There’s so much of your article I loved, so much I wanted to respond to, but this point really struck me.
My online life is very male-dominated, given the fact that I frequent video game forums (since gaming is my major hobby). So often, I see men talk about (in jest and in all seriousness) how crazy and unpredictable women are, how much they need to be managed. I see them treat me this way, too. I know, rationally, these men aren’t all hateful, derisive misogynist. Many I’ve met and seen act wonderfully with their significant others, yet they are so condescending of their female counterparts, picking apart their statements, their frustrations, their angers, chalking it up to “lol, women” or, most lazily, menstruation.
Everything you talk about comes down to dealing with your own shit (summarizing your post rather ineloquently) and owning up to honest and open conversation, even if that means friction.
My husband doesn’t meditate or do yoga and have never been to therapy, but he’s become arguably a bigger feminist than I am and changed drastically over the decade we’ve been together. A lot of this is due to learning from me, rather than feeling like he’s moderating me, and listening and conversing and challenging me and owning up to things when he grows or learns or changes his mind. That’s scary, that’s hard, and I am fiercely proud of him. I didn’t do that work. I was a person in his life who might have been the main catalyst, but I can’t take sole responsibility for it. That’s on him. Other men, they’d say they managed me. He didn’t.
Do we still fight? Do we still disagree? Do I fall back on the “you don’t listen to me!” trope? Sure. I’m sure sometimes, he thinks I’m a hormonal mess, although he’s smart enough not to say it. And we have non-stereotypical arguments, too, but we also talk, every day, and learn from each other, every day, and respect each other and support each other, every day.
My husband probably says that he helps balance me, or make me better, and he knows how to calm me down or even me out when I’m upset or angry, but I would be floored to hear him say he moderates my emotions. I would also never say that of him. I feel like that statement is the basis for so many problems that you talk about so well here. I feel like understanding how problematic it is to believe you moderate someone or someone’s emotions is the kernel that might be split open through meditation or yoga or therapy, but really, those are tools to crack into that issue, and while helpful, it can be done through many methods. The man, simply, needs to do the work to get there.