Updated: Mar 2
I wrote this post a few years ago, when I participated in this conference. I believe it was it's second year. Warning: Strong opinions are expressed here, and you may not agree with any of them.
Re-imagining Masculinities at Uvic this May, spoke of eliminating violence from our definition of masculine, and recognizing it as the crime that it always is; and of allowing for a broad spectrum of masculinities to be accepted.
What I didn't hear from the men who spoke, was their cravings, their desires, their pain. I didn't hear what is missing for them; the ways they want to be a man, and aren't; who they Already Are but maybe not yet fully expressed; what they want their love with women or men to be like; how deep they want to go; what they are willing to give up; what they want to gain; what love feels like; what deeply satisfying sex feels like.
What I didn't see was men from all all walks of life; sexuality, gender, socioeconomic, culture, ethnicity, religious, and more. What I didn't see was the personal commitment, specific declaration to Be different in the world, starting this moment. What I didn't see was action beyond political and academic rhetoric.
I am pleased to see policy and government continuing to make strides in human rights protection and it's violations actionable, on all levels; to see academics creating degrees where these ideas can be distinguished, studied, and change recommended. As a woman, I know that if it isn't in the law, on paper, in policy; my chance of social justice; of the law and our government responding appropriately to violence, is nil.
The statistics were chilling; on child abuse, and adult rape. And it was clear that on paper, in words, our society continues to protect the offender, his or her reputation, career, and life. It is clear that we don't yet understand the vast difference between sex and rape. They do not sit together on a sex continuum of consensual and enthusiastic, to non-consensual and forced. Rape is not sex. There was a consent conversation, with rules, stepping over the dynamic nature of human relating. It's like we want a road map that never changes, so we can keep on not paying attention to our human relating, and hope we don't screw so badly that we get charged with rape.
I heard a conversation. And my heart quivered, I cried, I felt a lot. I didn't hear or see bravery, vulnerability, intimacy, or love. I didn't witness full self expression. I was there to witness.
Today I will add this:
I want to acknowledge that this start. My expectations were high. What may look like millimeters to me, may be miles forward to another. I saw men there on their own, with friends, and with their sons. Men want to shift things for themselves and for others. I hold this intention with them. I support them from my life and experience. I am here to witness. To acknowledge. To hold accountable. To Be Love. and to not let them stop.