Here is the key passage:
But you see those books you just signed for my wife and my three daughters? They’d rather me die on top of my white horse than watch me fall down. When we reach out and be vulnerable we get the shit beat out of us.This is unfortunately true for a lot of women and men. There is an unspoken double bind for many men when their female partners tell them to be more sensitive and open - when they do, the woman often loses interest in them or begins to resent their vulnerability as not masculine.
As much as men need to work on their own ability to be vulnerable, to dare greatly, women need to examine their unconscious biases and expectations about masculinity and begin to understand that many women still see sensitivity and vulnerability in men as weakness.
by Graham Phoenix (read about Graham Phoenix here)Graham also included one other quote from Brown that I think is especially relevant.
Men see vulnerability as weakness, men see shame as weakness. They hide vulnerability and shame under a mask of emotional control, work, status and violence. How can they throw off the mask and start living in the power of vulnerability?
Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.
Her 2010 TEDx Houston talk on the power of vulnerability is one of the most watched talks on TED.com with over 7 million views. She gave the closing talk, Listening to Shame, at the 2012 TED Conference in Long Beach.
These talks have rebounded around the world and changed the landscape in thinking about vulnerability, shame and guilt. She has made people realise that this is an area we are all involved in.
Her 2012 TED talk went deep into this issue. In this article I will use quotations from her talk to look at how this issue affects men, in particular.
She used a famous quote from Theodore Roosevelt that is particularly relevant to men. It’s about ‘the arena’ where men fight their battles, daily, and where men establish their idea of masculinity.
“It is not the critic who counts. It is not the man who sits and points out how the doer of deeds could have done things better and how he falls and stumbles. The credit goes to the man in the arena whose face is marred with dust and blood and sweat. But when he’s in the arena, at best he wins, and at worst he loses, but when he fails, when he loses, he does so daring greatly.” (Theodore Roosevelt)
The idea of ‘daring greatly’ is appealing to many men, but the question is how to achieve it without appearing weak. The problem is when men equate failure with weakness, or they think that others, those they love and respect, equate failure with weakness.
“For men, shame is not a bunch of competing, conflicting expectations. Shame is one, “Do not be perceived as what — weak?” […] A man looked at me one day after a book signing and said, “… you say to reach out, tell our story, be vulnerable. But you see those books you just signed for my wife and my three daughters? They’d rather me die on top of my white horse than watch me fall down. When we reach out and be vulnerable we get the shit beat out of us. And don’t tell me it’s from the guys and the coaches and the dads, because the women in my life are harder on me than anyone else.”
“You show me a woman who can actually sit with a man in real vulnerability and fear, I’ll show you a woman who’s done incredible work. You show me a man who can sit with a woman who’s just had it, she can’t do it all anymore, and his first response is not, “I unloaded the dishwasher,” but he really listens — because that’s all we need — I’ll show you a guy who’s done a lot of work.”Go read the whole post.