I was in session with a 25-year old male client, recently, when he piped up and said:
“Men are afraid of beauty, you know. “
The words spilled out of him, slowly and carefully, as if he was afraid of how I might react.
Trust me, this is not news, I told him.
I’m well aware that men are afraid of beauty, and it’s troubling to me.
First, let’s be clear, it’s not so much the beauty that scares men as the power they ascribe to it.
Men bestow beautiful women with extraordinary powers for simply being born beautiful. I know; countless men have ascribed this power to me.
Men give women the power to destroy them —well, at least their egos – by making “getting” women a masculine right-of-passage and a sign of power.
My client, “Ken” unabashedly admitted: “A beautiful woman can obliterate my sense of self-worth, by simply deciding I’m not deserving of her time or attention. In one moment I can know who I am, and in the next, be mincemeat at her feet. “
He wanted empathy for his very common masculine fear, but what I gave him was an impassioned talk — on why getting beautiful women is not a fast-pass into manhood or the key to his personal power. And, I told him that his regarding beautiful women as a sort of ticket to power was a disservice to women.
From where I stand as an empowerment/relationship coach for men, a man’s true power is not won through sexual conquest. Sure, there’s benefit in sexual success with women, but not in the way men tend to think. It’s clearly overrated.
What men tend to find through focusing on conquest is a consistent way to stroke their egos — and feel righteous in the presence of other men. But true power (the kind a man can count on and feel proud of) comes only through love, and through discovering how to love women with an open heart.
Seeing a beautiful woman as a maker of sexual success or as a destroyer of a man’s self-worth lacks maturity and heart. It makes women out to be one-dimensional sexual creatures — only capable of benevolence or cruelty.
The other issue with making women goddesses of ultimate, sexual power is that real feminine power is overlooked.
How many young men are trained to see or appreciate a woman’s power to love, to give birth to life or to change worlds through her compassion?
The truth is: few.
I think of Neil Strauss, the author of “The Game,” as a beautiful example of this masculine dilemma. He’s a former pick-up artist, famous for training thousands of men to prey on women, sexually – so those men could prove masculine prowess and success.
He was a master in his field.
After years of gaming women in order to get them into bed and teaching other men his tricks, he actually fell in love. That love inspired Strauss to write a very different book called, “Truth,” wherein the author admits to his pick-up forays as an addiction. His journey into the psychology behind that addiction is brave and unflinching, and one might say, purifies and readies him for love.
But his legacy remains and lives in the fear that so many men carry — that women somehow hold the key to masculine success, and that without consuming them and consuming them abundantly, a man is not a man.
Obviously, it’s time for men to stop making women’s bodies tokens of masculine success. It’s time to take beautiful women off those man-made pedestals and see them eye-to-eye.
When a man can look at a beautiful woman and truly see her, not as a potential conquest or rejection of his masculinity, but as another heart, another soul — he stops assigning her unearned power. And with this, his fear of her falls away.
Photo: Getty Images