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A Tantric Male View on MeToo
“What should I do now? How should I do it? Men can’t do anything anymore.”
This shared frustration is common (and understandable) among men after the #MeToo movement. As women continue to come forward with stories of being raped and molested, men begin to see that the behavior they thought was good is causing harm. It’s one thing to call out bad behavior, but, once we recognize a problem, how do we move forward? How do we heal the past and create a new way of connecting?
Tantra offers similar tools that help heal past traumas and teach what good behavior looks like. We wanted to get a Tantric person’s perspective on the #MeToo movement, to see how men are affected and how Tantra can help drive this new world. We spoke to Bob, a long-time student and practitioner of Tantra, to see the man’s side of #MeToo.
Q: We want to hear what happened to you all and how you see masculinity in this #MeToo era. What has come to you from this media, in your life, and in the big news?
A: I am 68 years old now and I live in a state of compassion and respect for women’s boundaries. This, unfortunately, was not always true. At 38 years old, that was not a feeling I knew. When I was young, I did things that I shouldn’t have, that I wouldn’t do today. I pushed my sexuality away from women. If I could push past “no,” I did. And looking back on it, I say, “Oh, my goodness.” I can’t do that today.
Through the tantric practice I saw how my old behavior was not right and how I could move forward. Today I advise people about good and bad behavior. There are Tantric practices that teach people what acceptance is, how to ask for what they want, and how to hear “no” without pushing it forward or needing to explain why. That is a very difficult practice; hearing “no” without knowing why. But this is what men should do to start improving their relationship with women.
Q: How do you see men responding to the #MeToo movement?
A: I see that many guys don’t understand. They can get it theoretically or intellectually. But individually, it’s hard to sell. I just hung out with some of my fishing friends. We were talking about #MeToo and about consent, consent, etc. Two of the boys wondered why he couldn’t compliment the maid on what she was wearing. They believed that she dressed to look good to them – to look good to the men outside – not just to look good on herself.
I tried to compare a woman dressed for work to them wearing a nice suit. I said, “When you put on a nice suit you think, ‘Oh, I feel good in this today. I didn’t wear it to get compliments from anybody in particular.’ He didn’t see that just saying something would be wrong or cause trouble.
And that story is very common – it’s a big one. When it comes to them personally, as a man, standing in front of this person who is a woman, they cannot see the connection. This is where resistance and anger come from. They feel attacked and say, “One can’t do anything anymore!” They think that a woman is doing other things to attract a man, not just to feel good about herself. When they know that this belief is wrong, they get angry and start defending themselves.
Q: How do you see father passing through here? How can Tantra help?
Answer: In the beginning, it will take awareness and compassionate listening. Instead of men being impulsive and saying, “I can’t do anything!” instead they need to start understanding where women are coming from. I know from my experience that this process takes time and deep digging. I compare it to playing football. There’s a lot of pain and a lot of pain, but you just bounce back day by day. You don’t talk in terms of pain and suffering but focus on purpose and teamwork. And you allow that purpose to go bad. This is what it will take, because the old paradigm is changing and we need to work together to create a new one.
And, in fact, women cannot change it. It will take men to change it for men. It will take guys like me to talk to my fellow fishermen. It is not from our political, church or spiritual leader. “You know, boss, we need to clean ourselves up.”
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