The Balance of Masculinity
Stepping out of the preconceived notions of masculine and feminine constructs that seem to shackle and stifle western society, it is now time to step into the present and prepare for the future with a more open, balanced approach to a healthy life. Our biology as human participants of the earth dictates that we find ways to diminish negative, unbalanced energies, speech and behaviors and lean into positive, balanced vibrations, language and action(s). Biological characteristics of humans contain a mix of masculine and feminine energy. We all have estrogen and testosterone. In order to attain and maintain balance, we must learn how to listen to our own inner selves.
‘YOU FIND PEACE NOT BY REARRANGING THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF YOUR LIFE, BUT BY REALIZING WHO YOU ARE AT THE DEEPEST LEVEL’ - ECKHART TOLLE
The patriarchal institutions that have historically defined American life are being confronted with new ideas of what masculinity could look like. The archetypal ideas surrounding masculinity are undergoing serious analysis and appraisement. Many voices call for the dismantling of masculinity, especially those parts thought to be toxic and out of balance. These ideas pose many challenges and we are better off healing our collective traumas by striking a balance between our masculine and feminine selves. We need both, in tandem, to be whole. The goal of finding balance is to heal from within and strive for healthy and divine ways of envisioning our spaces in the world.
‘‘IT’S EASIER TO BUILD STRONG CHILDREN THAN TO REPAIR BROKEN MEN” - FREDERICK DOUGLASS
Recognizing that masculinity is different per ethnicity, culture and generation, the standards for traditional manliness vary tremendously. In the interest of combatting the violence typically attached to masculinity, learning and practicing self-guided balance is essential to illustrating why healthy masculinity is so important. Masculinity can be fluid and not reserved for males only. Human traits such as courage, leadership, independence, fearlessness, strength and assertiveness are all traits everyone could possess. Though patriarchal history has centered men as the prism through which to experience normality and rationality, the overall aim is to remove the pressures of forcing men and boys to suppress and shy away from their feelings and provide safe spaces for males to express themselves openly. Teaching selfcare, showing self love and instilling compassion are key building blocks for healthy masculinity.
Biological and cultural factors play significant roles in human development. These factors come into play when grappling with masculinity in reference to broken men and boys in the judicial system. News headlines are full of ways our current judicial systems exacerbate the issues of masculinity and developing spaces for healthy masculine growth. These encounters often thrust young men and boys into circumstances that only highlight personal deficienccies and offer no solid avenues for rehabilitation.
The solutions are not easy fixes yet the solutions are varied and doable. Reimagining community policing, Transformative justice and healthy rehabilitation seems overwhelming and impossible. This is hard community work. Fortunately for the state of Texas we have hope. A strong voice on this front is Savannah Eldridge, whose fight for the men in her family highlight these issues poignantly. Though her list of legislative work is extensive, her passion project is befrank4justice.org. This platform was developed in 2016 to provide support and services for incarcerated individuals and their families impacted by their confinement. Repairing broken adults can be overwhelming work. Ms. Eldridge makes it look effortless.
She delved into this work as a response to her own family member’s stories that forced her to become acquainted with the intimate details of our flawed judicial system as a matter of survival. She is a staunch advocate and activist that understands that balancing healthy masculinity is essential to tackling the issues that plague men and boys emotionally. Beyond community programs, she is a powerhouse at the Texas State capitol and works tirelessly to develop legislation that will tackle these issues head-on. She heads several initiatives in Texas. Her community work provides examples of how various platforms can inform legislation, build better communities, and care for the citizenry as a whole. These programs could offer Galveston a template that can be used to confront the issues unique to the island community.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MS. ELDRIGE, HER WORK, AND PROGRAMMING TO MAKE SPACE FOR MEN AND BOYS VISIT THESE LINKS: