When it’s Men Vs. Women, Us Vs. Them – we all lose

Men – the bad guys.

It’s an easy label to throw out there, right? Men have basically ruled the show for so long, been the majority perpetrators of crime, violence and sexual violence that we must be bad.

As a whole – just all lumped in there together; MAN = BAD.

Umm, no thanks.

I get it, there is understandable anger and distrust for many people for legit. But using a simple broad-as-all-hell-brushstroke to throw all men in the same category does NO ONE any favours.

A lot of us guys could do with using some more empathy to see the perspective of women, for example, in the sense of walking home alone at night. No doubt.

Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash

But empathy is needed BOTH WAYS.

Most guys are functioning under a set of messages and conditioning that sees us HAVE to be tough, strong, not show weakness. That the general message of success for men is how ‘strong’ (not weak, more accurately) you are.

“Harden up” is kind of the soundtrack.

The common meaning that many guys attach to this is something like “Who I really am isn’t/won’t be (man) enough. I’d better play the part of tough, self-sufficient guy to be respected and accepted.”

And so, the macho/overt masculine facade is born. And perpetuated.

It takes on many masks, but the common theme is there; hiding insecurities.

When I see content roping all men in with a few really bad apples, pointing the finger and telling us we’re bad for being men. When we hear a sarcastic “Oh your precious ego” – it’s essentially saying the same message; HARDEN UP – just in a different accent.

And what happens when we’re backed into a corner, insecurities and discomfort out in front?

We push back, we get defensive – WE DON’T LISTEN. We’re protecting ourselves.

It’s hardwired.

To me, perpetuating the same message in the absence of empathy – while asking for it – doesn’t take us forward.

I believe there is loads of incredibly necessary change ahead of us and men are needed to facilitate so much of this. Yet, where a lot of guys are in their willingness and ability to change and see a different perspective requires a certain way of approaching it – quite simply, blame and shame won’t do it.

We’ll push back.

For men to come to the table, truly willing and able to open up, try on a different way of being and relating – equal parts heart and backbone – I think we need two-way empathy.

There are a load of hurt little boys wandering around waiting to push back, that will respond to more love and kindness.

Interesting aside – as I typed the end of this post, ‘Killing in the name” by Rage Against the Machine was playing. The repeated line “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!” rang extra loud. Kind of seems like the exact point here – point the finger at men, blame and shame, and that’s what is likely to come back.

Us vs. Them / Men vs Women = we all lose.

I’m sharing this as a thought process and invitation to discussion. I don’t know the answer, but I think talking about it without finger pointing, without shame, and anger isn’t going to get us anywhere.

I dunno. What do you think?


For Men of Adelaide…

We’ll be diving into conversations and challenges like this, as well as how to perform better across the board in your life at the upcoming Beyond The Beers Live Event on the Adelaide – Saturday, October 6th at The Commercial Hotel, Port Adelaide.

For more info about what you’ll gain from a day like this, check out the page here or straight to get tickets here.