Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek’

Look, Girls! A Million Men, Boldly Going…

March 10, 2013


Jean Luc Picard.  Gotta love him.

In honor of International Women’s Month, I’d like to give a shout out to the men.

For those of you who don’t know Jean Luc, intrepid Captain of one of the many iterations of the Starship Enterprise, he is more properly addressed these days as the actor Sir Patrick Stewart, and worthy of our praise.

This week, Sir Patrick launched a new project called “Ring the Bell”, a global campaign to get one million men to “make one million concrete, actionable promises” to help end violence against women.  He speaks from the heart in his advocacy: he has vivid memories of trying to intervene, as a small boy, when his own father beat his mother.

Other notable men have already stepped up, Sir Richard Branson among them.  Another, former NFL quarterback “and feminist”  (!) Don McPherson, made a comment I think is worth repeating, “We don’t raise boys to be men,” he said. “We raise them not to be women, or gay men.”

Let’s face it, the past 5-6 decades have been tough in the gender-role department.  First, women fought their way into a new visibility in the 60’s and 70’s, leaving a lot of men wondering, “where does that leave us?”

Since then, new generations have come along whose concepts of the world are so different that many young women today think of “feminism” as an outmoded, unappealing, and unnecessary idea.  In the meantime, young men develop and exercise their manhood by trying on electronic personas that pump up the artificial violence, with nary a Yoda – or a Jean Luc Picard – in sight.   Feel free, as President Obama did this week, to mix all the Star Trek and Star Wars metaphors you want.  We’ve been running low on Wise Men lately.  We may need to cobble some together from spare parts.

Lots of the macho stuff everywhere – although a Mexican man I know still insists that the older – and truer –  understanding of “macho” is more along the lines of “doing those things that are right for a man to do”, like providing for and protecting his loved ones.  Isn’t that a far healthier understanding than the swagger and bellicosity of those video-game “heroes”, all rippling muscles and six-pack abs and indiscriminate guns a-blaze?  Can’t we reclaim some constructive channels for all the natural testosterone of our young men?

Another obscure term I stumbled across offers a definition of manliness I love:  Sankoch is a Sanskrit word, referring to the embodiment of all the good qualities of a man, and what is called “enlightened restraint”.   According to this definition, a Sankochi is “a man full of grace”.

 A man full of grace.   How fabulous is that?  How strong, how sexy, how… needed.   Now, be it known, we women are more than capable of stepping up to our own challenges.  We don’t need to passively sit waiting to be rescued.  But neither should we assume there’s no more work to be done.

And just like the dirty dishes and the laundry, changing the world has always been a task best served by a productive gender partnership.  Men, you have no idea how totally we will welcome that man full of grace.

And now the eminently graceful Sir Patrick Stewart is calling for a million more to join him.

I can’t wait to see who shows up.


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