I have acted poorly towards women at points in my life. I have objectified women, making rude comments, especially when in groups of other men. This brings up shame as well as an understanding that this is what I was taught as “normal” and “funny”.
I have since matured and now deeply respect and honor women. I am not saying that I am perfect. In fact, I am still on the road of recovery to women’s reverence. But thankfully, I am committed to my own awareness. I can see the fine line when my admiration becomes blurred and objectifying. I’ve become skillful at noticing when I’m being unconscious in regards to relating to a woman. For example, I pay attention to how I include a woman in group conversations (especially if most of the group is men) and can feel the way in which she then feels embraced.
And as I have grown, I have also attracted men into my life that are committed to their own personal/spiritual growth. We support one another, letting the other know if we are falling into old masculine patterns.
I share this because I know that many men are on the path to healing their wounds and moving towards honoring women. And yet, we live in a world that still condones objectification or violence of women. Yes, we raise our arms up when an Indian man rapes a woman numerous times, as this is blatant violence. But, when it comes to subtle violations, we somehow turn a blind eye. For example, I was quite surprised by Adam Levine’s (of Maroon 5) video where he stalks a woman. There was some backlash, but for the most part, it was considered “ok”.
And just a few days ago, I came across a man named Julien Blanc. From what I have seen online, he is a dating coach that teaches men how to abuse and humiliate women. His teaching and coaching focuses on scoring women or “pulling” as he calls it. He unabashedly teaches men how to manipulate and control women into having sex, in one video he is seen pushing women’s faces into his crotch.
I am not against helping socially awkward men or men that need support on being more confident with women. What I am against is someone “winning” while another severely “loses”. I am wholeheartedly for teaching men that honoring women is not “unmasculine” but rather true healthy and mature masculinity.
Recently I heard on NPR that domestic violence against women has INCREASED in Los Angeles. It seems we are under a constant deluge of how women are abused and mistreated worldwide.
How is all of this still happening?
This is a longer conversation that must continue and accelerate. The Western mainstream media informs us in how we should think and behave in this world, for most it serves as a guideline for what is acceptable. Imagine if this platform was used to teach men to serve and honor women? Imagine if pop music icons or sports figures were focused more on empowering and honoring women and less on manipulating them or reducing them to bikini-clad groupies? Imagine if we spoke about the greatest tool for engaging with a woman is actually to look within and increase your masculine confidence and loving presence? Imagine sharing how having healthy and intimate consensual sex is way “cooler” than manipulating a women into having sex to add to one’s scorecard? This is a world I often find myself dreaming of. It feels so true to me. And respectful.
And I know that to create this, we need Men to Rise UP. We need men to realize that the path to confidence and fulfillment is NOT through control over others. We need men to acknowledge their shame and anger. We need men to look within and heal their mistrust of women and transform old conditioning. The conditioning that women are weaker, and that men have a right to take what they want in whatever way suits them. We need men to know that vulnerability is actually the most potent version of power.
So, on behalf of myself and many men, I offer an apology to women.
I am sorry for any abuse you have experienced at the hands of a man.
I am sorry for any objectification that made you feel less than.
I am sorry for any betrayals that have left your heart broken.
I am sorry for any manipulation that has caused you fear.
I am sorry that there are still so many women still suffering at the hands of men.
I love this universal Hawaiian prayer of forgiveness. It offers a simple yet profound and deep apology, not only to others, but toward ourselves as well:
I am sorry.
Please forgive me.
I love you.
This is an open apology.
If there are men reading this who have more to say on this, please write in the comments below. This is how we make change in this patriarchal world.
This is how we heal the divide between men and women…. And in our own selves.