Why the World Said ‘Yes!’ to #NurturanceCulture: Five Responses

Why the World Said Yes to Nurturance Culture: Five Responses

Last week, “The Opposite of Rape Culture is Nurturance Culture” blew up on the internet. The global response is astonishing: 360 000 people visited the page in a week. Clearly the idea that we can craft a masculine “Nurturance Culture” touched a chord. Comments and mail poured in from well nigh every single country worldwide. The interest in nurturance culture sparked a new series that you (yes you!) can contribute to here.

The responses to the piece mostly break down into these five revealing categories:

  1. Men* who say ‘This is the inside of my head,’ ‘This made me cry it felt so real.’ ‘I have struggled with this all my life and for the first time I really see what I can do differently.
  2. Women* and other-gendered folks who say ‘This is why I felt crazy in my last relationship.’ ‘I shared this with my boyfriend/husband/partner/lover/friend and it was the first time they ever really saw how they’d hurt me all these years. For the first time we have hope.’
  3. The most valuable response for me personally was learning along these lines: “Talking about ‘women’ in ‘universal’ terms is a white feminist thing to do. It erases Black and POC feminism, which is where transformative justice principles that intuitively shape this piece emerged. Transformative Justice was created by Black women specifically to deal with police violence in response to sexual violence in Black communities. So how does “nurturance culture” signify in Black feminist terms and how do we centre this expertise and experience – because if they’re not centred they’re invariably erased.”
  4. Trans responses that ask if masculine barriers to talking openly about nurturance may actually be expressions of misogyny against the parts of men deemed ‘feminine.’ As one smart trans friend wrote in response: maybe there is no homophobia or transphobia, only misogyny.
  5. Logic-challenged MRAs who say ‘Yeah but I wouldn’t fuck you, Nora, ergo your ideas are meaningless.’

There were others, but this taxonomy of comments represent the most telling responses. What seems clear in the worldwide response to the piece is that this word, this term, this idea, is something the world wants.

It seems from the lightning-flash response that Nurturance Culture is something this culture has been waiting for, an antidote to the isolation, confusion, and pain many of us feel when we read about Cosby, about Ghomeshi, when we face the gaps and lacuna in our own lives.

Men* clearly want to know how to open their hearts and regain the loving, nurturing whole selves they were when they came into this world. Our culture has many words for male violence, but only a few fumbling ways to talk about male care. The term “Nurturance Culture” offers a lens that lets these healing acts come into focus.

Do you want to be part of building general cultural knowledge about nurturance culture? Are you a nurturing man, or are you close to one? Share your experiences of nurturance in this space! Submit to the call for submissions here


Puung image used with permission by the artist. See more here: http://www.grafolio.com/puuung1/illustration.grfl

*I want to be clear here that I am using this term in a trans-inclusive way, referring to masculine-identified people. I have chosen not to write ‘men and trans men’ etc in the piece above because I’ve been told and understand trans men do not need their own separate signifier as that suggests they aren’t already part of the main signifier. I recognize there are different opinions on how to do this well; as a ciswoman I’m no expert, am open to feedback so let me know if this works. For now until I hear otherwise, I’m going with the approach that made the most ethical sense to me when I heard it.


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2 thoughts on “Why the World Said ‘Yes!’ to #NurturanceCulture: Five Responses

  1. Nurturance is vulnerability, honesty, compassion, courage, love, and connection. It is the space between the words and actions in a relationship – presences and openness. Sitting with the joy, sorrow, struggle, triumph and pain of life as support for others – graciously accepting support from others. It’s also about boundaries – respecting others and valuing my own boundaries. It’s holding space, sharing space and co-creating space for authenticity and acceptance. Nurturance is speaking up, active witnessing, and listening when confronting injustice, violence (physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual) or suffering. Being present for all that life offers with gratitude, grace, love and courage.


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