Celebrating the good ones

A few years ago, talking to Damh the Bard, he made the important point that you cannot have strong, empowered femininity without also having strong, empowered masculinity, and that the reverse is equally true.

By contrast, an ex of mine was generally of the opinion that empowering women displaced men, pushing them out of jobs, out of their identity as bread winners, into a no-man’s land of frustration and barely suppressed rage. (I have no idea what said ex thinks these days, I try to avoid his opinions as much as possible.)

There are, I have no doubt, people of both genders who see any power in the hands of the opposite gender, as a threat to them. There are times and places where this is true. But when we disempower one gender, really speaking, we disempower both. That ‘man as bread winner, dominant and running the world’ archetype, beloved of my ex, tends to mean that a man not in full time employment doesn’t have so much sense of self, and that’s no kind of win. Money, authority and identity can easily be blurred by this mindset. The historical gender attitudes that pushed men out of parenting and locked women in the home made us all unbalanced, diminished us all.

Is it possible to have any kind of enforced power imbalance without diminishing everyone? Money is so often the reflection of unbalanced power. The greater the gap between rich and poor, the more fear and possessiveness there is likely to be for the rich. The fear of being taken down, of being stripped of wealth, of the revolting peasants. The need to control others is born out of fear. People who do not feel the need to dominate are, on the whole, going to be a good deal happier.

Author Jean Roberta pointed out in a blog some time ago (sorry, I cannot remember where) that gay and lesbian couples have a big advantage over straight couples. There are no assumptions about how they are supposed to relate to each other, who is supposed to have which role. As a consequence, they have the freedom to build relationships that are much more rooted in the nature of the individuals. Straight people can learn from this.

As a Druid, relationship, and the idea of relationship is central to a lot of what I do. I’m fascinated by how we imagine ourselves in relationship, by historical conventions, social norms, and questions of what is natural, and what is pure construct. So much of gender is imaginary, and yet there are some pronounced physical differences, which are especially relevant in a child-rearing couple. The reality of pregnancy and birth does change what each person can do.

I like the kind of empowered men who use their strength to nurture, shelter and support those weaker than themselves. I like the kind of men who have too much self respect to ever force sex upon a woman. I like the kind of men who delight in powerful, capable, liberated women and would never be so undignified as to whinge ‘I feel like you don’t need me now, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do’ when faced with female success. I like the kind of men who know how to love, admire, and enjoy women, who knowhow to be friends with women. A man who needs to crush a woman in order to feel superior, is not, in my book, any kind of ‘real man’ at all. He’s a waste of space. I wish I’d come to understand that one a bit sooner, I could have spared myself years of having to apologise for success, for happiness, for capability.

I’m writing this today in no small part because I want to celebrate the good men. The ones who support, and do not crush. The ones who make the world a better sort of place. The good guys. And mine in particular, because it’s his birthday, and he is so worth celebrating.

Happy birthday Tom.

And to all you lovely guys out there, you who are man enough not to need to knock anyone else down, power to your paws.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

3 responses to “Celebrating the good ones

  • Alex Jones

    Ancient Druids and Celtic culture had specific roles for men and women, and I suspect they had a concept of two-spirited people like The Native American Indians do. Female Druids dealt with moon and water, the Source (Earth Goddess); male Druids the sun, forests, fire, the Logos (many faces of the solar archetype).

  • celticchick

    Happy birthday, Tom!
    He sounds like a keeper.
    I got lucky with my man too because he is the kind of guy that supports and doesn’t try to control, he’s respectful and caring.
    I think it’s men that have little self esteem that have problems with women. For whatever reason they feel threatened by a strong woman. It also has a lot to do with upbringing and religions that teach men are superior to women. I never understood the dominating aspect of men. What’s wrong with being partners? Does it matter who makes more money as long as it is shared within the family? There should be no need for anger and resentment.

  • Jean Hillabold (@JeanRoberta)

    Thank you for giving me credit, Nimue! I’m so glad to know that you found a good man who allows you to live a more balanced life than you had before.

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