Do You Have Anything To Say Before Football Season Starts A Tantric Male View on MeToo

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A Tantric Male View on MeToo

“What shall I do now? How shall I act? Men can do nothing now.”

This shared frustration among men is common (and understandable) in the wake of the #MeToo movement. As women come forward with stories of sexual harassment and abuse, men are beginning to see behavior that they thought was normal actually causing harm. It’s one thing to misbehave, but once we recognize the problem, how do we move forward? How do we heal the past and create a new, healthy way of relating?

Tantra offers relational tools that help heal old trauma and teach what healthy behavior looks like. We wanted to get a tech guy’s perspective on the #MeToo movement, to see how it affects men and how technology can help them navigate this new world. We spoke with Bob, a long-time student and practitioner of the technique, to get a perspective on the man’s side of #MeToo.

Q: We’d love to hear both your own experiences and how you see the state of masculinity in this age of #MeToo. What have these media reports brought up for you, both in your own life and in the larger context?

A: I am now 68 years old and live in a state of empathy and respect for women’s boundaries. This, unfortunately, was not always true. At 38, those were concepts I knew nothing about. As a young man I did things I shouldn’t have, things I would never do today. I pushed my sexuality onto women. If I could push past “no”, I would. And looking back on it I’m going, “Oh, my goodness.” I just won’t do it today.

Through technical study I saw how inappropriate my old behavior was and how to move forward. Today I advise people about what good and bad behavior looks like. There are techniques that teach people what consent is, how to ask for what they want, and how to hear “no” without going further or explaining why. It is a really difficult practice; Hearing “no” doesn’t know why. But this is what men need to do to improve their relationship with women.

Q: What are your observations of how men are responding to the #MeToo movement?

A: I see a lot of people don’t get it. They can get it theoretically or philosophically. But personally, it’s a tough sell. I just had a conversation with some of my fishing buddies. We were talking about #MeToo and about consent, permission, etc. The two boys wonder why they can’t compliment the woman at work on what she’s wearing. They believed that she dressed to look good for them – to look good to outside men – rather than to look good for herself.

I compared the woman dressed at work to them trying to wear a nice suit. I said, “When you wear a nice suit, you think, ‘Oh, I feel good in this today. I’m not wearing it to get compliments from anybody in particular.'” But they couldn’t make the connection. They didn’t see that just saying something could be wrong or cause problems.

And that point is so prevalent – it’s key. When it comes down to them personally, as a man, standing in front of this human being who is a woman, they can’t see the connection. This is where rejection and anger come from. They feel personally attacked and say, “A man can do nothing now!” They assume that a woman is doing things to attract a man, rather than just to feel good about herself. When confronted that this belief may be wrong, they become angry and defensive.

Q: How do you see men moving on from this? How can technology help?

Answer: For starters, it requires a lot of awareness and compassionate listening. Instead of men reacting “I can’t do anything anymore!” Instead they need to understand where women are coming from. I know from my own experience that this process takes time and a lot of internal digging. I compare it to playing football. There is a lot of pain and a lot of torture, but you keep coming back day after day. You don’t phrase pain and suffering but see goals and teamwork. And you let that goal override the negatives. That’s what it’s going to take, because the old paradigm is changing and we need to work together to create a new one.

And, in reality, women will not be able to change it. This is shifting for men. It will take people like me to talk to my fishing buddies. It does not come from our political, church or spiritual leader. “You know, gentlemen, we have to clean ourselves up.”

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