1. Being Male: 1. Feminism by Proxy

My academic and clinical training was predominately focused on cognitive behavioral therapy.  If cognitive behavioral therapy had a gender, it would be male.

Any knowledge I gained about feminism was accidental.  As a man, you needed to date someone, or train with someone, who had strong feminist beliefs before you considered feminist thought regarding power, control, and oppression.

It was not enough to just nod your head in agreement to the language and ideas behind feminism or show shock at how some men used violence to oppress those with whom they shared a relationship. Nor was it acceptable to present any conflicting viewpoint and engage in a debate over feminist principles.  Feminism was not just an academic exercise, it was personal.  It spoke to most women I knew as truthful and was consistent with their experience.  Perhaps not always wholly and completely consistent, but certainly more close than any other competing world view.  To argue against feminism was to question their experience and their beliefs.  To do so would be both insensitive and disrespectful.

For myself and other men, feminism was somewhat alien to our way of thought and did not hold the same immediate truth for us.  We found ourselves often in a position of apology.  If not for our behavior, then for our gender.  If not apologetic, then we were silent.

It was a confusing time.

blurry man woman symbol