A Little #MeToo for Men

A Little #MeToo for Men

Several heterosexual couples in my clinical practice have struggled of late with issues related to the #MeToo movement.  Memories can surface for the female partner that engender feelings of rage, tremendous pain, and fear.

Trainees ask how best to help navigate these important, but potentially difficult conversations between the couple.  The work of unpacking the dominant norms of masculinity and their subsequent impact on relationship can indeed be a daunting task in the hour allotted for couples therapy.

Both for couples and the therapists who treat them, I recommend The Little #MeToo Book for Men.

Written by  Mark Greene, whose work I have previously cited on our CCAF blog, it is a call to understand the cost exacted by the rules of manhood, or as Greene describes it “man box culture.”

He states:

For millions of men, manhood can seem like a foregone conclusion, mapped out for us by universally understood rules for being a ‘real man.’ These rules determine how we walk, how we talk, what we think and do, what we view as our responsibilities and most importantly, how we pursue or fail to pursue our deepest needs, wants and desires.
These rules of manhood become so central to what we believe as to render the distinction between ourselves and our culture of manhood invisible to us.
When millions of men live our lives subject to the rules of a culture we are not fully conscious of, it can be damaging for our families, our communities, our collective quality of life, and even our longevity. The Little #MeToo Book for Men seeks to encourage a conversation about how boys and men arrive at what we believe.”

Greene has that rare talent of being able to distill what can feel like such complex, and yes, terrifying, relational issues.  Elusive, and just beyond our reach, we can feel the weight of gender dynamics, and the attendant pain, but are often left without words.

The Little #MeToo Book for Men is a wonderful tool, a clear, and concise map that will help move the conversation forward.

I know my children’s generation has begun to imagine and enact a culture that defies gender binaries.

Perhaps it’s not too late for us.

If this conversation can reveal even the slightest glimmer of daylight between our dominant culture of masculinity and our own daily choices as men, my hope is we will find, in that space, a more vibrant and authentic connection to our agency, our power and our humanity.

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