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Are Empowered Women Empowering Men?

I think they are...

I
am a British 1980’s Generation X teenager and, as such, I grew up
surrounded by powerful women. From having my country run by two women
(H.M. the Queen and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady)
to Joan Collins in her shoulder pads as Alexis Colby in Dynasty, to
the example of my own mother, whose rock-solid reliability and
constant care for me inspires me to this day as the gold standard of
motherhood in my eyes, I have always admired strong women and their
ability to achieve in a world that, even in the 21st.
Century, is still way too male-dominated.

An empowered woman takes responsibility for her life, makes her own
rules, honours herself, lives by her inner compass, values her
passions, chooses empowering relationships, takes a stand, develops a
relationship with fear (that is, she is courageous), empowers other
women and owns her pleasure.

I like this definition. Certainly there is something very attractive
about a woman who lives up to her own actions, decides what she
wants, is comfortable in her body, trusts her feminine intuition,
does what she loves, has high standards for her relationships, speaks
her mind, is brave, sticks up for the sisterhood and has a healthy
attitude towards sex.

The question for men is whether this fair creature represents a
threat to us or should be welcomed. I argue for the latter. Indeed, I
would further argue that any woman appearing to possess these
qualities but who then uses them against men is not as empowered as
she thinks she is.

I have always been somewhat suspicious of the rabidly anti-male
feminist.

While the struggle for equality is real and the issues that still
face women remain formidable, I have always sensed in my heart that
the feminist who is seriously anti-men is not entirely happy with
being female, either. Perhaps she feels weak, so attempts to look
strong by trying to beat men at their own game, encouraging women to
behave more like men to get ahead in life and career. It also pains
me that so many feminists became feminists because a man in their
lives did something bad to them. While Andrea Dworkin was the most
famous example of this kind of feminist, I am encouraged by the fact
that more mainstream figures in women’s liberation, such as Germaine
Greer, Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan and Shere Hite, had no such
dreadful experiences.

I feel that a truly empowered woman does not look at men as “the
competition” but rather invites men to be unthreatened by her
femininity and sexuality and to be co-author of female equality
together with her, confident that such a man is both her equal and a
person worthy of respect.

Can such a man be found? The large number of rather wussy SNAGs
(“Sensitive New-Age Guys”) and the number of women reading “50
Shades” suggests that he is rare. In a way, this is a rather sad
state of affairs.

When I was a teenage boy in the 1980’s, I always believed in women’s
empowerment. Of course men and women were created equal. I could
hardly believe that the 1960’s generation could ever believe
otherwise. Weren’t they the generation who thought blacks should be
segregated, who thought gays should be locked up and who thought
bombing Cambodia was a good way to stop the Vietnam War? How stupid.
Of course the new generation of hip young things in the 1980’s would
never stoop to such ridiculous conclusions. We had Michael Jackson as
the King of Pop, Madonna was a role model, British pop singers like
Boy George and Culture Club paved the way for gay culture, Freddie
Mercury from Queen was bisexual. What was wrong with the older
generation?

Since then things haven’t quite worked out. I thought it was wrong to
ask a woman for sex straight out. No way would I ever make such a
stupid mistake as to harass a woman at work. I thought men who did that were
ignorant guys who cared nothing for feminism and had an attitude
against women. However, some of the guys who grew up with these
enlightened beliefs (not me, thank goodness) turned from the light
when they realized that behaving in this way resulted in no sex and
no girlfriend. Afraid to ask women for what they really wanted, they
hoped that she would “get the hint” and when she didn’t (because,
actually, he gave no hint – because he thought it was wrong to do
that), he turned from being a “nice guy” into being not-so-nice
and complained that women had all the power and that they weren’t
nurturing enough. The 50% divorce rate didn’t help either. Guys of my
generation grew up in female-dominated families where the father was
often absent or unavailable, so I, for one, have had significant
issues acting like a man because I had no role model.

Now there is greater understanding of female sexuality and psychology
than there was before. A new generation of guys are growing up
realizing that there is a duality to femininity. The successful CEO
in the boardroom also likes being submissive in the bedroom. She can
believe in women’s liberation and read “50 Shades” at the same
time. She can choose to be an ethical slut or choose to wait for the
right man because she believes she is worth it. She grew up in high
school surrounded by women who chose to have relationships with their
friends, regardless of whether those friends are male or female and
she doesn’t feel the need to label this behaviour as a definite
sexuality. What’s a little cunnilingus between friends? Does it have
to mean she’s bisexual? Can’t she just hang out and be chill about
whatever happens?

Today’s teenage boys think this is normal. As a high school teacher,
I’ve seen it. I don’t want to see any more young girls growing up
ashamed because their bodies don’t live up to some ideal. I want her
to listen to her womb and trust what it says, to be comfortable with
her femininity and proud to be a woman. She can live her passions,
fulfill her dream, achieve her life goals. I feel encouraged that
teenage boys are already accepting this as the way it should be.

As for me, I absolutely love this type of woman. She challenges me to
be the best I can be. She is courageous and that inspires me. Also, dare
I say it – this woman is sexy. I want her – and it’s safe to want
her; because a woman confident in her sexuality knows she is
attractive to a man who is confident in his.

 In this way, then, a fully-empowered woman can empower men to rise
above the stereotypes of the past to become the fully-confident man
he has always wanted to be and to share that confident life with her;
and if all men embraced this, this world would be better off for it.

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