9 Things Men Can Do to Change Themselves and the World

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Anthony Carter believes men can do anything, but to really grow as humans, sometimes we’ve got get out and push our comfort levels.

Men can do anything.

From the time we create our first toast pistol, put a frog in the blender, discover our appendage or make a cape from a towel, we learn that the world is ours to manipulate and change.

We also get indoctrinated into patriarchal society and its twin pinnacles of effectiveness: domination and subjugation.

Since it is not natural to cause others pain and harm, it can be assumed that this is a practice that is taught which means we can replace it by teaching something else.

Here is a list that should be taught along with why putting a frog anywhere near an electric appliance is a very bad idea.

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1. Listen to and love women: Stop referring to women who are clear, focused and direct as bitches, ball busters and cunts. Get your mitts on some bell hooks, Audre Lorde and any woman  who is clear thinking and committed to her own and the planet’s growth.

2. Seek professional help in dealing with childhood trauma. Trust me—if you survived childhood (and if you’re reading this that means you did) then there’s some trauma, misunderstanding or confusion that needs sorting out.

3. Delve into a spiritual practice or create one of your own. Whether your spiritual practice is age old or new age/new thought, no evolution and commitment to being a full human being is complete without a spiritual base.

4. Develop relationships with young children. As someone who has taught four year olds and high school students and everyone in between, I am aware of people’s misunderstanding around men’s significance when it comes to being in a child’s life.

5. Stop determining your worth by what you have, as opposed to what you do. This is directly related to number 4. Many people wrongly assume that teaching and men teaching is the result of being unskilled and the least desirable choice because it is the work of the mind. Prove them wrong. Teach.

6. Give up the belief that your only contribution is a physical one. Invest in brain-teasing, synapse-changing activities and interaction. Although I suck at scrabble and never win, I am mentally challenged and have never left a game not having learned something. Maybe chess or checkers would be more to your liking. Anything that moves our minds and gets them to stretch and move beyond what is comfortable and familiar is a great thing.

7. Get clear about sex and what it can and can’t do. See points two and six as a starting place. Sex can and does result in pregancy, HIV, STIs, hurt feelings and disappointment. It can also lead to closeness, sharing and powerful metaphysical bonding if we allow it.

8. Stop lying about your feelings, accomplishments, disappointments, height, weight, penis size and sexual prowess. Tell the truth about your fears and how you handle them, your unrealized dreams and how you created new ones. Define what the term “all night long” really means (it is a song from the eighties)and why it isn’t that important.

9. Develop friendships and relationships with people who are different and navigate the planet differently because of race, sexual orientation, religion or age. If you are straight get yourself some gay buddies. If you’re gay, get some straight comrades. Remember we’re not talking about folk who are really curious and are one cocktail from “trying something out”. We’re talking about real relationships where it is understood that not only is sexual intimacy out of the question but so are ridiculous assumptions, less-than-thought-out inquiries regarding one another’s lives and ridiculous entendres that are dumb, juvenile and pointless.

Try some of these out. Mix and match. Maybe focus on one per month and the notice the results. Take note and witness when you are kinder, wiser, more thoughtful and far less assumptive. Write me and let me know your results. I’ll be playing Scrabble, hanging with a straight pal or playing with one of my nine grandchildren.

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Flickr/ jmettraux

Lead Photo: Flickr/ashley CHILE baz

 

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About Anthony Carter

Anthony Carter is a writer, actor and teacher. He is adjusting to life on the West Coast after years of being a theater rat in NYC.  He was recently interviewed for the premiere issue of Proud to Be Out (an online magazine) where he discussed gay bullying, self esteem issues and how to support our youth in their efforts to be recognized for their greatness. He can be reached at his website, anthony-carter.com

Comments

  1. #1, sorry but why exactly should men Listen to and Love women, one woman perhaps, that special someone but I have always failed to see what women have a group. They are no better and no worse than men but some people think they are like gods on earth who can do now wrong.

    BTW, can you even imagine someone typing that in reverse.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      I think since historically women have been generally ignored and treated as property or second-class citizens, he is saying that women deserve full personship to men the way other men do.

      • I’d extend this to people of all types, the mentally ill, the people with low intelligence, homeless people, CHILDREN especially get ignored a lot. I listen to everyone but try to avoid listening to bigots, assholes, abusive folk. I talk to women more than men, even about fashion and typically feminine topics, have done so since early highschool and always tried to keep a steady mix of male n female influence in my life.

      • Actually Joanna; women have not been treated as property throughout history anymore than men have.

        http://owningyourshit.blogspot.ca/2013/01/transcript-of-hi-danielle-nice-to-make.html

        Have a look at that, it lays out very nicely exactly why women weren’t second class citizens and why men received the benefits of society that perhaps women didn’t. Simple answer: They paid for those benefits, often with their very lives.

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          You’re right, Saltek. Women deserved to be sold as property, not allowed to vote, be raped and beaten legally.

          Because we don’t fight in wars.

          Phew, I feel better about everything now that I know my ancestors’ subjugation was justified.

          • That was a very childish response from someone who obviously didn’t read the link I posted.

          • “Phew, I feel better about everything now that I know my ancestors’ subjugation was justified.”
            Ok, which would you pick. Being a male or a female? Both were property, yet only 1 died in extreme numbers in horrific conditions? I highly doubt either had a better life, if the opposing army won the men would get killed off, the women kept around as slaves, both lose although a chance at life is better than none.

      • Captain Happy Pants says:

        Men have been treated as fodder for every dangerous job on this planet since the beginning of recorded history. Is that not subjugation as well?

  2. Great list and solid advice. I am curious why pregnancy is grouped together with the negative aspects of sex though. As an expectant father of a planned child, I would say it can definitely be a positive aspect of a wonderful relationship.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Unwanted pregnancy is bad for the woman, man and child in many circumstances. Obviously pregnancy can be the BEST outcome of sex. I know this because I have to little sons! ;)

      And congrats on the upcoming baby!

  3. “1. Listen to and love women: Stop referring to women who are clear, focused and direct as bitches, ball busters and cunts. Get your mitts on some bell hooks, Audre Lorde and any woman who is clear thinking and committed to her own and the planet’s growth.”

    Women that act rude, knowitall, arrogant n downright “like a bitch” are not clear, focused, and direct. Clear, focused, and direct people aren’t meant to be called a bitch/asshole/whatever.

    “2. Seek professional help in dealing with childhood trauma. ”
    Agreed.

    “3. Delve into a spiritual practice or create one of your own. ”
    I wanted to create a religion that has orgies and big parties, will I be able to get tax exemption?

    “4. Develop relationships with young children.”
    Hard to do without kids of my own, nor close friends n family with kids that age locally. Very hard to do when attempting to do it has a high chance of being seen as creepy and pedophile behaviour in this current pedo-hysteria. I wouldn’t mind teaching a kid how to fix stuff, photography, etc but I am nervous enough being around kids because I am a single white guy, no kids, and in this climate the most prejudiced target of such hysteria. Guys with their OWN kids at playgrounds get the evil eye and sometimes even have cops called on them, what chance does a single guy with no kids have?

    “5. Stop determining your worth by what you have, as opposed to what you do. ”
    I teach photography to others at times. I guess I can define some worth from that.

    “6. Give up the belief that your only contribution is a physical one.”
    Indeed, I like to create stuff from scratch. I’ve built a desk, and other woodwork, made beautiful photos, digital art, etc.

    “7. Get clear about sex and what it can and can’t do. ”
    Superduper agree. Learn how to control your orgasm too is a great technique, take control of your lovelife.

    “8. Stop lying about your feelings, accomplishments, disappointments, height, weight, penis size and sexual prowess. ”
    That’s the hard one…

    ” 9. Develop friendships and relationships with people who are different and navigate the planet differently because of race, sexual orientation, religion or age.”
    Agreed, having a wide variety of friends helps balance someone out. My friends are 18-60+, most races (haven’t met any Eskimo or people from very remote island communities), wide variety of religions although here in Aus I don’t think I’ve met any jewish or islamic people as it’s mainly christian, catholic, jehovahs witness, atheist and agnostics, Sikh. Hard to find people of alll types around here. Don’t know any openly gay males (small town rural area, might still be in “closet”), have a few openly lesbian females. I have no qualms with knowing gay, transgender, etc people, they’re all people to me. I only get rid of assholes, users, abusive people.

    I’ll add one. 10. Try to have an open mind, accept others where possible (I don’t accept bigotry however). I’ve listened to people tell me they think they are aliens and try not to judge, I doubt they are aliens but who knows, only a fool thinks he knows everything this universe has to offer. I just hope if they are aliens they can give me cool technology to help drag humanity out of destroying their environment!

  4. Hi Anthony
    Thank you!

    Here is my reflections on:
    5:”  Stop determining your worth by what you have, as opposed to what you do. ”

    As a former wife of an workaholic is would recommend that you include “determine your worth by who you ARE, and what you do”.
    Children that are loved for who they are,and simply because they are….become pleasant men” 

    “7. Get clear about sex and what it can and can’t do. ”

    Write more about this one! 

    “. ”

  5. Gint Aras says:

    Ok, just to clarify. Lionel Richie is not a guru?

  6. >> no evolution and commitment to being a full human being is complete without a spiritual base. <<

    That is a personal opinion, and by no means a universal truth.

  7. This is fair advice. I particularly appreciated the point of finding a spiritual center. This is significant because as many of us believe, spirituality doesn’t necessarily have to be religion based and it can come from one of several areas. I discuss several variations of this theme on http://www.rdwins.com
    Thanks, Leslie Lox

  8. One more comment about number nine if I may; That’s an extremely good idea but I don’t think we’re ready for it yet (actually its a great idea).
    I believe that what it ultimately suggests are acts and situations that are ethical. Regardless of all the recent laws, the enactment of ethical regulations are wishes, suggestions and hopes pointing towards a principled existence the ultimate goal of which is individual sovereignty.
    Before we get that confident and that free and attain anything resembling an ethical society and individual sovereignty there is a long road to travel. Actually I discuss this road at length on http://www.NiLoPublishing.com
    Thanks again and I’ll see you on that road.
    Leslie T. Lox

  9. I like that your article encourages men to think more of women & of themselves. Two huge issues that can be solved by teaching & help improving men to be better. :)

    • John Schtoll says:

      Fareed: I would suggest that at least in the western world, men thing ALOT about women and their issues , a lot more than the reverse.

      Even the men in power do that, we have VAWA, Major health spending favoured towards women, Major eduction funding and funneling towards women.

  10. I love how bold this article is. Sadly, if my ex-husband had embraced more of these points (esp 2, 3, and 7), I think we’d still be together. Thank you for this.

  11. I’m sorry, but can’t all these apply to women as well? Deal with childhood trauma? Stop lying about height/weight? Maybe we should add “stop judging yourself by things you see in magazines you buy voluntarily and then resenting others for that judgement.” I am by NO means saying men are better than women. I’m trying to propose the radical idea that we are all equal and maybe just spelling out the other side’s faults is not a step toward solving anything.

  12. Joanna,

    Thanks so much for all of the support. Let’s do it again very soon.

    Anthony Carter

  13. I enjoyed reading the list, and its solid advice. I’m stunned by the sexist responses by men, though. I guess sexism (and men who want to justify the degradation of women) is alive and well.

  14. Dan Collier says:

    Anthony Carter has put together a passionate and deeply considered piece (no surprise to anyone who has been following Mr. Carter’s just as passionate and just as deeply considered blog and writings elsewhere). While there are many spot-on points, one which especially fascinates me is women. Not what Mr. carter elaborates on, for which I can only salute him, rather some of the negative comments concerning women.

    They are not simply dispiriting in their dreary misogyny, they are utterly baffling, in the year 2013. The male fear of the female is apparently bottomless. Bottomless and very, very dangerous. To the entire planet.

    Nice work, Anthony Carter!

  15. Mr Supertypo says:

    ” 1. Listen to and love women: Stop referring to women who are clear, focused and direct as bitches, ball busters and cunts. Get your mitts on some bell hooks, Audre Lorde and any woman who is clear thinking and committed to her own and the planet’s growth. ”

    How about this, threat women as human beings, no more no less. Call out who annoys you and praise who you like, just as you would do with the guys. Finally share your love only on who is worth of it, male, female or else…

  16. 1. Some women ARE bitches, ball busters and cunts. To be blind to the fact that women can be horrible human beings in the same way our own gender can be is counter-productive and sexist. Women do not fart unicorns and rainbows just because they have ovaries.
    2. Horribly presumptuous and also somewhat shifts the blame onto the victim if they don’t seek ‘help’, or ‘re-education’. Sometimes you learn from bad experiences because they are learning experiences and nothing more.
    3. What does the word ‘spiritual’ even mean? Its a noise, a grab-bag term into which people can stuff just about anything. The world needs more clear-headed rationalism and less ‘spiritual’ guff. To presume those of us who do not subscribe to ‘woo’ aren’t full human beings is frankly offensive.
    4. Men trying to befriend young children is fraught with problems unless you are directly and closely related to them. Sexism paints men as predatory and as paedophiles in waiting. So how exactly is one to do this?
    5. How about just ‘who you are’? You are no more what you do than what you own.
    6. This would contradict 3.
    7. This is a weird combination of scaremongering and elevation. Sex can also be FUN. Getting hung up on the dirty/shameful or the quasi-mystical ends excludes an enormous middle.
    8. Sometimes you have to lie for the sake of yourself or others. Lying isn’t inherently evil. It serves a useful social purpose and a self-image purpose.
    9. Finally something I can 100% agree with.

  17. Adam Blanch says:

    Dear Anthony,

    you seem to believe that all men are some sort of homogenous group of thugs that you need to educate on being a good human being. I found this article insulting, stereotyping, superior and vaguely feminist. I think you need to get to know some more men.

    • “…vaguely feminist.” And that’s a negative?

      Sounds like you, Adam, need to get to know more women.

  18. The article lost me when it said “put a frog in a blender” as if that’s what natural good untraumatized men do. They don’t. That’s what psychopaths do in the early stages of realizing that they have no capacity for empathy. I don’t know what causes psychopathy (nature or nurture or what) but I do know that was a terrible way to start an article about how to be good.

  19. Michael Rowe says:

    It would be terrific if, instead of this content revisionism about the history of men’s supremacy, an honest discussion of the role played by class could occur. As someone has already pointed out here, men, especially poor men, have been used as expendable fodder (literally, in the case of wars) since the beginning of recorded history. They have done dangerous and life-threatening work in every community extant, and since they could not bear children, were thought of as, for the most part, valueless and disposable. A rich and privileged woman has always had more power at her disposable, historically, than a poor or lower-class male. Class, as much as sex, has been the criteria for oppression and domination. An admission of that would help make these discussion a great deal more honest.

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