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Multidimensional Men for Gender Equality

By Barrington & Gerard Brennen, October 8, 2014




Gerard A. Brennen

"If we want to make a change, we need to teach our men and women that they are more than what society says they are. We are not the sum of their faults, but the sum of their values and actions. We are the sum of what they stand for."

Gerard Brennen

Barrington H. Brennen

In this article I am honored to share with you some ideas about gender equality from my own son, Gerard, now residing in Nebraska with his family.   Our son perhaps can be called a "metrosexual male." Who is a metrosexual male? Here’s how one author describes him: "He's been described as a straight, sensitive, well-educated, urban dweller who is in touch with his feminine side.”   If one concludes that Gerard’s physique and fine-tuned, large curved muscles are symbol of a macho male, you would be mistaken.  Gerard is sensitive, caring, determined, emotionally and physically strong.  He is not embarrassed to express love and tenderness to his two sons and more importantly, to his dear wife, Dana.  Read some excerpts from an article he recently wrote:    


“Emma Watson gave an empowering speech about feminism and gender at the UN. “She helped to launch the HeForShe Campaign which aims to galvanize one billion men and boys as advocates for ending the inequalities that women and girls face globally” (Vanityfair.com). Watson spoke about issues that have been a passion of mine since I could remember. One of the issues she spoke about was that feminism usually has a negative connotation, describing feminism as man hating. In fact, feminism is more about equality rather than shifting the power from one gender to the other. She also asked, “How can we make a change when we do not include men in the conversation?” This question is very important because it invites men to stand up and fight for women's rights and gender equality. Also, if men are going to stand up for gender equality and women's rights, we as a society are going to need to re-invent what makes a man a good man. We are going to need to re-evaluate our values in what we find important for men to be contributors to our society.


I read this quote on Facebook, “In my Opinion... A man hasn't passed the true test of manhood until he develops the self-control to be faithful to one woman. Any male can cheat, but only real men have what it takes to be faithful.” This quote seems like truth hitting the nail on the head; however, it is placing men in a box, describing them as the sum of their temptations. There are many other quotes and statements I've heard that describe men as the sum of some sort of selfish, egocentric, careless, and non-nurturing human characteristic. They have all missed the mark and continue to foster what we perceive to be an acceptable journey to manhood. This way of thinking must change and we must hold men to a higher standard.


Men are multidimensional human beings who are capable of being more. Unfortunately, we have been taught that men can only be one of many things; for example: A man can only be strong, but not sensitive; or sensitive, but not strong. A man can be logical but not intuitive; or intuitive, but not logical.  A man can be a provider, but not nurturing; or nurturing, but not a provider. When we look at each of these characteristics, they are all positive. However this is where society is utterly confused and twisted. Unfortunately, society has labeled the softer and more nurturing characteristics as feminine and has identified them to be weaknesses. One of the quotes that I've often heard is: “You cannot have a strong man and a sensitive man.” This statement establishes nurturing characteristics as weakness, which is a perception that needs to be repudiated if we are going to make a change.


All of the characteristics I mentioned above are human characteristics that should be displayed long before we are adults. We develop them during our relationship with our parents, siblings, friends, teachers, and community. If we want to make a change, we need to teach our men and women that they are more than what society says they are. We are not the sum of their faults, but the sum of their values and actions. We are the sum of what they stand for.”


I encourage you readers to share this article with your male friends.  We have far too many men who equate strength and power as greatness.  They overrule, coerce, usurp and threaten.   They make statements like: “Who is wearing the pants around here?” or “I am in charge?” or “I have the last say.”   It is now clear to me that this kind of men are really weak and try to make themselves feel good by walking on others, even their spouses and children.  To make our society better, this philosophy and behavior has to change.  Men, let it start with you.  Be an understanding, caring, sensitive man.   Accept women as your equal partners not  your submissive helpers or competitors.



Gerard Brennen is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and has a bachelor's degree in Health and Human Performance and Business Sports Management. He is also a personal trainer, health enthusiast, athletic and swim coach, and much more.  During his college career, he was a member of the Union College Gymnaires (Nebraska, USA), a sports acrobatic team specializing in recreational gymnastics and performing arts. While on the team, Gerard found purpose and inspiration, which he truly believes defines who he is as a health and fitness professional.  Send your question or comments to gerardbrennen@gmail.com or visit his website at www.gerardbrennen.com


Barrington H. Brennen is a marriage and family therapist and board certified clinical psychotherapist, USA. Send your questions or comments to barringtonbrennen@gmail.com or write to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas, or visit www.soencouragement.org  or call 242-327-1980 or 242-477-4002





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