Men & Women Telling the Truth Together–Busting Out of The Gender Boxes

gender boxLet’s face it. Men and women are stuck in gender boxes.

I remember only a year ago saying to my wife when she tried to put a light colored shirt on my son, “Honey that’s too feminine.” WTF? After her calling me on that, I realized what was driving that comment— me being trapped in the gender code of “boys wear blue, girls wear pink.”

Below that code was fearing my son would be labeled gay or feminine. Wow. Misogyny all over again. It was subtle, but that was my disdain for the feminine in me.

I had pushed down that “feminine” part of myself so far that it went underground. When this happens we let other people and our culture dictate what is true for us. From the unconscious we have little choice.  So I began to shine a big light on MY feminine.

Over and over, we are taught from a very young age (even birth and in utero), how to be a boy and how to be a girl. Don’t act like this, don’t act like that. Wear this color, don’t wear that color.

Over time this traps us in a boy code and a girl code. Behavior outside the “code” is not acceptable as one may face ridicule, judgment, rejection,  insult, and abandonment.

As adults, it doesn’t change much. Women, you need to act like a woman, and men, act like a man. Men, don’t act gay, weak or feminine and don’t rage. Women, don’t blah, blah, blah (women, need some help here, comment below?)

But ‘acting like a man’ implies that I need to adhere to behaviors that are acceptable within that person’s definition of “man.” Trust me, I tried that one for a while with “act like a good man or a revolutionary man.” And again, it is just another box.

The only way for us to break free from the boxes that we subscribed to long ago is to rewild ourselves as humans, outside of gender codes and scripts.

It’s time to be free and stop giving our culture, peers, parents, and society power over us by letting them dictate how to be a man or how to be a woman. There is no one way, and in reality, there is no fucking box. We just have to know that, and have the confidence to explore how big and vast we really are.

The boxes have only created more confusion and led to the separateness men and women feel toward each other. In fact, for the past six years, I have solely hung with men, pushing away my female friends (and hence the feminine in me). Now, I’m tired of that separateness and instead am seeking women friends to deepen with.

Conscious men and women are doing fine getting wild within the context of their own gender. I suggest we all dig deep and explore both our inner masculine and inner feminine and then do the same with men and women we know. It’s time to take the lid off the old notions of man and woman.

Men and women are different, of course. Let us celebrate and embody those differences fully but do so individually, in a way that honors who we uniquely are, not who we want to be, think we should be, or how someone else is doing it.

What is going to happen as men and women consciously come together? I don’t know, but I want to go there.

It’s time to create spaces where we can learn to tell the truth, be wild, and be free together. C’mon PEOPLE!!!! Let’s do it!

__________________________________________________

Here is an example of something we men and women can do together, done locally in Boulder:

My dear soul sister Christiane Pelmas and I have created an event to bridge men and women and help us go deeper together. It is going to be a blast.

Men and women coming together to tell the full, uncensored truth and heal the hurt, so that we may see one another fully without filters. Let us be seen and witnessed in our rage, our grief, our joy, our desire, our laughter, and our full power.

This is a private event flyer below. A public one will be offered soon.

ReWilding Men & Women

An Uncensored Truth-Telling Experience

A weekend exploration facilitated by
Christiane Pelmas of The ReWilding and Jayson Gaddis, Men’s Leader
by invitation only
~ October 28th, 2010 ~

Moving beyond the workshop setting into a co-created ritual space, this weekend is designed to bridge
the masculine and feminine in a raw, clean, and conscious community that includes movement, council,
dyads, and more. Our purpose is not to fix anything. It is simply to speak the truth and be witnessed, so
the reality of what we experience in our daily lives can be honored and healed.

Men, in this two-day ritual you will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn how to tell the entire truth in the face of the feminine through conscious and uncensored expression
  • Show up and live as a more conscious man within community
  • Experience your hunger, desire, and longing for the feminine and own it as yours
  • Hold space for the feminine no matter what she brings – without taking it personally
  • Discover how to create deeper intimacy with both the masculine & feminine
  • Cultivate your power as a leader who is bringing more consciousness to the masculine/feminine dance

Women, in this two-day ritual you will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn how to speak your truth in front of men and women – no matter what your truth is
  • Feel the fullness of your fierce, provocative beauty & power, through the witness of community
  • Discover the deep stories that govern your relationships – the ones that serve and the ones that don’t
  • Learn how to more fully cultivate, and stay with, your authentic female expression in the face of masculine desire or fear
  • Learn how to stand safely in the face of masculine rage and desire
  • Cultivate your power as a leader who is bringing more consciousness to the masculine/feminine dance

This is for men and women who:

‣ Feel there is a larger conversation going on, between the Masculine and Feminine, that longs to be supported
‣ Hunger for a deeper more truthful conversation with the opposite gender
‣ Are in a relationship or single
‣ Have cultivated the art of skilled self-reflection and can receive honest feedback without distancing or projecting
‣ Inspired to make conscious, the stories and blocks that are covertly running your intimate partnerships

~ Limited to 8 women and 8 men

A deposit of $25 will hold your space. The evening tuition is $75. Pay what you can, and consider paying more, to help others who are experiencing economic hardship.
This experience will take place at a location to be provided upon your registration. It is our desire to maintain a gender balance for this evening.

9 Comments

  • ShawnoHurley

    Reply Reply October 21, 2010

    i like THIS NEW DIRECTION your work is taking Jayson, AWESOME thank you for creating this!!

  • Jesse

    Reply Reply October 21, 2010

    Jayson-thanks for taking on the challenge of bringing the empowerment of both the masculine and feminine to a shared space! This is inspiring and much needed. Wishing you and the ReWilders a fruitful experience.

    • Jayson

      Reply Reply October 21, 2010

      It is a natural next step for sure. I so psyched to see what emerges. Thanks!

  • Christiane

    Reply Reply October 21, 2010

    Yes! It feels important to start our work by fully deconstructing and reclaiming ourselves, through intimacy with and understanding of our own gender. But then it feels imperative that we come together to see what is alive in the spaces between these two elemental forces. And I don't meant to imply that this work is linear, because it feels more like a spiral of returning awareness that root deeper with each pass. I'm so excited to be creating this with you Jayson.

    • Jayson

      Reply Reply October 21, 2010

      Indeed sister! I can hardly wait!

  • Jessiemay

    Reply Reply November 2, 2010

    Great post! In my opinion and experience, there is a much bigger stigma around a man acting like a woman, than a woman acting like a man. It is true that both genders get put into boxes by societal standards (and many parents) from the day they are born. But there's so much more negativity around boys acting like girls than girls acting like boys. Because of the repressed feminine in our culture, and most of the world, girls are seen as weak, passive, and unintelligent. Boys are seen as powerful, controlling, brave, and smart. No wonder any boy who shows signs of femininity is ridiculed for “acting like a girl.”

    Gender stereotyping is not healthy for either gender, of course, because both genders are encouraged to suppress certain aspects of themselves. If a man is sensitive, connected with his emotions, or has a great eye for fashion and design he will be made fun of for being “gay” or lacking the qualities that a “real man” should have. If a woman is powerful and outspoken she will often be thought of as a “bitch.”

    Thanks Jayson, for shining light on this important topic, and taking action with the event you created!

  • Jessiemay

    Reply Reply November 2, 2010

    Great post! In my opinion and experience, there is a much bigger stigma around a man acting like a woman, than a woman acting like a man. It is true that both genders get put into boxes by societal standards (and many parents) from the day they are born. But there's so much more negativity around boys acting like girls than girls acting like boys. Because of the repressed feminine in our culture, and most of the world, girls are seen as weak, passive, and unintelligent. Boys are seen as powerful, controlling, brave, and smart. No wonder any boy who shows signs of femininity is ridiculed for “acting like a girl.”

    Gender stereotyping is not healthy for either gender, of course, because both genders are encouraged to suppress certain aspects of themselves. If a man is sensitive, connected with his emotions, or has a great eye for fashion and design he will be made fun of for being “gay” or lacking the qualities that a “real man” should have. If a woman is powerful and outspoken she will often be thought of as a “bitch.”

    Thanks Jayson, for shining light on this important topic, and taking action with the event you created!

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