Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The modern woman needs the emotional leadership of creative men

As long as women are the ones burdened with childbirth, gender roles will exist. Nature herself is sexist, and we need to get used to it.

That being said, men's roles have changed. The modern man cannot afford to base his own existential certainty on his role as a breadwinner.

I do believe, though, that our masculinities provide a tonic to the moral panic of modern life. It is still our role to provide leadership and security for the women in our lives, and it is still necessary for us to demonstrate a fighting spirit alongside our sisters.

They still need us, despite what they like to say. And they need us for more than opening the jam jar and taking out the trash.

There's something important to note here about the exploration of masculinity in a post-feminist world. The uncertainty of men's roles is actually a godsend in my view, because it highlights the mystery and poetry of being a man – no longer do we depend on our careers, our egos and our material or financial value for a sense of self-worth.

That much we can certainly thank the original feminists for. In freeing women, they liberated men also from a narrow, positivist definition of masculinity. We are now free to assert ourselves beyond language, and free from the symbology of capitalism.

The world is coming round to the idea that men are not ended, we are not defunct, and we are not extraneous, just because women too can be their own providers. The great news is that men are no longer defined by their use, or their functional value. And yet, the ladies can't live without us.

This is especially good news for the creative boys among us. The writers and the poets, the actors and dancers. More than a few times I have heard women mock creative men. The old-world, pre-feminist view that creative men are not real men, really does persist.

Let me just say that any woman, or any man in fact, who professes to be a feminist, and yet still clings to the idea that creative men are not real men, is a hypocrite, or worse, a fake. Their cherished views on emancipation only go so far.

So how does the creative man benefit from the more nuanced view of masculinity that is emerging?

Well, one of the key ideals of what it means to be a man is “a leader”. The modern, poetic male, offers a kind of leadership that the modern woman cannot live without.

As they become more independent materially, women are starting to experience the exhausting, existential angst men have always felt – the feeling of disconnection that comes from over-identification with our material value, our bodies and our egos.

Creative men are often mistaken for being feminine because their sense of self is not manifested in material ways. Their courage and their power is directed inward. It is contemplative, rather than physically proactive.

As women become more and more free to define themselves in ways traditionally associated with men, men too are free to go within, to nurture their spiritual strength and their visionary potential.

Women, now more than ever, need men who are connected to themselves, and who can offer a spiritual, rather than material, form of leadership and support.

So, guys, I say to you this: You are a leader. Your intuitive, non-rational, non-financial value, is exactly what women need right now.

Your leadership will not be political or economic. It will not be authoritarian, but visionary, a boldness born from facing your own demons and emotional conflicts.

As women face the challenges of being all things to all people, of being both the economic, self-dependent warrior, and the strong, nurturing mother – they risk losing their spiritual identities.

What they need now are men connected to their own purpose, fearless in the face of uncertainty, mystery and failure. Men who know well, and are unfazed by, dark nights of the soul. Men who can offer courage and leadership in the unseen battle of the human spirit.

So, it's time to hold the head high. Time to embrace your true value as a man. Time to embrace a less defined, less materially certain masculinity, and to harness that mystery to cultivate a new ideal of male leadership.

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