I Refuse To Be One Of “The Good Men”

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Charlie Glickman explains why assuming the position of “not like other guys” creates more problems than good.

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In all of the recent conversations about male privilege, violence against women, and misogyny, there’s been a lot of debate about “not all men.” When guys are confronted with the many ways in which men hurt, harass, and abuse women, it’s a pretty common response for us to say, “I’m not like that.” Many of us want to be one of “the good guys,” the ones who don’t act like jerks, who don’t harass women or commit assault. Other people have explained why it doesn’t make sense for women to assume good intentions, and of course, some men jump to say that they aren’t like that and deserve better.

I get it. I really do. For more than half my life, I’ve been having women tell me that I’m not like most of the other men they know. I’ve never really fit into the standard definitions of masculinity and I’ve been like this ever since I was a kid. I’ll admit that there was a time when my ego enjoyed the positive reinforcement, especially since it helped me feel better about the fact that I wasn’t like most guys. But then I realized something important.

While I might be less capable of physically forcing someone to do something than many men are, I can exert male privilege in a lot of other ways. I can assume that my opinions are more valid than the woman I’m speaking with with, I can talk over her, interrupt her, or ignore her, and a lot of people won’t even notice. I can harass someone, not take no for an answer, whine and cajole her in order to make her feel obliged to comply with my demands. I can slut-shame someone for having sex, call her a prude if she turns me down, and I have much more freedom to have sex without repercussions. I can safely assume that in most occupations, I’ll be paid more. I can walk around at night with a lot less fear. I can take up more space than women, both physically and energetically, and usually get away with it. There are dozens of ways in which I can benefit from being a cisgender man, whether I want to or not.

It’s those last six words that make all the difference to me. There are ways in which I don’t have choice about the privilege that accrues to me, and in those cases, there’s not much difference between other men and me. There are also ways in which I have some influence about the privilege I receive. In those situations, as soon as I start believing that I’m not like those “other men,” I’ve taken the first step down a very steep, slippery slope. Once I begin thinking that I could never be like those guys over there, it becomes much more likely that I’ll act exactly like them. Saying that I’m not like that would allow be to become complacent about my privilege and my internalized sexism and misogyny. Recognizing that I could act like that gives me the room to make the ongoing decision to act differently.

When we say that “I’m not like that,” we render those guys as other. Rather than seeing our shared humanity, we demonize them. Rather than seeing the ways in which sexism is trained and shamed into each of us, we call them evil and stop looking at ourselves. And rather than reaching out to them to help them move in a positive direction, we discard them so that we can be “not like them.” I don’t see how that does anything other than perpetuate the cycles that I so passionately want to stop.

When we say that “I’m not like that,” we render those guys as other. Rather than seeing our shared humanity, we demonize them.

I refuse to be one of “the good guys” because I know that I have to keep making choices about how I want to act. I refuse to be one of “the good guys” because I know that I’ve said and done things that I’m not proud of. I refuse to be one of “the good guys” because I don’t want to widen the chasm between me and the men who have the potential to change. And I refuse to be one of “the good guys” because I know that I will make mistakes and it’s so much harder for me to be accountable and make amends when my identity is challenged. It’s a lot less difficult to move forward when I’m not weighed down by the need to rethink who I am.

Men will often try to protect themselves from women’s anger by trying to minimize it or make it go away. We do that because we’re scared of it, because it triggers us, because it brings up our fear and our shame. But it almost always sends the message that we don’t think that women’s anger is valid or reasonable. For most men, it takes a lot of practice to be able to hold space for women’s anger without getting lost in our reactions, especially since many of us were never taught the skills of emotional self-regulation and shame resilience. But when we try to make women’s feelings disappear, we make things worse. When we learn how to listen to them with fierce compassion instead of defensiveness, we make things better. As a relationship coach, I’ve seen this over and over. (And no, that’s not limited to women’s emotions, but that’s the focus of this post.)

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So when I hear a woman make a sweeping statement about men, I try my best to hold space for her feelings and her experience without telling her that she’s wrong, or that she’s crazy, or that I’m not like that. I don’t always manage it, especially in online interactions, but I’m getting better at it. And part of how I work on it is by not letting myself fall into the trap of thinking that I’m one of “the good guys.”

So don’t call me a good guy. Just let me work on being the best person I can be, with all of my flaws and limitations. And when I don’t live up to my expectations or when I do something that hurts you, let me know so I can fix it. Trust me- it’ll be a lot easier for you to do that if you’re not caught up in thinking that I’m one of “the good guys,” too.

This article originally appeared on Charlie Glickman’s Blog.

Photo credit: ANOXLOU/flickr

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About Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman PhD is a sex & relationship coach, a certified somatic sexuality educator, and an internationally-acclaimed speaker. He has been working in this field for over 20 years, and some of his areas of focus include sex &; shame, sex-positivity, queer issues, masculinity & gender, communities of erotic affiliation, and many sexual & relationship practices. Charlie is also the co-author of The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure: Erotic Exploration for Men and Their Partners. Find out more about him on his website or on Twitter and Facebook.

Comments

  1. I can assume that my opinions are more valid than the woman I’m speaking with with, I can talk over her, interrupt her, or ignore her, and a lot of people won’t even notice. I can harass someone, not take no for an answer, whine and cajole her in order to make her feel obliged to comply with my demands.

    Women can do, and do do, all of these things just as much as men. Just ask any harried, henpecked, beta male.

    Here. I’ll let Sam explain it to you:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GXPd0fnpKw

    • Unironic use of the term “beta male”. Yup, you’re an MRA.

      • Jonathan G says:

        Randy is a microcredit regulatory authority? Clearly, there is some a aspect of your argument that’s not well-articulated here. Can you elaborate?

      • Another pathetic feminist dismisal of an argument they can’t refute. I don’t think i’ve ever seen Matt articulate a rebuttal that actually makes a counter argument. Well done Matt!

    • Anonymous says:

      It seems women don’t do it as often, we just think they do.
      http://www.rolereboot.org/culture-and-politics/details/2014-05-10-simple-words-every-girl-learn/
      Considering how plastic perception is, sometimes it is scary how powerful it becomes to those interpreting their own environment. Narratives are certainly important, but I’m grateful for the studies that can help us to see the objective differences we otherwise have learned to ignore.

    • Cynthia says:

      I’ll remove you ten points for the use of “beta male”, but you’re right when you say that women do that, too, we’re human.

      Being human means that we’re all racist, we’re all sexist and we’re all afraid of what we don’t know, BUT, keeping those weaknesses in mind, we can have compassion for those that are different and show it. We all make assumptions about people we don’t know. We all want to hurt the less people possible but it does happen. The answer to that is not this kind of self-flogging. Make peace with that and learn from it. You’ll do better next time.

      …and despite making mistakes and learning from them, we never achieve perfection, no matter how much we don’t want to hurt other people. I am not a man speaking about men here, I am a woman speaking about humans in general.

      Just like nobody is entitled to sex, nobody is entitled to hear what they want to hear, at the moment they want to hear it, with the choice of words they want to hear it on the precise voice of tone they want to hear it. Nobody is entitled to that because it just can’t happen. Welcome to the World of imperfect human communication!

      So in short, men, you will hurt people’s feelings with your words. It WILL happen. It does not make you a monster, it does not make you patriarchy incarnate, it does not make you a rapist, it does not make you a bad ally it makes you human. And other people will hurt your feelings, too. Make peace with that because it’s all part of the human experience

  2. So, I really hate this new meme that has started. It’s actually having the opposite affect than it was intended to have. It’s turning someone who has always supported women’s rights and fought hard not to be “that guy” into someone who just doesn’t care. That’s what happens when you consistently devalue my experiences, I stop caring about yours. Equal access to jobs and pay, I’m all for it. Equal representation, so long as you’re able to field good candidates (and really, when two of the most outspoken women politicians are michele bachman and sarah palin.. no shit I’m not going to vote for them) you will get representation in offices.

    I actually read an article the other night that actually said that men had an obligation to cross to the other side of the street at night so as not to “frighten” women by walking on the same sidewalk as them. I refuse, I’m not going to walk in the grass on the opposite side of the street or jaywalk in order to cross the street to get away from her. It’s not my obligation to risk getting hit by a car in order to make sure she feels safe, which if that sort of thing continues, she never will! No amount of anything will make some women feel safe short of living in a place with no men at all. The article then went on to say that I, as a male, have an obligation to step in, with force if need be, in a bar where a woman might be being harrassed. yes, because I want to end up in the emergency room after I get the shit kicked out of me for white knighting some woman I don’t even know who then accused me of just that.. white knighting her and there will probably be a rash of newspaper articles about how I “Expect” or feel “entitled” to get into her pants now.

    you are defacto telling me that regardless of the fact that I’m not one of those guys, by dint of being male I’m still one of those guys. I refuse to accept that. I don’t even need to ask you to imagine the fury that would erupt if some one said, well, all women are hypergamous gold diggers, cause we’ve already both seen that. Well this is the same thing. Don’t blame me for the problems of other people because I’m not going to accept that blame and the more you try and foist it on me the less I’m willing to listen to your real and legitimate concerns.

    • Cynthia says:

      I am a woman, I am a feminist and I completely agree with you, call me a traitor!

      Yes, there are rapists out there. There are also car accidents, lightning, rabid dogs, cancer…but at some point everyone has to control their fears or someone else will use them to control you.

      • Well said Cynthia. I am so tired of the mantra of women as victims. Yes, there still is a lot of danger in life, but that is not exclusively gender related. Yes, men get raped less often, but killed or injured more frequently. To perpetuate the role of victim is do the same with the perpetrator role. Or, as I said to a friend of mine with a daughter, if we raise our daughters as prey, then we likewise raise our sons as predators. We have to begin to meet in the middle and demonizing men while putting women on pedestals as ravaged innocents unable to protect themselves is crazy. Your line, “at some point everyone has to control their fears or someone else will use them to control you” hits the nail on the head. Quit asking men to take care of women, even to the point of protecting them from themselves! Women can stand up for themselves, band together and protect each other. Men are not the only gender able to express yang energy…

      • Tristan says:

        Well said Cynthia. All too often the supposed fear of something is used to control others. It is not a good thing.

    • Well said. You hit the nail on the head.

    • Anonymous says:

      Very much agree with what you have written!
      Thanks beaucoup,
      Cajunmick

    • Pretty what you just said.

      If you want me to take part in helping women there’s nothing wrong with that. But its going to take more than “you’re male so you owe it to women to meet expectations and extend courtesies that border on the unreasonable and you are owed nothing in return” to get me to care.

      • Supra deluca says:

        If someone has to get you to care and be empathic about people’s issues that already proves you have no capacity to ever care and be empathic with these people to begin with.
        People have to care out of their own sense of empathy and kindness, that is all that gets.

    • Wes Carr says:

      Read Men On Strike by Helen Smith and The Manipulated Man by Esther Vilar for more on this.

      • No thanks. I find her central thesis completely incorrect. I’m not opting out of marriage, responsible fatherhood, the workforce, or education out of choice.

        it’s not a ‘rational’ objective on my part not to do those things, nor is it in the case of just about anyone else I know in a similar situation. We simply haven’t yet had the opportunity, or in my case some of us had the opportunity and have had to start over. Her thesis is basically that, now that women aren’t totally dependent on men for their ability to survive, men no longer have any reason to do anything except have fun. The problem is that’s exactly what she claims it is not, men behaving like children throwing a tantrum.

        The real culprit behind men’s unemployment is that most employers have chosen not to train their new hires any longer. If Men want to find the real culprit as to why they are struggling it’s got far more to to do with the fact that (white) Men overwhelmingly vote Republican and Libertarian than any other single group. Just so happens that’s a pretty regressive group to vote for, so it’s no wonder that by voting for them you’re then getting held back. That’s what it says on the tin, right in the name: Conservative. The rest of the world is adapting and changing and moving forward, but white men have overwhelmingly decided to dig in their heals and try and stay in the mad men era when men where men and women were in the kitchen. Again i say no thanks.

        • Wes Carr says:

          If Feminism was about women not having to define themselves as wives and mothers, why should men not have the same option? You do not have to be a husband, father, or responsible for anyone else unless you choose to. Libertarians and Republicans are two totally different camps. Republicans are statists just as much as Democrats are. They are both just opposite sides of the same welfare/warfare coin. The only difference is the rhetoric. You have other options besides being an appliance, ATM or cannon fodder.

  3. Patrick says:

    100% agree. I don’t think it is helpful to label yourself as “not sexist” or “not racist” because it almost gives you a pass to act like a jerk: Sexism and racisms are labels attached to your actions, not your self-identification, and we are given hundreds of opportunities every day to do either the right or wrong thing in any given situation.

    This reminds me of something Dan Savage wrote in a recent column where a woman suggested that men write stories of when they did the right thing. He said:
    “Men shouldn’t be encouraged to think that one noble act frees them—frees all of us—from our collective responsibility as men to fight sexism and misogyny.”

    And it turns it into an us vs. them thing where there are the “bro douchebags” and the “good guys,” as if every guy in a popped collar and flip-flops were a de-facto rapist and every NPR listener is incapable of forcing himself on a woman.

    • Cynthia says:

      It also means that you can give any men credit for anything, anything at all or they will turn into jerks? Seems to me like a good way to make more frustrated jerks…

    • FlyingKal says:

      I don’t think it is helpful to label yourself as “not sexist” or “not racist” because it almost gives you a pass to act like a jerk.

      Seems to be an abundance of labels that give people (almost) free passes to act like jerks.
      “Feminist” being one of them, if you ask me.

      • It seems to me that the word “Feminist” is reason enough alone to rip someone to shreds Flying Kal.

        Of coures, we can use all kinds of sexist names against women in the name of entertainment and no one batts an eye. We use the “n-word” to describe a horrible world agaisnt Afrian Americans but we have no issue calling women sl*ts and wh*res and snicking and mocking people who identify with Femininsm.

        • FlyingKal says:

          Erin,
          I was, just like the author of this article, referring to labels that people put on themselves. And how they act in accordance with these labels.
          Nice try to smear me with your projections, though.

          • FlyingKal, I wasn’t trying to “smear” you with projections. I wasn’t even accusing you of anything. What I said had absolutely nothing to do with *you* personally. I was simply bringing up and equally valid point. “Feminist” has turned into a dirty word and people are equally ready to negatively stereotype those who call themselves “Feminists” as much as you believe it gives people a free pass to be jerks.

            • FlyingKal says:

              Erin,
              It seemed to me that your comment about excuses for ripping (feminists) to shreds, was aimed directly at my previous comment, where I wasn’t in fact excusing or justifying anything.
              I apologize if I misinterpreted you.

            • It’s easy to have miscommunication FlyingKal. I sincerely promise I was not making a personal attack on you. We’ve had our disagreements but I don’t know you to be unreasonable or nasty.

              On the internet particularly, often the word “feminist” alone is treated as a dirty, shameful word where anyone who identifies with being a “feminist” is seen as some man-hater or possesing other negative qualties. I was speaking to that rather then a personal commentary on you.

    • This reminds me of something Dan Savage wrote in a recent column where a woman suggested that men write stories of when they did the right thing. He said: “Men shouldn’t be encouraged to think that one noble act frees them—frees all of us—from our collective responsibility as men to fight sexism and misogyny.”
      I don’t think that men writing stories of when they did the right thing in and of itself encourages men to think that those acts free them or men as a whole from any responsibilities. If anything such stories should serve as an example of fullfilling those responsibilities and encourage men to do more noble acts.

      • The real reason he doesn’t want guys to do it is that it provides evidence than this current “all mens are bad” meme is false, and we wouldn’t want that.

        • The cynic in me wants to believe that. Its like of the stories aren’t written then the lack of said stories is proof that men are not doing those things, thus the need for more calls for collective male responsibility.

  4. Thank you for writing this; it needed to be written :)

  5. not even continuing after the first three male bashing paragraphs. When I discovered TGMP it was original and different and seemed a safe space from all the misandery in the mainstream media. Nowadays it’s, to use the words of one great man (Warren Farrell <3 ) just more of the same. I can't take any person serious who uses the nonsensical term "male privilege". Even when my brother was beating me as a child I knew that he was suffering a lot more than I did from each blow. Whenever we now meet as adults, it's obvious, that even though our life was hard, compared to my brother I and my my two sisters were given an easy ride. This guy is clearly suffering from the One Good Man Syndrome. Click here if you want to read something really powerful: http://stgeorgewest.blogspot.de/2013/11/are-you-now-or-have-you-ever-been.html

    • Thank you, Karen.

      This site is so out of touch with the men it purports to serve and support that it’s actually funny. But more than that, at this point, both men and women like yourself (and several others on this thread) are actively calling out GMP for its not so subtle misandry.

      I don’t want to see any young, impressionable men made to drink the kool-aid, just because something is published here. So commenters like you (and like Danny, Archy, Tom B and others) are a necessary corrective to the nonsensical, and often harmful, ideas that are being tossed out as truth by delusional social justice warriors.

      • Thank-you. I wouldn’t expect people to put up with misogyny, so I don’t put up with misandry either.

    • Harry Wallington says:

      Wow…agreed!

      • Karen, I had a similar experience as you. I grew up with a male that was abusive toward me. Verbally, physically and emotionally abusive. And yes, he was suffering from his own pain. It probably goes without saying that people who abuse others are infact sufffering from their own pain. People who murder others are suffering from their own pain. However, he was not suffering more then I was from each blow and his suffering didn’t excuse his abuse. I still carry the scars from his abuse and have to work hard to over-come a lot of previous conditioning. We have a relationship today and I’ve forgiven him for what happened. But that doesn’t mean that what happened then isn’t very much a part of who I am and didn’t deeply impact me. I just wanted to share my experiences too because we had a similiar one.

        I use to also really enjoy coming to GMP and found it a fresh voice. I still think the articles give a fresh voice. I’ve learned so much about men by being here. But there is so much anger toward women in a lot of the responses lately, I’m not even sure what to say anymore.

        Collectively, it appears that women are not supporting men and honestly, men aren’t supporting women either. All that seems to be building is a collective anger, hurt and desire to ignore each other gender’s issues out of feeling marginlized by each other.

        I really liked this article. I thought it was positive and encouraging.

        I think there is a serious problem with people using “I’m not like that!” to justify ignoring an issue or a discussion around an issue.

        • John Anderson says:

          @ Erin

          “I think there is a serious problem with people using “I’m not like that!” to justify ignoring an issue or a discussion around an issue.”

          There probably are a few people who do that. I think the bigger issues are 1. it distracts from the conversation, but there is another issue, 2. learned helplessness, which I think people are speaking too. If it doesn’t matter what I do to not be that guy, why should I even try? That’s the risk you run when we don’t acknowledge the good.

          • It’s not just a few people. It’s a huge issue in many discussions across the internet. It’s a cliche for a reason.

            Creating a hierarchy where one problem is more significant then another problem is dismissive to the other problem. I don’t feel the “I’m not like that” is a significantly less problem to address then how a person may feel about giving up trying. Clearly both are problems. But one is not more significant then the other.

            Understanding other people and being there for them is not always easy. If you give up trying, that’s on you. Sometimes I feel like giving up being on here. Sometimes I feel like leaving and never coming back. I’d have a lot easier time staying in my own little world where I can ban together with other women about the issues we face with men and in the world.

            I get the feeling of “why try”. I feel it too. Especially here. But I keep trying. I don’t always support men like I should and men don’t always support women like they should. But I keep trying on both accounts. I don’t use men as an excuse to stop listening to men. It’s easy to stop trying. It’s harder to stick with it.

            If men or women are giving up, that’s on them. It’s on them to find a way to communicate that will encourage other people (women especially) to listen. It’s up to all of us to figure out how to create a place for more sharing, identifying, caring and understanding among each other. I’m still working on it myself but there are moments when I feel I’ve done it more successfully then other times.

  6. John Anderson says:

    “When we say that “I’m not like that,” we render those guys as other. Rather than seeing our shared humanity, we demonize them.”

    So much better to divide the population along gender lines and make it us vs them rather than seeing our shared humanity. What would that make us do to women again. Oh yeah, you said “demonize them”. I may fail frequently and spectacularly at times, but since you put it that way, I’ll take the side of the “good men”.

  7. Wanna know why so many men say “not all men”? Because SO MANY AUTHORS say sexist generationalizations of men. An article that is generalizing men as rapists will get people saying that, and it’s beyond stupid to get upset because people call out bigots on their bigotry.

    “So when I hear a woman make a sweeping statement about men, I try my best to hold space for her feelings and her experience without telling her that she’s wrong, or that she’s crazy, or that I’m not like that. I don’t always manage it, especially in online interactions, but I’m getting better at it. And part of how I work on it is by not letting myself fall into the trap of thinking that I’m one of “the good guys.””

    Then you are enabling bigotry. Should we do the same when we hear people act racist? Misogynist? Next time I hear someone make a sweeping statement about how women act, should I hold space for his feelings and his experience without telling him he’s wrong or crazy, that other women are not like that?

    “And when I don’t live up to my expectations or when I do something that hurts you, let me know so I can fix it.”

    I will. YOU are directly helping contribute to sexism by excusing and minimizing the harm of sexist generalizations made by women. Stop it, it doesn’t help anyone. You CAN call out bigotry whilst still acknowledging the experiences of a person.

    The #Notallmen twitter shit has made me lose massive respect for quite a few sites and people. If people are so narcisistic to expect to be able to make bigoted statements without being called out on it, whilst trumpeting about sexist harm towards their own group then they really need their head checked. Stop enabling entitled bigots, call them out.

  8. I knew this one would piss off the MRAs. Good on you.

    • MRAs? Where?

      • Mostly_123 says:

        I dunno. But maybe I think might have seen one sneaking up behind a troll there starved for attention… ;)

        • Probably. I can’t help but notice how disagreeing with something can get someone called an MRA even though GMP has made it fairly clear they are not welcome around here. Its almost like a knee jerk reaction to criticism or something….

    • CivilRight says:

      The same argument made about women, black people, jews or any biological or religious demographic would piss any right minded person off.

      • word! Only men are allowed to be talked about in this way :(

      • Supra deluca says:

        Oh No, you can’t speak about minorities and less powrful demographics like that, in the same way we can talk about the privileged groups like men, whites, straight and cisgenders! Damn, what a mad world!

  9. I was really impressed by this piece. Far too often, being “one of the good ones” becomes an excuse for not really examining our own behavior. It takes a lot of courage to see this and even more courage to write about it.

    I am reminded of Arthur Chu’s recent piece for the Daily Beast in which he writes: “Becoming one of the good guys should hurt. It should be painful. It should involve seeing uncomfortable and ugly things about yourself that you’d rather not see. It should involve changing your behavior in ways that you’d honestly rather not do.”

    If you’re happy, if you’re comfortable, if you’re secure, and ESPECIALLY if you’re constantly proclaiming your own innocence, you’re probably not the good guy that you think you are.

  10. Mostly_123 says:

    Charlie, in the article you mentioned:
    “While I might be less capable of physically forcing someone to do something than many men are, I can exert male privilege in a lot of other ways. I can assume that my opinions are more valid than the woman I’m speaking with with, I can talk over her, interrupt her, or ignore her, and a lot of people won’t even notice. I can harass someone, not take no for an answer, whine and cajole her in order to make her feel obliged to comply with my demands. I can slut-shame someone for having sex, call her a prude if she turns me down, and I have much more freedom to have sex without repercussions. I can safely assume that in most occupations, I’ll be paid more. I can walk around at night with a lot less fear. I can take up more space than women, both physically and energetically, and usually get away with it…”

    What I find objectionable in that quote there is the offhanded way it just assumes that power and ‘privilege’ can be broken down cleanly & clearly along one-way gendered lines; assuming the primacy of gender above (or irrespective to) every other subjectivity & situational relativity in power dynamics. And it presumes to suggest that this is somehow a uniform, incontestable, immutable fact, with no reciprocity- it’s not.

    By this reasoning, it really matters less if one refuses to be ‘one of the good guys’ or not; just so long as one accepts the underlying premise of the article- that it’s all about gender out there, and only gender: And that’s what I object to- the whole premise is wrong. I object to the notion that gender is the primary axis power; with one uniform collective half of the world empowered by it, while another uniform collective is disempowered, disadvantaged & exploited by the other because of it. The article is not about recognizing the value of a shared humanity; it’s about the tacitly accepting the notion of a shared masculinities & femininities; the idea that power flows one congruently, uniformly, and only one way, and that gender is the font of it.  

  11. FlyingKal says:

    Can you refuse to be a man altogether?

  12. CivilRights says:

    Hi Charlie

    Do you also refuse to a women to be one of the good women?

  13. Lisa Short says:

    “When we say that “I’m not like that,” we render those guys as other.”

    As a woman who has spent most of her life being told by men that I’m “not like most women,” and it was meant as a compliment, I found reading this article very interesting. I’ve always been uncomfortable with that particular accolade, for exactly the reason stated in the above quote. (Also, as with the author, that accolade frequently follows a sweeping, derogatory statement about my gender in general. As with the author, I generally try to be tolerant and give the speaker his safe space.) When I was younger, I did appreciate the boost to my ego–I had always felt odd and lonely among women, though I didn’t dislike women–I liked them! I just had divergent interests and values, and in my case, I usually couldn’t switch to being friends with men instead (who much more frequently shared my interests and values) for reasons I won’t go into here. But as I’ve gotten older, I feel that it’s better to forego the ego boost in exchange for raising awareness of the problem this mindset can cause both among my own gender and among the opposite gender as well.

  14. Cynthia says:

    As a rule, self-loathing sucks at making people better. How much of this self-flogging will we have for some men’s guilt to wear off?

    Where do you think “Good Guys” come from? Boys raised to think that the worst insult you can do to a woman, almost on par with attempted murder is to desire her sexually and that all male desire is inherently violent/foolish/uncontrolable/degrading (call us the American Pie Generation). Therefore, they see this cute girls but will never, ever tell her that they want her, (what objectification!) and then those boys bitch and moan that they don’t have any attention.

    I think that if male sexual desire, and sexual desire in general, had not been so demonized, it would have more room to “breathe” to express itself in a non-violent way, so self-flogging is not helping anyone, except the egoes of some angry women…who will treat you the same way you accuse “good men” of treating women.

    Yes, because women too can be angry, condescending and violent, we are human! You can understand and have compassion for them but don’t beg for their validation with pathetic Mea Culpas like this, you will not get it.

    No, you’re not a “good” guy. Why? Because there aren’t any. There aren’t any good or bad women, or “bad men” for that matter, just humans with weaknesses. Communication didn’t come with any instruction manual and we’re all bound to make mistakes like not listening or acting like our opinion matters most. All of us do that sometimes, no matter our sets of genitals. We’re all humans. And other people are bound to make mistakes with us, too.

    And “don’t presume guys can be good or they’ll take it as a license to act like jerks” sounds a lot like “Keep’em keen, Treat ‘em mean” to me.It says “Don’t ever give anything positive to the opposite sex or they will hurt you”. It’s fear pandering. More fear is the last thing men and women need to understand each other better.

    • Mostly_123 says:

      My vote for ‘Comment of the Day’ – right here.

    • Pretty much exactly.

      I was told when I was around 8, that if i was ever caught with naked pictures of women in the house I would be kicked out because that was objectification and it was wrong and would make me a bad person. Today, my mom wonders why she has no grand kids.

      it’s got absolutely *Nothing* to do with the fact that I wasn’t even willing to talk to women until I hit around 25, not least of all because I was convinced that they would see right through me and hate me forever for looking at them and desiring them in a sexual way. I was never even able to get close enough to them to be friends or find out about their personalities, I was simply too afraid of scaring them, or offending them, or just about anything. The worse ones are the ones where I did have female friends growing up, and developed huge crushes on them, but was never able to tell them because I’d basically been told that I was a bad person just for desiring sex and therefore my friends would hate me if I told them that.

      • Jonathan G says:

        Great comment, Jay. I feel much the same way. This is the kind of conversion we should have here, rather than endless preachy listicles.

      • Damn. Im sorry you had that experience pressed into you so hard.

        • The damage was done, nothing to mope about now. The truly deranged part of it is that, yes, her goals to get me to see women as people and not as objects worked. However, that being said, it so delayed my development in terms of interacting with women that I’m 30 and have yet to have a relationship last for more than a year or so. Seems that respectful behavior, doing my share of the household chores, listening, not pushing my “help” on my partner, and trying to be a conscientious lover who will crawl out of bed at 2am to go to Wal-mart to buy tampons ( or you know, everything I was raised to think women wanted from a partner) just seems to be the opposite of what is actually desired. I’m not saying anyone wants a guy who mistreats them, what I am saying is that I’m just too damn boring because I’m so thoroughly reliable. At least that has been my experience so far.

          • Supra deluca says:

            Being kind is what any human being should be.
            But to make a relationship work you need much more sometimes. Sometimes you only need the right person, in the right time, but that is usually a rarity. You also need mutual attraction, someone who loves you as much as you love them and who wants the same as you out of a relationship. Many people are not ready to settle down; many people are too used to more dramatic (not abusive) relationships. Many people are emotionally blocked and will be scared when with someone so considerate and loving.
            We have to learn how to make better choices as well, and try to focus on people who seems like will enjoy the same lifestyle as ours. More similar personalities help.

      • Supra deluca says:

        Women don’t even have to be told they better not be caught with naked pictures of men, they know they should never do this as desiring is not feminine; they are as sexually repressed like that. But believe me, not being caught (or nor looking) at pics of naked women is not the reason why you have no kids.

        Why don’t you try to look at women in a loving way, with a relationship goal? Why sex is the priority? You have never desired a relationship with your female friends… why?
        Now you know that desiring sex is not a bad thing. Seeing women as sex toys is a bad thing, or believing they only exist to your pleasure. So you have the power to change that!

    • Supra deluca says:

      Nah, most men know some of the worst insults you can do to a woman is call her gendered terms that castrate her sexuality. And many will use it. In fact, many use that all the time. They also know how women are not too happy about being raped, so that is why so many will go around giving rape threads to any woman they dislike or just said no. Men are not ignorant about this, trust me.

      Male sexual desire has never been demonized. Never. That is why men can talk about sex as loud and openly as they want, even be crude and sexist while at it, while women still don’t in the same way. That is why most porn is done by men for men. That is why men can be promiscuous and be applauded for to, while women are humiliated for it.
      What is “demonized” is the crude sexual expression, objectification (not the same as sexual desire at all) and using force and violence to get sex. These are NOT the natural expression of male sexuality.

  15. Wes Carr says:

    People on this site like Eduardo Garcia and Harris O Malley are prime examples of holding themselves up as not being like those “other” men. Their sanctimonius, holier-than-thou articles make them White Knights at best, and Uncle Tims at worst.

  16. CivilRights says:

    The irony here is being one of the “good men” via self flagellation and not being one of the good men.

    When will we learn our lesson about men that put women on a moral pedestal put down other men and self flagellate for feminist approval?

    They are not the actual good men.

    • Supra deluca says:

      He did not put women on a moral pedestal here, though. He just focused on men, that is different. But even then, you can’t say these men, who do that, are not actually good men. They most definitely are good men, but good men who might be confused.

      • Mr Supertypo says:

        so we focus on men and we forget all about women, especially when we have women on this site? Just because this is a site for men it isnt a good excuse to ignore women. Women need advices to you know? women are also guilty of alot and it surely doesent helps them if they are ignored.

  17. learning_slowly says:

    In the world of I.T., I have seen the opposite effect: women who are severely less skilled than male candidates are being taken on and trained up to redistribute the genders. This means I often had somebody on a team who I had to allow extra time for. This also meant the males would waste time trying to impress her that previously didn’t occur.

    Girls need to be trained in i.t. at younger ages rather than this happening now.

    Strangely, I don’t see the opposite happening in HR :)

  18. John Anderson says:

    I had a request for technical assistance today. One of the women at our company is by my guess over 8 months pregnant and was going over her duties with another woman who will take them on during her maternity leave / FMLA. The pregnant woman was in a large comfortable chair in front of her PC and the other in a hard, smaller, “guest” chair just off to the side. When I got there. She showed me the problem and got up to offer me her seat.

    I looked at her and announced that there was no way I was taking her seat and making a pregnant woman stand. She said it was OK. I refused. The other woman offered to return to her desk so we could use her seat, which my pregnant co-worker was about to take. I told her, no, you’re taking the comfy seat. During this entire interaction, I could see both women smiling.

    I suppose I could have checked my privilege. I supposed my non-pregnant co-worker could have analyzed how patriarchy hurts women and elevates men before offering me her seat or we could just treat each other as decent human beings would treat another person and give the chairs to those who needed them most.

    • Supra deluca says:

      Her knowing (or not) how post-patriarchal society still elevates men does not, and should not, refrain her of being considerate to a man who is not using his power against her.

  19. Jamie Boyce says:

    “I get it. I really do.”

    You don’t Charlie, you really don’t.

    (I had originally written a long response, but I just filed it because frankly it gives far too much weight to the article. Frankly, I almost consider his blog post to be trolling.)

    If anyone doesn’t want to consider themselves a ‘good man’, you go right ahead and join arms with those males who rape and abuse women. (I say males since a guy who abuses a woman doesn’t have the right to call himself a man.) There are two sides here, good men and bad ones. How you act will determine which side you are on, but people like Charlie are free to denigrate themselves and side with the bad ones. By all means, you have that freedom to emancipate yourself from the good men if you so desire.

    Good man or bad, pick one Charlie. There is no middle ground.

    • I totally agree with you. As men we have the freedom to define ourselves in a way that doesn’t victimize anybody. Posts like this, well intended or not, just serve to reinforce the notion that are helpless slaves to their hormones and can’t exercise any control over their destiny.

      Sounds a lot like the BS that feminists have been fighting against since the beginning. It seems reasonable to me that women can figure out how to deal with their hormones and that if women can do it, then why can’t men.

      I refuse to hang out with men that treat women like that because it makes me very uncomfortable, I don’t see what’s preventing other men from opting out of the system like I have.

  20. This article is quite frankly an embarrassment. I see a lot of begging the question and accusing going on without any real substance.

    The whole premise that there’s something incurably wrong with men is just plain ridiculous. I’m not like other men and women around me recognize that. There’s a reason why women that I just met voluntarily tell me some pretty personal things about abuse they’ve suffered at the hands of other men without me even asking. And why they append “but you’re not like that” to the end of the statement.

    And it has come with a pretty hefty price. It’s taken me many years to figure out how to maintain my ideals and still find somebody to love that’s willing to love me back on the same terms. I’ve received more sexual harassment from the opposite sex than I care to acknowledge and I’ve dealt with more than my fair share of objectification.

    Articles like this one that minimize and delegitimize people like me; that try to sweep us under the rug are every bit as much of the problem as the media portrayals of men that limit us to very specific roles.

    As far as money goes, I’ve never worked at a job where i was being paid anything else than what a woman with the same qualifications was making. The pay has always been either flat or based upon a fixed formula that completely removed the question of sex from the calculation.

    It’s the same problem with racism. Some of us don’t think about race when we’re deciding what we think of other people and how we treat them. Sure, it does take a huge amount of effort and self awareness, but it’s incredibly cynical to suggest that it can’t be done by those that are seriously committed.

  21. You speak as if to be a “good man” would need to be different from other men, or all men are bad. That is absurd! I don’t want to be different from other men simply because they are not bad, there is nothing wrong with them. You talked about “bad things that men do to women”, but forget that women attack men much more than otherwise. Women care a lot less about how they treat men as men care about women. I’ve siffered more prejudice and discrimination by woman when I talked about my sexual abuse experiende than you may have discriminated woman by “ignore” or “interrupt” them (as if women did not do that with men, maybe more). Please, stop to to say that men have a problem and they have to change to conform to what society wants them to be. Men have no problem to have to change and they aren’t the main perpetrators of sexual violence! And stop to say that they are privileged or they have to accept everything women talk about them! I will never accept when a woman make a sweeping statement about men, say that they have to do this is try to shut them down when they have anything to say, mainly when they have suffered a violence or sexual abuse by women!

    • Supra deluca says:

      You are right, you don’t have to accept when women generalize men. The problem is, most of the times women are not generalizing, they are just expressing how difficult it is to just forget about the bad apples when you have much to lose.

      But for the rest, I just can’t:
      “You talked about “bad things that men do to women”, but forget that women attack men much more than otherwise. Women care a lot less about how they treat men as men care about women.”

      DAMN. You heard it guys, women attack men a lot more than men attack women, in all senses! Women kill more men than men kill women, women send men to hospitals with several broken bones much more than men send women to hospitals in the same conditions! Yes, that is all true, not some wild imagination.
      Oh and of course women care much less about how they treat men then otherwise… you know, women never have to care about being passive enough not to have someone much stronger than them beat them up, not to be sexually assaulted or offended and humiliated only for saying “no”. Yes, women go around not caring about how they treat and are perceived by men all the time. And no, men are not the main perpetrators of sexual violence, not at all. Men have no privileges because of being men as well, what an illusion.

      • Mostly_123 says:

        Trying to post here, but hitting the spam filter again- please check the moderation queue.

        • Mostly_123 says:

          Trying to repost, so please omit if this comes through twice.
          I think that you have the right to feel morally superior to a person who commits crimes or otherwise wantonly immoral acts.

          I don’t think anyone has the right assume a position of moral superiority, outrage, or a sense of shared culpability, based simply on their affiliation to a group that’s defined collectively & only by its members sharing a single arbitrary trait (such as gender).

          Nor do I think anyone is entitled to claim that power, privilege, efficacy, adversity, culpability, or morality can be generalized reliably by such a single trait (be it gender, race, class, religion, nationality, ethnicity, age, ability, etc). You seem to think that power, privilege, disadvantage, morality and culpability can be collectivized and understood simply as an independent aggregate function of gender alone. They aren’t and they can’t. Gender simply isn’t the preeminent universal axis of power (let alone the sole axis), no matter how much some people want to believe that it really is.

          There’s the underlying suggestion there that it’s right and proper for one whole gender (women) to generalize another because, well, for ‘them’ it is ‘not really generalizing’ even when it is precisely that. I think that’s wrong -not just because it’s hypocritical- but also because by presuming that you know ‘how it really is’ for one whole entire gender or another you’re tacitly invaliding anyone and everyone’s experiences (women’s and men’s) whose don’t coincide with yours, or contradict yours. No one is obligated to invalidate their own subjective experiences- but neither are they entitled to universal, open-ended unconditional validation, or are they required to subordinate their subjective experiences simply to validate someone else’s collective fallacies, stereotypes or generalities. People throw around generalities, stereotypes, and collective pronouncements when it suits them as though they were tangible, independent, objective truths & proofs. They aren’t: These generalities (be they about gender, race, class, age, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, etc) are relative and subjective; they’re dependent variables, not independent variables.

          Collectivizing by gender is typically a foolhardy and vainglorious exercise in unchecked hyperbole and rhetoric. Pulling on one single thread in a complex tangle of power dynamics may be ideologically gratifying, but it still won’t unravel the actual knots; in fact, it just makes makes them tighter. But then, gender is still the favored child of identity politics.

          One last point of consideration that bears repeating about gender, as it pertains to crime- as mentioned often before: Of those persons who commit crime, of that subset, yes, more are gender-male than gender-female. But that’s very different than suggesting that that subset commits crimes BECAUSE they are male: That is not so- of the subset of people who commit crimes, those who are male who commit crimes have far more in common with those who are female who commit crimes, than they do with the males who do not commit crimes. But, by focusing exclusively on gender, one then misdirects and misattributes the actions of the subset as being rooted in the trait itself (gender)- whether or not those who share that trait are actually part of the subset which commits crimes, or simply part of the larger whole, which does not: It falsely attributes the unique characteristics of a subset as being the shared characteristics of the whole. That’s a false equivalency, and it’s morally and intellectually disingenuous.

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