Intersections

Exploring the crossroads of religion, culture, and science through a Pagan lens

Pagan men speak out on patriarchy and misogyny

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Men live in a world of incredible privilege.  Unfortunately, we’re like the prisoners in Plato’s cave, often unable to see a world any different from our own.  Women may bare their souls trying to show us the advantages we enjoy as men, but – never having seen the world any differently – some men find it impossible to imagine life from a woman’s point of view.

The shootings at UC Santa Barbara picked the scab off this societal wound.  Suddenly, deep and festering examples of everything from slight male privilege to disgusting and cancerous misogyny were exposed.  “Men’s rights” groups, unable to see that they already enjoy easy access to “rights,” have turned to social media to defend themselves.

The hashtag #notallmen screamed that “not all men” were sexists or rapists and demanded recognition.  Women countered with a trend that had already been around, #yesallwomen, detailing the experiences of fear, pain, and marginalization that all women have to sustain, but men never give a second thought to.  “Yes all women” feel fear every time they have to go out at night to pick up a carton of milk or jog alone in the park.  They have to.  You never know which man is the dangerous one.

Modern pagans are in a unique place in this debate.  The most visible strands of the movement love and worship the Goddess.  Many of us came to paganism to flee from the oppression of a one male god patriarchy.  Even men’s groups tend to dislike patriarchy and make an attempt to listen and understand their sisters.  Pagan men are at the forefront, necessary allies in the fight against patriarchy.

I asked pagan men from various traditions to give their perspectives in this very important topic.  Their answers are thoughtful and hopeful, showing just how far ahead of the gender relations curve many of us are.

Storm Faerywolf

Storm Faerywolf

“Patriarchy is not about men. It’s about *boys*. It’s about those who are stunted and who cling to a wicked lie that some people are more equal than others. Real men do not need to demonize women… or different types of men, for that matter, in order to gain respect. Real men gain respect by giving it.

The Sacred Masculine treats all women and all types of men as equals. Recognizing the inherent equality in others does not diminish us in any way. Only with the goal of real equality for everyone can we work together to change our culture.

And to change we need to share our stories. And we need to listen to the stories of others who are different than us. *Especially* when they are hard for us to hear.

I have been harmed and shamed by men. I have been harmed and shamed by women. I choose to take that pain and turn it into compassion for all people, in all walks of life. Women are the victims of a systematic problem that results in their physical harm and even death. If women are angry at “all men” for this, well… I can’t exactly blame them. I used to be angry at all men, too, because I grew up in fear of them.

One answer is for men to get together to ask ourselves tough questions… and to mirror for each other what it means to be a healthy, respectful, strong male. We need not own the anger of those who have been hurt by others and then make it all about us. If we *do* make it all about us then that shows where *our* wounds are, too.

Let us all heal our wounds! For there are far too many.”

– Storm Faerywolf

Faery Teacher, www.faerywolf.com

Erick DuPree

Erick DuPree

“I believe it starts with asking “how I can help” and ‘what I can do?” By being active listeners and participants, engaging by making the choice to flip the script. Instead of “fighting for…” choose “I am fighting in the stopping of oppression, power, and privilege.” For men specifically, it is also realizing that every man is “that man” because by default society places us, trains us, and lifts us up to be misogynists. We are born seeing misogyny. The default setting, especially in the US is patriarchy. It may not be our choice, but we must accept that unlearning centuries of cognitive dissonance is the path we choose. Women know we will stumble, but by trying, and coming to the table with an open heart, mind, and spirit, making about the problems and not the person, believe true change will manifest.”

-Erick DuPree

Writer, erickdupree.com

 

“I can never fully understand the day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute lived experiences that most of the women in my life have had to endure. And to be

Gwion Raven

Gwion Raven

clear, I and many other men I know have lived through some of the same horrible experiences, but those experiences are often singular acts rather than the daily, non-stop, relentless, often invisible systemic silencing.

So I have chosen to stay silent. I’ve made this choice consciously. I’m staying silent because my voice is not yet needed in this conversation and, frankly, it might never be needed, wanted or welcomed.

Some uncomfortable facts I’ve come to face to face with recently

  • Most women I know have experienced being silenced by men
  • Most women I know have experienced being marginalised by men
  • Most women I know have experienced being objectified by men
  • Most women I know have experienced some form of abuse by men

So the paradoxical question becomes how can I show my support to the women in my life and women in general without saying anything?

My support looks like staying out of online conversations, no matter how badly I want to say “me too” or “I know what you mean”. My support shows up as listening when the subject is brought up and rarely commenting. It looks like paying attention and making eye contact. My support says “Please tell me if I ever cross a line” and then actually being present and willing to hear that feedback. My support might mean that I have to own what I’ve done and even own what others have done, even if I never would do that thing. My support will speak up when I see misogyny in action in the large and obvious ways and in the hundreds of micro-aggressions that happen each day.”

– Gwion Raven

Writer at To be a Witch

Dean Jones OBOD

Dean Jones

“One thing I see with everyone that addresses this issue from a Male perspective is that it can be dealt with by just saying something trite. When I read essays by women that kind of throw me for a curve, I don’t know how the issues surrounding the relations between Men and Women around the globe can be treated in such a cursory manner.

 I’m not sure where I stand completely because it’s a very large issue and will take considerable time to change so I just don’t care much for the notion of a sound bite answer or dismissal. When a Man dismisses the ideas with a “notallmen” shrug I know everything about him at that moment. I’ve seen it on Facebook when women address their feelings and the facts, it’s a dismissal plain and simple that men are perpetrating.

 Dealing with this in a humorous fashion with a joke also does not do the subject matter justice and it’s also a defensive move that gets none of us anywhere, and also tells me that the man in questions just does not want to address it.

 For me, I have no answers, so I plan on listening and learning and pulling my head out of the Sand. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I know that no matter what I do, it will start with listening and communicating and not running from the truths that it may tell me about myself. We all have the power to stop bad behavior, and change the world. Women have been facing adversity for generations across the world. Young women are facing horrible brutality just to attend school. Women face harassment, Rape, and other horrors on a day to day basis. We men can take a page and be brave ourselves and face these things and the fear that we ourselves are contributing and causing these things and change ourselves. It’s not pretty, it’s not fun, but if we are to grow and change it’s essential.

 One thing that we can do, is pray to the goddess for help in listening to what she’s been telling us for years that we have not heard. We can ask that the blinders that we have on be removed and we see our Mothers and Wives, and Sisters and daughters for the first time. We can pray for inspiration in knowing how to talk and discuss these things with subtlety and intelligence. We can ask for forgiveness and direction. We can do so much that the list is endless, but it’s time that we come together to make a better tomorrow for everyone. One way to help facilitate listening does not just begin with shutting the hell up. It involves creating an environment of trust where we can talk with women and they can trust us to know that they will be heard. That won’t be easy for us, or them and could take a considerable amount of time. But I believe it’s possible. It’s time. Now.”

-Dean Jones

Bard of OBOD

Chris Orapello Down at the Crossroads

Chris Orapello

“As a Wiccan, the divine feminine and the divine masculine are extremely important to me as they denote balance and equality. The Goddess is the bearer and deliverer of life and life is sacred. As living beings we are a part of that divine gift, contained by and brought forth by our own mother. Without my mother, I would not have manifested into this world; she is divine and she is sacred. All women, whether by birth or by self-identification, embody sacredness; they embody divinity itself. I find them amazing.

 So- when I hear about inequality against women, I grow impatient because equality should be a standard available to all people. When I hear of abuse committed against women, I get angry because no one should be abused. When I hear of women being raped, I get enraged because no one should have their bodily autonomy taken from them. The women of the world are our mothers, sisters, partners, lovers, daughters, and friends. They deserve our love, companionship, friendship, and respect. As men, we owe so much to the women in our lives. We owe them our lives. To deny them the same rights as men hold is shameful and to cause them harm in any way is completely blasphemous.”

– Chris Orapello

Host of Down at the Crossroads podcast

It’s strange.  While collecting the quotes for this post, I had the chance to interact with some extraordinary pagan men.  Yet, in the middle of it I realized that I’m not used to so much interaction with men.  I’ve never been particularly comfortable around other men.  I’ve always tended to see other men as rather brutish and unapproachable.  What I found in collecting  this information is that there is a wider spectrum to the male community, especially the male pagan community, than I have ever understood.

There are men who want to be allies.  There are even some who understand that they will never understand the everyday lives of their sisters.  But that’s OK.  It’s the first step to what may be the real answer to this problem, because it leads to the good man dialing down the defensiveness and instead of blathering on about “not all men,” listening with an open heart and responding with perhaps the most powerful question any man could ask a woman: “How can I help?”

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Author: Tim

I am a teacher, a theater lover, and a High Priest in the Temple of Witchcraft. I love to point out the places where the everyday world, arts, science, and religion intersect. I stand for interfaith cooperation and the belief that people of all religions, political beliefs, and nationalities have more in common with each other than differences.

25 thoughts on “Pagan men speak out on patriarchy and misogyny

  1. Thanks for this! I also had a reaction to this issue on my blog (I am a Pagan blogger, too) http://www.adrianmoran.com/misogyny-and-killing-sprees/

  2. Reblogged this on Lean in to Joy (transition priestess, spiritual midwife) and commented:
    Reblogging because the 3rd man quoted totally gets it, and I mean GETS IT! Go Gwion Raven, you rock! All the others except the first one quoted get it, too. But read this for the 3rd man’s quote who is of course part of Recaliming.

  3. All of these thoughts are good and workable. Not “all” of us women blame “all men”. I think the most damaged ones may, but not all of us. That is another issue, being lumped into a statistic, makes me crazy when I am lumped instead of perceived as an individual with my own voice. Not a man’s fault for that either. Women do this to each other too. Some of my most harsh wounds have come from women’s mouths and I am more wounded from that than the rape by three guys because I got stupid and didn’t listen to my intuition one night.
    The biggest hurdle I see for this to work between the sexes of any kind shape and form is the trend of some males in hetero relationships to try to fix or find a solution for another person when that person just really needs to be heard and seen as real in someone else’s eyes as having value just because they are breathing and for no other reason or agenda. I am having to deal with this in my own relationship and it goes BOTH ways. The need to be heard is paramount to any solution. Women can be deaf to each other as well so we all do this crap to each other.
    You may have seen it in any kind of conversation with another human. You watch their face as you talk to them about your issue or thought and they are already at a conclusion and are chaffing at the bit to tell you their solution so they can go back to being comfortable and you will basically just shut up and leave them in peace. Men have done this women have done this and lovers and enemies have done this. We all have done this. It is rude and crushing to spirit and is at the root of the whole thing.
    I think we strike out in our discomfort with whatever is happening and we wound to stop it. the difference seems to be at where we draw our line in the sand. I personally could not rape or physically harm without fearing for my life or my loved ones lives. That is now.
    Tomorrow may bring a different thing to the front and I would have to choose again. Some of us go far before we stop for whatever reasons there may be for our actions.
    Fear is the lock and fear is the key. We have to stop acting from fear to change our world and the first act is to stop letting fear choose for us.
    Just the fact that we are starting to think about this and not just react is a good start. Shooting from the hip seldom helps. The heart is what is needed.

    • Karen: thanks for that perspective. Definitely, we need to find a balance between blanket generalizations about entire groups of people and recognizing the cultural milieu in which we live. Conversation may be a good starting point.

  4. Pingback: Pagan Men and Patriarchy | Not All Who Wander Are Lost

  5. this is a very good article Adrian thanks for making it an it is so sad that we live in a male dominated society women are more than something to look at they are just as smart as men are an sometimes smarter bless all you women who have to deal with this every day bless it be

  6. As a woman, all I want is for men to say “it’s not ok”. It’s not ok for anyone to be marginalised, neglected or abused. We can all support each other. Love and blessings xx

  7. Pingback: Pagan men speak out on patriarchy and misogyny | undiscoveredrealms

  8. Ive been treated the same way by women themselves though. Ive been shut up,judged,objectified as a simple fuck machine and ive also taken blows from women. I have male friends abused by older sisters,cousin,aunts ect. Its not so much a problem in the sex its the problem of feeling powerful, when something thinks its bigger it take dominance, its nature and Pagans should know that. Sex politics are out of control in this country, till we sit down and accept there are differences between male,female and between and weed out the bad things between them, there’s no stopping this madness. Women arent a virgen victim either.For example in a relationship its usually up to the female to decide whether or not to date the person or not. Not once has there been a girl to aproach me and ask me out. Ive never seen someone stick up for domestic violence in a situation where the female is the abuser. Its extremely sexist that the mother keeps the child in most custody cases, (just cause she the mom). Ive seen a girl tell her friend to beat her up badly to blame her boyfriend for it. Double standards exist on all playing fields my good sirs.

    • Michael: thanks for the comment. I honestly don’t feel it’s useful to bounce blame back and forth. I refer back to Gwion’s quote when remembering that while men might experience isolate incidents of bias, women deal with it as part of their everyday, unstoppable reality. There’s a huge difference there. It’s much more useful to understand and help each other if we seek real change rather than to place blame.

    • I spent quite a bit of time on the professional side of family law; the idea that men are discriminated against in custody cases is a complete fallacy. Yes, more women end up with custody of the children, but that’s only because most fathers don’t want full time custody. The ones who do get a fair shake from what I’ve seen.

      You made some good points about abusive women—most of that abuse is directed at children, and there’s no doubt it’s a problem, but no one condones it. To suggest that (with VERY few exceptions) a man is as physically vulnerable to an unarmed adult woman as she is to him is ludicrous. You can’t be serious.

      As is the suggestion that men are sexually objectified by society as women are. If you really think that, you have no idea.

    • Michael, I just don’t agree with you. I don’t think this is just a thing where it’s the same for both genders. i think you are wrong here, and honestly I am offended that you are just reducing this to some simple law of nature when it’s not. If you want to advocate the abuse and unfair treatment then that’s you, but I don’t think it makes it correct or true. I don’t know how much you are aware of the rest of the world, but in much of the world women still don’t have much say in marriage ect. In America women still have to be afraid to walk out after dark. I’ve not in my life seen any equality, and I don’t buy into what you are saying at all. I believe you are wrong.

  9. I wish any of you would say that you intend to speak out against misogyny and the objectification of women when you witness them. It’s very nice for you all to say you find this unacceptable, but until you start holding other men accountable for their behavior and offering disapproval rather than silence, you are part of the problem. Your raising your consciousness doesn’t stop any other man from raping, harassing, or degrading. Your actions could.

    • Excellent point. I do so whenever I see it, although I can’t speak for the others.

    • Hekateenodia – A good point indeed and I very much agree that “saying” without “doing” doesn’t really accomplish much. I cannot speak for every male Pagan I know but I can say that most of the male-bodied magic workers I know do tend to follow through with actions. For myself, I have raised three daughters and a son. Over the years there have been many opportunities to face down misogyny in its tracks. Everything from school and work dress codes to the seemingly innocuous comments from other parents that “girls can’t/shouldn’t do that.: In my professional life I do speak up. Recently a male marketing director for a company I consult for suggested a particularly sexist and objectifying portrayal of women at a company event. The marketing efforts were redirected immediately.

      Thank you so much for the reminder that words and deeds must exist together.

  10. Hi all you gorgeous people, I am a sole mother of 2 amazingly awesome gorgeous identical twin boys 13 years of age and healing from a massive accident 18 months ago , and dealing with huge amounts of illness , but am coming through the other side !!!after reading this and understanding what I have learnt for a life time, don’t know how many!!! I feel more than 7 !!!! including these are all lessons and imprints in us.

    I have been abused by boys and girls, men and women and grew up with well meaning abusive parents that were poor and uneducated (know schooling) which in my understanding needs to move to another level. I also have done to others things that were not innately me but learnt behaviours which I have forgiven and let go of, as well and my lessons in that I have been still learning for the past 42 years on this planet.
    I have been taught in many areas from amazing teachers I have learnt from both men and women and children and I have seen what I believe to be what we call horrible things on this planet as i have spent many years travelling the gorgeous earth and I have also seen the most amazing things you could or couldn’t imagine.
    One of the learnings that the Patreachay , society had its way and we have learnt that behaviour as well.. III Say what if we could all focus on a new way outside the box, what if we could all say to each other when we know this is not you behaving like this and that negative behaviour does not work for you from a loving place and feel it would be ok if they were ready for it or if not think in your mind something positive about that person.

    We are more powerful than beyond words and believe and this is why we are having this conversation, because if we could just start to notice what we are feeling and change the way we believe and blocks in us, quickly over some time things would be amazing. I am seeing this all around me. I believe we work in huge consciousness and are ultimately responsible for all our thoughts, feelings and words and I believe that thoughts are more powerful than words !!! think about what you all focusing on!!!! Blame is the same as guilt I prefer to see it as a lesson or challenge.

    I aim to look at things as lessons we can all learn if you are willing to! The main point is we are all polarised like nature, lets move the polarisation to a more positive place on this planet lets have all beings nature on this planet see their value and abundance and work in harmony.
    There are so many great things happening and change is happening. We all eb and flow, it is so important I feel to be on the top of the wave more often and learn how to do that and see what you prefer than in the wave been tumbled around trying to fight it, and the more resistance there is the more is comes to you!!!
    I use this for myself It’s my perception of this that is hurting me, not what it actually is!! this can feel like a stretch, so I say to myself, It is my perception of this that is hurting me, because you can control your perception! you can’t control what you think it is, I go with more general thoughts about it and think about it less often!!!!You know you have the ability to alter your perception about anything!!!You know the pluses and minuses thats how you come to the conclusion of preference!!!Its not your job to get rid of unwanted,thats why we have created on earth in this way, we try to get rid of unwanted and more of it comes!!!Its your job to tune it out of the frequency (thoughts), tune your tuner!!! your mind to what you want from a very heart felt place.

    This may not be your believe, I have been using this and supporting lots of people from this place and believe that we can all create gorgeousness on this earth, you have to want to see and believe its possible and realise that a lot of the cultural systems and other man/women made systems come from a believe and that some serve us and some do not and would say take them out of your frequency, we need to work on what works for yourself and that if thats from a heart felt place that will serve your self and others and that most people are innately good,

    Sending abundance , love , goodness, success, and peace to you all

    Nancy x

  11. To say heart felt appreciation for all the sharing and giving xx

  12. Reblogged on Facebook “Progressive Christians.” Wondering if Christians reclaimed the Divine Feminine, would we be better towards women.

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