The gatekeeping of knowledge is an aspect of toxic masculinity that isn’t discussed enough, and is detrimental to our culture.

I move 3 to 10 ton stones by hand and call it religion. I learned how to do this from a couple of old men who scoffed at writing anything down, and who harbored their knowledge like dragons unwilling to part with it for anything less than my undying loyalty.  It took ten years to learn what I needed and there is still plenty I am sure they never shared with me.  This means that I have to do the same screw ups and relearn what they could have taught me to avoid.   It often feels like everywhere I look this gatekeeping occurs. In photography, entertainment, tattooing, running events, or moving rocks, old men are terrified of sharing their knowledge for fear of their own obsolescence.

Now as a quick counter point people will tell me this gatekeeping is designed to keep people safe, unless you apprentice so that you can learn fully and correctly you shouldn’t be mucking around with several tons of rock or a tattoo gun.  But books about surgery have been around and you don’t often see people trying to DIY an appendix removal.

I genuinely believe that this problem is part of a toxic masculine culture, and it is how we lost the knowledge of how to build a dome or the recipe for concrete for a couple hundred years. When you keep what you have learned from those who seek it you only limit our ability to expand and grow as a people.  As a leader or a keeper of knowledge it is your responsibly to share teach and let new leaders have to opportunity to expand on your ideas.

My point is the success of your event should be based on the love and care you put into it, not on if you had the nuts and bolts knowledge of how to park 700 cars, or run a volunteer sign up sheet.

So next time someone asks to learn something from you at work and you get that weird little itch to not tell them and to hoard your expertise and be a nasty little lizard sitting on your pile of experiences, I encourage you to ignore your urge to follow in the footsteps of a toxic culture, and just fucking teach them.



One Reply to “Gatekeeping knowledge”

  1. This type of behavior/thinking has been around forever. My own father was the same way. He was the most needy person I knew. He didn’t want to show me anything that involved tools or mechanics. He thought I should be “booksmart” and rely on others to fix my house or mow my yard. Well, I pissed him off and learned what I know on my own, and asking others. Mistakes were made, blood was shed, but I learned. Hell, I don’t mind watching someone perform a task that I showed them. It frees me up to do other things. Win-win as far as I’m concerned.

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