Why is it important for men to speak up for women in the face of abuse, inequality, and devaluing? To answer that question, I’d like to first address another issue: why do men seek to control, abuse, and dominate women?
In his book, King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine, author Robert Moore addresses some of the psychological and anthropological reasons behind male dominance over women. His analysis? Men have not been initiated, ritualized, nor taught how to be responsible, blessed, and gentle people. We have males in adult bodies but with a “boy psychology” (borrowing Moore’s phrase) filled with immaturity, irresponsibility, and sometimes untamed sexual energies seeking to oppress. Much of the work that men must do is to undergo the process of claiming their masculinity in adulthood and becoming responsible human beings that bless women and men alike.
I grew up seeing women abused in my family of origin. It stretched out to four generations of males physically and emotionally abusing women. My own journey of manhood taught me that to be a man means to love and bless others, especially women. When a male has been given patriarchal power (empowerment given on the merit of gender) it is done so with an immature outlook on manhood and womanhood. A true image of manhood seeks to partner with a woman and to be a voice of justice any time a woman is mistreated. When the man is no longer threatened by the power and sensitivity of a woman, he can open his heart to be affirmed and blessed by her.
My favorite image is of my mother embracing me and telling me to be a responsible man in this world. Why is important for women to be empowered? Because they “hold up half the sky” (Mao). “Women’s empowerment helps raise economic productivity and reduce infant mortality. It contributes to improved health and nutrition. It increases the chances of education for the next generation...Women are the key to ending hunger in Africa...” (Kristof, Nicholas D.; Wudunn, Sheryl, “Half the Sky”) Hey, Man! Become an initiated man and enter adulthood. Seek to bless and be blessed by “half the sky.”
This Father’s Day, speak up for women with a gift to Sister India:
As I understand it, Father’s Day is a good day to be a dad. You get all the red meat you could want, you can watch a Lee Marvin flick with impunity, and you get the love and admiration of your family in the form of cards with glued-on elbow macaroni.
Having grown up with a scrappy younger brother, I have only a vague and hypothetical understanding of what girls are like. My childhood may not have clued me in to the particular care and feeding that my little girl will need as she grows into the woman she’s destined to be. But I do know that little girls are a treasure, and it breaks my heart to know that globally, girls face abuse, neglect and exploitation daily.
Fathers are an integral part of our families and an essential part of this world. Your presence, attention and kindness at home lead to the stability that helps your family thrive out in the world. And your position can be used to advocate for justice.
My wife and I want to give our little girl a life of possibility. We are doing everything in our power to give her every opportunity imaginable -- to grow, explore, learn, and thrive. This Father’s Day, as I await the arrival of our own little girl, I’m thinking of the baby girl being born in a different country, without the same hope and opportunity, and I want to change that.
Through Sister India, you and I can make a difference in the life of a woman in India, impacting the choices she makes for her daughters and the opportunities she can offer them.
Fathers, we can take a stand for them. And for those of you who aren’t fathers, you can give a gift in honor of the father who has always been an advocate for you.
This Father’s Day, let your Dad know you love and appreciate him. And thank him with a gift to Sister India: https://progress-sisterindia.nationbuilder.com/donate_now
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Sister India.