Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Red Pill

Aaron and I watched The Red Pill on Amazon Prime yesterday and I thought I'd write up a post with my thoughts on it.

If you haven't heard of it yet, The Red Pill is a new documentary about the Men's Rights Movement. Never heard of it? I highly recommend googling MRA to see what it's all about, or just watch the documentary. It was filmed by Cassie Jaye.

I've always been supportive of the feminist cause, but have never called myself a feminist. One reason being that I am not a fan of labels. I don't like being boxed in by my beliefs at any given moment. Another reason is a lot of my feminist friends have at least a subtle (if not a strong) man hating vibe about them, and I certainly didn't hate men! I have a wonderful partner and two beautiful boys that I didn't want them to ever hear me talking about how women have it so bad at the hands of men. I'm sure you are familiar with the sayings, "Men are pigs", "all men want is sex", "men are so clueless", and it goes on and on.

Don't get me wrong though, I am a champion of equal rights and equal opportunities. I am not blind to the plight of women. I am a woman after all and am on intimate terms with a lot of the issues women face. I am not blind to the inequalities, especially with all of these allegations of sexual harassment coming out of Hollywood lately.

What I loved about this documentary is that the creator, Cassie Jaye actually proclaimed to be a feminist before her journey down the rabbit hole of the Men's Right's Movement. She took on a very unpopular viewpoint and tried to represent it in as unbiased of a way as possible. She put her prejudices aside and asked the hard questions and interviewed the people trying to draw attention to men's issues.

What I found interesting is that these two movements, Feminism and the Men's Right's movement seem to be at odds with one another. There were several clips in the movie of feminists protesting and being very rude and even cruel to the men that are representing this movement. They weren't there to listen, or maybe try to build a bridge. It seems to me like their issues are very similar and are two different sides of the same coin. Women don't want to be pigeon holed in the home as mother's and homemakers, but guess what? Men don't necessarily enjoy the pressure of having to be the sole provider either! It is a complex issue and I am not going to lay out all the problems the documentary covers, but it was heart breaking to hear that men don't feel like anyone cares about their issues. It was clear that the Men's Rights Movement was a very taboo subject.

Men wanting to speak up about the problems they are having aren't wanting to blame women for them. Men are tired of being demonized by the feminist movement, and rightly so. Just because some men prey on women doesn't mean that all men are pigs or that all men are to blame for the problems women face. Women can be predators too, but there is no place for men to speak out about it. And what if there is no one person or gender to blame? What if it is just an old system that we both need to work together on to change for the betterment of everyone? And what if for true change we have to really look at our own behavior and beliefs and take responsibility for our own actions?

A good friend of mine once told me if you really want to understand the dynamics of an issue, you must understand both sides. It is hard to hate and judge when you know someone's intimate story, so move in close. I highly recommend the documentary. It was uncomfortable to watch at times, being a woman, but it is good to have your beliefs examined and questioned.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Sharing My Story

I spend a good portion of most of my days learning. Whether it's reading books, watching TED talks, watching documentaries, having deep conversations with people of all different backgrounds and belief systems, and also just exploring the world with my children and their interests.

Anyone who knows me knows that the title of my blog fits me well. I don't do very many things according to the status quo. I don't go against the grain because I'm a natural rebel (Although maybe I do get a kick out of it a little if I'm being perfectly honest). What really motivates me and drives me is the need to improve, to grow, to be better than I was yesterday. In order to do that I am always on the lookout for information that can help me do that.

Today I started my day off reading, then took a break to scroll Facebook and happened to come across an inspiring TED talk. As I was listening to this woman speak about her experience I was inspired by how she put her experience out there and shared it with the world. Then a thought from the current book I'm reading kept coming to me as well,

"Knowledge is only potential power. It becomes power only when, and if, it is organized into definite plans of action, and directed to a definite end." 

I knew I had to stop right then and there and share a bit of my own experiences.

I have put myself out there in the past and shared my knowledge, but looking back, it was misguided. I was sharing my knowledge with the idea that I had it "right" and that everyone needed to hear me in order to start living their lives "right". I had a parenting blog where I wrote about what I was learning as a parent and what was working for me. After some time it didn't feel good and I pulled back. I felt guilty about how judgemental I had become, so I let go of the website that I had created, got a job and forgot all about spreading the knowledge I had acquired.

My life is very different now. I pulled myself out of the echo chamber I had created for myself and made amazing friends with beautiful people who live their lives very different than me in many ways. I read books on Vulnerability and Empathy and learned that behind every human is a story, a life full of ups and downs and their own specific set of knowledge and skills and experiences. I learned that every human being on this planet has something valuable to share.

I also learned that my knowledge and my experience still had a place and a space to be heard. I learned that there isn't necessarily a "right" way to do things and that judging only separates and divides. And lately, I've been learning that its okay to stop hiding what I have to share. There are people out there than can benefit from my experience and my knowledge and all I have to do is share it with no expectations. Share it with no judgements on whether it resonates with someone or not.

There will always be critics, there will always be skeptics, but there will also be people open to hearing and learning from what you have to say. And what use is your knowledge and life experience if you don't share it? Pull the ego out of your message. It's okay if people reject it. It isn't a reflection on you, nor is it a reflection on them.

I am incredibly grateful to those who had courage enough to recognize they had something valuable and wrote a book, or an article, or started a podcast or made a video and shared it with the world. My life has forever been moved and changed by all of it.

If my story and my experiences move only one other person to change their life for the better than it was all worth it. I share my story because it is healing for me and usually it is still something I am learning. Talking about it helps me integrate it more fully. I love writing and haven't done it for a long time for fear of being judged and rejected. I guess I am starting to feel enough self love that if that is the case that's okay.

Namaste and blessings to you all on this beautiful Wednesday.