“In the Beginning, It Was About Storytelling”

Tom Matlack replies to commenters on his own post, “The Feminist I Used to Know

I realize that post-modern (for lack of a better term) feminists and the MRA’s hate each other with tons of venom. The stuff said on both side quite frankly is not civil. It’s personal and ugly. I feel like I have dipped my toe into the wrong pond only to find it charged with electricity.

The MRA guys I frankly write off for the most part because at their most extreme they are just insane. I didn’t even know what the MRA was until I pissed them off and the SpearHead took aim at me.

But the feminists, well I consider myself a feminist. I take very seriously how my daughter and wife get treated by me, others, and the world. I have thought long and hard what it means to love fully. To be a good man, just for me, with regard to women.

So it’s much more difficult to take the level of personal attack, and frankly organized piling on, by so-called feminists. Sure it hurts. It hurts a lot. But that really doesn’t matter in the end. What it really leaves me asking is, “Where is all this personal bashing getting us?”

One of the things I asked in my original piece which caused the world to turn upside down is why it is that women want to talk about manhood so much more than men do? We see it right on GMP with our evangelists. The most insanely dedicated are for the most part women. Our CEO, as much as I love and adore and respect and don’t ever want to lose her, is a woman.

So we hit this divide. What is the point of what we are doing here on GMP? Is it to debate feminism? Is it to allow women to talk about their experiences with men? Is it to try to fight off the MRA? It is to have these vicious rounds of name calling in the name of gender?

That’s not where we started and not where I think we have the widest appeal. Sure it drives a lot of traffic from those interested in gender but not traffic from those who are more interested in how the heck to get through the day.

In the beginning this was about first person story-telling. Men telling their truth in a way that inspired and opened up the conversation to others. It was an attempt to find common ground among men, and women if they were interested in listening to men’s stories. When a man talks about losing his job or his wife or his child or his arm in war, feminism and MRA are no longer even part of the conversation. It is about hearing some guy talk about what remarkable, challenging, courageous, painful, joyous thing has happened in his life. It is about making men feel less alone. It’s about getting away from sports and porn and digging deep into the heart of the matter. Something for which I think many men yearn.

To my mind we have lost that thread more than we should. I don’t want to fight with those who call themselves feminists and then throw hand grenades at me. They have proven that they really aren’t interested in what I am interested in: men’s stories and goodness.

As I told Amanda [Marcotte] directly on email before her last round of vicious attacks on me, you all are way too organized for me to mount a one man campaign to try to prove you wrong. I am not a debater. That was never my aspiration. My aspiration was to sit in Sing Sing and listen to a man tell me what happened. That brings tears to my eyes and moves my soul.

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