MsDora, Certified Christian Counselor writes on moral integrity especially for women and encourages appreciation for the men in their lives.
How Men Can Empower Women
On October 20, 2015, Coach Greg Farnetti, head coach of the West Blocton Tigers in Alabama, played his final home game. He does not have a son, but he had given his daughter, Jodi, the training he would have given his boy. It was his proudest moment when Jodi scored a field goal in that game.
The Farnetti story is an empowerment model for all male-female relationships. It shows that women are people too and can be an asset in the so-called men's world (and the world in general) when their human potential is considered and empowered.
Following are six truths about men empowering women in social relationships. Practitioners of equal opportunity empowerment validate them.
Truth #1: It Takes Empowered Men to Empower Women
Show me the men who recognize their personal strength, understand their individual purpose, and value the benefits of co-existing with women; these are the empowered men who cherish the opportunity to empower women. They know they deserve the best, and they want the best to stand beside them. Therefore, they support their women's development into strong, smart individuals.
Their strategy includes but is not limited to:
- Accepting the women’s prerogative to be or not be satisfied with where they are (spiritually, socially et cetera);
- Encouraging progress toward excellence in their area(s) of choice;
- Giving them voice in decisions that affect the common good;
- Appreciating the mutual empowerment generated by the relationship.
Truth #2: Empowerment Is Measured by the Way Men Treat Women
Men can put on temporary acts to impress associates and strangers. Still, the real spirit of empowerment comes out in their interaction with the people at home—mothers, sisters, wives, and children later.
At home, men develop virtues like respect, kindness, patience, gentleness, and putting other people first. It is at home that they learn to practice love, which is selfless and lust-free. It is a common belief that how they treat their mothers provides a clue as to how they will treat their wives. They also show what they’ve learned when it is time to nurture their daughters.
Having learned the basics, they are ready to practice the sacred principles:
- Treat older women as you would your mother;
- Treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters;
- Take care of any widow who has no one else to care for her (Titus 2, The Bible).
Truth #3: Men Empower Themselves When They Empower Women
"What's the most important thing men can do for themselves? The answer seems clear to me: work for the empowerment of women." —William Petrocelli
This quote is from Petrocelli’s 2014 speech to the California League of Women’s Voters. He added, “The empowerment of women is crucial to solving a lot of seemingly unrelated problems that are as important to men as they are to women.” He illustrated his point with the following two references.
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- Governments tried to solve the problem of overpopulation, but the solution lay in the empowerment of women to take control of their bodies.
- The presence of women in some situations inhibits violent outbursts from men. So, according to Petrocelli, rather than exclude women from harsher situations (even like the 1992 Rodney King incident during the Los Angeles riot), involving capable women could produce better results.
Men like Petrocelli, self-styled feminist, acknowledge that women's problem-solving skills and other capabilities are more helpful than they are credited to be.
Truth #4: Empowered Men Appreciate a Woman’s Beauty
Empowered men appreciate women's physical beauty, but they are attracted to their inner beauty as well.
Although they notice these features, their compliments are not always about color, shape, and size. They also compliment talent, virtues, and performance and encourage the women to nurture them into excellence.
- Real men admire beautiful lips; but they are also charmed by the self-awareness, the wisdom and the aspirations coming forth from those lips.
- They like long, straight legs; but they are also attracted by the confidence and the purposefulness exuding from the stride of those legs.
- They appreciate glamor; but they see past the outward display, to the significance of the women’s self-care and self-value.
Without downplaying the value of physical beauty though it alters with time, empowered men pay more attention to the beauty of character, which is a lifetime asset.
Truth #5: Empowered Men Refuse to Exploit Women
Sex trafficking may be seen as the ultimate, but it is only one form of exploitation; there are other cruel situations that empowered men disdain. Among them are the following.
- Pornography: exploiting the woman’s image is the same as exploiting her;
- Mental abuse: name calling, intimidating, displaying excessive jealousy, or any other form of manipulation in an attempt to gain control over the woman;
- Physical abuse: hitting, shoving, kicking, choking, twisting arms, or any other physical action which is dehumanizing;
- Sexual abuse: “Sexual assault is not a matter of women being attacked,” writes Suna Senman. “It is a matter of men attacking women. . . Men have both the power and resources to stop that violence.”
Empowered men think of women as divine creations put on this earth to mingle their beauty and inspiration with the dynamism of males. Empowered men protect and cherish their female counterparts.
Truth #6: Empowered Men Recognize Women as Different but Equal
"Women know many things that men do not know, men know many things that women do not know. Men and women together know everything that is known." —Irene Parlby
A complete strategy combines the intuition of women with the logic of men. The gender difference is not simply that women are intuitive and men are logical.
The real difference is that women arrive at their logic and men at their intuition by a different roundabout, complicated process.
Both have intuition and logic, but the process is simpler, and the perspective is clearer when they work together as equals.
Therefore, in the closest relationships, empowered men see the women as co-stars, not sidekicks. Men and women become a part of each other, struggle together, win together—the result of mutual empowerment.
- Petrocelli, William: Huffington Post, Five Ways Men Benefit from Women's Empowerment (6/27/2014).
- Ritter, Jaime: WishTV.com, Homecoming queen scores field goal at dad’s last game as coach (20/10/2015).
- Senman, Suna: Huffington Post, Empowered Men Empower Women (9/01/2013).
- Stetzer: Ed, Church Leaders, Real Men Treat Women with Respect (Copyright 2014 by ChurchLeaders.com)
© 2015 Dora Weithers