On Music & Sensuality
With Appearances at the Bioneers and the IONS conferences, Jewel Love is deeply committed to leading new conversations surrounding healthy manhood and joining ancient conversations about sacred masculinity. As the founder of Black Executive Men and Urban Healers, Jewel specializes in creating prosocial male-identity brands. As a licensed psychotherapist in California, he uses a person-centered approach to help black men in corporate America find inner peace. Dubbed the Golden Rhinos, his therapeutic origination Black Executive Men has a mission to lead the charge for healthy manhood. This includes practices for optimal mental health and professionals responsible corporate leadership. Through Urban Healers, he harness men's authenticity, vulnerability, and spirituality in order to transform entire cities into oasis's of joy and connection.
Jewel: So when I say “Consent,” you yell out “Kings!” and then I yell “Consent,” they yell out “Kings!” and then I yell out “Consent” they yell out “Kings!”, “Consent,” they yell out “Kings!” And then you have this agreement amongst men, in real time, it's very visceral, that actually aligns alpha energy, the king energy, with upholding consent.
Lianne: I’m Lianne. Welcome to Strippers and Sages.
Jewel Love is deeply committed to joining new conversations surrounding healthy manhood with ancient conversations around sacred masculinity. As the founder of Black Executive Men and Urban Healers, Jewel specializes in creating pro-social male identity brands. As a licensed psychotherapist in California, he uses a person-centered approach to help Black men in corporate America find inner peace. Dubbed “The Golden Rhinos,” his therapeutic origanization, Black Executive Men, has a mission to lead the charge for healthy manhood. This includes practices for optimal mental health and responsible corporate leadership. Through Urban Healers, he harnesses men's authenticity, vulnerability and spirituality in order to transform entire cities into oases of joy and connection. As a proudly biracial man from Oakland, California, Jewel Love confidently embodies the narratives of his Scottish-Canadian and African-American ancestors. The son of Jewel Love Senior and Gerald Stewart, he carries on their commitments to love spirituality, family and culture. In this conversation, we talk about redefining masculinity, teaching consent, empowering men with archetypes, and collective healing.
Fun fact, Jewel performed at a sensual soiree I threw last year wearing a banana yellow bodysuit, which I really hoped he would whip out for this occasion, but no luck. Still, since you can't see him anyway, you might as well imagine a tall, dark, dashing man wearing a golden leotard while you listen to him brilliantly wax poetic. If that's not healthy manhood. I don't know what it is.
Jewel, thank you so much for joining me today. And welcome to strippers and sages.
Jewel: Thank you.
Lianne: I'd love to start by asking you a bit about your upbringing. And what about it, do you think, predisposed you to do the kind of work that you're doing in the world?
Jewel: So, I grew up in a Buddhist community that was international in scope. And we attended meetings all the time. Like, if not every night, every other night. And much of the weekend, Saturday and Sunday, we were at these community center Buddhist meetings. So there was constant talk about world peace, and multiculturalism and things of that nature, and really transforming one's own life, personally. So that's, I think, at the core, in my orientation, relates to this work and towards spirituality and culture as well.
Lianne: Hmm. And what did your parents do? Or do they do?
Jewel: Yeah, so my mom was a paralegal and my father ran nightclubs in and around the Bay Area, the most notable one being Jay Loves in Alameda.
Lianne: Okay. Did you go to the nightclub growing up?
Jewel: I did. Yeah.
Lianne: Did you get into trouble there?
Jewel: No, no trouble. I got to, to, you know, help out, kind of clean the place up. And when it was not club hours, I'd be in there and just helping to restock and playing pool and just enjoying myself. It was great. I loved it.
Lianne: Awesome. So give us a sense of what Urban Healers is all about.
Jewel: So Urban Healers is an opportunity for men to come together in bonds of brotherhood. Some of the values that we hold near and dear are firm accountability, alongside emotional vulnerability and connection, creativity as well, and spirituality. So there's a really a vision that's currently being held around Urban Healers for a city-wide ceremony for healthy manhood. Now to be fully transparent, we're not exactly sure, totally, how to do that. Yes, we can get a bunch of men together. And we have flags that have the rainbow serpent, which represents spiritual healing, on it, and waving them around and cool costumes and interact and hand out flyers and things of that nature. But when we talk about, let's say, a individual man's journey toward healthy manhood, typically what happens is he's assumed the, gone through the rites, rituals, and assumed the responsibilities of a man in his particular community. So of course, there are a lot of different initiations into various communitie. But I think in this one, we're talking about this healthy manhood, we're really talking about things related to emotional healing and taking responsibility in their family unit, amongst their friends. Perhaps that includes alignment professionally. And that can even include some things like ecological awareness. So if we go ahead and do that, for an individual man, it can be pretty clear what the outcomes are and look like from the before and after. Maybe not necessarily immediately, but over time, a multi-year process. But when you do that for an entire city, that's a larger question. And we're still figuring out by putting men through this, let's say a five-month initiation process. And once they come out, how they can engage with the rest of the city. So it helps to transform the city as a whole. And the last piece on that is just here in Oakland, we have a lot of problems, murder, a lot of people who are homeless here, a lot of broken homes, etc. And we're interested in not just the first part about men healing and finding perhaps their purpose, but how do we band together and help really improve and heal the city as a whole? And we're still figuring out what that could look like, and how to even go about that. So it's something we have a challenge in front of us to live into.
Lianne: Hmm, what can you share about your own journey and initiation and your own process around personal healing and masculinity prior to stepping into a leadership role in this work?
Jewel: Yeah, absolutely. So after college, I came back to my mom's place in Alameda, and was talking frequently with my friends down in Los Angeles, who I formed really close bonds with down at UC Santa Barbara. And they were progressing in life. And I was thinking, am I going to stay here in the Bay Area? And or am I going to go down to Los Angeles, where a bunch of my buddies are at and hop on that train, which was a really good train to be on in undergrad. So I decided to kind of leave home, again, the first time being going to Santa Barbara for undergrad in the first place, and went down to LA and spent some time with my buddies. And we were all figuring it out. But people started going in their own direction. Somebody went to law school, somebody went to dental school, somebody got really into, like, DJing, someone else got into film. And I was really trying to find my way. And I bounced around a lot. I, you know, people laugh at this, but I sold cars at Universal City Nissan, then I left that, I went to USC film school for a bit. I taught at a high school for a bit. And all of those things really highlighted certain parts of me, the sales aspect, I really like business, I probably get that from my father. The creative part at USC Film School, and the teacher, educator, mentor part as this teacher. But none of those things fully resonated for me. And I just remember, at the point when I left USC Film School, and I was super lost and super confused, because it just wasn't resonating. And I ended up in the home of Ababa Lao. And Ababa Lao, in this context, in the ethos tradition, is a spiritual teacher from the Yoruba tradition and lineage. And he was a diviner. So I went to a friend's home and he was there. And he did what they call a reading. And I remember going in, he was in the kitchen. And I said, Well, you know, what do I need to tell him? And what do I need to prepare? He's like, no, he reads you. He tells you stuff. And I was like, Oh, interesting. Okay, wow, how does that? How does that work? Exactly. He doesn't even know me. But he has some basic information about me. And he did a reading and it was very, very accurate. And I remember during the reading, saying to him, I feel like I need to be initiated into manhood, and that I'm actually late at being initiated into manhood. And it was interesting, because he said, “You need to initiate yourself.” And I thought that was fascinating for me at the time. And so I said, “Okay, not exactly the response I was expecting. But what do I need to do in order to, you know, do that?” And he says, “Well, you have to take responsibility. And that's really what initiation is about. How's your relationship with your family?” Mind you.,I left my family to come to LA and I was not in communication with them. So I said, “It's really poor. I'm not in communication.” He said, “Well, you really need to reach out to them and start taking care of them.” And so I started doing that bit by bit and really improved my relationship with my family and then started taking responsibility on various aspects on various fronts of my life. But there was one part and one front, which I just couldn't reach on my own, and it was something deeper in the realm of the soul. And so I got a referral over time to a psychologist named Dr. Donald Kilhefner. And I ended up working with Dr. Donald Kilhefner for two and a half years.
And during that time, he introduced me to some really pivotal concepts, which I believe my soul and spirit and ancestors were directing me toward the whole time, my whole life from before this life, previous life. And so I felt extremely fortunate to finally meet him, because in many ways, I finally got to meet a very deep part, deeper parts of myself. He introduced me to Jug in depth, psychotherapy and archetypal psychology, dreamwork. In this study within the therapeutic field, a niche study called Men's Work, it primarily orients from Robert Bly, who was out of the 1980s, I believe, a poet who put together workshops that helped men to grieve. This was at a time when a lot of men were getting divorced, you were seeing changes in the workplace between men and women. And men were confused about their role both in family and society. But it cracked this opening for men to kind of step out of their traditional role, and look at some of the harder emotions such as grief and loss. And so men began to do that in masse, somewhat in masse, well definitely through his workshops, and that gained ground. And various organizations were formed, we can maybe get into that a little bit later. But I really joined that community, and found a lot of value in a lot of my identity, in that community, in the process of initiating soul initiation for men. So then going through that process, I think, was really what inspired me most on this journey toward my own personal path and spiritual path, here on earth. And then that was really an initiation to two things. One, into the society as a man, a more mature man, but number two, into a profession or calling, and that's of somebody that initiates other men into manhood. And that's a very ancient role in the history of human beings. And so it felt great to be initiated into that type of role, as well. And so I moved forward from there and got my license in clinical psychology, excuse me, my master's, my license as a marriage family therapist, and then started up a couple organizations to do that kind of work.
Lianne: Wow, what an odyssey. Yeah, what I'm struck with is also, I think we think about initiation as this single event, this one ceremony, versus an ongoing process of initiation that you go through, this personal odyssey. And it sounds like it was more the latter for you, right? The whole sort of journey that you went on to emerge into this place of masculinity as you define it for yourself.
Jewel: Yeah, and for me, because we've, I've talked about masculinity and manhood a few different times. And I remember even a couple years ago, my mantra was really around healthy masculinity. And people would come up to me and say, well, masculinity, you know, everybody, it's, men and women have masculinity, women have masculinity. So when you say healthy masculinity, do you really mean healthy manhood? Are you talking about men? And I say, “Oh, I'm talking about healthy masculinity. And I know what you mean is true, but it's still what I mean,” and I wasn't actually defensive about it overtly. But in my mind, there was like, a very stuckness on that place. And then, I think, even though I use the term often interchangeably between healthy manhood and healthy masculinity, I've really pivoted toward healthy manhood, and see masculinity as just this force that, I mean, if you look at kind of in the dictionary, I imagine it would say something like, assertiveness and femininity is something like receptiveness. And you know, I'm not, you know, saying necessarily, that's the case or true, but those are some of the things that come to mind. And I see both, I see all people as having those qualities. And so it's interesting when we even talk about things like healthy masculinity, it makes me think of, how can we go about using masculinity in a way that's healthy for us and healthy for the communities around us, no matter who we are, or no matter what gender we possess?
Lianne: Hmm, yeah, in some ways, I think about masculinity and femininity as these mythologies in the same way that archetype can serve us, or these energies to align with. So you spoke about, you know, Jung in-depth psychology being a big influence. Can you talk about the role of archetype in your work? And how you, yeah, how you work with archetype and the various organizations that you're engaged in?
Jewel: Yeah, absolutely. So, um, so how are I use archetype, one way, it's reimagining archetypes. There's many different archetypes, there's like Ephah, they have Oshun and that represents, like, the sweetness and beauty and then you have Yemaya, who’s like the mother nurturer figure, and you have Ogun, the warrior, and you have, you know, Obatala, the wise old man, things like that. But for me to use that here and now, for me, I get it, and I like it. And they’re amazing references. But I'm also always looking for, in this culture, in this day, in this part of the world, what are archetypes that could be, it's the same energy, but that can be used, reclothed in a way that feels really authentic and organic for these times. So archetypes, what I understand them to be, are energies that exist in the realm of the soul, that are always there. And it's an opportunity we have to tap into them, and help balance them, or know when to use them. And that's oftentimes when wisdom and divination come in handy, of when to use these different energies, to move our life forward, and also to keep our life in balance. So I think that's the deeper piece around archetypes and energies and being aware of them. But the latter part is my marketing mind and my business mind and my branding mind, also very much interested in translating these ancient concepts and eternal energies into forms that people can easily grasp. Not even just easily, but willingly and wantingly will grasp in order to integrate it into their daily life in ways that make sense and enhance their daily life. So some ideas around, or some examples around that. For Black executive Men, we have something that's still developing right now. And it's called the Golden Rhino. So the Golden Rhino, interestingly enough, harks back to Southeast Africa. And we're talking roughly about the 10th century. And there was a kingdom back then, it was very rich in gold. And they did trading as far East as China. And they traded with the Islamic empires. And they also traded with further inland Africa, maybe even had remains of China, like the plates or cups, found in that part of the world from a long time ago. So just a very wealthy, in gold, primarily, empire. And there was a king who was found with his, in his grave was this golden rhino, as well as its staff, and scepter, things of that nature. So that empire really fell apart when colonization happened, from the bit of research I've done. We're talking like the 15th century, around then. And then you have the transference of enslavement of African peoples. And then you have, you know, later on, up to millions of African people transferred over to North America in quote, unquote, “the new world.” And so the guys that I work with now are the commerce class, these are the guys that have some of the guys that have been to the most prestigious schools in the United States. They're doing very well. They're working at the Googles, and the Microsofts, and the Cloroxes and the Apples, and you name it. But there's very little narrative about these guys. Oftentimes, Black manhood, the most popular ways to see it are in sports, entertainment, pornography, and the prison industrial complex. And that's really where that energy oftentimes gets channeled. Of course, that's not the only places, but those are very popular places where it comes to mind. However, this class of Black men that are very astute and are doing very well economically, that narrative is not quite as popular, but this class is actually very ancient. And so the Golden Rhino is a symbol for that class of men going back, in this case, 1000 years, but of course, we know it's much older than that. And it's really interesting what we're doing with The Golden Rhinos and how we're going to take that energy into the community and promote mental health for the rest of the Black community, which is something that's just starting to really bubble right now in the Black community. But that's a way that we're using this energy, how to exactly tag that to a specific archetype. I mean, it might be a king type of archetype, it does go back there with the story, which is very powerful, and it could be very authentic. But it also was a combination of the healer archetype. So it's kind of like this Healer-King archetype that we're working with embodied in The Golden Rhino. And The Golden Rhino reimagined is something when I tell guys, for instance, like, a unicorn in Silicon Valley is a billion dollar startup. The Golden Rhino, or Black executive men, is just as rare and equally as valuable. My guys get that immediately and say, “I'm a golden Rhino. That's me. That's who we are. Got it.” So it's this really interesting way of both telling history, talking about African history. And confirming an identity that society doesn't know exist, that would probably be very healing, for many people to know that it does.
Lianne: Hmm. Wonderful. Um, you're talking about the king archetype. I'd love for you to also talk now about Consent Kings a bit.
Jewel: Yeah, absolutely. So I was at Bioneers recently, and we're sharing some anecdotes about my life, like some that I shared here now. And they asked about Reimagining Manhood, that was actually the title of the panel discussion that I was on. And that's a serious ask, to reimagine manhood, and I'm trying to figure out, you know, really, how do I relate to that concept? But I think about three stages of healthy manhood, or perhaps men's work. The first being — and then relating it directly back to your question about Consent Kings, that will be the third — the first is introduction to men's work. Is, oh, there's this whole realm, it's my inner life. And, you know, emotional literacy and things of that nature and how, you know, things around me impact me and my response to them, and just being really thoughtful in that way. Or for some men, it could be about healthy boundaries, and upholding those to improve their self-esteem, etc, improve their relationships. So that's really step one. Step two being this initiatory work where you're on the other end, and you're providing other men with that experience to do that work for themselves. So it's like the next step. And then the next step is really, how do we take this men's work, or healthy manhood, and philosophies behind it, in some cases, practices into the greater community? How do we take that next step, from stage two, which is doing men's work with other men, and then take it from there to impacting larger society, because we have real problems that need to be solved. And this is a community that that energy could be transferred toward. So I started talking about some of those potential solutions. And one of them is Consent Kings. Consent King as a reimagination of the King archetype, but then tied in with the conversation and movement around sexual consent that's extremely important in transforming relationships today. So how that kind of works as a real-life process? Well, there's two, of course, there is education, on consensual practices that men can use, just because I work with men specifically, in the bedroom or before the bedroom or with their partner, specifically, around sexuality, and sexual engagement. But the more larger scale piece that I talked about was how we can reduce sexual assaults at the over 800 music festivals that we have here in the United States on an annual basis. So I gave a real live example of how this stuff around healthy manhood. It's good personally, but it can be good socially, and it can be good for business on the other side. So briefly, how that would look is, you'd have, let's say, I did this. And I went to Lollapalooza, hop on stage, thousands of people in the audience. And first off, men love being called “King” probably all the way around the world. That's a guess. I don't know. But a lot of men love being called “King.” It's an ancient archetype. Even though we practice democracy here in the United States, that archetype, it still runs deep for many of us. So hopping on the stage and say, “Where all my kings at?” and you know, the men are going to hoot and holler. Likely, if not all, quite a few. Definitely the emboldened ones, some of them anyway, and taking it from there, that's really identifying the alpha. A lot of times in different conversations around masculinity, manhood, there's an attempt to eliminate alpha energy. Just period, but a lot of times referred to in men is something... it's bad, it's wrong, it's bullying, it's related to competition, which is categorically a bad thing. And I take a different, I take a different position on that with Consent Kings. And it's that biologically, it seems to run, and psychologically, extremely deep, in that men orient ourselves in status relationships, and it just seems to pan out that way, that men figure out who the kind of alpha in a group is, etc, etc, etc. And it just plays itself out. So as opposed to getting rid of that, harnessing that energy through a male identity brand, in this case, Consent King, for pro-social outcome, which is reduced sexual assault. So the person let's say, hop on stage, and say, “Where are my kings” and then I would say, “As a king, if you rule well, you will be blessed. If you, you know, rule well within your domain, you'll be blessed. And if you rule poorly, your kingdom will turn against you.” And men know that viscerally to be true. So what that does is it really squares a lot of power and responsibility in men's hands to control the outcome of their own destiny. And then briefly, I talk about that society, one of the pieces is that society may have failed to give them the tools to rule well. Now what that taps on is a lot of men today feel like they weren't properly equipped to deal with the responsibilities put forth in front of them, especially related to changing gender norms today. So I tell them that consent is one of the key tools that can help them rule well. So when I say “Consent,” you yell out “Kings!” and then I yell out “Consent,” then yell out “Kings,” and I yell out “Consent,” then “Kings,” “Consent,” they yell out “Kings,” and then you have this agreement amongst men in real time, that's very visceral, that actually aligns alpha energy, the king energy, with upholding consent. So it's a way that men can actually socialize themselves to enforce consent, that's a bit strong, but be aware of sexual, consensual sexual relationships throughout roughly a 48-hour time period. That's where the research says that that kind of training is good for. So that's one example around Consent Kings, and how it can be used for real world pro-social outcomes.
Lianne: Thank you. Yeah, I mean, that's a really fascinating harnessing of that alpha energy, like you're saying, versus trying to transmute it, which I think maybe a lot of men have some reductive thinking about men's work. I've actually had some conversations with male friends of mine who are like, "I just don't know that I would ever, like, do that,” right, like, because it has certain, maybe because we still live in this, the era of, there are still these stereotypes or norms associated with gender. So even just emotional sharing, and therapy, and these, these things still have this feminine quality to it. Or reckoning with consent. Maybe, you know, I've encountered men who feel emasculated even by that conversation, who will say, “Oh, you know, I thought that my being a man is actually predicated on my going after what I want, including in the bedroom, and that women won't like it, it's a sign of weakness, if I'm asking.” And so I think it's an interesting tool that you're using there around using that archetype to actually embolden men and empower them with a sense of being privy to and an ally and proactive about consent as actually affirming your alpha masculinity. I'm thinking about also, so that's an interesting example you provide in terms of a scaled up application of Consent Kings. I'm curious about the conversations around consent that you maybe are having on a more personal and individual level with your therapy, with Urban Healers. I'm thinking about Professor Russell Robinson, Berkeley law professor, who does work around race and gender, and talks about sort of male fragility, right that there's this sense of crisis stems from the long standing privilege of not actually even having to think about their male identities. Parallel to white fragility, perhaps. And as a woman, and many women I know, when you are often encountering what I'll call male fragility or male ego around some of these topics and men, meanwhile, when their own consent violations are brought to their attention, and this is me speaking from some personal experiences, there's a lot of defensiveness, and stemming, perhaps, from a shame that comes from even even the “sensitive,” quote unquote, or “woke,” quote, unquote, men that I know, they think about consent violations is something that happens over there. Like those, there are bad men who do this, and they're thinking of these egregious assault violations. And that's what they mean by consent. And then if they're called down on these smaller consent violations, that there's really a bit of a like an identity crisis or a reckoning that has to come about. So I'm curious just about how you hold space for genuine introspection, whether you encounter male shame or defensiveness around that reflection and looking at perhaps one's own consent violations, and how you are helping men through that process in terms of healing and accountability.
Jewel: Yeah, you know I was thinking about this lately, but it was in a different context, but it was, it relates to this really well. And there was a bridge to it really well, which is, if there's a process for redemption, I think people are much more likely to engage. But if there's no real process for redemption, and welcome back into the community with some plan, some layout, it creates a real risk to somebody feeling alienated from the community, with no opportunity to rejoin it, or them having to leave the community and find different community. But if in that community, there's no redemption, it well, it really pushes that part of a person into hiding, because we're social beings. So I think what's going on right now, it's extremely, it's powerful, and a good thing that people are speaking up about sexual assault and sexual abuses that they've experienced or that they're familiar with, or even know about. And then on the flip side, you're having people who are having a range of responses. But it doesn't appear that there's a full-on path for redemption that's been laid out for people to walk down that path right now. So I could not, I could very much see how people would be very defensive about that in that way. So, but then circling back to the first two pieces, Eve Ensler was also at Bioneers and talked about the… has a new book about forgiveness. And so while she was on stage, I wasn't there. I just overheard, but she did a process where she invited her father in and then did what I would term, I don't know exactly how she terms it, but psychodrama where, you know, she can kind of like embody his presence or something, something to that degree, and then went through a forgiveness process with him. And so I think that's something she's either pioneering or interested in pioneering, and pose that question around forgiveness between men and women specifically, and how that process needs to happen on a very large, she thinks worldwide, so on a worldwide, on a global scale. And so what came to mind, I think, for me, was like, well, that would have, like, how do you actually do that, right? Like, okay, got it. Okay,
Jewel: Yeah, well, yeah, exactly. Okay, yeah, how would we do that? And I don't know, the thing that just came to mind is in the schools, because that's where you get the most men at one kind of time, do any kind of mandatory behavior. And it would probably have to start really young because sexual abuse and sexual assaults, those happen really young as well too, and it’d probably have to come under the ethics label, possibly, because people would be very sensitive to this. But that's a way to kind of institute it culturally from a young age. But I also think it would have to be done in a way that if you really wanted men to get on board wholesale, for men that have committed sexual assault and not, there would have to be an identity that men could move into, or a process for redemption that had a completion portion at the end, where they can thus rejoin the community. Otherwise, that level of shame or sexual assault being connected to manhood independent of a man's actions. There's just a missing piece in there. Now, I think that can actually produce a lot of actually deep work, and it’s pretty much just where that work is, seems to be right now, we're just in that, and we're figuring it out. And firm accountability. I mean, that's where it seems to be. That’s actually, there's a lot of good that comes from just that flat out, without there being that full-on road to redemption all the way on the other side. But then getting back to kind of your first two questions about what does that, you know, how am I doing that work, be it with Urban healers, or clients and what's going on there, we had a Consent Kings workshop for Urban Healers. That was the first workshop we did this year, and about 30 men came, San Francisco Chronicle came, they documented that as well. It's exciting. And men just talked about opening, men just opened up and talked about times when they had crossed the line with a partner. And they also talked about, with their current partners, practices they could use to check in with them about sexual engagement, that maybe they hadn't thought about before. On the other side, I know we didn't exactly bring this up, but men also brought up times when they had been sexually assaulted by a man or woman, etc, etc. So all of that just created a really vulnerable open space for men to share without being shamed for their experiences. So I think when we're looking around that process, that's a tool. It's not the only tool. Of course, accountability is an excellent tool and that needs to be levied as well, where appropriate. But one of the other tools that we've been providing in Urban Healers is a place for men to open up and kind of unrestrictedly talk about this part of their life, if they relate to this part of their life, which many of them in there did, openly. And that, in of itself, helped to welcome that part into the community. It wasn't condoning any behaviors, it was just creating space for them to be spoken.
Lianne: Yeah. When I, when I think about consent, you know, it's a conversation that I have with a lot of women, and have been having increasing conversations with men. And sometimes it comes up like, “Well, why can't a woman just say no? Or why can't a woman just speak up more?” Right? And I think there is work for all of us to do collectively healing from the patriarchy in our history that has silenced women, and also just the complete lack of education, and the patriarchy that's created certain expectations for male behavior that have carried into the bedroom. I'm curious if that question has come up, you know, it's something that, I work with a lot of very empowered women who are Stanford MBAs, and big directors, and yet, in parts of their lives, reflect on, I don't know, I can do it out, I can do it in the law, in the court, I can do it, getting, you know, in the boardroom, but in the bedroom, I just like, don't feel that comfortable, or I have let myself be walked over so many times. And so I'm really increasingly looking at this as work that we are needing to do together. And maybe there's a lot of onus right now on men within the Me too movement too, and it's wonderful that you're doing this work, and they can have this opportunity for reflection of like, “Okay, what boundaries have I crossed?” etc. I also wonder from the male perspective, like, what is the call for women to step up and also, you know, help us get to a place of healthier communication and consent all around?
Jewel: Yeah, yeah, that's a really good question. Um, yeah, I mean, I think socialization just has a lot to do with it, and how women, or some women, are socialized to engage with men. And the reason I say some women is because there are differences between cultures. There are a lot of similarities as well. But I think it comes down to a lot of socialization in what women may feel comfortable saying or not saying in the bedroom, and what's appropriate or not appropriate for them to say or set as a boundary, etc. I don't have a call for women in that regard. But I think I'm just more aware of the need to empower everybody with communication tools that help them uphold their boundaries, be it in the bedroom, or in the boardroom, or wherever they're at and feel comfortable with that. I think we're really creating this thing as we go, but yeah, definitely, making sure that women have the tools and the skills socially. To know that it's okay to say no, if they're uncomfortable with something that’s happening or yes to o something that they do want to have happen.
Lianne: Right? So you know, the nature of this conversation is starting to lean towards a somewhat heteronormative paradigm. I'm curious if the conversations or the men that you're working with are largely heterosexual, if you're having other conversations that just span gender reflection, sexuality, exploration, and identity, etc?
Jewel: Yeah. So there was one comment brought up in an Urban Healers gathering, and it talked about same gender-loving men, and how consent was not discussed that much, how it was more viewed as a heterosexual conversation. But that how sexual abuse and assault was also going on in the gay community, but the sexual consent conversation wasn't really had as much there. So I just thought that was interesting.
Lianne: So, going back to some of the work that you're doing. I think that, so when we, when we trace sexual liberation, right, that came with the feminist movement. So, and I'm putting that in quotes as well. There is this idea that “Okay, now women are sexually liberated, so we get to have sex like men.” Right, which has that trope of, what does that even mean? Okay, that we're not, we're emotionally detached. And now we get to be promiscuous, and whatever, those are sort of more problematic, I mean, not problematic, if that's generally what you're interested in, right? But, um, and now, I think there's a whole lot of talk and exploration of eroticism and erotic empowerment for women. I also think there's an opportunity now, for men in this open, like, reimagining of masculinity in the sexual realm, for an opportunity for their own erotic exploration, to not have to be playing out certain roles in the bedroom or everything from in courtship and dating to, you know, actual sex acts. So again, I'd love to know, in your work with men, if that sort of consciousness has come into the conversation, and if there's an opportunity now for male sexual liberation, that isn't really being talked about?
Jewel: Yeah, that's a good question. I mean, a good number of my clients, or maybe it's just the men that I work with. I mean, yeah, it's hard to say exactly the number. But there definitely are men who date men, or identify as bisexual, dated trans women, things of that nature, who are talking, you know, to me about their relationships. And for the most part, they're pretty open/ I think, some clients are still a bit concerned, just about, will society accept them, or their peers accept them, if they're not dating a woman, things of that nature. But when we talk about this sexual liberation, I think a good number of clients that I have that want to basically date whoever they want to date. So I think, possibly, or probably because we're in the San Francisco Bay Area, I think, culturally, there's some more openness to that here than maybe some other, definitely than other parts of the country. So I think one of the things that comes to mind is even terms. Like there was an article about Everyman that came out in GQ, they had a Masculinities magazine that they released last month. But in it, they talked about Everyman, this new organization that's doing some pioneering men's work, pioneering in just the scope that they want to reach to for the demographic, the age demographic that they want to get to. So it's kind of middle, younger middle-age type men. And they talked about this term, “mostly heterosexual” and said about 10% of the male population fits into that category. I don't know if they'd say identified, have to go back to the article, but I think that was the number they put. So some of the thing that comes to mind around sexual liberation is kind of around these identities that men can step into, such as gay identity, that wasn't always as well-known of an identity for men to firmly step into as it is now and likely be going forward. And so there's other identities likely coming forth as well that men can likely step into. And that's an example of one of them. Yeah.
Lianne: Yeah. And I wasn't even asking, I mean, I think erotic exploration contains everything that you just said in terms of different kinds of partners. But even just in heterosexual relationships, the kind of roles that men are maybe expected to play that now there's an opportunity to step into a new experience of eroticism within those dynamics, even with women, that can be sort of expansive or opening up to new experiences of male eroticism are interesting.
Jewel: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, there's a lot more openness, you know, for men to receive in all type of ways, conversations that are being had around that, as well. And I think it comes with this conversation around manhood and masculinity as well. And those kind of definitions being loosened up a bit. And men can say, you know, “I can do this in the bedroom. And that makes me no less of a man.” And for some men, that's important, for some, it doesn't matter at all. But for a good number of men that does, and yeah, there is, I think, more freedom today. But there's still some shame and stigma around men doing certain sexual things or sexual acts or desiring them in the bedroom. And that's still an ongoing conversation socially.
Lianne: Mmhmm. You know, I've been thinking about, I sort of returned to bell hooks’ essay, or book, Feminism is For Everybody, where she talks about, “Patriarchal masculinity teaches men that their senses of self and identity, their reason for being, resides in their capacity to dominate others.” But then she goes on to critique the feminist movement for, as I think you've been bringing up a couple of times in this conversation, it's, you know, not giving the new paradigm of masculinity for men to then step into. It seems like a lot of what you're doing is collaboratively expanding the definition of masculinity. And then, you know, creating through archetype and other initiation processes, opportunities for men to step into an identity. Or to, as I said, expand what masculinity is for themselves. So I just wanted to give you an opportunity to surface any other methodologies that you are doing with men in either Urban Healers, or Black Executive Men or your individual work with clients that are, as you spoke at Bioneers, about reimagining masculinity, and are there any concrete characteristics of the new healthy, modern, masculine man that you can surface for us?
Jewel: Yeah, so I mean, one comes to mind, it's about ecological sustainability, and the corporate CEO. So right now, you know, you have these corporate CEOs, who are primarily men, and we're talking Fortune 500 CEOs, here, primarily men, and a lot of other men look up to them as that is the pinnacle, especially if they're in the the corporate environment of, they're trying to climb the corporate ladder to get to that point, etc. But you got guys who are making, I don't know, $10 million, let's say salary, plus $5 million in stocks, plus $2 million bonuses. So what is that, $17 million annually that they're walking away with. And you can really only spend so much of that in a year, you can only buy so many cars and houses, and vacations, etc, etc. And so that money gets, you know, invested or stuffed away, etc, etc. But what it really is, for a lot of men, is it's a marker of status. They may be making 17 million, and they're, let's say Fortune 10, but the ninth most profitable company, or biggest company, or the eighth, let's say, let's say that guy is making $20 million. So there's really this competition, even though it's not necessarily about the 2 million, it's about he's one up me, and I have to compete to be number one. And it just happens again and again and again, in whatever the arena is, basketball or football or business or sports, etc, etc. The thing about, and so I'm not actually even knocking that, I'm just saying that's pretty much baked in, just the competitive nature, and there are benefits to competition evolution, if you look at it like that, is looking for the traits that confer to the species that the plant or the animal or the human and then those are replicated for the next generation. So kind of how do we harness that evolutionary impulse, really? But the issue is we talked about when Bioneers, they were talking about the environment, and it's being destroyed. And I'm not the most knowledgeable about environmental matters, but that's obvious. So when I think about it, we have a certain model that pushes men up to, you know, these multimillion dollar leadership roles with companies that may be involved in mining practices, or deforesting practices or harming the ocean, etc, etc, burning chemicals that damage the ozone, you name it. But it really comes down to, in this very simple and deep way, a confirmation of manhood, which men are constantly vying for, is to have their man card affirmed. And it's interesting, because it's actually amongst men, it's men, vying with men, for affirmation from men, from validation from men, if you notice, when men win, the big game, or the World Series, guys will run out. And what do they do, they jump, they do about three things, they jump, they hug, and what are the other… and I even saw one guy kiss another guy on the cheek. So you have to go through training, you have to pump iron, etc. But all these things in order to get what? Physical affection from another guy. If you lose, then you ain't getting that, you know. So it's just this way to get validation amongst men at the end of the day. So is there an identity that can be formed, I guess it's the challenge I put out to you all, a male identity brand that could be put forth that weaves in the values of ecological sustainability. To where that really is kind of like, I don't know, if we want to say men are competing on that front. But they're really, that's really a thing that men are known for, being a man is to have that value woven in. And the thing is, it's not as easy as just to say, “Environmental man,” like it really needs to be thought out and thought through well, in a way that can actually compete in this free market. Because you can tell people that the earth is being destroyed, and people are still going to sign up for that corporation, they're still going to go to that, they're still going to do the same thing. It has to compete with the current models of manhood in a real way. Not in a plain out forceful way, but in a psychological way, which men will uphold it for themself, because it's now a greater status than the one previously. And so that's something that comes to mind with, and I got some ideas about that. But um, yeah, I don't know. But I think that's going to be one of the biggest challenges is how do we flip from the corporate kind of guy? No offense, I do a lot of work in corporations. But how do we take some of that power and add in or shift it to something that innately cares for and protects the earth, is what comes to mind.
Lianne: Yeah, something else that I was thinking about, and wanted to bring up while you were speaking is just capitalism and masculinity and patriarchy, and how interspersed those are. Because, I mean, you think about, as you're saying, like manhood and self-worth is so connected to your net worth. And at the same time, our global capitalism, and certainly American capitalism was built on the backs of slaves. And so Black men were traditionally excluded from the labor market and then exploited by it. And so there's been this historical emasculation as a result of structural racism. And then we also see as a result of that, you know, there's this article in The Guardian. Some, you know, a couple weeks ago, maybe it's older than that. But quoting Donna Melton, she spoke, the article is called Black Masculinity Under Capitalism. And saying that “a truly radical counter-hegemony only can only be realized by disassociating both Blackness and manhood from capitalist registers of worth.” And so yeah, I wonder, and then here you are working with men, and to get reductive about it, to be “anti-capitalist” quote, unquote, doesn't mean anti-business. You know, there's various ways of conscious capitalism, helping various possibilities for conscious capitalism to usher us into new paradigms. I mean, there's a lot of debates about that. So yeah, I'm curious about your thoughts about just capitalism and how it, if it enters into your conversation with men on a personal level?
Jewel: Yeah. So um, capitalism has come up with, it’s come up some with clients. Not a whole lot in my work. I mean with my work on Black executive men. And it's interesting because I tell people in their life, some people will say, like, “Oh, we need to shut down the corporate structure,” like altogether and I'm like, “Oh, wow.” Yeah, it's interesting, because in the Black community, I can't speak for everybody. But it's like, “Wow, it's amazing. You work at Google. Like that’s, you've made it, we're there. Or like, you would promote, like the Kaiser CEO right now is an African-American man.” And people are like, “That's the pinnacle of success.” But then I've seen outside of the Black community, people will look and say, “Oh, you know, these corporate people,” and it's like, wow, this is such a cultural difference that's happening, how do we react? They say, “Well, you should get these guys that are doing corporate work to try and really like, pivot the corporations.” And I'm like, “Yeah, it's a little… yes, I totally get that.” My guys are like, feeling outcast in the corporations. Like, it's a little different, very relevant. How do we do that as well, I think it's baffling. It's a worthy challenge. But as far as capitalism, I, you know, what, in many ways, I'm a fan of competition. But there has to be, of course, regulations to it. Like, I like sports. I like MMA, but there still has to be a regulation to it. So I think somehow competition fits into it. It's competitive in capitalism. I think one of the things just comes to mind is then what is, now we're talking economics, and let's say we can throw in masculinity, although we don't necessarily have to. It's how do you create an economic structure that allows people to have the things that they want in life? Unless, you know, the conversation is about that, of like, what kind of homes can people live in, maybe there's a certain worth or certain car or number of cars that people can have. And maybe there needs to be more of some kind of a regulation on how income is taken in or capped in order to then distribute it amongst all people. So that, let's say, those at the lowest rungs economically on society have more through social services, things of that nature. And I hear about that, from more socialist countries, I'm not totally familiar with communist countries, etc. But um, how it ties into masculinity. I think it in my mind, the most tangible thing is just tying it back to that kind of previous line of thinking of what are some identity brands around manhood and masculinity that could capture men that are so strong that the incentive for them to go into that model gives them what they want more so than these current brands of masculinity, which lead men, in order to get the kudos, to behaviors that will destroy the earth. And for me, that's just how I approach it, that could produce tangible results.
Lianne: Thank you. Well, thank you so much for joining me and speaking about these really fascinating themes. Yeah, it's really great to hear your brain,get a peek into your brain and how you're thinking about these ideas and the work that you're doing. Is there anything else that you would like to share that I haven't asked that you want people to know about your work or
your way of seeing the world?
Jewel: Sure. I think the last thing that comes to mind is from a spiritual perspective, I think that we're, maybe this doesn't resonate for you, but if it does, here you go. You know, we're on a spiritual journey. And we're gonna find allies along the way, and challenges that help us grow and evolve in order to carry out our unique purpose here on this earth. So my advice would just be to answer the call of whatever call that's coming your unique way. There's no waiver for this.
There's nothing binding, but just a bit of encouragement, just to keep going. But if you're struggling and something is calling you, feel free to answer the call.
Lianne: If this episode turns you on, please subscribe, rate, and review us. It makes a huge difference. Then head to strippers and sages.com to learn more about our guests, sign up for our mailing list, access special resources and become a Patreon supporter, which would be very sexy of you. Special thanks to Ben Eufrat for scoring and mixing these episodes, and to Lilia Tam and John Wolfstone for their production support. Stay sexy, folks.