i wish i could fill my mouth with sunlight
and let you drink from my lips
till you felt the light in you

i wish i knew how to apologize
for all the ways
they beat the feeling out of you
and told you
your tenderness was weak

i saw it happening
and here is the worst part
i agreed

i was a girl who thought men should be
a certain way to express masculinity
and i have been guilty even recently
of making remarks
that mock men’s feelings

i feel a bit sick about it as i write this
i wish i could say differently

so i want to apologize

it must be hard to experience privilege
at the cost of your soul

yes, male privilege is a very real thing
but so are male feelings

we beat our men with messaging
about being a success object
we teach them to be machines
and we insist that “real men”
are powerful, wealthy, purposeful and ripped

that is a ton of pressure for any
human being
but to face that
along with a complete lack of empathy
is a unique form of dehumanizing

and i am just waking up
to how i have colluded

i admit
i have giggled over drinks with girlfriends
flipping through pictures of men
saying things like,
“where are all the real men?”
meaning something embarrassingly derogatory
and i am sorry

i get my femininity questioned often
and it is exhausting

i want to scream at men who say things like
“not bad for a girl!”
or “is this the way you behave behind closed doors?”

of course i am different in the boardroom
than in the bedroom
but since we are in a meeting
can we get back to the tasks at hand please

i don’t have to prove anything to you
about what kind of woman i am

and i am sorry for ever making a man feel
that he had to prove
he was a “real” man to me

i think it’s time we change the story here
and i think it starts with how we treat
our boys in their breakdown

inability to feel
is from conditioning
men are not born this way

it’s from fathers who thought it wise
to beat their sons
when they shed a tear
so they learn never to show their weakness visibly

it’s from girls that point fingers and laugh
“stop being a p*ssy”
when men show their fear
or tenderness

it’s from the tv shows and video games
that show repeatedly that real men
who get the girls
and treat women
with violent disregard

we are indoctrinating men
out of their hearts

and then are devastated
when they are emotionally unavailable

yes, there are many generalizations here
but i wanted to speak into what i see
because as far as i can tell
this is a very real thing
and it’s something i am certain we can change
just like most everything

yes, we could get into a lengthy discussion
about how to shift things culturally
or we could start today
at home
in the streets
on the apps


because from my limited understanding
of universal law…

if we want men of honor
we need
to start honoring
the men

❤️ emily joy rosen

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