women. I believe that you no longer want to view women as ‘game’ that needs to be lured in, trapped, and then wounded—sometimes fatally. I believe that you are ready to release the story that if you show authentic compassion, respect, sensitivity, and reverence for the women in your lives, that you are somehow deficient in your masculinity. I believe that you now understand how you are denying yourselves the privilege of experiencing all of your humanity when you stop yourself from crying or refuse to allow yourself to watch a “chick flick,” just because you’ve been taught that this makes you a wimp or a pussy.
Men, I believe that when you hear about other men acting violently toward or raping women, that you are finally—FINALLY—strong enough to stop deflecting your responsibility and ask yourselves this one question:
“How in the world did we, as men, ever get to the point where we believe that it is acceptable or justifiable to commit acts of violence toward or rape women?”
Men, I believe that you are ready to hold one another accountable and that your new story will reflect just how amazing you really are.
With that said, I believe when you read this, that some of you will feel defensive and discount my words because I am a woman and a feminist. You may even think that I’m being condescending, but I can assure you that I’m writing this from the most authentic place in my heart, because I genuinely love you and I genuinely believe in you. My words are only mirroring back to you the horrific yet changeable story that has existed for far too long now. Even so, if this is where you’re at, that’s ok, because you are in the minority, and I know this too.
On the other hand, I believe that the majority of men who read this will feel frustrated because you know you aren’t “that man” that disrespects, mistreats, or rapes women. In fact, you revere women and consider it a privilege to share this world with them. You are frustrated that you get lumped in with all of the bad seeds in fact. So to my frustrated brothers who are as fed up with this insanity as I am; I speak directly to you now so pay attention.
You—yes even the shy awkward man who feels invisible—YOU are our leaders. You are the men who, for whatever reason, had the strength of character to choose a new story for yourself about what it means to be a man, instead of accepting the one that our culture tried to force feed to you. So to you men who know you “aren’t that guy,” you are holding an invitation in your hand this very moment, and it reads:
“Hello Awesome Man. You are cordially invited to step across the threshold. Now is the moment when humanity needs your strength and your gifts. Now is the time when you must demonstrate the courage to show those other men how to shed what no longer serves them so that they too can become newer, more evolved, better versions of themselves as men. This can no longer wait as we have hit a critical moment in our history. You have been chosen, and the time to act is now. This journey will be painful and difficult at times, and you may feel like this is not your problem, but it is. Only you have the power to change this and if you do not give up, treasures beyond your wildest dreams await you.”
As a woman, I can’t do this; I can’t invite or lead “those men” toward change because they won’t listen to me. They will, however, listen to you if enough of you join together and say “Enough!” I promise you that I will support you in any way that I can and continue to tell you that I believe in you.
So who is going to step across that threshold first and start this historic Men’s Movement?
Who is going to yell “Enough!” first?