Ray Arata’s new book is titled Showing Up: How Men Can Become Effective Allies in the Workplace. Needless to say, the title needs no further explanation. It serves a function similar to a paper’s thesis statement, encapsulating in clear and concise prose what Arata advocates, and ultimately stands by argument-wise. The book’s presence in and of itself is a sign of the times. The cynic might say, Too little too late in certain cases.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: https://www.rayarata.com/
But it’s impossible not to be uplifted by the tone and focuses of the read. Arata as a profile visibly fits within an age group likely categorized as baby boomer, making his genuine and progressive perspective and guidance all the more inspiring. Indeed, Showing Up regardless of its advocacy serves the purpose it’s in service of. Arata purely on the virtue of being a man offers a complex and nuanced perspective on professionalized gender issues, rather than being limited by a demographically dominant perspective. The conversation can’t lead to a set of solutions without both sides being engaged, truly, and Arata proves with what Showing Up covers he’s all-in. He’s never a cheap apologist, nor a person who walks a more defensive literary track. “…most men aren’t in touch with the experiences of women and underrepresented people who face significant challenges,” he admits in the book’s introduction. “This means men don’t always know the best ways in which to show they care—in particular, the ways that matter to those around them.” It’s through this simultaneous admittance of humility, coupled with keen, lived-in perceptual qualities, Arata feels capable of actually bringing solid, tangible content to the societal conversation.
You’re instantly reassured by such ruminations that you’re in good hands, that Arata takes these issues seriously. “This was my own experience, which caused me to go through life hurting the people I cared for most. I always saw myself as a ‘good man,’ yet I was still not being the ally I should have been to those around me,” he continues. “I wasn’t in touch with (nor interested in) how others experienced me. I wasn’t awake yet. It wasn’t until I became aware of my behavior and its impact on others that I was led to ask myself: Is this the kind of man I want to be?”
Once again noting the effective balance between tones of humility and more clinical perception, Arata demonstrates the mindset Showing Up promotes isn’t just a done deal from a corporate perspective. It’s not just something that should impact one’s professional being. It’s a personal thing, too. A long, dynamic, and complex process that mandates instant rectifications in the short-term, and continued, malleable strides for the long haul going forward. In a passage christened Using Privilege for Good, he highlights:
“My own experience recognizing the parallel between my behaviors with my ex-wife and at work showed me that many of the principles I had taught men outside the corporate world would, in fact, apply inside the corporate world.” He continues, “Healthy masculinity, as a leadership imperative, ought to be modeled by senior heads and management. Men needed to see other men walking the walk. I knew this idea would be successful if I could get other like-minded people, especially men, to align with my vision.”