Patriarchy — male self-empowerment for privilege, abuse, and power — is the seed of Autocracy.
I’ve just finished watching a Thai film in which human trafficking is exposed. The “bad guy” defends his position with simple logic which I paraphrase: “People have been using and killing people since time began. As history repeats itself, I am simply repeating history. It is who we [humans] are.” In its way, it is the equivalent of “boys will be boys” as the explanation/excuse for everything from bad behavior to rape. It is a basic tenant of the patriarchy, the father of toxic masculinity and the man-box.
The perfect example
Our impeached President embodies patriarchy in its highest authoritarian form. He believes he is above the law and has announced he is now the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, with pardons for sale, as well as our national historian, changing history to mitigate any federal fact records of his misbehavior. This is in addition to micromanaging his entire cabinet, w racism while encouraging racism, misogyny, antisemitism, and anti-immigration. As the leader of our country, his patriarchal sense of entitlement is totally supported by those who also cling to the patriarchy: “Me for me and you for me.”
Authoritarianism, patriarchy, is all about power and the privilege to wield that power – a self-identification as the apex predator who subscribes to the mantra that the end (gratification and aggrandizement) justifies the means. To perpetuate this perspective, parents have been encouraged to raise their children based on predefined male/female gender roles. In short, shut up and do what you’re told. Girls were to focus on lesser support roles and boys were to focus on being good soldiers.
Where are the heroes?
What does all this have to do with dating? Potential Partners Regardless of Gender (PPROG) love their heroes. Notice that “heroes” is with the small “h.” These are the ones who save the puppies, walk an elderly across the street or through a danger zone, and buy a child an ice cream cone for the dropped one on the ground. It’s the ones who tell the host to enjoy their coffee and clear the table, wash the dishes, or keep the children occupied.
Raising heroes with emotional intelligence
What? Feelings and empathy? Where does that come from? It comes from children, regardless of gender or gender identification, who are raised to believe they can do anything they put their mind to, challenge any norm that is abusive, rise above negativity, and follow their passion, and see people for who they are not what they are. Children raised to be kind, generous, and compassionate. Children who stand up for themselves and others. Children who learn their authentic selves are loved and appreciated and can, therefore, love and appreciate others. These children grow up to be heroes.
Adults can learn to be heroes
Adults have the capacity to find their heroic selves as well. It means learning the cues and triggers which abuse and bully others by implying “they are less than,” and/or “they’re not good enough.” It could be a look, a casual comment, or behavior that unconsciously sends a signal. However, make no mistake, it’s there and it can be changed. Adults can change if they want to.
Small “h” everyday heroes
Our small “h” heroes don’t tolerate bullying, sexist or racist or mean-spirited jokes, or abuse when they see it. They see others as versions of themselves, regardless of skin color, or gender, or religion. They can cooperate as easily as compete – different approaches to different situations. They play well with others, stepping forward or back as the group evolves.
Our small “h” heroes listen. They know how to have conversations and negotiate disagreements. They understand physical boundaries and they must get and give consent before crossing them.
Our small “h” heroes understand time. They know what they’re looking for and ask if the PPROG is interested in a short/long term relationship. They know when to back away and when to stay, and they confirm that with the PPROG. They get that getting to know someone takes time, trust, and conversation – not litany, mansplaining, or personal monologue.
Heroes engage with their partner
Our small “h” heroes make their PPROG feel special. They don’t disappear, or ignore calls or texts, or leave them alone to chat-up someone “more” important. In effect, our heroes not abusers. They know that PPROGs want partners they respect and honor, and who are kind to their PPROG, their family, and all sentient beings.
Toxic Masculinity is about behavior, not gender.
Men raised in, indoctrinated into, and poisoned by the patriarchy don’t understand why PPROG don’t see them or their needs as central to the conversation. Their anger and confusion are always on the verge of igniting. The consequences are often lethal to relationships and lives.
Every one of us can choose what kind of person we want to be and be that person. No one can change us, we have to do it ourselves. Each day, we must put on our grown-up pants and wake up a little more to what is happening around us and what is not. Patterns will emerge. We as individuals and in groups have the power to break those patterns and cooperate to find better and more effective ways to meet personal, community, and global goals. This is how heroes are made.
While we are distracted by the growing authoritarian take-over of our government, the planet is becoming more and more hostile to all life forms. The climate and environmental crises are real. Natural disasters caused by man-made pollution from changing landscapes caused by flood, fire, drought, heat, and locusts. The consequences will be human and multiple specie migrations like we’ve never seen, food and drinkable water shortages, and dying oceans. And in the end, life forms will have depleted immune systems and disease/pandemics will spread.
Active heroes do find love
If there ever was a time for change and a need for heroes, it is now. Men can choose to become Good Men and throw off the chains of patriarchy. There are single PROGs looking for single Good Men as they march in the streets and meet in communities to create sustainable change. PPROGs are in adult education, interest groups, and wherever people gather. PPROGs are cleaning up beaches, roadsides, streams, and waterways.
Be a hero starting today
For good men, there has never been a better time to get out there and meet “the one.”. Meet your PPROG while defending our freedoms and working toward a sustainable future. It’s a win-win. All it takes is a commitment to yourself, time, and a little bit of effort. Do it. Start Now.
Have you read the original anthology that was the catalyst for The Good Men Project? Buy here: The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood
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