(Note 2023: Written from far more privilege than I knew, this still has truth in it.)
I was angry for a whole year
A woman friend told me once, that after coming to some feminist consciousness, she was "angry for a whole year." Fair enough, given the way our social system has exploited and demeaned women. There comes a time, of course, to move 'beyond anger.'
It seems to me that coming to a "men's movement" consciousness could similarly leave a bloke "feeling angry for a whole year." There's a lot to be angry about! We are talking about real stuff here. If we have had our eyes opened to what our western social system has visited upon us men, not to be angry would mean there is something wrong with us.
We were taught not to feel. (Boys don't cry.) We were told goodness and salvation lay in work. Now we find there is no work! At 40 our joints are worn out and arthritis is beginning. Our partners complain about, or deride, our crippled emotions. You don't get much thanks for years of faithful provision if you can't listen and be sympathetic. We are empty inside, and what society once valued, counts for little or nothing. I see those who have been true patriarchs (in the negative feminist sense) find that all they brutalised others to gain, has turned to dust. They are sad, empty, old men. Those who are infirm are often at the mercy of the wives they ruled, but who now patronise them. Sensitive men, younger men, find themselves having to re-map their whole life and being (as did many women.) Other males scorn 'feminists' but often turn with greater hostility on the man who dares to point out the 'emperor's new clothes,' and 'betray' them by seeking to live differently.
Be angry. We have been sold a lie. Being the strong silent provider is bullshit. We need a grail far more holy than financial success and promotion. We need to talk to the real warriors who have come back from war and discovered that fear and pain must be felt , lived with, and overcome. We cannot brutalise others and ultimately ourselves by pretending not to feel and by callousing over the soft places of our soul. The magician in us- learning and probing, needs a directing ethos of morality and love. And being a lover is more than sex and providing food.
Be angry that only now at 30 and 40 do we learn this. Be angry that then the world scorns us and punishes us for stepping outside the norms
Be angry- but don't sin- as Paul says. Let's take the energy of anger and use it to grow, and feel, and love, and learn. Even use the energy to bring freedom to those who mostly in ignorance once lead us into the mire. Use the energy to live well with those we wish to love.
Posted June 98
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