My Protest

Updated: May 10

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Photo by Helena Lopes on

Here’s my #MeToo protest. I am going to fight the patriarchy by LOVING men again!

A year or so ago, I was walking down the streets of my very quaint, very friendly town, and I had already been, for quite a while, engaged in a spiritual practice whereby I made it a point to be aware of my thoughts…the thoughts that quite frankly create our world. I wanted my thoughts to be loving, to be open, to be free from judgment. They had better be all of those things if I were ever going to experience love, openness and acceptance. I no longer labored under the false pretense that I could manipulate the world outside myself to satisfy my own desires. I no longer believed it possible to condemn or even judge another without judging myself. That is not to say my mind was a pure and light-filled place, far from it…but it does mean I was engaged in the right practice, one that will eventually lead to my own liberation and that of others.

On this particular day, I noticed a pit in my stomach, a tension around my eyes, a constricting of my forehead muscles, all signs that untrue and unloving thoughts had been subtly popping up in mind. I began to notice them every time I passed a man on the street!  I was having terribly judgmental things to say about every poor man I passed. I realized for the first time in my life that I did not like men. And I felt incredibly sad.

In the wake of the #metoo movement it is not difficult to understand how I could be mistaken about the way I feel about men. I too am a survivor of many instances of harassment, assault, date-rape and rape. But I had already spent years healing the underlying beliefs that both paved the way for these experiences to happen and solidified after each devaluing trauma.  But each new accusation in the news brought to light many things I had never really thought about before, the unhealed conditioning about my own sexuality and the nature of relationships.

In society, we women have been deeply conditioned to find out how we have encouraged these assaults: how did we dress? How much did we drink? Were we being flirtatious? Did we give the impression we liked the attention?  Did we have enough girlfriends to watch over us?  I did not protect myself nor value myself well enough, and I was raped. Am I at fault? Well sort of. I didn’t value myself, so I cannot expect others to value me. That is where I am culpable.

This leads me to my spiritual practice. Watching the mind. Watching the thoughts that create my world. Had I been engaged in this practice, I would have seen that I had some really negative things to say about myself in high school. And that I had some really warped beliefs about what constitutes worthiness. If I had been watching my mind I could have seen this coming, but I wasn’t:  I was trying to escape. Now I have learned, and I can do better.

Once I noticed that I didn’t like men, my next thought was that this simply must be healed. But it is not as easy as it sounds. Looking back, I see the ways in which I was complicit in my objectification. I was about 19 when I put a stop to all the assaults. They didn’t happen anymore after that. But I did a victory lap far far too soon because what I did when I finally said, STOP! Is get a permanent boyfriend,  one who made me feel safe. And I married him.  And now I see I am dealing with a far larger objectification than personal objectification…I am dealing with the institutionalized objectification of marriage.

Even in a marriage like mine, where I feel substantial personal freedom, I am objectified. I have become Mrs. So and So…a title to indicate my marriage status following me everywhere I go. And the men I used to feel close to have all assumed an air of superficial kinship with me….the interest in me as a human being has cooled. It is so isolating and dehumanizing.

The forced cultural separation of men and women, the false inappropriateness of close relationships between married men and women will make the healing of these wounds impossible.  For me, I disallow it.

After my realization about disliking men, I attended a spiritual retreat. I had asked God to help me heal, and my prayers were answered at this retreat. There were equal women and men there, and the deep spiritual connection I established with these men made me remember…Oh, I love men! Of course, I do. I just forgot because I don’t have any men in my life except for my husband. And my husband cannot be everything to me. I knew I must find a way to cultivate more real friendships with men.

I am continuing with my mission. I am compelled to fight the patriarchy by loving men again, by realizing that we’ve been conditioned by the same forces, the same whacked-out ideas, the same cultural taboos, and restrictions. We are in this together. I love you, men. Please help us unpack this, help us disentangle from these cultural chains. It is better for everyone, and it can only be done if we love each other…not if we love one man or one woman, but all men and all women. Be my friends again.

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