Ladies and gentleman (but more particularly the ladies),

I have seen a lot of discussion (read criticism) of the women who participated in the huge marches this weekend. Many have posted good-hearted comments that DOING is more important than VOICING and really what do these women think they are accomplishing anyways?

Listen. BOTH are important. Obviously the most constant and impactful way for individuals to effect change in the world is by actively living a good and intentional life and taking care of your own and those in your community. But voicing is also incredibly important.

Have we forgotten that women for thousands of years never had the privilege to voice? For most of human history we were completely excluded from the public square and from any type of political or societal conversation. We had no voice when it came to the public good, the well-being of our communities and society. But thanks to thousands of brave women who came before, those days have past.

Let us not take for granted the hard work of the women who fought 100 years ago so that YOU can have a voice in your community and in the political sphere. So that you can march to the White House if you want to send a message to the world. So that you can speak your political views publicly and be respected. And so that heck, if you want, you can run for public office and just maybe get elected. Let us not forget their sacrifices for us, the women of TODAY.

My good ladies whom I love and admire–let’s give each other a break. Let’s love and support all women, even those with different views, lifestyles and ways of seeking to make the world a better place. I believe we all have common desires–for women to be able to do the work of our lives (whatever it be) in peace and security, to be respected and not degraded, and to be empowered to uplift the human race. There are many different ways we can do that work, both collectively and individually. But we do ourselves a disservice when we shut one another down. After all, sisters, we need each other. And the world needs brave women more than ever.

As modern women with the ability to inform ourselves well and to influence society, let us increase our efforts both to VOICE and to DO as we are able to make this world a better place. I believe we are up for the challenge.

In defense of good men

There has been a lot of girl-power floating around the internet these days. In light of current events, I of course feel it is warranted and would add that I fully agree with the message of “women and girls rock. Don’t let anyone put you down.” But today I want to shine the light on some people who are not getting a lot of attention right now—good men.

I have always been a huge advocate for women and feel a deep passion about just how awesome we are. With all the trash in the world aimed at destroying women and distorting men’s views of us, I have always felt very defensive of our sex and have never shied away from opening my mouth when I felt women were being slighted.

The strong women in my life have in large part made me who I am. These women have taught me to fight for what is right and good, to reject the status quo and create something better, and to be true to the higher qualities within me, no matter the cost. I hope to honor them with the way I live.

I suppose a hefty dose of girl-power has always run through my veins. But the more I have matured, the more I have come to recognize that there is another essential character on the stage of maintaining civility and decency in this chaotic world. It is the good man.

Media and cultural voices would have us believe that the good man is dead. Or that he was really just wishful thinking in the first place and never actually existed. The “typical man” portrayed in today’s culture is too often sketched as a self-absorbed, simple-minded creature who is incapable of seeing the whole picture. And he doesn’t care because all he really wants to do is watch sports and eat Cheetos. Oh, and of course, today’s man is a complete slave to his sexual appetites and has no need to cultivate self-control or discipline. And give him a break–he can’t help it, he is just too-simple minded to think of anything else—why would you expect more from such a creature?

I hope I am not alone in SHOUTING that these archetypes offend me. Deeply. They outrage me in fact. These false and shallow portrayals of men are just as offensive to me as are the terrible portrayals of women we see in today’s world. If we are going to preserve some degree of sanity in our society, we must revive both the good, strong, and respected woman as well as the good, strong and respected man.

Now, I know that there are men you know who seem to fit these stereotypes in many ways. Some of these may be good men with bad habits, and I have seen determined people make huge changes to improve themselves and the lives of those they love. Everyone is capable of change. I know, however, that there are countless men who have inflicted terrible emotional and physical pain on others, so often women and children. There is no excuse for such ugliness or for the men who create it. They are a disgrace to their breed, which is capable of such dignity and strength. Seeing and hearing of such behavior grieves me. But the men I know well are not these men.

The good men I know they are not looking for a spotlight. They don’t seek to broadcast their virtue. Or mark every good deed. Or publicize every sacrifice. No. The good men I know are quiet about it. So quiet about it that sometimes we forget they are there. They aren’t shouting down the world for portraying them the way it does, or for completely ignoring their sacrifices for others, their genuine efforts in building good families and communities, and the ways they are investing in building relationships. No, these men aren’t shouting about it. They are too busy doing it..

The good men are I know are absolutely consumed by the deliberate lives they are leading. They  work towards the positive vision they have of themselves and of others. These men sacrifice selfish pursuits and often hobbies to make the lives of their loved ones better. They work hard at investing in the relationships that are important to them and are doing the absolute best they can. They are intelligent, deeply respectful of women and children and are fiercely loyal. These men make mistakes, as we all do, and try to be better. I have seen men do these things every day for my whole life. Their influences have shaped my identity and my life’s path in immeasurable ways.

I know that these good men I know are not abnormalities, they are not exceptions to the rule. They are members of a vast army of good and brave men everywhere who quietly do the daily work of building goodness in this world.

Many of you have known men who were abusive, self-absorbed or clueless. Such men destroy hearts and homes and leave havoc in their wake. Such behavior is deplorable and inexcusable. But you have to know that these men are not every man. Today’s good men can no longer be ignored. It’s time for us to shine a light on them. To thank them, to show our appreciation for them and to encourage them to keep doing what they are doing so well.

Ladies, we cannot save this world on our own. The preservation of human decency and dignity will require good women and good men to reject the world’s toxic messages about who we are and to show children, by the way we live every day, who they can become and what this world can be for them. We must be deliberate in the messages we send to the rising generation and make sure they know what is true and also what is false and demeaning. Men and women must work together, respect each other and our efforts, and never give up.

I have great hope for humanity because of good men and good women who quietly build goodness all over the world. Let’s believe in ourselves, and let’s believe in each other.

How has your life been positively impacted by good men? Please comment below if you would like to share 🙂

Photo credit: Ana Gabriel, Unsplash.com