I had a fantastic conversation today with a young friend of mine. It was the kind of call every grizzled gender-based violence activist loves to get. He said: “you know, I have really had enough of this violence against women and I and some of my people want to connect with communities where we can do some work.” I was happy to help, of course, beginning with some good advice. I said: “you’ve got to see the connections.” I gave a presentation a few years back to the women’s movement, who all thought I was crazy but over time it has started to sink in, like water dripping on a stone. I spoke of the Earth as the biggest victim of gender-based violence of them all. It is the same patriarchy, the ‘life is about using people’ mentality which allows men to abuse women and abuse the Earth. We cannot divorce ourselves from our ecosystem. Spraying pesticides or fracking are acts as violent as rape, and harm women and children as much, in the long run. I have spent a lot of time talking about green issues in the women’s movement and gender issues in the environmental movement. For me the two are inseparable, because we are going to need the same change in values and philosophy to get things right. What goes around comes around. You cannot do harm to others without it eventually coming back to you. It’s that simple, really. Once we all get that, we will begin to change.
My friend understood it immediately. He spoke about wanting to heal the wounded souls of his fellow men. Which, mind you, I always think is a good thing. I think if women tried to do that work, men’s souls would end up a lot more wounded than when we started…
Seriously, though, research has shown that the one of the main factors influencing male behavioural change is, surprise, surprise, other men. Young men look to older men for role models on what it means to be manly, so modelling a kinder, more responsible and more loving manhood is really important. Young people look at what you do, not what you say, they are highly developed male cow manure detectors. So it is incredibly important not just to give workshops but to live those values as best you can.
Bringing it down to the practical, you can start healing your wounded soul with some nice, organic soap. I am doing a spicy but sweet special this week, for all the men who are doing their best to hold it together with pride and dignity. And of course for those women who like to celebrate their male spirits. Having found some lovely organic essential oils at my mall, of all places, I jazzed up my basic soap with some ylang ylang, cedarwood, chamomile (for those strong people with tender skins), grapefruit and spearmint. One of these is an anti-depressant, another is an aphrodisiac ( I won’t say which…), and the rest are mildly anti-septic and deep cleansing. Sweet, spicy and energizing, it is just the soap to get you going out there to fight the good fight with a spring in your step.
It is R 30/100g bar. Order from firstname.lastname@example.org