Pro Feminism – Beyond Altruism

By Paul Dunion | April 8, 2019

Men who are pro-feminism miss the boat when their supportive efforts are allegedly driven by altruism or kindness. It is not that kindness is somehow inappropriate. It simply misses the depth of something authentically relational. Here are some of the pitfalls both genders experience with altruistic pro-feminism.

  • “Look at me championing feminism.” When self-interest remains unconscious, it gets worked covertly. More emphasis is placed upon the hope for positive attention due to getting behind women rather than simply prioritizing female empowerment.  Such a maneuver feels boyish, similar to, “Aren’t I good, I cleaned my room.”
  • “I’m doing the right thing. I’m being good.” Whether the male gets approved of or not, this is similar to the previous pitfall, it is a dependent form of self-esteem. The male is likely caught in a maternal projection wanting a woman’s approval.
  • “How could you not appreciate all that I do?” Acting allegedly only from kindness is a breeding ground for resentment. When a man doesn’t get enough anticipated kudos for his feminist devotion, resentment is highly likely.
  • Maybe I don’t need to attend to my own healing.” Altruistic pro-feminism can be a bypass for the need of a man’s own healing.  Getting clear about some maternal wounding that occurred is not the most favorite pastime of most men. It becomes easy to attach to being perceived favorably by women as a way to detour around attending to his own genuine empowerment.

Self-interested Pro-Feminism

There are a number of significant benefits for both genders when men are personally invested in their pro-feminism efforts.

*No hidden agenda. The choice to support female empowerment is clean. Men do not bring some boyish maternal script to bear down upon how they relate to women.  Men do it because it empowers them and women.

* Genuine experience of joining and being joined. There becomes a real opportunity to explore what it means to relate to an actual peer.  A boyish motivation gets eliminated.

* Opportunity for mutual growth. Being peers yields a sense that each gender can be a catalyst of growth for the other.

* Inter-dependency replaces dependency. Both genders are able to depend upon one another without one gender getting stuck in either a dominant or a dependent position.

* Co-creation & collaboration are enhanced. When hidden agendas are dismissed, energy becomes available for more creativity and productivity.

Men are not encouraged to attend to the ways they may have been maternally wounded. When some necessary maternal healing is exempt from a man’s psychology, he will either exercise an inordinate amount of energy proving to women that he is lovable and/or punishing them. It means that men will need some measure of healing due to their maternal experiences in order to authentically empower themselves and support the empowerment of women. Their own empowerment is a prerequisite to supporting the empowerment of women. It is similar to being told before takeoff to place your oxygen mask on yourself before helping others.

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