There’s an Ocean in my Heart

This series is inspired by one of my favorite books from bell hooks: ‘The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity and Love’ published in 2004 and I’m examining the question: “What is beauty…”

Beauty to me can be found in the core of feminist theory. Not only that beauty is defined by diversity, regardless of race, religion, class or gender and men are encouraged to express themselves in ways that don’t conform to gender stereotypes and that they can break with sexist roles.

We still live in a patriarchal society, and one of the effects of patriarchy has been to make males feel that being feared is preferable to being loved. Patriarchal masculinity maintains that real men must demonstrate their manliness by idealizing seclusion and disconnection while feminist masculinity tells men that by interacting with others and fostering a sense of community, they can become more authentic and real. That is enough for men to feel valuable; they don’t need to “do” or “perform” in order to receive approval or love. Feminist masculinity emphasizes strength as one’s capacity to be accountable for oneself and others, as opposed to strength being defined as “power over.” For males to enjoy collective liberation, patriarchy must be abolished.

A dedication to gender equality and reciprocity as essential to and supportive of life forms forms the basis of feminist masculinity. Such dedication prioritizes life over death, nonviolent action over aggressive action, and peace over conflict. We don’t need to abandon the concept of masculinity, we’ld rather redefine it and reshape it. The will to change our ideas of men, masculinity and love is where real beauty can be found for me.