It’s not a showdown between men and women; It’s merely a show up.

Updated: Apr 23, 2019

I once got in a heated bar fight with a dude. Not being normally prone to violence, the coupling of my two glasses of champagne and his ridiculous audacity brought me right to the intersection of “I am going to punch him in this white, middle class, privileged face AND I know better than to resort to violence.” Still, I knew one sucker punch from my turquoise tranquility ring was certainly what he karmatically deserved.

You see, he was mansplaining {the explanation by a man to a woman in a condescending or patronizing way} the female orgasm to me. Firstly, I am certain he never actually facilitated bringing anyone to orgasm. Secondly, who the heck-ohla does this chap think he is to jump tracks in to my realm and claim lowbrow expertise about my body? I did not punch him; I stomped out of the bar. He laughed at me as I left. His buddies laughed too.


Women have metaphorically walked out of the room for a long time. I am so done walking out.




And then this - I was hanging out with two of my dearest guy friends. These are worthy men who care about all humans, our planet, and the impact of raising the vibration for the web of life. We sat in a pile on my couch talking smart and enjoying the moment. Then it happened, one of them asked me what my favorite thing is about my current work life. I own a business and it’s doing very well. I told him honestly that my favorite thing is that I work mostly with women. Whelp, that was the start of the nexus. To make a long story short my male friends ended up chest puffed, standing nose-to-nose arguing, yelling actually, with one another about “mansplaining” and if it was real and who does it and blah, blah, blah. Ironically, they did not include me in the conversation. Apropos really. It nearly came to blows and then one of them marched out the front door.


I am going to chalk up this behavior of lovely men to generational lack of a proper game plan to support women as we transition to a world where no one feels they need to walk out of the room. I even came up with a acronym, L.E.A.D = Listen, empathize, adjust, defer. If you identify as a man and you are interested staying in the room with the rest of us and not looking like a female-orgasm-proclaiming-idiot, pull up a chair.



Listen

If you want to be a male leader in the movement you must commit to hear and value women and their history, opinions, experiences, skills, and hope. Then partner with us to create a world where everyone is seen, valued, heard, and honored. This begins with the most active of actions; Listening. Just be still for a moment and absorb and listen in a non-pedestrian way. Not passively, not without investment from the observation deck of Twitter, not absently with a furrowed brow while perusing the cluster f*uck that is the current state of politics, and not dozily from the glass fishbowl of your boardroom. Actively, meaning your lips are not moving, your computer keys are not typing, but you are there and awake, absorbing the moment and hearing the voices of women. Actually listening and taking it in to process.


Empathize

Do you know what it is like to be a woman? We have been trying to tell you it can be scary. That we have to think and plan for things that you don’t because we feel we need to take specific care to guard our bodies and procure our advancement: Pepper spray, walking buddies, where we park, not setting our drink down, clothing choice, etc. We have to carefully advocate for things you don’t: pay, recognition, political influence, rights over our own health, athletic opportunity. And oddly, we have to bargain and wrangle for time: time off, alone time, moments on the camera, moments on the political record, minutes on stage, moments on the field/court/pitch. Empathize please, not from a place of shared suffering, rather with an awareness of our journey and a sensitivity towards its uniqueness from yours. Awareness that we are not trying to be men, we want to be the best version of women and we need equal time to cultivate, celebrate and showcase our strengths.


Adjust

This is new to all of us; we are overtly trying on our power and somehow you think that means you are going to lose some of yours. That’s not the case, that’s not how women roll. Women birthed humanity, like actually. We won’t let you fall; Please trust us to take the helm. In fact, adjust your sails and rest a minute won’t you? The winds of equality are changing and your best move is to get on-board. We have known oppression and as we shift in to real self-actualization, we are not trying to hurt you or bring you down. We want more for you and for us. We know a thing or two about survival, balance, courage, resilience, and raising humans. Calibrate yourself to share and we all win.


Defer

What if you gave deferring to a woman, especially regarding things about women, a whirl? If a woman says something about herself, events in her life, her area of expertise, her choice for her body, then please acquiesce. To truly be a leader in the movement of equality, we must believe women. Sometimes this looks like staying quiet and just listening, sometimes this looks like hushing your male friends to give space for others to speak, sometimes this looks like handing off your moment to a woman who may know more or differently than you to ensure all sides are represented. Deferment looks a lot like sharing, sharing is in-fact caring, and healthy power for all is gained by creating a shared diverse tapestry of knowledge and experience.


Perhaps this action plan for men looks a lot like an action-less plan. There have been generations of women actively laying the foundation of this shift. There have been bumps, valleys, fissures, peaks, and all of the essential moments in any real change narrative. Women are doing the work; your action plan is to come along for the ride.


Dear Wonderful Men, this is your time to lead by moving a snitch out of the way. By all means, stay in the room, stand by our side, enjoy this moment and know we don’t need you to save us.


We have it handled. It’s not a showdown between men and women; It’s merely a show up.

We can do this, together.

Cheers,

Autumn