Progressive men must enter activist spaces and contribute to the labor of social struggle, while forgoing leadership opportunities and the ability to discuss plainly the injustices that most motivate them to activism. This requires for many of us an inordinate amount of humility, patience, and selflessness, characteristics that our patriarchal culture does it’s best to discourage. How do you recommend we men cultivate these characteristics in ourselves? It’s a hard road, and human beings naturally despise difficulty.
It is my belief that listing problems seen among leftist men is only the beginning of a process that can lead to a comprehensive solution. Men are highly motivated, like everyone else, when they are valued by their peers. Guilt from our male privilege alone cannot motivate a mass male collaboration in progressive causes.
What men need is our own spaces so that our issues and problems can be discussed without distracting others from the more important social struggles. Within these spaces, men could also begin the project of dismantling the toxic masculinity many of us still harbor, and generating an alternative egalitarian masculinity which can sustain responsible intersectional inclusive activism. These men’s groups could also provide internal leadership opportunities, away from the mass movement for the liberalization of the marginalized, but contributing to it. We could also build camaraderie with each other, free from claims of bias and intolerance, and prepare ourselves for the physical and emotional struggles to come as men driven by the cause of social justice.
These kinds of men’s groups are already being formed around the world at the grassroots. Hell, the first one I attended was held near the campus of Brigham Young University, one of the most conservative universities in the US. The question is, when these groups attract more attention, will progressive women respond with hostility, or encouragement?