Leading the men back to the women

Positive News

It is time for men to rediscover their masculinity and express their strength through compassion and service, not control and dominion, writes Jamie Catto

There’s a scent of reunion in the air. The women want their men back, and I have a foolish and lyrical notion that we can be the Pied Pipers, leading the men back to the women. Our task as men is to re-awaken each other’s maleness and leadership again, but this time expressed through our compassion and service, not our control and dominion.

Over the last 100 or more years, women have understandably lost their trust in men in general. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Fragile-ego’d, self-seeking, solely cock-driven, permanently adolescent men have abused the planet on every level. The air, water, and soil are polluted, the animals violently killed, the children uneducated and the old people uncared for.

And it may sound radical to say this, but there has emerged a masculine edge in women, which has crept in during the past half a century. It is an edge that has, I believe, been born of a lack of trust in the males to deliver leadership and protection through service and wisdom. Women have been over-masculinising like mad to compensate for the essence of true maleness that’s so badly lacking in at least the last two generations of men, who have been addicted to profit and status.

“Women have been over-masculinising like mad to compensate for the essence of true maleness that’s so badly lacking in at least the last two generations of men”

Is it any wonder women have lost trust in men’s expression of their core male values?

But what excites me is that over the last 50 years, a radical shift in maleness has been emerging. There has been a whole new wave of softer men, relating to their wives and lovers more, connecting more presently with their kids, and actively trying to cultivate this by attending deepening workshops, for example.

This has awakened the vital feminine-in-the-male quality. But it has only brought us so far. It is a long way from the re-emergence of the powerful, unwavering male that the planet and the human species so badly needs today. Cultivating the feminine qualities in the modern man is just a stepping stone to a deeper re-awakening, and that’s the male-in-the-male.

My recent conversations and workshop sessions with numerous women have left me in no doubt that the women want their men back in their true maleness. This means being strong, steadfast and genuine; unswayed by the grasping, needy, untrustworthy and superficial values that have often been driving them in this last century.

In my experience, there seems to be a huge yearning among these women to relax more into their feminine selves, melt and soften and just be.

But to trust that when they melt, the man will be a clear and strong container for that melting, feels like too big an expectation for them to have these days. The kind of man I speak of can hold his woman in her all diverse and changeable forms. He is a heart mountain.

“Women want their men back in their true maleness”

I’ve purposely experimented when spending time with women recently. My intention has been to hold the masculine core in how we relate, being strong and present for them, just for 20 focused minutes, to represent and embody that pure, steadfast maleness.

The visible permission that 20 minutes gives the women to feminise is vividly noticeable within moments. She softens. She opens, she glows, she sometimes sobs with relief and the uncomfortable maleness she was holding melts just a little.

Could it be that the women of the planet are hungry and eager for the men to step into this trustworthy, loyal, devoted, dependable space? Are the men ready for this? I say yes, we are.

So as men, it should be our mission to beckon and invite each other to step back into our strength and power, but this time renewed in constant, reliable, unfaltering attendance to the true principles of authentic support, leadership through service, and humble devotion to women.


The Order of the Sacred Woodsman is a group established by Jamie Catto, where men can gather and uphold their male strengths and share their insights and vulnerabilities.

A 5-day Sacred Woodsman retreat, titled Fool – Warrior – Magician, will take place in Tarifa, Spain from 1 April 2013, co-hosted by Jamie Catto and Neil Hill. For information phone Neil on +34 674 531 518

More information about Jamie Catto: www.jamiecatto.com

Photo title: Jamie Catto and his partner, Raisa Breslava

Photo credit: © Sam Pelly

  • Riche

    Broadly speaking if we don’t reverse the trend to dominate the planet and each other, we’re without a future! Fortunately the coming era speaks of co-operation over competition, love over fear, stewardship over ownership, and a bunch more positive attributes.

  • Anna Sexton / Open To Create…

    Great article and spot on… I for one and many of the women I work alongside want to be able to be more feminine yet are more often than not faced with men who themselves are not sure where their footing is i.e. what’s all this new man thing about?
    Let’s embrace all of the feminine and male qualities we each need to be in balance as a human being
    And as women stand up for the many issues we women have faced for years being passed into our men i,e. decreased self esteem, body image through men’s magazines

  • Haley

    Great article to read and very encouraging as I also believe men have be lacking the genuine delight and strength that women respect and yearn for in them.

    Women are becoming stronger, this a wonderful and powerful change that needs to be embraced, embraced and strengthened by men, men of courage, dignity and love.

    I hope and I pray that these men are awaking as you say they are as.

  • Jane Duncan Rogers

    This is brilliant Jamie – you are voicing what I personally would want in a man. In fact, my heart breathes in relief at the thought of being held in this way – allowing me to more fully embrace my femaleness. Thanks so much for writing it.

  • Justin John Carroll

    Excellent article Jamie! Great observations! I couldn’t agree more. My feeling is that men in modern times have totally lost touch with their TRUE masculinity, spirituality and connection to Nature. We have become an embodiment of all that is selfish, narcissistic and immature (my opinion!). But we are finding ways out of this sort of behaviour (especially if you listen to the women!), and finding new ways to connect to our true strength which, I now believe, should be one of support, compassion, love, leadership, and understanding. This may not be the case (because I may have romanticized the images slightly!), but I always think of First Nation Indian Chiefs or Spiritual Leaders like Ghandi, Martin Luther King, or the life coach Anthony Robbins, when I visualize men who adhered or still adhere to such values.

  • Sarah Phoenix

    So true! As a single mum I have to be everything in my life… most of the guys around me actively encourage the masculine aspects of who I am and how I relate, not the feminine. Whilst this has been tremendously empowering in some ways – I’ve become more assertive, more practical, more motivated – I then find it hard to stay in touch with that aspect of me that does, as you say, just want to melt into femininity. My last two partners have found that somewhere between incomprehensible and intimidating, resulting in cold and manipulative behaviour. I sincerely hope the men you describe exist. Fingers crossed.

  • Brian Fenton

    Despite in essence being supportive of what you are trying to do here, as I do actually think it is vitally important for the species and the planet that men fully embrace their feminine and caring aspect. However I have a problem with this article for a number of reasons.

    1. Yes we’ve been abusing the planet, all of us: both men and women (not just men).
    2. Yes, a masculine edge has developed in women. However, this hasn’t caused by a lack of trust in men, rather instead through women discovering, growing into and owning their own masculine strength.
    3. There isn’t an “essence of true maleness ….badly lacking” – instead women’s development of masculinity has enabled men in turn to discover their own feminine side (without losing their masculine). This is actually a GOOD thing and an important development in men’s evolution.
    4. I don’t accept that a woman is unable to melt into her own feminity only through a man’s presence. That’s quite insulting to women frankly. And putting needless extra burden on men in relationships.

    Furthermore, I find some of the comments from women only reinforcing these problems, and in fact somehow “blaming” or putting even more pressure on men to compete to even higher standards.
    Anna Sexton says many women want to be more feminine, and seems to imply that somehow men are holding them back. This is simply false. There is nobody holding you back. Look at women like Polly Higgins, do you see anyone holding her back?
    Jane Duncan Rogers says much the same thing about needing to be held by a men to embrace her own femaleness.
    Sarah Phoenix’s comment makes a little bit more sense. Naturally a woman who is more developed in balance of her masculine and feminine polarities will find it difficult to sustain relationships with men who are imbalanced.

    In summary, we’re on the same page. I wish you great success with your work. I would encourage you to take a look at Martin Ucik’s work on Integral Relationships which I feel does a great job of summarising the developmental stages both men and women go through in their life journeys.

    Best wishes

  • Maki Kurokawa

    Great article and I can’t appreciate more what it is doing. One thing above all I noticed after reading it, after reading some of the comments and began watching the video that came in the same email is a reminder that you may be doing this as you have been making music with many different musicians, dancers, philosophers and what-nots whom you have met all around the globe. So here is my hunch, that what you are doing is many-angled, kind of like your music, and any of the apparent specifics may be accompanied, but not necessarily always voiced, with something that connects to other sides, perspectives, experiences and interests etc. The topic you are covering has to do with many different and often separated entities such as men and women, the New World and the Old, the emerging and traditional cultures, but yet the overall interest is in tune with the present collective human needs in finding some common thrusts to which more from diverse backgrounds are or are wanting to be saying yes. It appears to me that we are going through many different phases of transitions and transformations, in each individual’s own time, and one face in it at one time doesn’t have to negate another (and talking about it would only get more and more interesting).

  • Agyana

    Fantastic article Jamie. I also think it’s great for both men and women to embody both the postive masculine and the positivie feminine qualities, so we can be really whole in ourselves. Then from a place of wholeness. we can enjoy expressing the masculine and feminine polarities that relate to our respective genders, in a conscious and playful way, that celebrates having two genders on this planet, whilst also allowing for all of us to be everything. Perhaps the dominance of the negative masculine has allowed not only for women to become ‘overly masculine’ in order to fight back against abuse, but also to develop positive masculine qualities in themselves and to be able to consciously recognise those positive masculine qualities when they are present in men.

  • Debbie Cameron

    Spot on Jamie…… I couldn’t agree more with you. Genuine sincerity and humbleness is a powerful strength for any man or in any genuine partnership and what most women are seeking to find happiness with in their families and intimate relationships.
    There is nothing better than having great relationships by taking time out for good communication, supporting, giving, caring and growing together.
    I love what you are doing Jamie…… xxx

  • Richard Dench

    Some good points here. I read in an orthodox Jewish marriage counselling book that a friend from that community gave me recently, that in a man/woman relationship, 90% of a woman’s happiness depends on the kind words of her spouse.
    Since I began increasing my kindness through both words and deeds, my marital relationship has blossomed and bourn sweet fruits of felicity and harmony.
    Women will reflect to the man his mentality, attitudes and actions, so, he should feel that responsibility lies with him to make sure he’s kind, loving and protective. This is simple and true….as you get what you give….. <3

  • GlitterKiss

    This article is actually really degrading to women. It also presents false notions of society. Though I appreciate the message, I do not agree with a majority of the examples used to support this message.

    Jaime Catto starts by saying, “Our task as men is to re-awaken each other’s maleness and leadership again, but this time expressed through our compassion and service, not our control and dominion.” Yes. This is awesome. A society where a man can tell another man that machismo is not the status quo and that a softer side may be openly expressed is definitely something to ACTIVELY strive to. Conversely, a society in which women can tell other women to control and dominate their lives regardless of what a man, or anyone, decrees is just as attainable.

    Catto mentions how in the last 100 years there has been a shift in women’s perspective and how a shift started 50 years ago in men but do not mention any other context. About 100 years ago, America was entering the Great Depression; and like our recession, American families did what needed to be done in order to surpass the economic downturn. This meant women started working, negotiating with vendors, doing “man” things. Why then? Why that moment? Because at the time, Americans held themselves responsible for failed economy at an individual level. In fact, when Lorena Hickok, a journalist and close friend to Elanor Roosevelt, interviewed an unemployed, college educated, female school teacher, the teacher echoed the overall feeling of the era by saying, “If, with all the advantages I’ve had, I can’t make a living, I’m just no good, I guess.” ( Lorena Hickok et. al., One Third Of A Nation: Lorena Hickok Reports on the Great Depression (U. of Illinois, 1981), 223.)

    Furthermore, the Civil Rights movement promulgated that every person was worth something. In fact, it was President Kennedy to appoint Elanor Roosevelt as chairwoman to the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. Women fighting for a voice equal as men tends to teach men a lesson. That lesson being: there is truth to her claim, she is also a person. The excitement exhibited by the author in this “radical shift of maleness” in the past fifty years shouldn’t be a surprise. Betty Friedman’s THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE is published February 19, 1963. Yes, just shy of 50 years by two months. The dissatisfaction of the middle class American housewife because of her imposed role captivated the American public and led to many advancements in gender equality.

    I do not doubt that women want a man to be “strong, steadfast and genuine; unswayed by the grasping, needy, untrustworthy and superficial values that have often been driving them in this last century.” But then again, who doesn’t want a grounded individual who isn’t shallow or greedy? This applies to male and female, gay or straight, when looking for a life partner.

    The “uncomfortable maleness” Catto makes reference to is insulting, to both genders. As any single parent can tell you, having to provide a dual masculine/feminine role to a child is hard, not uncomfortable. The women in the workshop were allowed to feel vulnerable and safe. I’m sure a man would act incredibly similar if allowed to feel vulnerable in a safe environment.

    “Authentic support, leadership through service, and humble devotion” to others are traits that will catapult our society into a much more grounded and mindful place. This shouldn’t be the mission of just men in regards to women. This should be a mission for every human, in every social class, of every gender, of any political affiliation.

    Food for thought.


  • wisechoice

    I agree with this article and take it a step further by saying here in America we lack teachers and example of not only men but women as well. An example of how your article is true is that I lived on the streets of San Francisco when I was abandoned at 12. I since became a female Sheet metal worker and I am currently in the Plumbers Union here in the states performing heating and air conditioning for critical environments in a bio medical research facility that look for cures for HIV, Malaria etc. Your article resonates and explains why I do what I do. I am so masculine that It may actually hinder me from finding a partner, just the fear alone of that old story of, “I don’t need anyone, I can do it all myself.

    I go further to say that here there was a thing called Lynching. Most people do not know that Lynch the creator of lynching gave instructions to farm owners on how to control their slaves. He would take the strongest, biggest male slave and tie half of his body, arm and leg, to one horse. Then the other half to another horse and he would split the man apart with the horses in front of the women and everyone. I am telling you this because Lynch knew, the result this had causing psychological imprint for generations. After this type of Lynching the mothers would raise the men to not be strong and to in fact be weak, which resulted in the women not being able to count on the man, nor have the natural structure and order of family .were impacted for generations.with women not being able to count on the man in the same way.

    Just random thoughts on the subject.

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  • Chris

    I very much agree with the comments critiquing this post. Men need the space to relax into themselves and just be just as much as women do. The high male suicide rates are a symptom of the way that men are expected to always be the one holding it together and supporting the women in their lives, an inability to do this becomes a fundamental failing. If anything men need to learn how to feel vulnerable, ask for help when they need it and admit when they don’t have control and see that that’s ok. We all need to know how to both hold and be held when the situation calls for it, whatever our gender.

  • Chris

    There’s also a latant homophobia in this article. If it’s true that in a relationship, the man needs to create a strong holding so the woman can “relax into her femininity” because of some sort of fundamental nature of men and women, then how the hell could a woman function in a relationship with another woman? I really think this is one of those cases of deep conservatism masquerading as spirituality.

  • cody

    jamie you’re a backwards regressive essentialist hth

  • reggie side

    urrghh! hippie sex pest.

  • Neil Hill

    Following on from this article, Jamie Catto and I have put togther a retreat exploring maleness. During this we will share authenticity, playfulness, honesty and a breaking of sacred cows…… we want to come back to ourselves, our women and our lives resplendent in all our peacock plumage – leaving our dowdiness, behind like the shed skin of a tired dream……


  • Sophie

    I have a few issues about this article:
    1) gender is not an obligation, you can’t expect someone to act a certain way just because of the way they were born (I know it could be argued that gender is a choice however most trans people don’t feel this way, which leads me onto my next point…)
    2) gender is not always simple, it is not binary, everyone sits at a different point on the continuum between male and female.
    3) as Chris pointed out in an earlier comment your article is fundamentally homophobic.
    4) I don’t really want to do any ‘melting’, whether that ‘melting’ to do with my gender or otherwise.
    5) you are encouraging a re-instatement of a heavily patriarchal society. I’m sorry but no, just no, I don’t care how trustworthy men become I still want a say in the world I live in.
    6) this is kinda like my first point, but it’s an important enough to say again…
    People are not defined by their genitals.

    however I do like some things about your article, I especially like the notion of expressing ‘strength through compassion and service, not control and dominion’ but I just don’t see why that has to be a particularly male thing but just a human thing?

  • Rodrigo

    I find concepts of ‘masculinity’ or ‘femininity’ very limiting for mankind. It puts men and women in a ‘harnass’ and suggests that certain traits or forms of behavour are somehow in their essence male or female. This seems to be the case if one looks at society, but in my opinion it is because society pushes us in that direction and it is not a necessary outcome, nor has it always been that way.
    In the end the behavioural difference between men and women is a constructed one, one that is ever changing over time. I hope sooner or later we will just drop these rigid gender roles and let people develop freely into whatever they want to be, without these limiting expectations.
    Me personally I always feel these categorisations don’t do me justice as a person and only block my ways of expressions. I don’t need to hear how a man should behave as opposed to how a woman should behave. I will behave as I please, free of these limiting concepts ;-))

  • Mahasatvaa Ma Ananda Sarita

    I would like to applaud Jamie for this bold and sensitive article about the male female dynamic. To me, the healing of male female relations holds the master key to creating healthy planetary societies. Like Jamie, I have found that when a man is able to simply hold space, being centred, present and aware, the feminine immediately melts into deepest surrender and devotion. She discovers effortlessly that love is her very nature. In Tantra, we call the male principle, Shiva, also symbolised by the Lingam, meaning pillar of light. And the feminine is Shakti, pure life force energy, in movement and flow. Throughout every level of creation, the energies of Shiva and Shakti form a complimentary dance, weaving together to create new life.

    Our human societies have lost our way in how to bring the contradictory and yet complimentary energies of Shiva and Shakti together, but as Jamie points out in this article, a New Dawn of male female relations is on the horizon. It is surprisingly easy to find balance between male and female, once we know the art of how to attain this. I see it happening in every Tantra group I teach, and am always deeply touched by the miracle. Sometimes I wonder, how is it possible it has taken so many thousands of years for this to happen, when the magical key is just under our nose? I call this key, the art and science of Tantra.


  • Annette

    How far can we possibly get when gender in its various manifestations is only embraced in relative terms. Shouldn’t men be pursuing self-actualisation all on their own in a way that isn’t dependent on how women perceive their actions? Furthermore, I think we should be wary of assuming that all women are comfortable in femininity, yes straight women, perhaps women were open to you as you performed masculinity because you were finally listening and not being preoccupied with attempting to put across a convincing portrayal of sensitivity.

  • notme

    what a pile of rubbish

  • CitymanMichael

    Sorry, you have gotten it totally wrong. Men have been hammered into the ground this past 2 generations. You only need to look at the numbers of boys failing to see the truth. As more and more girls exceed in higher education, boys are being left behind. As for a whole raft of issues, eg. genital mutilation, sucicide rates, prison terms, homelessness, partner violence, family courts, education, etc., etc. – the government is so preoccupied with the women’s vote that they have forgotten about males. And what women want are men that effectively no longer exist.

    Until everyone in society starts to realise how much help men & boys need the slide will continue & men that women want will continue to turn their backs.

  • Maree

    I agree :) I think it’s good in this day and age where women and men alike can be themselves without having to conform to a specific way. I have feminine and masculine qualities, and I am happy that I don’t have to hide my masculine side, and not be called a lesbian or unwomanly for it. I’m being my complete and natural self, and not what society expects me to look and act because of my gender. All I really look for in a man is someone who has a good sense of humor, kindness, and a positive personality :)

  • Karen

    Thank you so much!

    I appreciate what the writer’s trying to do: Have partners relate more authentically with each other, create a cultural shift away from machismo.

    However, I’m really uncomfy with the gender essentialism going on here, which seems to accept that men are one way, women are another; that there’s some characteristic behaviour or way of being that’s masculine, and another that’s feminine. Men need to be steadfast and unwavering, women need to melt? I’m certain it wasn’t intended to sound… well, patriarchal, though it does.

    That’s basically the status quo – men expected to fulfil one set of criteria while women are expected to fulfil another.

    How about something truly radical: We all seek our authenticity together, regardless of sex, gender, or orientation; we all accept that the full range of character traits and emotions are available to all and spread across the population; and we lovingly accept each person as they are, encouraging them to be truly themselves. By humbly and lovingly supporting each other steadfastly and unwaveringly, we can unleash an untold wave of creativity, joy, and innovation.

    I want men to feel free to be as “butch” or “effeminate” as they wish, to combine what we’ve decided are signifiers of maleness and femaleness as they desire. I want women to have the same freedom. And I want those who identify as neither, both, or veering between them to be recognised and given the same freedom of expression.

    It’s my firm belief that pushing people into boxes – no matter how comfy or kindly meant – wastes talent, wounds souls, and hurts our whole species; letting them out is initially frightening, yet true liberation will allow us all to thrive.

  • Karen

    Yes. I’m thinking of Brene Brown’s wonderful book ‘Daring Greatly’, all about the fundamental need to be vulnerable and the destructive power of shame.

    We all need to be respected as whole persons. Y9HW

  • Karen


  • Karen


  • Imogen

    This article demonstrates benevolent sexism – “Benevolent sexism encompasses subjectively positive (for the sexist) attitudes toward women in traditional roles: protective paternalism, idealization of women, and desire for intimate relations.”

    Gender is fluid and comes in many shapes and sizes. It is culture and society that has forced ‘the feminine’ to be seen as a female quality and the ‘masculine’ only as male. Anybody can embody any characteristics that they feel benefit them in their lives and, as nature demonstrates all the time, diversity is actually much more sustainable than homogeneity and uniformity. It is diversity that makes organisms resilient to change. ‘Femininity’ and ‘masculinity’, whatever those categories actually mean, are available for all to access and our culture will be much more well-balanced and forward-thinking when humans feel confident and comfortable drawing on those qualities as they see fit.

    I certainly do not want or need a man to ‘melt’ into and thus feel comfortable expressing my ‘innate feminine characteristics.’ That notion makes me want to vomit, frankly.

    What I want is a global society that recognizes all of humanity as equal and worthy. For people, men and women alike, to stop seeing competitiveness, greediness, scarcity, ownership and selfishness as innate qualities and use that as justification for a hierarchical system that steps on everyone and everything to feed the bottom line. The thinking that puts maleness in men and femaleness in women is part of this corrupt system.

    Connection, collaboration, access to resources (as opposed to ownership), decentralization of power, creating abundance, etc. are all aspects of redefining our place in the world as well as how we relate to it and to each other. To get to that place – one of balance where we treat the world as a large and sacred communal house – has everything to do with allowing people to be who they are.

  • jane devlin

    I just wrote a long and thoughtful response but as the captcha code was unreadable my whole comment got erased and I don’t remember what I wrote. This happens again and again and badly needs fixing. The codes are often unreadable, this one had a backwards S in it, I don’t have one of those on my keyboard. If the code is wrong the message shouldn’t be erased, you just need to retry.

    I agree with the article BTW. I think that men have been in a psychological crisis for centuries due to the way they are not allowed to be themselves, and really the only hope we have is that they are able to liberate themselves for everyone’s sake. They have been used as pawns just as much as women but on a higher level of status. How can they sort themselves out when they are not allowed to acknowledge any form of vulnerability or failure? Catch 22. We keep on seeing women as victims and men as oppressors and how much of that is buying into the idea that they are invincible and not entirely of this earth? If we, the women, could make ourselves a safe secure society as a base, we could then be in a better position to help the men once they are not a threat to us. I think we need to elect our own local councils, raise our own local taxes, start again ignoring the present system as far as possible. Get as many landowners a possible on side to allow the use of land. We do not have to be forever in someone else’s power, they will never be free til we are. We will never be free til they are.

  • Tom Lawson

    Hi Jane,

    Sorry to hear about your problems with commenting on the website and thank your for your persistence. We’re currently in the process of planning a new website, which we hope will eliminate such issues and your feedback will be valuable in helping us do that. So hopefully this isn’t something you’ll have to put up with much longer.

    Thank you too for your insightful comment on Jamie’s article – it’s always great to see our readers engaging with our content.

    Best regards,
    Tom Lawson
    Assistant editor – Positive News

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