Okay, boys. We need to talk. The four scariest words a woman can possibly utter in your direction. But it’s time. It’s time for a chat. We’re living in a weirdass time right now. Politically, socially—shit is upside down. Our pussy-grabbing president is being accused of having a sleepover with Russia. Women have been marching to keep him out of their uteri for the past month or so. And you’re probably wondering where that leaves you. If you’re looking at some of the primetime male “role models” you’ve got going, you’re looking at some sleazy, gross, misogynistic, cat-calling shitbags. That’s your current representation. That’s the paradigm of masculinity. This is manhood. This is how men behave. If you’re a man, it stands to reason, this is how you behave.
And that should piss you off.
It should infuriate you. It should infuriate you that your stereotype ranges from Misogynistic Asshole to Oh, This Guy Might Rape Me Tonight.
That’s your legacy right now. And it is bullshit. You have sisters, you have daughters, you have mothers in your life who you respect and adore.
Do me a solid real quick and hop on Twitter. Look for the Golics—Mike, Jr. and Sydney, specifically. The rest are top-notch, too, but let’s focus for a second. Observe the relationship between the two. Yes, I’m asking you to stalk their respective accounts. Three minutes, though, and you’re in. The relationship there is a combination of spellbinding adoration and sheer hysterics. These are incredible humans. Watch how Mike (and his brother Jake) treat Sydney as an equal. Because she is. But wait. Here’s the best part! They’ve had to sacrifice absolutely NOTHING to act this way. Nothing. They’re still some of the most downright hilarious people you’ll find in the entirety of the worldwide web of ours. They don’t have to alter their personalities or “tone it down.” They are themselves outright. And they respect and love each other through all of it.
Now, listen, I get it. Mike is a pretty high bar to set in terms of expectations (and raw sex appeal), but come on, guys. This isn’t that hard. Everyone has women in their lives. Everyone. Living, breathing women who I know for a goddamned fact would never hear the vitriolic misogyny we hear on the daily from our modern political pundits coming out of your mouths. I mean, sure, you check girls out. We’re bangin’, it’s cool. But you don’t aggressively catcall them openly in the streets or physically pursue them despite their blatant requests that you stop immediately. You’re not a fucking child. You’re a grown-ass man and you know that’s not how you treat a person.
Well, unfortunately for some of you, that may not be the case, so the advice there is to just be better. We all have weaknesses. Yours is being a jackass. Work on it.
For everyone else down here in the clear, I don’t need to tell you to “be better” or “do better” because you’re already there, or at least close enough. So, what now? Now, you need to show up. You need to spread it. It can be as simple and beautiful as the social media presence of the Golic family. It can be setting an example for your younger teammates of how a healthy and respectful relationship should look. It can be a heart-to-heart with a friend who says and does that stupid shit we talked about earlier. Learn from him. Learn where it comes from. Learn why he thinks it’s okay to treat people like that. And once you get there, get to work. Start teaching. Teach him what to do. To respect. Teach him to respect women as his equal. Explain to him that he doesn’t have to change the core of who he is to become this better version of himself. Because—let me say this again—YOU ARE NOT BAD GUYS. We do not hate you.
I am a proud feminist who loves men. I am a proud feminist whose favorite person on earth is her brother. A brother who is none other than…drumroll, please…a MAN!
The word “feminism” scares a lot of people, and I get that, I do. True feminism, as it is right now, means fighting for our bodily rights and equal pay (and, you know, a few other things here and there). And these “things” do matter to us. But here’s the deal. So do a lot of other things. And this thing? This one’s about you. This time we’re fighting for you.
Because that’s what good feminists, that’s what good people do. They fight for what they believe in. And we believe in you guys. We believe like hell. We also believe you’re getting your asses handed to you on a platter. So, we’re subbing in for a second. Team meeting, let’s go.
You’ve got a job to do. You’ve got some battles to fight; some easy, some a bit more precarious. But we’ve got this, fret not. Let’s break this down into two levels.
If you’re level one, you’re a little bit of a rookie. Not quite ready for the big leagues, but you still want some good minutes on the floor. Here’s your job:
Be an example—to your friends, your family. Be an example of what masculinity looks like in the real world. Go a step further. Correct your friends when they screw up. Call them out when they cross the line. You know the line, you know when it’s crossed (I don’t have a filter and, therefore, don’t have a line but am still fully aware that there is, in fact, a line).
If you’re level two, you’re getting into Golic Territory. You’re ready for the Big Leagues—and we’re ready to have you. Your job is to take on some of the more aforementioned precarious battles faced by hegemonic masculinity nowadays. You still have to take on some of the level one battles, yes. But you’ve got a new bevy of issues coming your way. This is the level of “redefining” masculinity. Redefining it on your terms. That doesn’t mean simply “not letting these political pundits be your examples.” It means completely redefining it for yourselves in a way that you like. In a way that you want. It’s actually kind of cool. You get to decide who you want to be. And you get to decide what’s okay.
You get to decide that you are allowed to watch The Bachelor without losing your masculinity, without being one ounce less of a man. You get to appreciate that show for the absolute addiction and educational dream that it is. The social structures, the inexplicable bonds formed between fierce competitors. The hot tubs. You get to decide to watch it and watch it some more. Snapchat it. Submit for the next season. Be Chris Harrison. The sky is yours.
Seriously. That’s the beauty of all of this. The proverbial sky is yours. You get to decide who represents you. Who exemplifies your character. Who personifies masculinity for you. You get to decide who you want to be. And you get to decide what’s okay.
So, do it. Decide. Be exactly who you want to be.
Because we need you. We do. So, let’s do this shit.
Here’s a collection of the loving masculinity in my life.