Women empowerment initiatives happen often. The more I see workshops, seminars, dialogues etc. targeting women, the more I worry about the men. I hardly ever hear about initiatives that specifically empower men.

What initiatives speak to our fathers, husbands, sons – the men in our lives?
What are our men talking about? I asked the men in my circles this question and their response was generally dismissive “Talking is for women” or “Men talk about serious things like making money“.
This bothered me because while women are talking about how to juggle careers and motherhood (with fathers in the picture), how to thrive in intimate relationships (with men), men are missing from the conversation.

Against this backdrop, when I came across Lerato Finiza’s posts on Facebook, I was delighted. Delighted to hear a male’s in-depth perspective on stuff that women usually talk about. I found his voice direct yet gentle, honest yet respectful.

The first post I read was about the human condition with a focus on insecurities. My favourite bit:

“Healing from your past and being happy are your own responsibilities, and if you expect other people to fix this for you, you’ll remain toxic, broken, dissatisfied and unhappy. There’s more to self-care than 8-hour sleeps, drinking gallons of water, reading guru books and dressing well.”

Fascinated as I was, I had to ask him a deep question:

Where does your capacity to write such heartfelt stuff come from?

I’ve been writing since I was 12 and I guess the older I got, I started to express my feelings more and wrote from where my emotions led and what my experiences and perspectives reflected.

Lerato’s expressiveness made me realise that there are probably many voices like his that need a platform to just be. Women benefit from such male perspectives as they are reminders that not all men are emotionally disconnected. Men benefit because they get to hear how other men are dealing with challenges they experience as boyfriends, fathers, sons etc (seeing as men generally don’t talk about such things).

Women have been marginalized for a long time in all sorts of ways so the attention we get is valid; my plea is let’s not leave the men behind in these conversations. To the men I say, organize yourselves and get the conversations going.