Look to the person on your left
And to the person on your right
And pull out your phone, and look at yourself through the reflection of your screen
Each one of you has been affected by toxic masculinity
If you looked and saw a woman,
You saw a victim, someone
Who's been tied down and told what to do
To stand in the kitchen and do the dishes
While the man stays in the other room with the TV
And has an affair with the sofa
I hear the two of them are happily married now,
In fact, the couch and the man are inseparable
The man becomes the couch, and the couch becomes the man
defiling that once holy entrance to that place you used to be able to call a home
When you were younger, you couldn't have known what the world would tell you you are
But now that you've grown up, you felt the pains and gained the scars
Now you know where the world wants you, and what role you play
On this stage, where the director's decrepit creaking hands come and defile you,
You holy sacred place.
He sits there and pays no attention to the hardwork going on adjacent to him
His thoughts are confined to whatever pretty colors and captivating sounds float across that screen
His eye lids shut only to keep from having a drought because he does not contemplate
He just sits there and waits for you to be done making his dinner for him
And what if he's working in the other room, and you can't see it, is there some sort of redemption for this man?
I cannot say, but he cannot expect to stand to the side of his life, pretending he has no emotions, teaching his sons that this is acceptable behavior,
Stop sinking into oblivion!
And when the woman speaks up and expresses these buried emotions, hurt ones, she is antagonized, like
Isn't this just another ***** with her crazy feelings?
Like shouldn't she be watching so that the chicken doesn't burn on the stove?
Like what happens if I let my guard down and let her in
And acknowledge that she is a human being?
The man says he can't do that
He can't lose his power in the situation
So he tells her those feelings she has are invalid
He makes her feel like the antagonist of the story of this man's life
And the only reason she stays with him is because she's developed Stockholm syndrome
And she doesn't want to be alone
And because if she's heterosexual, this version of a human being is the only one that's so readily available to her,
The kind that treats her like garbage, disposable, unable to have her damnable emotions redeemed
But a critique of something doesn't merit doubling down on that ideology you grew up with,
It merits its changing
Men in the room, hear me now
You are victims too!
You are told to keep it in, keep the tears back
To stand up straight, to provide, to not show any weakness,
But you are most strong when you acknowledge those weaknesses openly
And possibly discover that some of them aren't even weaknesses
They're just a part of being human
And this trend is so hard to break, so hard to crack through stone that was laid 22,000 years ago
But here we are
The buck can stop with us
We can stop antagonizing
We can start acknowledging
We can stop treating people as subhuman when they express emotion
We can start skipping in the streets and holding each other's hands
Because there's nothing masculine
About treating other humans like ****
We can eventually reclaim that word, but first it has to be exposed for all the harm it's done
Look to your right
Now look to your left
And look at your phone again
Each of one you can be a part of the solution
Not a part of the propagation of bad myths
This is the script to another talk poem that I wrote but never published.