A Heathen's Path, About Me, feminism, Gods, Heathen, Heathenism, Men, men in heathenism, men in paganism, men's rights, Pagan, Paganism, Rants, Religion, what it means to be a man
So a while back I was at a meeting for pagan students and we had a guest who is a second level priestess and elder to our group president. It was an interesting experience, and I think she is going to be joining us for a panel about paganism at the university, which I will no doubt post about.
One of the big things she kept pressing me and the only other guy there (not as bad as it sounds, the group really is just three of us) was “what are you doing to help those young men who are coming up and coming of age in Paganism?”
The answer is complicated, really. Which is why I’m going to be running several posts off about this subject and the larger one of men in Paganism. Because this is something I really don’t see getting talked about a lot.
Really, you don’t see a lot of issues involving men, young men, or boys being talked about these days. Half the time, you’d think that nothing was ever wrong and that they were the luckiest, most healthy, and most well of group in the world. Which, is really pretty far from the truth. Young men have about the highest suicide rate in the country. A young man gets raped by an authority figure, most people laugh it off as a “you lucky dog” type thing. Sometimes that young man is then made to pay child support to his rapist if she gets pregnant. A girl gets hurt, there’s counseling, shelters, and options. A young man gets hurt, and well…there are no resources. I’ve read and heard stories that would chill your blood. Of young men comparing scars on a bus, not from streetfights or epic adventures, but from where their girlfriends beat them up and cut them, and how it was best to just keep your head down and walk away, because calling the police would get you arrested and charged with a crime. Of these same men being chanted down by girls on that bus about how “they had the power” and “would fuck you up with the police.” I’ve seen a man made to pay more than he earned in alimony and child support, and when he couldn’t pay, get thrown into jail for contempt of court, lose his law license, his job, and everything, be released by his ex-wife, who two days later had him sent right back into jail. For no other reason than she could.
I see men constantly be called dumb, ignorant, savage, rapists, sexists, abusers etc. Men who have done none of these things, who are none of these things. In the recession, more men lost their jobs than did women, yet when it came time to have a “shovel-ready” program to get men back to work, certain organizations insisted that it wasn’t fair to help men and not help women, and in the end more women got newly employed, while unemployed men were left unemployed. Hel, these same organizations, when they found out that the percentage of women dying in the workplace had increased demanded that something be done about it, despite the fact that it wasn’t that more women were dying, but that less men were (namely because of the loss of employment for men in dangerous professions). Not to mention that most jobs these days are the kind where you have to sit still for hours on end and multitask like crazy. Two things men are not very good at, but that women are.
At every turn men are told that we are oppressors, privileged, and racist (at least if you white, or lighter skinned at this point). At ever turn we see where there aren’t options for us any more, where a man can be abused in a relationship and know he is alone, where a man can get married and has a Greater Than Fifty Percent Chance that not only will it end in divorce, it will end in a divorce that leaves him homeless, bankrupt, losing his children, and possibly even ending up in jail, Even If He Does Everything A Good Man Does Right!
How do you help someone who is facing that? How do you help a young man who it hitting his teens, trying to become a man, but who is told at every turn that being a man is evil, who doesn’t have any real male father figures in his life because they’ve been systematically wiped out, and gets to learn that he’s the wrong sex/gender if he wants to get any help? How do you help that boy, when pretty much any organization that’s geared towards helping men, for men, by men, is going to be attacked and destroyed as sexist?
I’m not going to get all “Well, no one helped me, why should I help?” It doesn’t matter that no one was there to help me, what matters is that there are those who need help. This really is a neglected area in society, and especially in Paganism, where there’s a lot made of the Goddess, but not much made of the God except where he is to help the Goddess (who is really the central power) or to put him down as all that is wrong in the world (such as with the Dianics and a few others). It works differently in Heathenism, thank the Gods, but even there more work could be done.
What am I doing? I don’t know. But I know that something has to be done. So, this is where I start. Over the next few weeks, in addition to the Vices and Virtues Project, and the Pagan Blog Project, I’m going to be trying to post on Weds about what it means to be a man, what we as Pagans and Heathens have to realize about that, and what we need to do about that. And maybe, somewhere in there, I can find a way to help at least some of those young men out there, lost and alone. We can provide a place for them, give them a home and family and other men who understand what it means to be a man and teach it to them. Because it isn’t just about Rites of Passage, it’s about realizing what you are, and the divine nature of that gift. Paganism has taught women their divine nature, it’s time we did the same to men, because they too have been left wanting.
As both a self-described feminist and a Celtic Pagan who venerates the duality of life, I just wanted to stop by and tell you that this post really resonates with me. It’s hard for me, and for a lot of women who identify as feminists, to be critical of the women’s movement, but in honest truth we’ve done men and boys a disservice in our struggle to be comfortable in our own skins. We’re told it’s a binary choice: patriarchy or matriarchy. We look down at our bodies and it feels like a no-brainer: matriarchy please. What we don’t realize is that a binary choice leads to more oppression, which is what we should all be against. There’s a third option: equality.
I get odd looks from feminist and Pagan friends alike when I make statements like, “the point of this or that ceremony is to venerate the male,” as if “male” is a dirty thing to venerate, as if I’m selling out my “femality” (one of my least favorite words to arise from feminist theory) by admiring, aspiring to, or gods forbid worshipping an aspect of humanity that is considered masculine. But that’s just silly, to my mind. If we’re gonna get anything done in this life or any other, the “we” has to include everyone, be they male, female, or anything in between or outside those binary options. Women don’t have the monopoly on divinity.
I’ll stop ranting on your blog now, but this whole idea is one whose time has come, and I’m glad you said something. There are more women listening than you might think.
Lucius Svartwulf said:
Thanks for your comment. and if you rant, it might give me areas where I find I need to write about.
Shen Hart said:
At the end of the day – both genders are oppressed. In some manner or another, it’s still far from an easy ride for women either. Yes, men should be helped but choosing one gender over another is just as bad whichever gender you choose to side with.
As Morgan Freeman said about black history month and racism – the best way to stop it is to stop talking about it and focusing on it. By pushing that seperationism you’re making the whole deal worse (not you personally). Everyone should be brought about and helped to fulfill their potential and helped to live a good, happy, and beneficial life.
Lucius Svartwulf said:
Morgan Freeman sounds like a wise man (and not just a good narrator). Yes, both genders are oppressed (arguably all genders are oppressed) and while there is merrit in the “let’s move on” philosophy (I really wish we just could) when you have active organizations that are trying to lift up one gender at the cost of another, well….sometimes you have to say something. As I said, young men pretty much have the highest suicide rate. If I can write something that makes even one of them consider life because he is not alone, and maybe even consider becomig a Heathen, then well, I’m going to run my mouth, lol.
Shen Hart said:
I’m not saying you’re wrong, not at all. I think all those moronic organisations who place one above the other are just that… Each have our merits, strengths, weaknesses. We should be about complimenting, helping and balancing. But, people are all about supremacy and fighting.. lol
Aubs Tea said:
I think I can help you with this.
I have a friend who is, as she says, “an anti-feminist.” She doesn’t hate on her sex or want to be a man, or anything. She hates the stratosphere of anti-men imagery that has been soaking the feminist movements. She discovered it when she read, I believe the book is Reviving Ophelia. When the book hit the waves, it seems to have changed a lot of the feminist movement from positive vagina-related commentary to “men suck andshould die” sentiments. She wrote an excellent research paper in college about it. She’s also my go-to for things like this.
I’ve never read the book, so I can’t comment. But in helping her with the research for that paper opened my eyes. I’m far more aware about the anti-man propoganda and hate it.
So. There is that. Also, there’s a blog on WP called “So What About The Menz?” or something like that. Look it up: it’s eye-opening.
Lucius Svartwulf said:
I shall, thank you.
Aubs Tea said:
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Well said! As for me, I guess I’m not a feminist. Probably more of a humanist. =) Oh how I wish that more people would understand that equality isn’t about women! Nor is it about men and women being identical… because we’re not. Men and women are different, yes. And that’s ok. As long as we’re still equals. And that, I think, is where many feminists go wrong… if they forget that differences should be celebrated, not swept under the carpet!
Jeanne NaCl (@CosmicBabe) said:
The state I live in doesn’t discriminate on domestic violence — regardless of who calls the cops, if either party has physical signs of assault, the other party gets arrested (even if witnesses state only one was attacking). I know this from witnessing an attack on a woman, who was told by the cop that if her (male) abuser had any marks on him, she would be arrested too.
IMO, the best way to prevent discrimination, and help the abused, is to teach people to make better choices. Chances are a lot lower that you will wind up abused, unemployed, arrested, divorced for no good reason, losing custody of your kids, ETC if you make the right choices to avoid getting into those situations in the first place — and/or get out of them as soon as possible. Don’t associate with (or date, or marry, etc) people who make bad choices and do bad things! Get a decent education and keep learning alternate job skills so you always have work to fall back on. Plan for bad financial times through responsible use of credit, savings accounts, and frugal living. Nobody wakes up one day and finds themselves in an abusive marriage because they made all the right choices about the person they chose to marry and have kids with.
With the very rare exception of true bad luck (stranger abduction by a serial rapist/killer, for example), almost every bad experience in a person’s adult life can be traced back to poor choices. I don’t say this to “blame” the victim (whose shoes I was once in, I might mention), but to point out that you don’t remain a victim unless you CHOOSE to continue to make poor choices. The gods help those who help themselves, and there is no helping those who refuse to change their ways and BE helped.
Morgana Rose said:
Your post gave me chills. I have a younger brother who is 16, and pagan like me. I worry about him so much because this is no longer a man’s world, and men are just as much victims as women are to crimes and manipulation. Thank you so much, when I go home, I’m going to show this post to him.
Lucius Svartwulf said:
Well, happy I can help. He’s welcome here, I’m going to be trying to do relateted posts on weds, and if he has questions he can put them in the comments and i’ll do my best to help as I can. 🙂
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