Since the beginning of the pandemic, I, like many people, have fallen in love with TikTok videos. They are mostly for laughs, but sometimes they have thoughtful content as well. I saw one recently with a Black male therapist telling women that Black men are NOT okay. And another with @tara.raani2 talking about patriarchy and why it’s not necessary to live with men. As she put it, we could live with out best girlfriends and have sex with men on the side for fun. I’ve been suggesting “Golden Girls” living with my friends for years. Or communal living. Or just something different. Both of these struck a chord with me, because I’ve been divorced twice and single for a long time lately. Definitely longer than I ever thought I would be. However, as I work in personal development and mental health, I find men are noticeably absent. Even in physical health spaces, their presence is remarkably low. The third Tuesday in September is National Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day, renamed from Take Your Man to the Doctor Day. (I cannot find the evidence of this, but I am working from memory.) As the man in TikTok said, “Black men are NOT okay.” It seems other races are doing a little better, but there’s still plenty of work to do to move forward.
As a cisgender, hetero, Black female this leaves me with a few options. Of course, I can open my dating prospects to men of all races. I can also consider what I’ve talked to my friends about for many years – alternative living arrangements. I enjoy living alone, but I think when I get older I may want more companionship. This is where I bring in the Golden Girls model. If you’ve never seen the show, The Golden Girls was a popular sitcom from 1985-1992 where four women over 65 lived together as friends and continued to date men. It always looked like fun to me.
Tara from TikTok made an important point: marriage was designed to support the patriarchy. It really wasn’t designed for women. Oppressed women were convinced that marriage benefited them financially because they weren’t allowed to earn or manage their own money. However, they were free to raise their children full-time, often while managing an emotionally unavailable, demeaning or violent partner. They weren’t actually free to leave the marriage and were socially ostracized if they somehow managed to. Historically, they were often married so young they went from being children to being wives.
When I used to volunteer with a microfinance charity, I learned that microfinance loans were usually targeted at women, not men. Women were seen as more responsible and inclined to take care of family and community. While men were often viewed as more selfish and inclined to abandon both their children and their community in pursuit of gambling, alcohol and sex.
Let me be clear. I love men. Honestly, I love people. I find all kinds of people absolutely fascinating, and I can see straight through to your humanity, even when you can’t. With that said, there is a clear separation between the socialization of men and women that’s unhealthy on both sides. Men should be able to be thoughtful, emotional and sensitive. Women should be able to follow any career path and lead any group. While women have been fighting for our rights to be equals over the course of decades, it seems to me that men have not been fighting for their rights to be emotional equals.
So, what can we do as women or emotionally evolved men? Here are my ideas:
- Share this blog with a man and have a conversation.
- Encourage a man you love to get in touch with his feelings through any modality: books, coaching, therapy, yoga, meditation, etc. Create a 30-day challenge. (You know men love challenges! Lol!)
- If you’re a parent, stop telling little boys to “man up” or stop crying. Let your sons have emotions.
- Create or join a men’s group that discusses feelings, philosophies and ideas. (Yes, I think the guys really need a safe space for this.)
- Buy copies of Thinking Outside the Chrysalis and 12 Steps to Mind-Blowing Happiness and share with men in your life.
- Invite men to my free monthly workshops. This month we’re talking about reframing anger for a more joyful life. It’s a powerful message. Find out more here: https://mindblowinghappiness.com/events
I often talk about my dream of a self-actualized world. A world where everyone can reach their fullest potential. This isn’t possible if any of us are cut off at the knees based on societal norms. So, to the question, “Are men broken?” We’re all a little broken. Let’s help each other heal and find our freedom so we can all benefit from a sweeter society.
I wish you passion, purpose and the realization of your fullest potential!
P.S. The photo is a quote from one of my favorite male leaders. This idea of freedom comes from alignment with thoughts, words and actions. I hope you have the opportunity to cultivate this in your own life. I’m launching Passion Quest, my first coaching series on March 17. Click the link below to find out more. I hope you will join me.