Dear Baby Boy,
My son. There have been some really troubling things in the news this past week, and my heart is heavy in a new way because I have you in my belly. You, a boy. A boy who will grow to be a man in a world where healthy expressions of masculinity are rarely taught.
It’s no secret that we live in a patriarchal society. That means one where men have more control over things and are seen as having greater value than women, even if these feelings are subtle and subconscious. The result of patriarchy is that women have to work harder for the same legal rights and everyday respect, and often have good reason to fear for their safety on a regular basis.
But it’s not just women at risk, it’s the feminine energy and all expressions of femininity - regardless of anatomy. When a society so prizes masculine energy over feminine, strange and very sad things start to happen. Things like a violent rape case where a judge passes a slap-on-the-wrist sentence because he values the long-term effects on the male rapist over the female survivor. Or a mass shooting at a club where men gather to express their full spectrum of sexuality, including their femininity. These are extreme results of a very problematic imbalance.
In the past, I would have blamed men. I would have used headline tragedies like these to justify my man-hating tendencies, and I would have held the violent rapist, the misogynist judge, and the homophobic bomber up as shining examples of why I was right. But now I have you, a man-to-be, growing and kicking inside of me in this very moment, and it’s no longer that easy.
Now I hold not only the men who committed these heinous crimes responsible, but the culture who created these men - including their mothers. That means me.
I read a great article this week in the Huffington Post called, “The Conversation You Must Have With Your Sons.” In it, Carina Kolodny says, “We have too much information to continue blaming the anonymous man lurking in the shadows.” And I think of the Quaker bumper sticker that asks, “What have you done to remove the causes of war today?”
So, what have I done to remove the causes of rape and other hate crimes against the feminine? I have spent many years empowering women to celebrate and express their feminine power, and to heal from the wounds of rape, abuse, and other traumas of the patriarchy. Yet the whole time, I have left the masculine nearly untouched. I have hidden behind a blind, mass blame and secret distaste of men.
I am realizing now that I am part of the problem. This approach is just as imbalanced.
It’s time for me to open that door. It’s time for me to face masculinity head-on; I feel you asking me to do it, little boy. Thank you for already being my teacher.
Yes, you are a man, but more importantly, you are YOU.
You were born with a penis and testicles, which means anatomically, you are male. Yet all humans have both masculine and feminine energy in them, regardless of their anatomy. In fact, all of life on this planet pulses with the dance between the two - giving, receiving, attracting, pollinating, pulsing forward, turning inward, and on and on. Both aspects are wonderful. Express them freely, however it comes naturally for you to do so.
Appreciate your own body exactly as it is, regardless of the images of chiseled abs and hairless chests you see in the media. You were born the exact right size, shape, texture, and shade, a combination of both your father and me who love you very much, and no one is exactly like you.
Choose your masculine role models carefully.
Many people will try and tell you what manhood means. If any part of their definition includes hurting, shaming, or using others for your own pleasure, run as far as you can in the other direction. Those who use their masculine power to dominate are not heros, they are cowards hiding behind unintelligent, brute force. Their brand of masculinity is on its way out. They are standing in their own graves.
Or like either of your grandfathers, who have lovingly served and supported their families for years with generous hearts and great senses of humor. They are shining examples of safe, solid, kind men in this world. You are very lucky to be in this family.
Stand in awe of the women in your life. They are amazing.
Ok, I know I’m your mother so this might be biased, but I’m sure your father would tell you the same thing. As a man, it is your privilege to love, celebrate, and support women. NOT because they are “the weaker sex” or need your protection, but because they are incredibly powerful givers-of-life, and they deserve your respect and admiration. Go out of your way to let them know they are safe with you. Honor them by asking their opinion, then respect it just as you would a man’s.
Men have access to wisdom from above in a unique and powerful way, but women are connected to the earth and the wisdom from below in a way you will never fully understand. Embrace their mystery.
When having sex, consent matters.
Love whom you are drawn to love. Enjoy beautiful, safe, consensual sex when and with whomever you choose, as long as they also choose you in that moment. Remember, everyone always has a choice about who touches their body and exactly when and how it happens - including you and all those whom you might desire. Respect yourself enough to remain in choice. Respect others enough to honor their choice. And as much as I wish this went without saying, it doesn’t, so. . . if someone is not conscious enough to express their consent, you do not have it. Their choice is “no,” and so, subsequently, must be yours.
Take responsibility for your actions.
And finally, this is a hard one, but if you do misuse your masculine power and cause harm, I will allow you to experience the full consequences of your actions. I will always love you no matter what, and for the sake of this global community we all share, I will not ask for a reduced sentence.
Thank you for being my teacher in masculinity already, dear baby boy. Thank you for reminding me of your presence and continually putting life into perspective with each one of your precious kicks of life. I know we have much more to learn together.
All my love,
Your wild mama
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Hello! I'm Melanie Munir, founder of Professional Wild Woman - a women's empowerment business dedicated to helping women who are tired of feeling either "too much" or "not enough" to connect to their inner wildness so they can create work that allows them the fullest expression of their unique voice. Welcome!