YES! We are still taking submissions for new posts!
Dating Tips for the Feminist Man is accepting submissions for a series on your own personal experiences of masculine* nurturance culture.
Send us your ways to finish this sentence: “Nurturance Is…”
What does masculine nurturance culture look like, feel like, taste like?
What is the timing, the rhythm, the pacing of nurturance and attunement?
Earlier this year, the post “The Opposite of Rape Culture is Nurturance Culture” blew up on the net. The responses to the piece were global and astonishing; see the five most common responses here.
Responses streamed in from all over the world. But in all this talking about talking about masculine Nurturance Culture, we still haven’t gotten to figuring out the actual thing. How does masculine nurturance really look and feel? We learn nurturance skills by being nurtured. The little details, the ways men can take care of women and nonbinary folks, are usually hidden in the ‘home’ realm or in private moments between friends. This private nature of intimate nurturance means it can be hard for people to learn nurturance if they don’t have models at home.
‘Care’ work, meanwhile, is considered feminine, and in a misogynist culture, it is devalued or not understood as an expert skill. It is supposed to ‘just happen’ – so if you are a man, you’re not allowed to say “I don’t know how to do that” and ask. All too often nurturance – taking care of emotional needs – is treated as something ‘natural’ that women ‘just do’ when in fact it is learned through experience.
So let’s shine a light on this misunderstood and under-shared set of wonderful life skills!
Luckily, in this media-rich age, we can share our experiences and knowledge and spread the wealth.
What do you know now about nurturance that you wish someone had told you long ago? What would you want to tell your younger self?
The best posts will be ones that are collaborative, showing how nurturance is done together and in an attuned way. Let us see the facial expressions, the body language that creates connection. Take five minutes and send in your best descriptions of how nurturance feels to you. Or take a short video clip of you and someone you nurture (your child, your lover, your friend) holding hands, looking in one another’s eyes, or cuddling in a nurturing way.
nurturance can taste like the salty chicken soup your male* partner brings you when you are sick, and the loving way he looks at you as you drink it.
It can look like the cosy arms of a dad cuddling and comforting his five year old son on the couch, for as long as his son needs, when he asks his dad not to leave for hockey practice one evening. “Screw the game, my boy needs me to be with him.”
It can look like the connected eye contact you make, every so often, with your female friend when you are in a crowded room, that shows you the two of you are connected and looking out for each other, so you never feel alone in the crowd.
It can feel like the arms of your male partner helping you up the stairs when you are in chronic pain and having a flare up, so you can go out dancing again the next day knowing someone will be there to help your stiff joints get into bed for a good night’s sleep afterwards.
It can feel like your male roommates’s comforting hand on your back to help you sleep on a night when you have insomnia, or the feeling of pillows behind your back propping you up to help with your cough at night.
It can feel like a hand caressing your cheek tenderly while gazing at your face with a soft expression that lets you know how important you are to this person who loves you.
It can taste like the food men cooked for an event where the featured speakers are an all-women lineup.
It can look like men in a professional or any work environment remembering to make an introduction, with a few words about her excellent work, between a female colleague and your male friends who could advance her career.
It can look like a man showing you with his eyes, with his facial expression, that he is really here with you, not just in body but in spirit, and willing to let you touch his true self, willing to put his trust in your hands so you know you are both taking care of one another.
It can mean sharing directly in the efforts, the successes and failures of the people you support: ironing her clothes the night before her big talk while she practices out loud, taking her out for a meal to celebrate afterwards, and saying “we did it!” instead of “I’m so happy for you.”
It looks like always being willing to drop everything you are doing to make it clear that your people come first, before your tasks or your work; something women have been taught to do for a long, long time.
It means responding to people’s needs, as much as possible, as they arise, not when it happens to be convenient.
For those men who are learning how to heal themselves in a way that nurtures those around them, what does nurturance really look like in lived daily practice? Think of exmples in your life of men you know who make those around them feel rock solid secure and safe. Observe them. What do they do? For those of all genders who have men in your lives who make you feel rock solid secure with them, what are the little things they do that lead you to trust they are really always there for you?
Men, what have you healed in yourself in order to foster nurturance as the source of joy and connection it can be?
Women and all gendered folks, what have you healed in yourself to know that you deserve nurturance, and to recognize and value it when it is offered?
Remember those Snoopy memes from the 70s? “Happiness Is…”
You are invited to finish the sentence: “Nurturance Is…”
I want to hear about the regular everyday kinds of nurturance, the daily attunement you practice with babies, kids, lovers, partners, parents, siblings, colleagues, friends. The things you just do without being asked, day in and day out, that are the fabric of trusting relationships.
Not just the overt ‘tasks’ like making a lunch, but the subtle ways you respond to nonverbal body language, the ways you offer loving arms, the way you share a gaze that lights up and protects another person’s heart and spirit, whether that be your daughter, your new lover, your girlfriend, partner, or friend.
I want to hear about the ways you nurture your female colleagues professionally, consciously and intentionally, moving their careers along instead of just advancing yourself.
I want to hear how you nurture your friends of all genders.
You can send your contribution any way you like. Any of these will be considered:
- Send one sentence! Take five minutes and send off one line that describes a moment of nurturance. You can start “Nurturance is…” or just say it your own way!
- Take a short video clip (20 seconds – 2 minutes!) on your phone with a person you nurture or who nurtures you – partner, parent, coworker, friend – to show us visually what masculine nurturance is like for you. Men, you can do this with the people you nurture. Women and other gendered folks, you can do this with men who nurture you. The focus is on how men practice nurturance, so other men can get a glimpse into the inside world of healthy nurturing interactions. Share close up video of how you look lovingly at one another, how you hold hands, what it looks like when one person turns in for a hug and the other responds. Let people who have never experienced a secure attachment bond see one in action.
- Tell us your experiences in writing. Use all your senses to bring us intimately into your moments when men nurture. Think of nurturing moments you have offered or experienced with men, and describe the visuals, the smell, taste, feeling on your skin, as well as emotions and thoughts.
- Draw, paint, sketch, or make comics about what men being nurturing looks like, feels like.
- Any other form you can think of! We’ll consider anything that can be shared easily on the web.
Whatever you send, make it feel alive. Bring us right into the experience with you so we know how nurturance by men feels in real tangible ways in daily life.
You can use your name or make up a screen handle. Please say in your email what handle you would like to see appear with your post and where you are located.
Our favourite submissions will go up on the DTFM blog during the “Nurturance Is…” series.
Men: you can be featured in this space, sharing your skills and knowledge about how you take care of the people around you.
Everybody else: you can be featured here describing what it feels like when you are being deeply nurtured by men: personally, professionally, spiritually, emotionally, you name it!
Send submissions with the subject line: “Nurturance Is” to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you and can’t wait to read/hear/see you!
More “Nurturance Is…” posts here:
We need some good news today: six more ‘Nurturance Culture’ entries
Ten Reader Replies: Nurturance Is…
Boys, Brothers, and Saying “I Love You”: Readers’ Thoughts about Nurturance Culture
If you are seeing this, you can still send in your new submissions. 🙂 This series is rolling, and when enough good ones come in, a new post will appear.
Apologies in advance; because of the volume of email we may only be able to contact those whose submissions are likely to be included in a future post.
*I want to be clear here that I am using this term (and terms like ‘woman’ etc) 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.
Puung image used with permission by the artist. See more here: http://www.grafolio.com/puuung1/illustration.grfl
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