Whether it’s our lover, father, nephew, son or grandson, all males can be our Superman.
What does a hero look like?
I’ll get to that, but first, let’s consider using this most powerful and empowering word.
It’s simple to apply, yet difficult for some of us to delve into ourselves and choke up the word. But why? Feminism? Disempowerment? Control? Discernment? No.
Somehow, when we acknowledge our men as the heroes they are, we fear they will use it against us. In some cases this is true, but those men aren’t true heroes—and if they aren’t then why are we with them?
Hint to men: Don’t use our vulnerability against us!
Let me explain.
In my adult years, I’ve had several long term (one year or longer) committed, monogamous relationships plus one failed practice marriage. All ended in my leaving. (Though there was one that was more realistically a mutual break up. I did the breaking up, but I knew the gavel was coming down soon.)
In each of these relationships, when I started to open my heart, to feel vulnerable, I was terrified. I was scared my heart would be scarred beyond repair. We all have a lifetime of experiences that mould us into who we are. Our fears are not unfounded even if they are unreasonably tenuous at times.
Our most challenging life experiences can create wisdom, but sometimes they also build walls. This applies to both men and women.
In my case, there were walls, alright and they were solid granite.
Looking back I can see how I assembled an emotional fortress from my lovers—a careful construct of control through criticism of the men I purported to love. Others have their own ways of emasculating men. We do this when we’re insecure, which boils down to feeling afraid, exposed, defenceless, vulnerable.
Unconsciously, I thought if I tore them down, they wouldn’t figure out that I was the lucky one to be with them. I can see now that this wasn’t true. We simply weren’t meant to be together.
Non-compatibility doesn’t equal unequal.
Some of the ways women, and certainly I, have emasculated men include criticism, complaining, condemning, condescending, closing ourselves off, controlling, ignoring, interrupting, taking for granted and not-really-a-joke chastising. If we saw someone doing that to a child, the elderly or a same sex good friend, we’d be appalled. Yet we do this to our men every day in so many ways.
No wonder men, too, are afraid. Afraid to be the heroes they want to be for us—and innately are. We are all equals. No. Matter. What. Re-empowering our men will not take that away.
So use the word hero, generously, genuinely, sincerely, lovingly, vulnerably and watch him live up to his role. He can do it, and he will if we let him. Feminists may gag but Goddesses will get it and their men will know they get them.
So, what is a hero?
A man is a hero when he takes out the garbage, even if we need to remind him kindly and thank him sincerely. A man is a hero when he works hard to provide for his family. A man is a hero when he sticks up for you when you’re not around to hear it. A man is a hero when he opens the door for us at the coffee shop and/or gestures us to enter first. A man is a hero when he recants a ‘biggest fish’ story so he can appear manly for us. A man is a hero when he is wildly attracted to his wife of 20 years despite the few extra pounds she sports. A man is a hero when he helps an elderly person with her groceries. A little man is a hero when he makes his own lunch because Mom slept in. And, sure, man is a hero when he saves a family, their dog and a hamster from imminent death after a multi-vehicle accident on the Autobahn. A man is as much a hero when he is humble under any circumstance that warrants otherwise.
When we positively acknowledge our men, we give them permission and inspire them to be our heroes, which allows us ladies to be our most gorgeously, Goddessy selves.
And that is empowering for both women and men.
Author: Anna Jorgensen
Editor: Bryonie Wise