Conscious Men Issue Fauxpology, Creep Us All Out.

**Trigger warning on account of my potty mouth.

Dear ‘Man’ (because I can speak to ALL MEN just like that!),

Um, what???

This is just about the creepiest apology I have ever heard. Though it reminds me, in an uber-triggering kind-of-way, of men in my past who have desperately wanted to pretend to be my ally by telling me over and over again how magical and mystical and miraculous women are and then talking over me when I try to explain that that ain’t it.

Ok menz (and let me clarify, this video, in no way, speaks for all men, but rather for Gay Hendricks and Arjuna Ardagh [credit to Zosia Bielsk at The Globe and Mail for doing this research for me]. In fact, I believe that most men I know may or may not die of laughter interspersed with vomiting were they to watch this video) – because it’s just too easy to stop at simply making fun of this crinkled brow + fuzzy hat = goodguy! video on accounts of creepiness (though this is a very valid reaction), I would like to explain to you why Dear Woman is offensive and why I do not accept ‘your’ fauxpology.

1) Patriarchal oppression is not about ‘energy’. If you think any man ‘unconsciously’ raped or abused a woman because of some kind of innate ‘masculine energy’, your apology don’t mean shit to me. Patriarchal oppression; pornography, prostitution, abuse, exploitation – all those things you have claimed to apologize for? Those things were done with intention. They are actual actions that can be stopped. Many men choose not to beat their wives or buy women. And it has nothing to do with their energy. I’m going to go right ahead here and credit their brains.

2) I do not, nor have I ever, had anything resembling a ‘gift of the feminine’. If did I would probably poo on it. Or give it to my dog to poo on.

3) You feel deep sorrow? You want to apologize? How’s about you start using words that mean things and point to real actions (both actions that have been done and actions which can be done in order to make change). You have, essentially, in this video, apologized for something you have no control over. Apologizing for ‘the unconscious masculine’ is like apologizing for punching me in your sleep. Whoops! No more omelettes before bed! Sexism. It was all a bad dream.

4) If you reeeeeally, truuuuuuly, wanted to apologize for gender inequity, you would start by destroying those bullshit essentialist stereotypes you keep coming back to throughout this video. And telling me what the eff my energy looks like. I am not a goddess, I do not wish to be honoured. Not by you, oh Creepy McWhitey, nor by any other man. I certainly do not wish to ‘make a miracle’ with you.

5) Your sorrow, your apology is, as far as I can tell, a way to excuse yourself from action. I don’t want your guilt. Take it back. I don’t accept your apology because you’ve said nothing of substance. You have apologized for and excused men who ‘cannot apologize because they remain shackled in a prism of anger, fear, and shame’. You then forgive yourselves. For your unconscious actions. Because, you know, anger is a totally valid excuse for oppressing one half of the population (and more if you want to count everyone else you have abused and exploited, oh privileged white dude – oh wait! One black man! We be inclusive in our fauxpology!). I am a pretty angry lady sometimes, I don’t see me going out and raping anyone. Oh wait, but that was just your ‘unconscious energy’. Double-oops!

6) I AM NOT MOTHER NATURE. I have no deep connection to the earth. Watch me try to grow something. I dare you to let me water your plants. Enjoy your black and bug-covered cactus! Would you like a strawberry au slug? You can wash it down with this brown succulent…No no don’t touch it! Dead plants are delicate. This earth mother dichotomy you are perpetuating doesn’t help create equality. It is a stereotype that benefits you. It romanticizes femininity and aligns us with the ‘nurturer’ archetype, which, in turn, justifies our long-held ‘natural’ female position of barefoot and pregnant, in the kitchen, doing the unpaid labour of child-rearing and cooking, because it just comes natural to us. Some women are indeed fine and talented gardeners who are nurturing and feel connected to the nature things. This is not on account of ‘feminine energy’. If it were, I would probably have more babies, generally be a more relaxed person and would probably spend less time on Facebook.

7) I HAVE NO INTUITIVE SENSE. I cannot ‘heal this planet’ any better than you because I am a woman. I have some ideas, that’s for sure, but let me tell ya, I learned them from books and people, and from, again, this old using my brain thing I suggested earlier. You can do it too!

8 ) ‘My profound capacity for feeling’? Yeah, that’s there because of patriarchy. Because women are allowed to be emotional in ways that men are not. Let me introduce you to a little word you may have missed while your brain was all plugged up with incense and crystals – it’s called socialization. Check it out! It totally works.

9) You are excusing rape on account of lust. On account of you not being able to control your ‘lust’ for our ‘beauty’. Fuck you. That is all.

10) Have you met me? I am not peaceful. But please, please do go ahead and tell everyone who knows me that I have a natural capacity for resolving conflict and watch as they pee themselves.

9) No fresh start. We are not walking on solid enough ground here to simply forgive and forget. IT IS STILL HAPPENING. The sexism and such. So no fresh start. No. Not until you unplug your ears, masculine energy! We want action, not apologies. Not excuses. Not new agey excuses for centuries of abuse. We want you to take out your white-boy dreads and make change. Understand inequity and systems of power. Understand the actual actions that people do which act to create and maintain hierarchy and oppression. And take apart those essentializing gender binaries and stop trying to force us into some magical ‘feminine’ box.

Some of the most sexist, abusive men I have ever met claimed to value ‘feminine energy’ and to feel just so so sad and sorry about all THOSE OTHER MEN out there who are abusive. Sometimes these men even apologize, themselves, for *oops* accidentally smacking me across the face. They will feel really, really, guilty about it. But then when I refuse to forgive them, refuse to acknowledge that, REALLY, it was just an accident, they get pretty darn mad. These kinds of apologies, I’m afraid, are not to be taken seriously. These are the apologies of men who are deeply committed to changing nothing.

OH OH, but you forgive yourself do you? SUPER. Well I’m glad we all feel so much better now.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • Graham Blake

    What I find fascinating/gag-inducing is how they have sanitized their Facebook wall. There isn’t a negative comment to be found there. Even a new agey examination of the male identity can be a productive exercise, but this shit is pure narcissism. This isn’t about accepting personal responsibility for the personal abuse of male power, this is an effort to absolve themselves of any such responsibility, and further – perhaps most disturbingly – to bask in the glow of approving women who trust their sincerity. Narcissistic supply.

  • Heather

    The comment about how they value how “woman” all resolve conflicts peacefully…I can yell louder then most men. There ain’t no peace when I’m mad. Maybe that’s due in large part to my channeling the masculine energy….what a great excuse. I now no longer have to accept responsibility for my swearing, cussing, and oh so obviously lacking witty repartee when this ‘woman’ gets mad. Ask me how many ways I can say the f word, or point out small anatomical male parts. Maybe I should continue on with this line of bull, perhaps I can start slappin my ‘ho’ (husband) and claim that I was disempowered and misguided. All sarcasm aside, do these freaks really think that this is acceptable. Sadly, I feel sorry for them, and have a similar feeling of embarrassment for them that I get when someone walks in on my pap smear.

  • Dan Stephens

    Stumbled on this website by accident, and while I’m pretty sure we would have opposite opinions on 99% of any topic, you’re commentary is absolutely outstanding, and I needed this laugh after watching that filth. You just renewed my faith in humanity.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Ha! It’s funny what brings people together, eh? Thanks for your comment, Dan.

  • Margaret

    This was truly the greatest response to this video possible.

    Watching this video made me uncomfortable and angry and a whole slew of other things, and then to top it off, the comments on the youtube page were very “bot wominz are the real sexists!!!!1! they have power manz can’t dream of!!!1 LIKE SEXUAL CONTROL” (oh, the irony).

    But your commentary made me feel a lot better, so thanks.

  • chris b

    While I am not a feminist at any level….

    your take on this was bang on, they are gender stereotyping, and placing women on a pedestal, in a very creepy, unrealistic way.

    These men must not have had some of the crazy ex girlfriends i’ve had. WTF are they talking about with bringing heart back to the justice system with women, have they never watched judge judy? these guys are totally out to lunch, and totally seeking approval from the opposite sex, completely self centered and self serving.

    Your take summed it up much better than I can. However I think my favorite part was when the creepy white haired guy was stating “I honor your needs to rest, food, and playtime” yeah great, apologize to a woman and then talk about her like a 3 year old. Will ferrell has a good spoof of this.

  • ned

    Meghan, I saw this some time back and was as appalled as you are. Much of this derives from a rather silly cosmological theory of gender that goes back to the earliest human civilizations but that has made a dramatic comeback both in traditionalist religious movements (Frithjof Schuon and followers are pretty well-known) and most, if not all, New Age movements (too many to list). It just boils down to sexual dimorphism and heteronormative gender roles being projected onto the universe. Anthropomorphism to the nth degree, basically — nothing too clever going on there.

    As easy as it is to make fun of men like this, I think it is just as important to draw attention to the many women who fawn over this rubbish. I recall that in response to the Conscious Men initiative there were a bunch of women who literally wrote out an apology on behalf of all women (no thanks, sister, you don’t speak for me) to these men for all sorts of bizarre female crimes like daring to compete with men (when you know that it’s impossible for us little ladies to compete with The Masculine) or manipulating men using sexuality or whatever (you should Google it if you want an embolism). That was even more nauseating than the Conscious Men page. And this whole concept is idiotic. I don’t need any particular individual man apologizing to me for the history of men’s crimes against women. I want the patriarchal structures taken down, not this kind of bourgeois, suburban, narcissistic and navel-gazing apology.

    I’m almost indifferent to men who think like this at this point. It’s really their female supporters and enablers who get my goat. I believe as feminists we need to start holding women more accountable for enabling these kinds of male behaviors and patterns of thinking.

  • ned

    Also, I know I’m going to draw the ire of separatist feminists for saying stuff like this, but there is a strain of essentialist thinking in some (separatist) versions of radical feminism that I have never liked. I feel that emphasizing the “specialness” of women reinforces men’s tendency to keep “othering” women in this manner and I think some sections of the feminist literature have also been (perhaps inadvertently?) pushing this kind of thinking.

    I think we need much deeper thought on the exact relationship between equality and difference as well. More on that when I’ve read some of the books I’ve been planning to.

    Oh, and happy new year to everyone. 🙂

    • Ned, I’m a feminazi (which is about as “separatist” as anyone can get) and I agree with you. 🙂 It’s not that women are “special” — it’s merely that most radical feminist types are not dominating control freaks.

    • womynbornwomyn

      Why would you post that on a blog where that is the dominant opinion and everyone will clearly agree with you? I am sick people who mock separatists and called them ‘biological essentialists’. Deeper? So apparently seps are shallow? There is TONS of people that agree with you even radfems your opinion is privileged and its not ‘all these’ its a minority even within our own movement.

  • Victoria

    Every man was born of a woman…

    This is where we must start from.

  • Self-Admitted Sexist Prick

    WHOA! I never thought I’d see the day that I found myself agreeing with a post on a site called ‘Feminisms”. The world as we know it is about to end.

    I’ve met a lot of dudes just like those herbs in the video. I tell them that their behavior (including the saccharine drivel that falls out of their mouths when they talk to women) comes off at best, insincere and at worst – creepy as fuck. I also tell them if they’re so serious about defeating sexism (and a host of other “isms”), then they should start viewing women as HUMAN BEINGS (not divine super-human entities whose shit smells like roses) and start treating them as such.

  • Speaking as a new age/pagan person myself, this *so* creeped me out, because it reminded me of all the creepy dudes that follow me around and try to pick up on me and get in my way when I’m trying to shop for books (do *not* get in my way when I’m bookshopping, dudes! You hear?)at new age functions.

  • David

    I was quite glad to see the commentary on that really ridiculous video. I just thought to add a little icing on the cake.

    Men(and women) don’t do bad things per “energies” or “forces” in the unconscious mind. They commit crimes per bad values and they control their behavior through good values.

  • ” I do not, nor have I ever, had anything resembling a ‘gift of the feminine’. If did I would probably poo on it. Or give it to my dog to poo on.” HA HA HA – ya made me laugh out loud!

    “I am not Mother Nature … I dare you to let me water your plants.” HA HA HA, YES!

    Take this one onto the stand-up stage, Meghan!

  • Tera

    THAT is the creepiest thing I have ever seen!!! I could not get through even a third of it–It was hilarious, yet excruciating. LOL.
    Meghan, I have been pouring over your posts and the various discussions and comments here for days; I just wanted to tell you how thankful I am to have found this site. It has been like a lifeline to me in an otherwise very dark age for feminism–with all the paradoxes and nuttery that I have now come to know as ‘faux feminism’. Attempting to navigate it with ones sanity it place is a daily struggle. Apparently reason, critical thought and good sense are radical, if so, count me in.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Oh that means a lot to me… I agree that it is a dark time for feminism… Luckily we’re not in it alone!

  • Aylune B. Papyrus

    Dear God, thank you for this article.
    I can’t tell you how much I’m over this “Sacred Feminine”, “Women are closer to Nature”, “Women are the nurturers behind the lost and inferior men and without them Earth would be lost” bullshit essentialist discourse. Everytime I hear it I feel that I am being dehumanized again and denied my identity, some kind of idol to worship in words, never to be really taken seriously. Saying those words to us is denying that we are actual human beings, it’s misogyny all the same (the “good”, “I love women” kind.)
    I am not a goddess, I am not an ideal, I am not some kind of essence closer to Mother Nature, I’m a freakin’ human being with flaws and good sides and a personality of my own.
    Besides, as Simone de Beauvoir said in the Second sex, this view of women was entirely fabricated by men. Men invented this vision of Women as closer to nature, more intuitive, so that they could represent culture and rational thought. That’s why I’m actually sad when I hear female friends take this discourse at face value and say we are indeed superior beings, daughters of Mother Nature : it’s not even how WE women defined ourselves, and by adopting this vision we are still seeing ourselves through the eyes of men.