I am astounded by the success of this week’s column, A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy”.
Even if you didn’t agree with what I had to say, I am simply grateful to have the opportunity to start a debate on this issue.
In light of the dialogue that emerged from my piece, questions and issues came up over the past week that I want to address.
First, I do not believe, as some readers felt, that I am here to “save” or show women the way. I made it clear in my first piece for The Current Conscience, My Feminist Re-Birth(s), that women have shown ME the way. I derive my sense of resolve and my strength from them. They are my heroines. I am have no interest in being a savior, especially since women don’t need saving–even though they save us men, on a daily basis.
In my mind, women need support. And they need support not because they are women, but because they, like us men, are human beings. The kind of support they deserve is not different from the support they give men every day. There just exists a great deficit between the support women give to men and the support men give to women.
I feel it is my life’s calling to address gender inequality. The same women who show me the way in all areas of my life, spend too much time supporting me and other men in their lives. And sometimes, they don’t see in the imbalance in their lives when it comes to giving and receiving support.
In terms of my writing, I will work very hard to avoid savior syndrome or being overly prescriptive (especially in an unhelpful way). And I have no doubt, if I ever falter in my efforts, that the women in my life and the women readers of this site will have no problem pointing out the problems. I welcome this.
There is also no doubt that men can and do face gaslighting. I have faced it strongly during specific moments in my life. But adult men (including me) do not face gaslighting as a result of our gender, we deal with gaslighting by landing in a specific circumstance (a relationship, a parent).
The whole point of my work is to point out and address the obstacles and inequities women face because they are simply born women. I cannot address individual relationships nor do I attempt to shine light on them. My job, in my mind, is to shine light on a pattern of behavior that exists because women are born with a different set of chromosomes. It is unfair.
With respect to the men who were frustrated that I didn’t include them in my piece…I know that a woman’s struggle is often diminished by our society. Either these struggles are completely ignored or men jump in and say, “We have it hard too.”
This isn’t a competition or a gender war. It’s about balancing the scales.
Women don’t often have a chance to fully explore their struggles—struggles that outnumber ours on a level that is shocking, because too often, we men ask, “What about me?”
It’s time for us to say, “What about you? How can I support you better?”
And this is what I am trying to do. I won’t always be perfect, but I am going to keep trying.
Thank you, again. I hope you will continue reading my work and continue educating me.