Faux Feminist Husbands: How Hypnosis Can Help with Gender Parity at Home

Credit: Amélie Fontaine

This week the New York Times took a crack at why modern, supposedly progressive husbands feel entitled to phone-it-in when it comes to domestic labor, specifically, child-rearing.

The author frames their failure as a “passive resistance” to the gender parity they promised their feminist wives, but it doesn’t explain how this hypocrisy justifies itself within the men’s psyche, or why it is so pervasive. This crisis comes with a research-backed claim that another 75 years will be needed to equal out parenting duties in heterosexual couples at the current rate of progress.

Is there any way to speed that up? Let’s explore that.

All of the wives’ (painfully familiar) complaints — that the husbands, while more engaged than their fathers were, still slack on laundry, food prep, and the tedious routines of parenting — are rooted in the same basic mental block: these men don’t take initiative. They are generally happy to help as instructed, but it never occurs to them to anticipate childcare needs, leaving all that mental prep work and delegation to fall upon the female.

These men don’t want to be slouches, but they have a prominent blindspot working against them. That being, their progressive feminist values are intellectual, not embodied — they’ve never actually lived in a world where men and women take equal responsibility to nurture and socialize offspring. At home growing up, in day care and grade school, their lived experience is one where men only dabbled in such duties, and that experience is the world their behavior actually draws from, not the ideology they’ve chosen to assume.

Because they’ve never witnessed equal parenting, they lack the neurocircuitry to “see” themselves in that world — to think, plan, and behave as though their equal portion of responsibility is real — and, it should be said, the same is true for their wives. That’s how we ladies end up automatically picking up the slack; we are just as programmed to normalize disproportionate parenting as they are, and our unconscious is just as deprived of alternatives.

The good news is, past conditioning is not our destiny! The unconscious is receptive to new conditioning every time we enter a hypnotic state, which a hypnotist can teach you to self-induce at will. What a practical adaptation of our nervous system! The ability to revise outdated automated behaviors with alternatives chosen by the conscious mind. Love it.

I’ll just go ahead and spell it out explicitly: for fathers to pull their feminism below the brainstem of “nice ideas” and into the body that should act those ideas out, they need to rehearse these behaviors in their imagination with focus and regularity until the brain rewires to accept them as normal, instructing the body accordingly.

So yes, men need to hypnotize themselves to stop being sexist.

Does this sound silly or extreme? It’s the absolute opposite. All of us — men and women — have been conditioned since birth, and are reconditioned every day, to renew expectations of an economic model where women manage the homestead and any contribution made by men is a favor.

I’m not talking about sinister plots here, this is simply an outdated assumption — that’s what happens as economic eras change; cultural assumptions become outdated, but it takes the unconscious a while to catch up. Hypnosis is an organic technology to speed the process along.

A session for men who really want to be the 50/50 parents they said they’d be, would begin by coaching them to bring themselves into the Alpha brainwave (hypnotic) state, then continue to walk them through an experience of physically leaving the era of maternal exploitation.

Before walking over the threshold to the world of parental parity, they would take a deeply observant look at the aspects of maternal exploitation, see how it specifically affects women in day-to-day life as well as over time, and hear what they need to be told by their wives, mothers, children, and their own body, to integrate and automate the empathy acquired from this exercise. May sound “woo” to someone who hasn’t tried it, but there’s no arguing with the results!

Within the comfortable container of the session, any emotions brought up by these visions would be powerful and yet non-threatening — people often say they experience their emotions in the hypnotic state as “pure information”, sometimes with a physical discharge, like laughing.

Experienced as such, new and repressed emotions are recognized, appreciated, and released without rational resistance or the acquisition of shame. (Always a selling point for men!)

Before being gently called back to the full, alert state of Beta brainwave consciousness, these men would rehearse visual scenes and verbal affirmations to replace their existing, sexist logic with the logic they consciously desire to use automatically — that of the era they want to create, rather than the one that created them. An era where children perceive their parents as equally nurturing and equally empowered.

But wait, the She Shed is for women only, right? Actually, I do work with men who are referred by an existing female client, so if this is an issue in your home, do your marriage (and career, and sanity) a favor — email eliza [at] sheshedhypno [dot] com to discuss booking a session for a partner who’s ready and willing to walk the walk.

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