A Challenge to Men: Q&A with Alan Lightman

From World Pulse:

Have you yourself faced obstacles to embracing a different view of masculinity?

Alan_lightman_croppedThere is a stigma that exists today in the United States. I think it exists in all countries, but we’ll talk about the US. It’s a very subtle stigma regarding men working on “women’s issues” or being associated with women’s issues. I remember when the book The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen came out. Oprah Winfrey selected it as one of her Oprah’s Book Club books. Mr. Franzen declined the offer, and I heard him imply on NPR that his concern was that Oprah’s selections are “women’s books.” This is one example of the mentality I am talking about. I admit myself that when I first started the Harpswell Foundation, I initially placed most of the emphasis on helping Cambodia develop. At a subtle level, I myself was resisting the idea of working for women’s empowerment. I was both a victim and a culprit of this mentality. It took me a couple of years to get comfortable with the fact that the empowerment of women was, in fact, a central thrust of what I was doing.

I’ve always believed that women are equal to men, but I still had to erase this attitude in myself that was resisting the idea of aligning myself with women’s empowerment. I am a case study in the problem. But of course now I fully embrace this role.

More here.