Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Men From The Boys

Emma Watson is getting a lot of attention this week, and so she should. It isn't just that she's spoken out about feminism at the UN, but more to do with the style in which she did it. It was a virtuoso performance, full of humanity and common sense and devoid of the aggression that has so often blighted what has always been a worthy cause. Over the centuries women have been wronged by men. Horribly so. And men now have to recognise this and start acting like, well, frankly real men. And let's be blunt, there's a shortage of real men out there. You know, males who are self aware and capable of communicating and acting in ways that empower those around them rather than corrode. And believe it or not that last observation was gender neutral, because men have also been busy wronging other men. Many seem blighted by a form of insecurity that restricts them from being fully featured. By this I mean able to be strong and vulnerable and true to themselves as opposed to constantly seeking to conform to some vague stereotype. We've allowed ourselves to become conformist and bland, beholden to the macho bullshit that frankly the world could do without. Strength, and I mean real strength is about presence of mind, emotional intelligence. Dare I say it, about emotional availability. This is nothing to do with the idea of New Man, who to me seems frankly dour and insipid. No, I mean men able to bring all their positive qualities to bare on a world that has so often experienced only the worst. How much pointless violence, how much vengeful thirst have we been the cause of? How often have we forsaken reason for brute force? This isn't to say we cannot be masculine, and if you think that then you're missing the point, which is just to suggest that we are capable of so much more if we'd just allow ourselves to be vulnerable sometimes. If we'd allow our compassion to outweigh brute instinct. Men at our best are just bloody brilliant. Funny, hard working, creative, steadfast, and more. Yet we've denied ourselves access to our better selves, and in the process ridden roughshod over the opposite gender. Time to cut that out guys. Time to let women be amazing and to quit being threatened by that. As a man with two daughters and a wife whom I regard as my Queen I make no apology for wanting to see more women in the world empowered. We will all be the richer for it, which is why I encourage you all to sign up to the #HeforShe campaign, which Emma Watson so majestically bought to the attention of the United Nations last week. It's about mutual empowerment, shared self actualisation, about bringing the best of us to the party and seeing where together we roam. Be more, be real, and empower others to do similar. Do we not owe ourselves this?

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