What makes a good man? Yasmina Blackburn reflects on how perspectives can shape the views about men.
Labels compartmentalize people. The idea smothers me. Taking on a label means taking on all of the attributes of that label: good, bad, ugly, correct, incorrect, unknown, and unforeseen. Being force-fed a label makes me feel like running. Running seems like freedom compared to being trapped inside of a box.
Expressing my viewpoint that labels are not for me, has meant receiving accusations that I “don’t understand their definition.” And, I’ve heard numerous definitions of what labels can mean; so, I’m not certain which ones I’m not understanding. A line in the dictionary will never encompass the reality of actions, words, attitudes and social and political movements.
Broad brush strokes will always leave something out or result in boxing people in. Just as people want to be seen as individuals, causes are individual too. Can I fight for the cause of equality without being labeled? Can I choose my battles, or must one person espouse the varying values of all people that label themselves part of a movement?
If you insist on labeling me, I’ll take “equalist” for 200. But don’t hold me to that label; I might change my mind. Labels are man-made and fluid. Anything man-made is subject to change.
I was raised by a loving, selfless mother and a bold, devoted father with the values that women are revered. Women are mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and friends. Women are amazing. Women can handle the pain of childbirth and hold a conference call with 15 people the same day if they wanted. Women nurture, heal, inspire. Women multi-task. Like really multi-task in ways that make us seem super human. I know how awesome women are; and, I embrace it. I don’t need to be told or reminded. I mean, I am one.
I have been surrounded by strong, amazing men my entire life. I have men in my life to thank for inspiring me in my career and for helping me to follow my dreams. I have men in my life that enrich my spirituality and knowledge. I have men in my life that challenge me in ways I’ve never dreamed of challenging myself. I have men in my life that love me for who I am—the good, bad and ugly parts of me.
I’m in awe of the physical strength of men. It’s a huge turn-on for me because it’s something that I can’t compete with. It’s uniquely theirs; and, well, it’s hot. I love that I have men in my life that I can rely on to offer their strength, encouragement, opinions and advice at a moment’s notice without judgment.
I love men. I need men in my life.
I’m not afraid to say that I need men. It doesn’t mean I would physically die without men in my life, but a part of me would die without men as I honor them; and, they make my life noticeably better. The men in my life have and continue to provide joy, comfort and ease to my world. I acknowledge this. I’m grateful for this. I embrace this.
I Promise to Defend You
I am a strong and confident woman that does not need to put men down in order to lift myself up. In fact, I insist on never doing that. I insist on calling out people that put down my men (or any men for that matter) simply for being men.
I have been hurt by men in my life. And I don’t blame all men in my life for that. I don’t blame all men on the planet for that either.
I am not the victim of men.
I promise to the men of the world that any misfortunes I have experienced in my relationships with men throughout my life- will not be taken out on you.
I promise to appreciate you for who you are. Just as I hope you will appreciate me for the woman that I am.
I promise to show gratitude to my husband when he walks through the door.
Raising a Son
I promise to nurture my son not only because it’s so easy to do when your love knows no bounds – but also so that he can accept nurturing by his spouse someday and know that it’s okay to be vulnerable and accept love from another. I promise to never interfere with my son’s relationship with his father and to always stand as a united front so we raise a confident, disciplined human being.
Raising a Daughter
I’m raising a daughter alongside my son. I promise her that I will never interfere in her relationship with her father as this is her first love. It’s through this relationship that is outside of my own that will teach my daughter self-respect, confidence and enduring commitment.
It’s through her relationship with her father that my daughter will learn how men should treat her—what is acceptable and what isn’t. It’s within the confines of her father/daughter relationship that she will learn the nuances of men that make them uniquely different than women. Better? No. Worse? No. Different? Yes! Gloriously different.
My daughter needs her father as much as she needs me. She needs him for some of the same things, and for some things that are different than what I can ever provide her. For that, I’m forever grateful to this man in her life. He is paving the way for the future relationships my daughter will have in her life just as my father did for me. I will do my share by showing my daughter that I respect her father; and, I respect her as a human being, and that I acknowledge that her relationship with her father is important and sacred and uniquely theirs.
I’m not a label. But, you can call me an equalist, I guess.
I defend women; and, I defend men.
I am a woman that loves and honors women. I am a woman that loves and honors men.
Photo Credit: Enigma Photos/Flickr