Reflections on Our First Clubhouse Event for Men.
What will change the world? What will break the hold that patriarchy and greed have over our workplaces, institutions, families and relationships? What will reduce the violence in our families and relationships? What will stem the tide of male suicide, addiction, and early death?
I believe a significant part of the change will occur when men - in particular - find ways to step out of their conditioning and see what awaits them on the other side of the “Man Box.”
Yesterday, in the new Remaking Manhood room on Clubhouse, a dozen men and a handful of women co-created a space where we could step out of the stoicism, perfectionism, and brittle strength that "Manbox Culture" demands of us. A dozen men took the opportunity to speak openly about their grief, their joy, their desire to weep, to rage, even to giggle or be held.
In the space we created, each man heard other men tell similar stories, share similar emotions, and validate the truth and strength of each other's experiences and responses. This vulnerability was met, not with the derision, hostility, or shunning we experience or expect from the "normal" world, but with support, alignment, and inclusion. The women present, instead of recoiling from this "softness" actually told the men that they found this full expression attractive.
Yesterday, a dozen men stepped out of the conditioning that tells them to dominate, ignore, suppress, and repress. They found not defeat or humiliation, but acceptance, validation, and even acclimation. My hope is that the experience was like finding a door into a new, bigger, more lusciously furnished part of their house. They can, of course, stay in the old, cramped quarters. But now they know that there is another place to explore that is homey, abundant, and surprising. A way of being connected and powerful without demanding dominance or control.
What will change the world? A dozen men and a handful of women sharing their full humanity?
It's a start.
Charles Matheus grew up in an old mining town in Arizona. He managed to graduate from an Ivy League University and knows that you won't hold that against him.