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Off the Mark
on May 3, 2006
I am a human and equal rights and animal activist. And I also have been a participant in the mythopoetic men's movement. I went through my own 'initiation' weekend, and helped staff several myself.
The majority of these essays appear reactive and relatively unfounded, the work of fellow activists who have shot first while only squinting briefly at the target. The essays seem to have a few major points in common: 1. Bly's Wild Man is a dangerous force to emulate. 2. The cure for men (and society)is to be feminists first. 3. Men need to take action in society, not simply abandon it on weekends to whine.
In response to these essays, there's a few statements: 1. Bly's book is not a bible, but an influence. He is a poet, not a sociologist. The Wild Man is a metaphor for natural energy, as in Jungian (NOT Freudian) libido, not a code of conduct. Likewise, any reference to becoming a warrior is one of the mindscape - a vivid image of resolve to do battle with one's own 'shadows', not a promotion of warmongering. Stop being so literal. 2. Taken from the FMF website (feminists.org): Feminism is 'the policy, practice or advocacy of political, economic, and social equality for women'. A major focus of the work that I have done and seen is in establishing autheniticity in self, groups and society as a whole and removing structures that promote the continuation of falsehood, especially surrounding gender and sexuality. We have helped each other overcome addictions, to porn, to predation, to bigotry and to victimhood. 3. The movement I've been a part of centers on establishing a mission in the world. Mine: I challenge the world to live compassionately and reverently through learning, leading and loving.
I've done my share of protesting, sign holding and candlelight vigiling in the name of truth and rights for all. The essays within this book don't reveal much truth about the men I have worked with in the mythopoeic movement. They reveal plenty as to the closemindedness and reactionary nature of most of the essayists. In such, it's useful in guaging the resistance of some leading feminists toward seeing allies instead of perpetrators. I expected to see guiding thought that would help direct men and women alike toward healing, but found victimization and blame.