What’s the role of Men?

A lot of men have been asking me “how do I fit in to women’s empowerment?” Well, I want to acknowledge that you already are! (Many of the women I work with learned about me through the men in their lives, thank you!) While I offer courses that focus on women here are some ways all genders can engage:

I offer these because when I see clients connect to their body and emotions it invites the loved ones in their lives to do the same and it makes us get more real with each other.  There’s a difference between Earned power (the soul gifts and discipline we cultivate) and Unearned power (socially constructed privilege).  When I hear men asking what do I do (with my unearned power) it’s really not as relevant as you discovering and expressing your Earned power.

I’m not so interested in speaking on behalf of women about how men can “help” us.  I’m DONE with the flavor of feminism that has allowed women to remain small, to blame men for our dissatisfaction and the cultural permission for us to avoid forgiveness and taking responsibility.  The truth is we NEED EACH OTHER.  (and I’m not just talking about heteronormative relationships.)

I want to break down the belief that women are the only ones doing personal work.  It’s just not true.  So what feels most authentic for me is to introduce you to some of the incredible men in my community who I love, respect, and see as valuable collaborators in co-empowerment to continue the conversation:


Micah BlackLight

Meet Micah BlackLight: “I sat in a rocking chair daughter in my lap.. singing her to sleep while my unmarried wife readied for bed. And I thought in that moment, of the sight I must make: black father, in a rocking chair.. singing his baby girl to sleep, and I wondered how rare a thing that might be. I almost choked on tears at the thought of how many fathers must have wanted to show their children that kind of love, but felt they could not, because they were trapped within the confines of the “manbox” they were raised within. How many wounds am I healing within our collective conscious every time I sing my lil baby to sleep, every time I kiss her precious little forehead and whisper that I love her, and I’m incredibly happy she was born?

How many children would have given a limb to hear those words from their fathers? I sat and let the tears stream out of my eyes and down my cheeks and took a moment of gratitude for the opportunity to raise my child on love; to address through my family, so many of the rifts of pain that etch our collective past.. to be an intentional beacon for people who have been given too few.

This is what the beginning of change can look like. This is where shifts begin: in our homes. with OUR children.. one questioning step at a time. Love…

I think a males’ single biggest role in co-creating an empowering community at present, and I stress the words at present, is to work his hardest to foster an environment where females and males alike feel safe-from other males. In other words, I think the first thing we as males can do to co-create EMPOWERING communities is to strive to comport ourselves in ways that leave no one feeling threatened. This necessarily creates the need for us to let go of ninety percent of what we’ve been taught it means to be a “man”, particularly in urban environments, but also beyond.” Learn about Micah BlackLight and his Empowerment Coaching at I-Am-Catalyst.com and contact him at Speak@I-am-catalyst.com.

Meet Tony Rezac, creator of Body and Soul for Men, writes of the Hero`s Journey, men`s personal growth, and planetary transformation. When I raised this conversation with him he responded…

“I see more wisdom being brought to the masculine body. Rather than just taking a conventional approach to fitness, I`m seeing more interest in the subtle aspects of the body. Things like chi hung and movement and the “felt” arts are no longer off limits for men. Men are discovering what women have been gently pointing to for years: that if we could slow down, breathe, and feel what is happening, health and grace can naturally unfold…The archetypal Hero is available to both men and women. The Hero leaves the herd to find the spiritual truths that will allow the Kingdom to thrive. Hero`s transform the world. They stare down the status quo and say “not on my watch.”

…Every day you ask yourself, “What does my human family need? What is my Hero`s call today?” Because our human family needs everyday Hero`s.  Because women are counting on us. Because it is honorable and dignified to play this game with as much heart and guts and tears as you can muster. Because this is what you came here to do.” Read more in his post, “Women are Counting on Us.”  Visit Tony at www.BodyandSoulforMen.com and contact him at info@bodyandsoulformen.com.

Meet Emile Svitzer: “As an African American, the question of how I see my role as a man in empowering women evoked in me an immediate response.  I imagine the answer to this question would be the same as if one were to ask of white Americans, at any point in history, how they see their role in empowering blacks:  Basically, stop being in the way.

Power can be granted, bestowed or taken by others. But Empowerment can only be realized and enjoyed by one’s self.  The only genuine empowerment is self-empowerment.  More clearly, I believe the best way a man (or woman) can participate in co-creating an empowering community is to develop his awareness of where and how his thoughts, words or actions are disempowering or obstructive to the inherent, already held though perhaps unrealized, self-empowerment of others and work on changing these causes and their manifest effects.” Emile Svitzer, co-facilitates with Anton Richard Diaz www.NYC.manevolve.com.

Meet Josh Van Vliet: “The purpose of my work as a life and leadership coach is to empower men to live authentic, joyful, connected lives. I support men to identify and live from what’s most important to them to create relationships they love.  As men, the first step we can take to support the empowerment of women is to courageously shine a conscious light on all of the places in our lives where we are acting from old scripts and outdated ideas about who we should be as men. This means intentionally, actively questioning the traditional definitions of male gender roles, and lovingly interrupting patterns of oppression, as we observe them in action in our own behavior and in the behavior of the men around us. The moment we are willing to be in this conversation is the moment new possibilities open up – for ourselves, for our relationships, and for our society.” Josh is a life and leadership coach, visit his site at ExpandWhatsPossible.org and contact him at Josh@ExpandWhatsPossible.org.

Just in case your heart isn’t overflowing yet with these beautiful souls, here’s some awesome resources shared via Josh:

Against Patriarchy: Tools for Men to Further Feminist Revolution

Jackson Katz, anti-sexist activist, speaker, author, film-maker

Men, I love you. I love co-creating what’s powerful for all of us. I love being here with you as we all grow and heal one profound connection at a time. (For this conversation, I chose to stick with the gender binary language knowing that gender is far more fluid.  And that my friends, is a whole other blog post :)) Until then, I hope to dance with you, share bodywork, and please…I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments welcome!


Zahava Griss