In Defense of Women: Redefining Masculinity



Scott Moore Yoga

Photo by Dallas Graham

With so many women speaking up recently in social media about abuse that they've suffered, it's made me think about the role of men and how we define masculinity which contributes to such abuse. Any abuse of women from men is a gross imbalance of the masculine and feminine energy.

Yoga means yoking together, not only our individual body, mind, and spirit, but also the yoking the masculine and feminine energy. Yoking the masculine and feminine comes both within ourselves as well as between couples, communities, and the world. The marriage of masculine and feminine energy creates a balance whole.

In light of current events, it's an opportunity to practice understanding the union of masculine and feminine energies within us through the practice of yoga.

Remember, every person has both masculine and feminine energy independent of sexual orientation or gender. And though we all have both, some of us exhibit more of the masculine and others more of the feminine. To make it simple, I'm going to label the masculine as “man.”

As a man, I believe that the abuse of women represents a gross imbalance in the masculine energy, an imbalance that comes about because of wrong definitions of masculinity. Here's my suggestion for a redefinition.

Men are courageous. Courage comes from the french word for heart, coeur. Courage quite literally means “of heart.” Being courageous means, therefore, to be in touch with emotions, not above them. Learning this kind or courage has been a large undertaking in my personal inner-work over the past several years. Like many men, I've been socialized to think that being manly means to rely on my intellect or abilities to define my worth.

To be courageous, a man must know his heart. Oftentimes, that means doing the work of meditation and yoga or other introspection to discover who you are on the inside. I believe that every man should spend some dedicated alone time to do this inner work through yoga and meditation. This means both in daily yoga or meditation practice as well as a few times a year doing a personal retreat for an extended period. After, come back to your family, your relationships, your work, passions, and hobbies with that knowledge of your heart and pay it forward as your gift to the world.

Men must be conscious. Conscious means holding space for the dynamic and beautiful qualities of the feminine. Our changeable world and nature and everything that is dynamic is part of the feminine. The work of the masculine's job is to be able to stand and witness this feminine.

To be consciousness means holding space for the women in our lives. It means to honor, love, and respect women. It means to hear them when they say no. It means to listen to them when they speak up about being hurt or abused.

Men must be protectors. In order to protect, a man must also be vulnerable. Sometimes protecting means going into the unknown and to stand up against giants.

Being a man means protecting the feminine. Women are immensely powerful. Remember that the lioness is the fierce hunter of the family. And like a pride of lions, the protective males will not tolerate any abuse of the female. Men must be like lions. Men must help protect women.

It's true that one out of three women are subject to physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Being a man means standing as a line of warriors, of lions, that will fight against any abuse against women.

It means opening our ears to the problem. First, only to listen. Then to act.

Being a man means marrying the masculine and feminine to make a world where we all can enjoy living safely and nobly.

Being a man and demonstrating strength isn't about muscles. Or rather it's about flexing the muscle that really counts–the heat. It's about the strength in our ability to be conscious about what is really going on in the world, to not turn a blind eye, and certainly not doubt women when they finally have the courage to speak up.

Being a man is about taking action. I invite you is to look at this wonderful cause, One Billion Rising. This cause is dedicated to creating a voice for the abuse of women, raising consciousness, and making a difference in women's lives. Any abuse of any one of us hurts all of us.

Then check out this courageous video, “Man Prayer,” words by Eve Ensler. It made me cry.


Photo by Seneca Moore

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in New York City and when he's not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, and his own blog at Scott also loves to trail run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats to places like Hawaii and Amalfi Coast and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program

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