So, I’m a feminist. I primarily work with women who identify, or who are on the brink of identifying what it means to be a recovering perfectionist. However, slowly I’ve been meeting with more men who talk about common themes: there is nowhere to talk about sensitive issues. Men who are sensitive, artistic, introverted, not interested in a lot of sports or sports-talk- they didn’t feel that there was a space for them. This was shame-inducing, created isolation, anger, and acting out in different ways.
I am thrilled that I created a space for these Daring Men to do The Daring Way. We met for the first time today. It was magical. Part of me wondered-- ok a lot of me wondered if it would be ok for me to facilitate a men’s group being a woman. While some things are gender issues, a lot of issues that drive shame, disconnection, empathy, and connection are HUMAN issues. We talked about what vulnerability means to them, and what it meant growing up. For a lot of men, vulnerability means showing weakness and/or crying, which is not tolerated. There are stereotypes that “be a man” means having to be macho, tough, callous, hardworking, high-earning, and unflappable.
Here is a You Tube video created by The Representation Project, asking boys about what they think when they hear “Be a Man.” It is a damaging phrase with rippling consequences. I hope that watching it brings new awareness about how seemingly throw-away phrases can be so damaging. This is not to say that similar things don’t happen to women, and that should be addressed. But being a feminist, to me, means advocating for equality not just for women, but for all people who feel that their voices are not represented.
The therapy world can be seen as a female-centered place, one that is even more stigmatized for men. I’m energized, honored, and privileged to be running a men's group where members can take off their masks and just be real with each other.