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My first thoughts were WTAF?
Really? Was this guy serious? Then I paused and reflected. Had I taken his message out of context perhaps?
I was watching a YouTube video by John Wineland, entitled, “What Men Crave,” in which he aims to “communicate what men want,” in a “plea to women.”
It started off with a reasonable demand: “Find out what we need, before you give us what you want to give us.”
Good advice I felt, and something which all humans regardless of gender can successfully apply in both personal and professional relationships.
Soon, though, he introduced the idea that we needed to be vulnerable. No mention of the male needing to be, just us women. I felt my gut start to tighten and my heart rate quicken.
Where was this going?
My mind jumped to an article I had edited only days earlier in which the author highlighted the potential danger of men encouraging women to connect with their feminine side, embrace their vulnerability, and trust them, with the ultimate aim of sexually abusing them.
He continued with his plea: “Find some way to continually surrender.”
Alarm bells were now sounding in my brain.
“Surrender your heart, surrender your life, surrender your body. Surrender.”
My entire being now felt a couple of degrees warmer and the adrenaline kicked in as though I were preparing for a fight.
Maybe I was missing his point or had a different understanding of the definition of the word? So, I looked it up:
Definition of surrender:
1a: to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand
1b: to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another
2a: to give (oneself) up into the power of another especially as a prisoner
2b: to give (oneself) over to something (such as an influence)
: to give oneself up into the power of another : Yield”
That seems fairly clear cut.
Now my thoughts were along the lines of: how can anyone think it’s reasonable to ask another person to surrender their life to someone else?
I’ve never heard a reputable therapist, life coach, or relationship expert offer any such advice.
How could giving up oneself be healthy for either the person giving themselves up, or the person with whom they are giving themselves up to?
I took a few minutes to calm and reflect. Actually, that’s not true. It took me a couple of hours and a walk with my dog.
Vulnerability, I agree, is an important part of a relationship, but it must be offered by both parties. As should trust, respect, kindness, caring, mindfulness, and consideration.
Sharing our whole self with another human being requires us to be vulnerable. It is natural, and I believe, healthy. It is in the moments of greatest vulnerability that we often experience the deepest intimacy and connection with our partner.
I watched it again.
Why did he believe that men want women to surrender to them? Because it takes great courage to surrender and men will respect that, and also get turned on by it.
I would argue that men will not respect a woman who surrenders her life to him. In fact, most likely, the opposite—he will have the opportunity to abuse his position of influence and power.
In the United States, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence report that one in three women have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. One in three!
The frustration pulsing through my veins was born out of fear that vulnerable women may actually listen to his message.
The thought of someone telling my daughter that she needs to surrender to a man makes me feel sick.
She needs to live her own life. Choose her own path. Find her right livelihood and follow her own dreams.
I wish the same for my sons.
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of their sex—gender is irrelevant.
No one should surrender themselves to another person in the way that John asks us to.
We should find a partner who wants to share our life with us, not take it away.