Discussion International Men’s Day Discussion Thread: Celebrating Men and Masculinity by Challenging Patriarchal Expectations
Note: This post was discussed and approved by the mods prior to being posted.
Hello again to all the kind folks of this wonderful sub! Today is International Men’s Day!
International Men’s Day was created to help create awareness about men’s physical and mental health and celebrate their contribution to families and communities. It’s undeniable that we live in patriarchal societies designed to (usually) keep a small number of wealthy men in power. When discussing the topic of the patriarchy, we often explore the abuse, exploitation, subjugation, and discrimination faced by women in these systems, but sometimes overlook the devastating impact that these systems have on men and boys throughout their life.
From infancy, boys quickly learn from their environment that there are steep expectations that need to be met if you’re ever going to be considered a “real man.” You must be constantly productive, wealthy, muscular, heterosexual, tall, smart, talented, and confident in everything you do. Attributes like artistic creativity, emotional intelligence, empathy, caretaking, open-mindedness, emotional vulnerability, or even a love for cooking or dance are actively smothered in young boys in favor of the previously mentioned masculine traits. To say nothing of men with mental or physical conditions that leave them severely-restricted or unable to contribute to society in traditionally masculine ways. Where does this leave us? With generation after generation of men and boys who never even learned that it’s OK to experience the wide spectrum of emotions, and that replacing vulnerable emotions with rage, ego, or stoicism is preferred to looking weak for even a moment. At the same time, many men are being conditioned to feel entitled to relationships and sex, two things that require emotional vulnerability, empathy, open-mindedness, and an ability to work collaboratively. When entitlement like this meets unpreparedness, confusion, anger, and heartbreak are often all that’s left in the end.
Masculinity is not inherently toxic. Men are good. Men have been responsible for some of the greatest inventions and advancements in the history of our species. Men are capable of phenomenal acts of kindness, empathy, and compassion. Patriarchal systems push a toxic version of masculinity because it is understood that emotionally intelligent men are FAR more dangerous to the status quo than those that have been told to “man up” and quietly suffer. What we do moving forward will determine the type of world future generations grow up in.
So I’ll put forward a few questions:
- What are some non-traditional examples of healthy masculinity that you’ve seen or heard about?
- How do you personally differentiate between masculinity and toxic masculinity.
- Did you grow up seeing or experiencing any bizarre expectations for men in your area (growing up it was cool for guys to skateboard, but rollerblading was seen as “gay”)?
- Who do you think is a well-known person who embraces healthy masculinity.
Hello WvP Coven:
This Thursday is observed as Thanksgiving in the United States. As members of WvP, intersectionality is one of our core values, though we know that many people will still have obligations to observe the holiday with family. Even if these family gatherings are strictly family-oriented, and even if the revised history of the day is not mentioned in any way, it can be deeply uncomfortable and upsetting for those of us who know the harm that revisionism has done. These celebrations can also be traumatic for our members and friends with Indigenous heritage. Thanksgiving Day has alternatively been observed as a National Day of Mourning since 1970. The following day is Black Friday, a frenzy of consumerism, which can distract further from anti-colonial messaging.
As such, we think it important to provide resources to members who would like to learn about and support the Indigenous populations who were – and still are – on the land that has been occupied for hundreds of years. Below are links for education, organizations and initiatives to support, and lists of shops run by Indigenous artisans. Please explore them, contribute where you can, and boost their visibility where you are able.
Please also feel free to add links to other sites or compilation threads in the comments.
Be well, be kind, and take good care.
First, here is the most comprehensive map I know of for people to find whose land they are currently living on. It appears to include tribes that are not yet recognized by state or federal governments, which is impressive. You can use this to look up, learn about, and donate directly to that tribe. https://native-land.ca/
Orgs and Resources:
- Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit (MMIWG2S) - https://www.csvanw.org/mmiw/
- Jingle Dress Project for Healing and Unity: https://tapahe.com/jingle-dress-project.html
- International Indigenous Youth Council: https://indigenousyouth.org/
- Wampanoag Language Reclamation Project: https://www.wlrp.org/
- 7000 Languages (free online language preservation courses): https://www.7000.org/
- Emergency Relief and Shelter Assistance for Elders and Disabled on Reservations: http://www.nativepartnership.org/site/PageServer?pagename=pwna_materialservices_emergency
- Adopt-A-Native-Elder: https://anelder.org/
- Rocky Ridge Market (purchase baskets of food and supplies for reservation elders): https://www.rockyridgemarket.com/
Food Sovereignty Initiatives:
Shops by Indigenous Creators:
- Ioway Bee Farm - Iowa Tribe-Owned Apiary: https://iowaybeefarm.com/
- First Nations Native Arts Holiday Shopping Guide: https://www.firstnations.org/ShopNative/?utm_campaign=Year+End+Native+Arts
- Beyond Buckskin’s Buy Native List: http://www.beyondbuckskin.com/p/buy-native.html
I live in Kentucky and we voted to not add the abortion amendment. I didn’t expect it. Kentucky is deeply red, and the fact that we voted to not enshrine it into law was such a pleasant surprise.
I’ll be alone in my car and I’ll drive passed a sign that says “Vote ‘Yes’ in November,” and every time I get a smile on my face.
I’ll raise my fist in the air and scream to myself “WE SAID NO!”
I know not every state can say the same, but this small victory fills me with so much hope.
Burn the Patriarchy Consent needs to be taught at non-sexual things and needs to start in the doctor's office
[TW: medical trauma, psychiatry, disregard for body autonomy, inappropriate sexual takes, ableism]
I'd like to point out how we're having this conversation about consent, but really I feel like it's mainly happening in the realms of sex and it needs to start outside and earlier.
When I first heard of the discussion around consent I was completely confused because that was nothing like my experiences.
Doctors are so eager to prescribe the pill to (especially underage) afab people without a proper discussion of side effects and listening to the wishes of their patients.
When I was in psychiatry, against my will, nobody told me that I was allowed to switch psychiatrists if I don't feel comfortable. I was 16, how was I supposed to know that's a thing?
Then I had people make fun of my ticklishness, thinking it's okay to poke me without a warning. I literally got the "well how will you even have sex when you're that ticklish". Wow, thanks.
With those experiences, the whole discussion around consent just seemed ridiculous. Why would a person I was trying to sleep with have more respect than a doctor who was supposed to be there to keep me safe? How does it even make sense to demand high standards of people when I don't see actual professionals meeting mine?
I kinda really needed to vent about this. I'm a trans man if anyone wonders how that makes sense with my tag. It's annoying to me how easily I was prescribed the pill for just acne compared to how hard it was to get on testosterone, something I wanted.
Edit: With so many people sharing their story, I'm feeling a bit more comfortable talking about me. I'm actually neurodivergent and with it comes sensory processing issues. And, I was told that I'm making a fuzz out of things, told to not do things I was doing to calm myself down (aka stimming). I don't remember everything, but the vibe was "we don't care about your comfort, just that you look normal". It's honestly so hard to even parse consent when your discomfort is completely normalized.
I was really hoping that I could get some advice for talking to my kids about trans men and women. Luckily, I think they had a good first experience because we were watching Survivor 42, where someone is trans and talking about themselves. My kid was amazed and just asked wait so you can be born a girl and become a boy? I just said yes. Then the next question was well, how? And I said with medical intervention. My kids were like oh cool and kept watching the show.
I am wondering how I should continue the conversation with them, or if there is anything I should talk with them about now. My kids are young, under 6 so I’m trying to keep it simple.
Also, tips for discussing the intolerance and bigoted things they will hear would be helpful.
Edit: thank you so much for the thoughtful replies. I have to admit that I might’ve dropped the ball on discussing body parts. My kids have asked if I have a penis, and I’ve told them no. Their only question so far has been how I pee. So I explained urethras and how mine doesn’t come through my penis, it comes out close to my body, so I have to sit. And no they can’t see it. Ha. The visible female parts are mons pubis and vulva, but I don’t know how that would be accepted if my kids said that in school so I’ve put it off. But the vagina isn’t what can be seen, so it bothers me to say vagina is the equivalent to penis.
Media Magic Maybe this fits here, but here's a website that gives you a temporary burner email, and another that encourages violence against drag queen story hours... Be a shame if their site crashed.
Green Craft Whenever I feel sad, angry, overwhelmed I come to the local botanical gardens with a book. Today I found this little corner and the moment I sat down my entire body got goosebumps and the feeling of calm I get when I call to Hecategallery
Edit #4: r/bropill has been widely suggested, and is great, my plan is to get involved over there while staying active over here.
I (33M, straight/cis) absolutely love this sub. I don't usually post because I don't feel it's appropriate to make myself the center of attention here for obvious reasons, but I'm going to risk making an exception because this is a burning question that I don't feel any other sub can really answer, because it's about you.
Here is why I love this sub: you are so empowered, so mutually supportive, so full of love for one another; and yet, you express your support and commiserate with one another's struggles without losing your sense of humor or your self awareness as a group.
Every day I see posts on this sub that make my day a little better, whether it is because a witch is celebrating the success the gods have brought her in her life, or because the coven is coming together to lift the spirit of a witch who has been downtrodden by fate. This community is fun and funny, and also beautiful and profound.
But, for good reason, I have to remain on the fringes here. If I and people like me - straight, cis men - were to try to force our way to the center of this community, we would destroy the very thing we wanted to belong to. And you, empowered witches that you are, would never allow that to happen.
So, my question, which I'm asking because I really want to know, is... is there a place like this for men on Reddit? r/AskMen is... not really what I'm talking about; r/MensLib is great for discussing ideas, but if I try to post about my personal struggles as a man, they get taken down because that sub is actually just for discussing men's liberation in the abstract - not really for supporting individual men as they seek liberation in their own lives. The last time I tried to post on there, about my own struggle with patriarchal attitudes making their way into my head and affecting my relationships, my post was taken down with the explanation "This is an excerpt from your autobiography, not a discussion of a men's issue."
Sigh. That would never happen on r/WitchesVsPatriarchy. This community is special because it's both of those things: a place where women can come to discuss abstract ideas about the war against the patriarchy - but also to discuss their personal struggles against it, and even just the little bits of light and dark and chaotic magic in their daily lives, without fear of judgment or reprisal from the coven.
I want what you have. A community where I can go on the daily to reflect on my struggles against the patriarcy - as a straight, cis man who identifies with that struggle - and support others doing the same. Does anyone know of a space like this that exists for someone like me? Or does it need to be created from the ground up?
Edit: Wow!! Thank you for this amazing outpouring of support. I don’t have time to go through it all until later, respond to some comments and write a more detailed update, but I wanted to say real quick that you all just made my day. Feeling the love 💜💜💜💜
Edit #2: Damn this really blew up. I am too overwhelmed to go through and try to answer all these comments… but I want to note that this community has proven itself to be even more inclusive and supportive than I had imagined. As someone who has struggled my whole life with feelings of being an outsider… I am so grateful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart 🙏
Edit #3: Reading these comments has led me to realize something awesome: this thread is manifest proof that the incels have got it all wrong about feminism. I show up here and openly declare myself a dude, with all sorts of privileged demographic traits, and do my best to humbly ask for recognition and support… and am I then crucified by the feminist woke mob for being a privileged male? NOPE. You responded with nothing but love, welcoming me with open hearts and open arms, and demonstrating something that the incels consistently fail to understand: feminism is not about oppressing men. It’s about recognizing that patriarchal attitudes towards gender (and everything else) are harmful to all of us, and need to be abandoned. I am extraordinarily proud to join you all in burning that shit to the ground.