I really dislike hypocrisy, and this strip tackles it really well:
I’ve talked a fair bit about Aphrodite and embracing our sexuality and sensuality as women. But what about men?
How Aphrodite is relevant to men
Aphrodite teaches us that our sexual, sensual nature is a part of us, not separate and closeted away. That it’s okay – more than okay – to be sexual, physical beings.
It’s okay to feel, to experience, to love, to enjoy our bodies, to lust, and to experience pleasure and revel in it. It’s okay to enjoy beauty and enjoy being beautiful.
Being sterile, celibate, unfeeling, uncaring – none of these is a natural state of being for humans. Sex is something we all do. It’s part of who we are. It’s fun, it’s positive, and it’s something to enjoy and explore without shame or fear.
These lessons are just as relevant to men as they are to women. Yet they are not where we are beginning from.
Although it’s rapidly breaking down, we still live in a largely puritanical society that tells us to fear sex, be ashamed of our bodies, hate our physical selves and the selves of other that do not conform to some mythical standard of perfection (whatever THAT is supposed to be) and, in the case of men, hide away our emotional and sensual selves and pretend they don’t exist.
That’s a whole lot of negatives.
The Man Box
Start with The Man Box – everything that Society tells men they should be in order to be a Real Man:
According to the Man Box, and the dysfunctional patriarchy that created it, men are not supposed to express or feel emotion. They’re not supposed to receive pleasure – only to give, in a very assertive, Dominant, forceful, controlling kind of way.
They’re not supposed to see women as equals, but as chattel, objects, items to be used and bought and sold. This is why “purity” and the concept of virginity in women is so highly prized in patriarchy – because women are objects to be valued and owned, rather than individuals with their own agency.
Men are not supposed to feel, or to cry, or to express weakness, or humility, or need. Yet all of these emotions are part of what it means to be human: they’re all part of the complete human experience.
The Man Box is strong, its mythos still alive and kicking. Our world is full of men who have been sold the Man Box, sold the patriarchal model of behaviour, and been screwed up mightily by it.
Men who have bought into the Man Box model often can no longer connect fully with their emotions, are unable to have fulfilling, satisfying relationships with women or other men. They feel a huge amount of anger and resentment at the world, yet are not quite sure why. They’re also often quite homophobic – because being gay is the antithesis of what a “real man” should be.
They’ve been damaged by a model of being that doesn’t fit with what real, whole, healthy humans are, and need to be.
The healing powers of Aphrodite
The power of Aphrodite – embracing our sexuality and sensuality, reconnecting with our emotional selves, accepting all mutually consenting acts of love and pleasure – is incredibly healing.
The puritanical society we live in, where sex has been hidden away and seen as something dirty and shameful, and where women have been scapegoated for millenia for society’s ills (remember Eve and the snake? Yeah, it goes back to that old yarn and possibly well before it), has been in need of healing and resolution for a long time.
Society needs Aphrodite. We need Aphrodite. And men need Aphrodite too, just as much as women.
Just as women have been disconnected from our sexuality, so too have men.
Sex has been hidden away for men too. There has been an insane amount of pressure on them to perform, to achieve in sex – and you see this in men continually wondering and worrying about the size of their penises, where the truth is, most women couldn’t really care less.
Aphrodite teaches us to become whole. Stop comparing ourselves with others. Opt out of patriarchy. Choose not to see sex as something dirty but instead as something precious, sacred, joyful. Our sexuality is the gift of Aphrodite: it is given to us for pleasure and enjoyment, not for shame or ridicule or insecurity.
Once men start understanding that they can be whole, sensual humans – not mechanical, unfeeling robots that must exert power over others in order to have value – that’s when the healing begins. Men can receive as well as give, be beneath as well as on top, penetrate as well as be penetrated, and enjoy their bodies instead of feeling shame or insecurity, creating a healthier, happier dynamic between the genders.
Here’s the proposal, and you’ve heard it before: gay couples shouldn’t be allowed to marry, because marriage is about children, and having families. Gay couples can’t have children together, so they shouldn’t be allowed to marry.
If a society allows gay marriages to happen, it’s saying that marriage is more about sex than having a family.
I’m going to pour cold water on that one right now.
Case 1: My grandmother, a widow, got married again in her seventies (my grandfather died when he was 49 from cancer). According to the logic above (let’s call it “Santorum logic“), that marriage shouldn’t have been allowed, right? Because there was no way on earth my grandma was capable of having kids with her new husband, who was rocking along in his mid 80s.
Case 2: Then there’s a friend of mine, who is in a wheelchair, and can’t have kids, thanks to a car accident when he was in his early 20s. He’s getting married next year, to the woman he got engaged to before the accident. She’s been with him through all his therapy, and if that ain’t true love, I don’t know what is. But they’ll never have children.
So, according to Santorum Logic, they should also be shoved in the “NO MARRIAGE FOR YOU” box. Right?
Cases 3 and 4: My husband had two great aunts, both of whom got married then found they could neither of them ever have children with their husbands. I’m sure they really wanted to, but couldn’t. Some people just can’t have children. If you’re religious, you can call it an “Act of God”. And it’s cruel.
Does that mean that their loving, lifelong marriages with their husbands were something less than a “real” marriage because children didn’t happen? Or maybe, according to the Santorum Logic that “having kids is what marriage is for“, their husbands should have dumped them by the side of the road, Bible-style, and married again?
Of course, we don’t know that the problem was with the women. Fertility problems are actually pretty even between the genders. But hey, this is a patriarchal society, so let’s go right ahead and assume that the blame should be laid on women.
Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s clarify what “Biblical Marriage” (that often bandied-about term) actually is. Here’s a handy graphic:
Doesn’t sound that lovely to me!
I’ve just outlined four cases below that I know of, with real people that are friends or relatives of mine, where their marriages were NOT anything to do with children, and where to have children wasn’t an option.
Yet so many anti gay marriage people would never say a word against their marriages.
So let’s call this anti gay marriage hocus what it actually is: bigotry.
It’s bigotry. Hatecrime. Based on suspicion and fear.
I don’t believe any person should have the right to control or prevent the happiness of another. This is a human rights issue, loud and clear. It’s that simple.
So to end my post, here’s a lovely photo of some happy senior newlyweds, in honour of my grandma who I loved:
And some happy disabled newlyweds, in honour of my friend, who I care for:
And some happy gay newlyweds, in hope that all my gay friends will one day have equal rights everywhere: