I don’t blame women who are indifferent to the pain of men. It’s counterproductive arguing,
“why don’t feminists speak when it’s men?”
“why do you keep quiet when it’s a man?”
We have to look at the picture outside the frame.
We have to investigate the impetus of this dissociation to balance our perspectives.
Women all around me (and the world) have grown up catering to the comfort of men. Everywhere.
It is not natural to empathise with someone who enslaves you.
From their youth, anybody who looks like a man takes the form of an enemy. Let’s be honest, guys. Yes, even their fathers and brothers are predators. If not of them then of other women elsewhere. In fact, women are mostly abused by people who are close to them than strangers.
We cannot expect them to understand our pain. It is not their duty. That’s a form of escapism and blame.
What we ought to rise to is the reality of male violence and patriarchy that have ravished this world. The barbarism of male on male violence that trickles down to our families, and that, over generations, has forced women to protect themselves and be indifferent to the pain of men.
What we ought to rise to is the reality of our confusion as boys and men, and admit we do not have role models and father figures to look up to for direction. We’re fucked up! We know it but we don’t want to say it. We still want women to revere and praise us for our shitty behaviors.
Those role models and father figures didn’t just die. Our systems were disrupted by so many complex things dating back to the 7th century when the Arab Slave trade began. This is not just about speaking up. This is about understanding where we’re coming from. Who we are. Our stolen identities. You wouldn’t even know in the early church, women were the priests.
What we ought to rise to is the reality of our wounds. We’re crying out. And the only model of healing most of us know is in a woman’s bosom. They do all the emotional labour for us. We don’t want to do the work. Yet, we fear each other. We view each other as enemies that have to compete in capitalism. We don’t hold each other’s hands because anything you fear you want to destroy. You want to conquer. See how we behave around men who are wealthier than us.
What we ought to rise to is the reality of our incompetence. And ask for help. Men are socialised to seek perfection and imagine owning it even when they know they don’t posses it. So we like to pretend we always know what is right for us and the people around us. Because we’re ‘leaders’ and a man must know. That too is a trauma response. Because it closes us up. We meet the world with our walls and expect to be seen. I speak of myself too.
It’s not a woman’s job to speak up for a man. Neither is it to empathise with a man’s pain. She’s had to undergo a thousand deaths to save her body, her mind and spirit. She won’t see you. She too lives in her traumatised state of mind. She won’t heal you. You have to heal yourself. You and your brothers have to congregate and nurse each other.
Women too deserve healed men with whom they can enjoy healthy relationships.
This does not eliminate responsibility to respect human rights from women. It doesn’t make it right for women to abuse men, or even, if I dare say, to be indifferent to men’s pain. Neither should it put women on a pedestal, like we do, that they’re perfect humans who can do no harm.
It’s true. So many silenced men have gone through the worst in women’s hands. By death, by rape, by coercion, by whichever form of abuse. It’s also true that male on male violence (psychologically) keeps these men quiet from reporting their experiences. If someone you look up to for validation disapproves your emotions, you’d rather die with your shame. Because men are taught to look up to other men. Other successful, cool, wealthy men. We’re taught to despise women systematically. We often humanise them (by a small extent) when we’re getting something from them. We’re their husbands or boyfriends or brothers or close friends. Ironically, it is from these intimate relations that we harm them most.
Guys, sit down with yourself and look around you. This is bigger than your one minute rant about “why don’t feminists speak up for men”. This is about the history you weren’t taught and the realities of women in their everyday life. This too, is about how we express manly pain. Our worldview of women – our expectations of them. Our own agency. How we view ourselves.
We cannot claim to be improving society if we do not speak of its history. If we expect women to always be carrying our pain can we also be carrying theirs? Of course it’s hard, why? Because we cause their pain and we can’t stand eating our vomit.
I know folks will have lots to argue against this. It’s okay. It’s not their fault either. But if we’re not going deeper, let us not go anywhere.