As Equals and as Friends

Amanda Marcotte responds to Tom Matlack

I wanted to love “Knocked Up”. I really did. It was hilarious and crude, and had lots of Paul Rudd in it. But within seconds of walking out of the theater, my boyfriend had started the process of convincing me that the movie’s view of male/female relations was so retrograde and toxic that it made the film irredeemable. Good comedy should always be rooted in truth, and there is no reality to the notion that men are naturally childlike rascals who have a few short years of enjoying life before vampiric women frog-march them into lives of stifled domesticity. The scene he particularly singled out for abuse was the baffling fight between Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s characters over his sneaking off to play fantasy baseball. Audiences were expected to swallow the portrayal of women as nagging harpies who can’t even allow their husbands a single, harmless interest outside of the home, and not only that, but that men simply have to submit to this treatment, because of, I don’t know, some all-seeing matriarchy. In the world of “Knocked Up”, men and women are mortal enemies who are somehow forced to live together, living a Sisyphean existence of mommy-wives endlessly nagging man-children until the will to live has been drummed out of both.

But it did have a lot of hilarious body humor of the sort the 12-year-old in me just loves, so it took me some time and a couple other discussions with my incredibly persuasive boyfriend before I came around to feeling the same annoyance with the movie that he did.

I bring all this up, because according to the picture Tom Matlack painted of relations between men and women in 21st century America in his essay “Being a Dude is a Good Thing”—a picture that has a remarkable resemblance to the one Judd Apatow created in “Knocked Up”—this story couldn’t have happened. In the world that Tom conjures up, my boyfriend would have been cringingly afraid to express an opinion about this movie, and, because of the all-consuming powers of women, if he had ventured that opinion, he would have retreated immediately the second I disagreed. He certainly couldn’t have brought me around to his point of view on this. Of course, in the world Tom conjured in his essay, my boyfriend would have never disliked the view of male/female relations in “Knocked Up” at all, because he would think the nagging wives vs. man-children view was accurate instead of insulting. And yet, I am prepared to testify in court that this is exactly how it all went down (and running this past my dude, he laughed and said, “Yeah, I remember that rant in the car ride home). Perhaps it’s not that our memories of our own lives that are wrong, but Tom’s picture of the world.


But hey, having read Tom’s essay, I was predisposed to worry that I’m just a screeching harpy who can brook no disagreement from mere men, and that I was unfairly using my singular experience to discount general trends. So I decided to control for this possibility, and sent the essay out to some male friends, and posted it to my Facebook page, venturing no opinion (for fearing that Tom was right, and doing so would make men so fearful of disagreement that they would, in his words, “look at the ground in deference”) and just simply asking for theirs. In accordance with my previous experiences, men had no problem telling me what they thought. Tom will be disappointed to discover that they did not like his essay very much. It’s always possible that these men simply guessed what I thought about it, and were trying to butter me up, of course. But since I’m close to at least a couple of them, I’m going to venture to say that they would find that accusation deeply insulting, so I feel that it’s okay to take them at their word.

Some responses I got from men who had zero problem expressing their opinion to me:

“When I read an essay like this, where the writer ascribes feelings to all men, which I do not feel, and suggests that rational, liberal men like me are self-hating or deluded, I become somewhat annoyed. When you add in bizarre statements about a man-hating American mass media, I become suspicious. Honestly, the whole thing makes me feel hostile.”

“The rest of the piece really has a similar smell to the groups of folks afraid of the war on Christmas — they never seem to get that Christmas is not under any threat in this country.”

“I don’t ever feel like I’m blamed for being a man. When I see ‘men behaving badly’ shows or ‘men as idiot’ shows, there’s always the undercurrent that it’s all okay.”

“This piece is the worst kind of navel gazing because it begins from a tortured premise the author has no interest in examining. He’s simply justifying.

“If anything he is coming dangerously close to longing for an earlier time where men didn’t feel the need to offer anything substantive to a woman.”


The thing that struck me the most about Tom’s essay was that it was maddeningly vague about the nature of these conflicts between men and women, in which he claims men can’t catch a break. I suspect this lack of substance was purposeful, because giving form to the nature of the conflicts might be a tad too illuminating. We don’t know if the men he’s talked to are complaining because their wives never allow them a night out with the guys, or if the men he’s talking to are complaining because their supposedly nagging wives are exhausted of doing all the housework and begging for a little help. Since there’s a general lack of specifics about the nature of these conflicts, I thought the only fair approach is to quote Tom heavily and argue directly with him. It’s a style that’s common to blogging, but seems like the only fair thing to do in this situation. Tom on Twitter seemed to believe that his feminist critics were being unfair, and I want to be scrupulously fair. Heavy amounts of direct quoting is the only way to ensure that happens.

Why do men get blamed for everything?

This is such a preposterous statement that even Tom tries to walk it back immediately, demanding that we exclude such situations where the only available person to blame is the man who did something terribly wrong, such as rape and sex trafficking. This is intellectually dishonest, because by looking at situations where the man who committed a crime against a woman—situations where it’s only reasonable to put 100% of the blame on the person who assaulted an innocent person—we find that even in these situations, women tend to get blamed. Some times the female victim is the only person that society is interested in blaming, which is why defense attorneys in rape cases have so much success with the “she was drinking, and so she was asking for it” defense. We as a society can’t hold men fully accountable when they do something unquestionably evil to a woman, such as use her drunken state as an excuse to rape her. So why would we presume that men are somehow automatically the only people held accountable for lesser, more ambiguous events?

Here’s my theory, and it’s nothing but a theory. Men and women are different. Quite different in fact. But women would really like men to be more like them.

This is a prime example of how Tom is using vague language to avoid direct criticism. It’s not enough to say “men and women are different”. Really? How? The most obvious examples are that women have uteruses and breasts and vaginas, whereas men have penises and testicles. Is Tom suggesting that women want men to have vaginas? Obviously not. But then what? If you’re going to make a risible argument about how men are so different than women and women are so angry about it, you need to be specific. I don’t like being accused of being hateful towards men for having certain qualities, and then have those qualities concealed from me so that I can’t defend myself from the accusation. I don’t know who would.

In the locker room, in the bathroom, on the walk out of the board room, in my conversations with men of all kinds, that’s what I hear more than anything. The resignation that to be a man is to be unacceptable at some level to the woman in your life.

The vagueness here is especially awful. Are the men being reasonable in this or not? We can’t know, because there are no qualities that women are supposedly hating on as a group that are named, so we can examine them. It’s possible that the men Tom is speaking have a strong expectation of submission from women, and are angry to get any indication that women see them as less than perfect human beings. Even as recently as the 50s, the “father knows best” mentality was simply a given, so maybe we’re witnessing men who are just angry that they might be treated as less than gods. We can’t know; we’re given no examples from which to judge these complaints.

One close friend jokes, “When speaking to my wife I always make sure to look at the ground in deference. And I make sure not to make any sudden movements.”

I’ll let one of my male correspondents respond to this one, to avoid being accused of being a domineering woman who uses her mighty powers to stomp out any disagreement: “I mean, the number of men who look at the floor in deference compared to the number of women who have to do so in this country?”

But with her he’s decided the only way to survive is to submit. The female view is the right view. The male view just gets you into trouble.

On Twitter, Tom tried to retreat from criticism by pleading with me that we look at people as individuals, as if I were the person not doing so. I would like to quote this sentence to demonstrate that I am not the person in this conflict who is generalizing about men and women. I reject the notion that in a conflict between an individual man and his wife, his view stands in for the generic “male view” and hers for the generic “female view”, much less that because his view comes from some generic male place, he’s automatically considered wrong.  And what is this “in trouble”? Does his wife have the power to ground him? To take away his video games? To take away his allowance?

Again, it would be nice to know the nature of the conflict here, to determine if it’s actually a man vs. woman thing, as well as to determine if she’s actually in the wrong and he’s in the right, but she gets her way because of the almighty nagging bitch powers women possess. That we aren’t permitted to know what the conflicts are suggests that it may not be as cut-and-dry as Tom would have you believe.

Men know women are different. They think differently, they express emotion differently, they are motivated by different things, they think about sex differently, and they use a very different vocabulary.

Well, at least Tom is getting closer to specifics, but if you really think about this, it’s all still very vague. For instance, how do women think about sex “differently”? Is he invoking tedious and disproved stereotypes that women are functionally asexual beings who just use sex to get affection from men? Is he saying “women are horny, but not as horny as men?”, and if so, how does he wish to address women who are in relationships where they have the higher sex drive? Do women really have a different “vocabulary”? If so, then why was a blogger such as Digby perceived as a male writer for years, until she actually came out and confirmed that she is, in fact, female?

Why can’t women accept men for who they really are? Is a good man more like a woman or more truly masculine?

Define “accept”. What qualities are you claiming are unique to men and that women are not accepting. Explain what that acceptance would look like, and if women will be, as they traditionally have been, held to a higher standard of accepting men than vice versa. Define “masculine”. These aren’t facetious questions. My own long term romantic relationship is with a man with many qualities and interests that are traditionally “masculine”. He’s an enormous sports fan. He loves comic books and video games. Like myself, he’s outspoken, self-confident, and competitive—traditionally masculine qualities, though it’s questionable if they’re “masculine” if so many women like myself also share them. I fail to see what more I could do to accept him for who he is. I have no problem with his interests, and in fact support them by doing things like giving gifts related to them. I laugh appreciatively when he’s really on an entertaining rant. I like playing games with him that provoke his competitive side (and mine).

I bring this up not to brag in the slightest, but because my relationship to my man’s “masculinity” (in quotes, because every single so-called masculine quality is shared by plenty of women, if not always by me) is actually mundane and typical of women’s behavior. Sure, if a man’s sports-viewing habits have grown to the point where he hasn’t had a complete conversation with a family member in weeks, women might complain, but men also have reasonable expectations that women in their lives actually show up on occasion. So, there’s clearly another level of “accept” that’s going on, and we’ll need more detail to understand what Tom is talking about.

And god knows as guys we can, at times, live up to the stereotype of knuckle-draggers looking to eat, fuck, drink, and sleep.

This is something that really set me off on Twitter. Tom is circling around specifics, and in doing so, he only ends up presenting an indefensible and frankly bemusing complaint. Is there really reason to believe that women on the whole do not like to “eat, fuck, drink, and sleep”, and that we don’t accept men because they do? Most women I know also wish that we could spend all our time eating, fucking, drinking, and sleeping, but we don’t get to blame nagging wives when we have to take a break to draw income, clean the house, or cook the food for the eating. And frankly, I don’t really know these men that are frustrated “knuckle-draggers”. Mostly they know that it’s more than their wives who will be pissed if they don’t make rent; landlords, after all, have the power to evict you.

We’ve been slow to reveal our inner thoughts and feeling. But again my pet theory is that this comes back to vocabulary. Emotional language has been so dominated by women that to talk about feelings is, at some level, to become female rather than macho.

If you want men to express their feelings more, stop with the “men and women are so different” thing, and start telling a different story, about how men and women are basically the same, and gender norms that say otherwise are stifling our growth as human beings.

But my basic point is that many men, I think, feel blamed for being simply men. That their most basic instincts are twisted around to torture rather than celebrate who they are.

Maddeningly vague! What are these “most basic instincts”? And why should women specifically celebrate them? The only specifics we’ve been presented are this urge to do nothing but “eat, fuck, drink, and sleep”, which is equally shared by women. The non-congratulations you get for wanting to sit around eating all day isn’t the fault of nagging wives, but just a facet of being human and expected to contribute.

It seems that the blame game in the mainstream, whether through the minimization of male life in pop culture or on television or through the continued obsession with men behaving badly, has finally struck a chord with the average guy.

Tom paints a picture of pop culture and television where male voices are rare, and women dominate the conversation. Unfortunately for him, recent research shows that reality is completely inverted from his imaginings. Researchers at USC examined the top grossing films of 2009 and found  women had only 32.8% of speaking roles. Women made up 3.6% of the directors of the top 100 grossing films. They are 13.5% of writers, and 21.6% of producers. The Writer’s Guild of America reports that women are only 28%  of TV writers. “Community” is one of the few—possibly only—shows on TV with parity in the writer’s room, and it’s facing the ax from the network. When you look at the cold, hard numbers, there is only one conclusion: women’s stories and women’s voices are marginalized in pop culture.

I see no evidence that there’s a widespread “men behaving badly” obsession. Of Google’s top searches for 2011, two were men and three were women. One woman is an accused murderer, one a talentless hack, and one is a good singer. Of the men, one died in a drunk driving accident, and the other is Steve Jobs. Of Yahoo’s top ten searches, six were women, and one was a man. The man, Osama bin Laden, is pretty bad. Of the women, you have an accused murderer, a woman who is widely perceived to be an exploitative bimbo, and a drug addict, as well as an actress and two singers who are more beloved for their bodies than their talents. Even though men commit the majority of murders, assaults, and other violent or disruptive crimes in our society, the people looking stuff up online are much more interested in women behaving badly. For a man to compete with female drug addicts, talentless hacks, or accused murders, in terms of national interest, he has to be an international terrorist who has murdered thousands of people.

In his entire essay detailing men’s complaints about being oppressed by women or prevented from expressing themselves, Tom veered between making claims so light on details that they defied examination and making claims that were specific but demonstrably false. The end result is an unshakeable feeling that Tom and the men he claims to speak for are simply angry that their unquestioned male privileges are being eroded. It’s not that men are being edged out of the conversation at all, but that women are beginning to have a say that appears to be the problem. Watching privilege erode, even slightly, can be disconcerting for the privileged. But the bare minimum of being a “good man” is not conflating the erosion of your privilege with genuine oppression. The good men I know in my own life enjoy the challenge of shedding sexist stereotypes like “nagging wife” and “naughty man-child” to enjoy going forward with women, hand-in-hand, as equals and as friends.

photo by massimo_riserbo / Flickr

About Amanda Marcotte

Amanda Marcotte hails from Texas, but resides in Brooklyn, New York, according to the laws governing the proper placement of freelance writers and feminist gadflies. She blogs regularly for Pandagon and Double X, and writes and podcasts for RH Reality Check. She's written two books on politics, It's A Jungle Out There and Get Opinionated.


  1. Phil Henderson says:

    Yeah, yeah, we get it, Amanda. Your boyfriend is a better man than Tom Matlack. Huzzah.

  2. “The most obvious examples are that women have uteruses and breasts and vaginas, whereas men have penises and testicles. Is Tom suggesting that women want men to have vaginas? Obviously not.”

    watch your gender essentialist language. i agree with most of your post, but using cissexist terms and concepts that completely isolate and offend trans folks (and not to mention regurgitating some of the same prejudiced beliefs you’re trying to argue against) isn’t going to win you much support.

  3. Having “my anonymous friends” to testify in my case, may be the weakest defense of all time. A real low.

  4. I never read a Marcotte’s post before. I’ve just read some heated twitters between her and Tom; I didn’t like her tone and attitude, but I knew I hadn’t enough data for a judgment.
    Now I do.

    So, thanks for posting this article. Though I found it pretty boring, I now can confirm my gut reaction: Marcotte seems totally one-sided, deaf to different opinions and not a good writer altogether.
    She accused Tom of being vague, but I found her pretty vague as well. And repetitive, too. I confess I wasn’t able to read her post till the end: I was bored to death. 😉
    And I didn’t get anything useful from her post (even if I read most of it).

    I’m missing Hugo Schwyzer: he is an ardent feminist, yes, but at least he’s engaging, informative and his writings are lifelike. I can disagree with him and still find his words interesting and worth a reading. He makes me think.
    Not so with Marcotte’s. If you aren’t already a “believer” of her views, it’s hard to read her and resist a nap. 😉

    Oh, and her frequent references to her male “supporters”, they were so unanimously agrreing to her view, they sounded like a claque. 😀
    Or, maybe, in Marcotte’s world there’s no space at all for anybody “thinking different”. 😉

    • You saying she’s “vague” without elaboration is so vague that it’s meaningless – where, in her point-by-point breakdown of Matlack’s article, was she imprecise or unfocused? This is much more helpful than saying she’s “boring,” “vague,” and “not a good writer.” Where? How? What would you have preferred she elaborate on? Care to give a counter-argument?

      Generally, something that drives me nuts about the situations written about by both Matlack and Marcotte is the way both men and women can fall back on stereotypes when they don’t want to put effort into doing the right thing. It’s sometimes hard to control your anger and use your words instead of being violent, but it’s something everyone, male and female, should strive to do. Don’t fall back on “boys being boys” just because you’re too lazy to get your emotions under control. It’s tough to be honest about your motives and straightforwardly ask for what you want, but this is another thing that everyone should try to work on. It’s inexcusable to fall back on being passive aggressive and manipulative simply because you’re female. I guess what I’m saying is, why can’t we all agree that there are some generally good and generally bad personality traits and try to hold everyone to the same standards on these?

      And if someone (male or female) wants to do nothing but eat, drink, fuck, and sleep, do it – but don’t agree to enter a relationship where being monogamous, holding down a job, etc, are required. Don’t commit to things you have no interest in doing. If you don’t want to be monogamous, stay single, or find someone who wants an open relationship. So on. If everyone were more honest about what they want and expect from a relationship, instead of agreeing to things that are in conflict with very important aspects of their existence, I think a lot of these problems would be lessened.

    • Marcotte was truly heroic in writing such a substantial, point-by-point rebuttal of Tom Matlack’s (extremely parochial, utterly white) views on gender roles. Tom, do yourself a favour and travel to other countries … try India for instance … you’ll find that even very traditional men do not behave in ways identical to the North American white male. Marcotte *shredded* Matlack’s views. You, on the other hand, have done nothing of the sort to anything she said except a bunch of empty hand-waving.

      I used to recommend the Good Men Project to people; now I’m pretty sure I won’t bother.

      • poester99 says:

        Utterly white?
        Trying and failing to pump up your authoritative virtue by associating it with racial justice.

    It’s a real shame to see that a steady campaign of misogynist blather from so-called “men’s rights activists” in the comments at Good Men Project has poisoned founder Tom Matlack’s mind. Personally, I’m a big fan of just banning MRAs. They have nothing of value to add to a conversation, and exist online solely to disrupt any conversation they fear might lead others towards reaching the conclusion that women are people. (Amanda Marcotte)


    I have no idea, what Amanda Marcotte really wants to say with that.

    As far as I know, she is not banned on the GMP, she can comment in any thread, she can submit anytime articles to be published. – Same is true with Hugo and other feminist-minded people.

    So, what is the problem?

    To call for an entire ban for everybody, who is posting any kind of MRA-related stuff is ridiculous as GMP is supposed to be an information platform for men and their issues since it was founded.

    As MRA since many years, I do not mind at all, if Marcotte or Hugo are posting their opinion on the GMP or not – it is not my website, but it is not their website either, and it is up to the administration/owner of the GMP, if they are willing to accept both sides of the story or not.

    I am sure, MRAs will continue, if allowed by the GMP administration to comment here, and Marcotte or Hugo do not disturb us at all as we are not into deleting and banning of people, who do not agree with us.

    • Lisa Hickey says:

      Yohan, you are right. Noting we are doing is indicative of a blanket ban on anyone. When people do get banned (and it is very rare), it is because of a long history of violating our commenting policy, notably: 1) direct attacks on others, particularly the authors who are posting here. 2) Repeated direct attacks on Good Men Project itself and 3) Not commenting on the post itself but instead repeatedly using our platform to promote one’s own agenda.

      We welcome people who do not share our point of view (posting this article is, in fact, a prime example).

      We are continuing to look at our commenting section and make changes that create discussion that is thoughtful, respectful and civil. But we think challenging what is being said, talking about issues that create positive change, and continuing to address polarizing topics is all good. We will soon be adding a forum section so that people can have the longer discussions about topics where there is so much debate and disagreement that the comments have gotten away from the original thread.

  6. AnEntitledMan says:

    @Alex Stevens:

    I guess not, since I am not in the market for religion right now.

  7. @Amanda

    That was a really well-thought out, well-written article, and it was both a little bewildering and disappointing to see some of the responses it generated right off the bat. Not only does Tom’s piece lack specifics, but it completely ignores the reality of male privilege. I think one of the biggest problems with understanding feminism, especially from a guy’s perspective, is that without a real understanding of privilege, it’s very difficult to accept a lot of feminist theory and argument (I know it was for me, but thankfully it clicked eventually).

    It’s very tempting for people, both men and women, who don’t have a solid understanding of this concept to say “Oh, I’m not a feminist – feminists are crazy. I’m about *equal* rights, not special rights.” Unfortunately, it seems that a lot the audience here hasn’t grasped that “feminism” is only a loaded word because the patriarchy loaded it themselves.

    • “is that without a real understanding of privilege, it’s very difficult to accept a lot of feminist theory and argument (I know it was for me, but thankfully it clicked eventually).”

      There is also the possibility that they understand it but call it bullshit? Thing is you can also create an argument about female privilege. And every time a female feminist disagrees you can start talking about how she just won’t acknowledge her female privilege. If you are basing an arguments validity by requiring an unquantifiable unproven theory as an internal belief system just to be able to understand it perhaps the argument itself is not entirely as solid as you think?

      “Unfortunately, it seems that a lot the audience here hasn’t grasped that “feminism” is only a loaded word because the patriarchy loaded it themselves.”

      Only people who agree with me see the truth. Great argument there. Really convincing.

      Its at this point that it is really hard to differentiate feminist theory and religious dogma. Wasn’t this stuff abandoned after the science wars of the 90s?

      I have seen feminism argued without needing its audience to have the required “facts” or “understandings” needed. The fact that it isn’t argued that way all the time is quite sad.

      • Ieta posted: ::words::

        Case in point.

      • Actually I think most people get caught up in feminism being defined as equalism instead of simply female rights for equality. They expect feminism to just take care on equal rights FOR ALL, then get blasted out of feminist spaces for daring to mention male equality issues and thus get a deep seated hatred for it due to being rejected in such a bad fashion.

        Also the lack of calling out the batshit insane all sex is rape feminists by other feminists leaves a lot to be desired, we can see muslims calling out and denouncing extremists but I haven’t seen many feminists speak up about radfems. Of course this may be out there, would love some links if there are blogs etc on it but as of yet I haven’t seen any. I think both masculism and feminism need to denounce the extremists so they don’t get confused with being the same as those extremists.

        PS, MRAssholes and WRAssholes, quit the misogyny and misandry, it doesn’t help equality at all.

        • Julie Gillis says:

          Like. I”m going to personally look into the “denouncing extremists” links thing. Curious.

        • See, this is why a fundamental understanding of patriarchy and privilege is so important to a productive discussion of feminism; having that, it’s obvious there can’t be such a thing as “female privilege.”

          We’re dealing with an unjust social system that’s oppressive to women. More often than not, society is constructed to benefit males over females, and it’s a perpetuating system. It’s why we have a heterosexual, usually white, scope of the world that creates a condition where everyone outside of that band are tossed in an “other” category, and those people need to make concessions in order to get by in that society. It’s a shitty thing for men too – it encourages men to behave in emotionally stunted, aggressive, ways, and women to behave in emotional, shallow ways. Thing is, it does this to most of us without our even realizing it.

          From this perspective, the idea of men’s rights or equal rights is unproductive and just plain inane because men already have the privilege in society. If you don’t understand this, it makes everything else a hell of a lot harder for you to grasp. The fact that 1 out of 6 American women have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime should be a clue.

          The concept that feminists believe that “all sex is rape” is ridiculous. Feminism has been around for centuries in various forms. More than centuries. For anyone who actually cares, this is an interesting read:

          • “We’re dealing with an unjust social system that’s oppressive to women. More often than not, society is constructed to benefit males over females, and it’s a perpetuating system. ”

            People are allowed to disagree.

            “From this perspective, the idea of men’s rights or equal rights is unproductive and just plain inane because men already have the privilege in society.”
            And women have lots of privileges in society etc etc i could name a few and we could debate it but clearly thats not your strong suite. This simplistic idea you have about society and your unquestioning belief in it worries me. I could be wrong though. But you have gone no where near close to convincing me.

          • “The fact that 1 out of 6 American women have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime should be a clue.”

            I can’t leave that alone. Stating bad stuff happens to one gender without actually measuring it for the other always results in misunderstanding. or try reading
            The world is far more complex and interesting than you believe. Putting women on a pedestal as always the victim doesn’t help women or men and it certainly isn’t treating women as equals.

            • I’m starting to notice selective stats usage to portray one’s gender as worse, both feminists and masculists seem to do it (some not all). Trying to prove women get it worse with that stat whilst there are other stats showing men get it worse for some areas is silly.

              • Oh I agree – trying to prove some areas are worse than others is silly. By and large women have it far more challenging than men – it isn’t even a contest.

                • Challenging in what respect, equal rights? death, injury and illness? violence? overall life? SO many variables and each area isn’t comparable to the next, Comparing how much we suffer with rape vs physical assault for instance is silly. Saying how bad it is that women earn less whilst at the same time men also die and are injured far far more in the workplace than women, how do you compare who get’s it worse? Atm I believe in The US more men are unemployed than women, more men were laid off in the recession. So who get’s it worse now?
                  By and large you can select stats to prove either can be worse off, but how is it proven?

                  • No one is arguing that bad things don’t happen to men – but I think there’s a real misunderstanding here. You seem like a smart guy, but more than that you seem to be talking about this in good faith which I appreciate.

                    I take it you’re not disputing any of the economic issues; so, granted, women get screwed on that end of it. But sure, more men get injured on the workplace (because they’re encouraged to take dangerous jobs while women aren’t), I wouldn’t deny that. But aside from men being victims of the patriarchy by being encouraged to take those kinds of jobs over women, that’s neither here nor there in the discussion.

                    This isn’t an oppression competition here – it’s just stating facts. Besides, economic factors are only a slice of the issue.

                    She dresses in a short skirt or is wearing makeup? She wanted me to catcall her. She only looks pretty because she wants me to see nice things.

                    She’s pretty? Obviously I have the right to walk up to her when she’s busy and demand her attention, and if she turns me down, she’s a bitch.

                    She gets drunk and can’t fight me off? Then I have the right to rub up against her breasts. If she didn’t like it, she shouldn’t have stopped being able to protect herself against me.

                    She’s pregnant? The fetus has a right to gestate inside her for nine months.

                    And we’re not even touching on rape culture here, which is a whole other can of worms.

                    Can you honestly tell me that men have it harder or just as hard as women? Seriously? Honestly? In good faith?

                    • AnEntitledMan says:

                      “Can you honestly tell me that men have it harder or just as hard as women? Seriously? Honestly? In good faith?”

                      Its tough all around. But admitting that women have challenges they face more often than men doesn’t negate the fact that many of these things are unquantifiable.
                      Its hard to sell a story about women having it rougher, when men die earlier, more often, and suffer more violence. We should be looking to make the world more just for everyone, not just saying that if we can make it better for women it will fix everything, since that is simply.not.true.

                    • In good faith from what I have seen and witnessed in my life, it’s a mix to be honest. I was raised being told women had it far far worse but in the last month alone new stats I’ve read and info I have found has me questioning who has it worse. I don’t think men have it worse, but I’m not sure they have it better. I’m not sure that women have it worse either.

                      The economic issues rely on bread winner and child carer, so either the woman takes care of the child and suffers financially or the guy takes it and suffers financially, problem has a lot to do with cost of living for single parents. In a world where we put the child into woman’s arms more, women will be most economically disadvantaged without a breadwinner. We also have child support payments and child custody issues that affect the men, haven’t seen the stats on poverty for them but I have seen more males as homeless and many suffer mental illness. Recent events had more men sent to unemployment than women in the US so the economic issues are harming both genders atm.

                      I grew up hearing how bad as an adult I had time to reflect and start to understand the other things I heard about. It didn’t sink in until adulthood that I had heard stories of my extended family being crazy, how much violence went on, it was told in a funny way but it was actually extremely bad (I guess laughter was to hide the pain maybe?). Both the boys and girls copped hellish abuse, maybe more so the boys because they could “take it”. This abuse was in cycles, passed down from father to son (possibly the girls too but not much was said, I know they’ve been violent to others too).

                      I grew up in a culture that told men to toughen up, harden up, eat cement, any grievance was met with that. Any violence they suffered, toughen up and knock them out. Get hit by a woman? toughen up, don’t hit women. There was a fight at school and the girl had hit a guy, he hit her back and the students were hateful of HIM only. There is an expectation that when a woman hits a man, it’s warranted. Good ol victim blaming. When a woman rapes a man, he wanted it. With stats showing equal levels in the last 12 months, is rape culture worse for women than men? or is it reaching parity?

                      I know we have much more awareness of how bad women get it, and I 100% believe this is biasing people into thinking women have it worse. Reading the articles on that cdc stat report, I don’t think any actually saw that last 12 months part. And even the article itself had bias in their definition of rape which allowed them to show women had it worse to the point they made it look like men got very little compared to women. This is something I REALLLY HATE.

                      I’ve heard that we find crimes when we look for it but there really hasn’t been all that much searching for male victims, even the US DOJ refused to fund male victims of domestic violence surveys. So when people tell me women get it worse, I wonder if it’s true or if it’s simply a case of many studies are biased into believing it’s true and this ends up tainting the stats. Eg, stating women suffer violence and showing only the stats for women dying in violence you could make a population assume violence against women is really bad, worse than the men, except if you read the “GBD 2004: DALYs by age, sex and cause for the year 2004” report you’ll see VERY CLEARLY male are 4x more likely to die. Imagine reporting that on the news, I’ve never ever ever seen a stat showing male violence victimization like that in any newspaper, tv or mainstream web article that I can remember. Why is that?

                      “It’s common knowledge that human traffickers seek out the most vulnerable members of society, and women and children often fit into this mold. However, women and children are not the only ones who fall into the trap of vulnerability. An alarming statistic produced by the State Department reports that between 2006 and 2008, the percentage of adult male victims of human trafficking jumped from 6% to 45%. And according to the Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns report, “it is men especially who might be expected to be trafficked for forced labor purposes.” – ht tp:// – It’s also said males are more likely to underreport but why would there be a MASSIVE increase in trafficking in 2 years? Is this a case of people assuming trafficking was only a female issue? This is the danger of assuming women get it worse, if people think women are always treated worse that bias can show up.

                      To be honest I don’t think we can ever say who gets it worse in society, but Yes men have it as hard as women, and women as hard as men. I don’t think either really stand out overall in the grand scale. Are people clinging onto the belief that women get it worse so much that they want it to be a reality or is it really the truth? And with bias in statistics, does anyone really know who gets it worse? Better yet what benefit is there to get people to admit women or men get it worse? All I’m sensing is people want to assume women get it worse and if men get it bad, women ALWAYS have to have it worse. It’s like society wants women to be victims…Is it that some people assume men have ALL the power and that they’re never victims, because when they do talk about such vulnerability it seems like it’s constantly less severe than what women suffer.

          • The privilege theory that I’ve seen doesn’t take into account responsibility and sacrifice that goes along with privilege, gender roles also surpass laws. Even in our law we don’t identify male rape as rape. You can talk war roles implying women are weaker and thus men were stronger and had to fight but I can easily suggest the fact men were selected to sacrifice their lives to protect others also implies men’s lives were worth less and are disposable compared to a woman’s.

            “The fact that 1 out of 6 American women have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime should be a clue.”
            and 40% of rapists in the last 12 months according to a recent study were women, or how about men are 2.2-2.5x more likely to be victims of violence as a whole.

            Thank-you for the link on the all sex is rape, I’ll not mention it as it’s false now. Do you have any on the SCUM manifesto because from what I’ve seen said of it, it’s a nasty piece of work?

            What I see happening is a belief that because the sum of all greivances of women is higher than mens, women are worse off, which is probably true however what happens is we focus on who get’s it worse and ignore the other side so the other side can grow in ignorance and we end up with things like female abuser, male rape skyrocketing, boys doing worse in schools whilst girls do better, violence against men is double that of women’s violence yet rarely mentioned or campaigned against.

            Individual issues are important, I’ve never said women are more privileged in society, but I do believe in certain areas they do have more privilege than a male. I also believe most likely if we add up the privileges men have they will probably be higher too. Being privileged still can mean you can be on the wrong side of privilege in some parts. And speaking on privilege without addressing the responsibility faced to “earn” that privilege is also problematic.

            One quote on privilege – “”the myth that the male is culturally favoured …is clung to, despite the fact that every critical statistic in the area of longevity, disease, suicide, crime, accidents, childhood emotional disorders, alcoholism, and drug addiction shows a disproportionately higher male rate.” by Men’s rights activist Herb Goldberg (Off the male privilege wiki page), has a very good point. I’m curious on the rebuttal to that, because with the good also comes a lot of bad that I don’t see mentioned much in privilege articles. The culture of violence men are subject too isn’t a privilege, women have the privilege of being less harmed by it but picking and choosing parts of society to present male privilege without taking into account every single part and then assuming men or women are more privileged is a bit dishonest don’t you think?

            • @Archy

              I’d would be genuinely interested in reading this study you’re alluding to. Please fire me a link.

              Here’s just a brief look at the economic factors of male privilege – I know this might be veering into tl;dr territory, but if you’re serious about this topic it’s worth wading through.
              These are just economic factors, and don’t even touch on sexual aspects of being in a patriarchy.

              Poverty rates are higher for women than men. In 2007,13.8 percent of females were poor compared to 11.1 percent of men.

              Women are poorer than men in all racial and ethnic groups. Recent data shows that 26.5 percent of African American women are poor compared to 22.3 percent of African American men; 23.6 percent of Hispanic women are poor compared to 19.6 percent of Hispanic men; 10.7 percent of Asian women are poor compared to 9.7 percent of Asian men; and 11.6 percent of white women are poor compared to 9.4 percent of white men.

              Black and Latina women face particularly high rates of poverty. Over a quarter of black women and nearly a quarter of Latina women are poor. Black and Latina women are at least twice as likely as white women to be living in poverty.

              Only a quarter of all adult women (age 18 and older) with incomes below the poverty line are single mothers. Over half of all poor adult women—54 percent—are single with no dependent children.

              Women are paid less than men, even when they have the same qualifications and work the same hours. Women who work full time earn only 77 percent of what men make—a 22 percent gap in average annual wages. Discrimination, not lack of training or education, is largely the cause of the wage gap. Even with the same qualifications, women earn less than men. In 2007, full time, year round female workers aged 25 to 32 with a bachelor’s degree were paid 14 percent less than men.

              Women are segregated into low paying occupations, and occupations dominated by women are low paid. Women are tracked into “pink-collar” jobs such as teaching, child care, nursing, cleaning, and waitressing, which typically pay less than jobs in industries that are male-dominated. In 2007, nearly half—43 percent—of the 29.6 million employed women in the United States were clustered in just 20 occupational categories, of which the average annual median earnings were $27,383.

              Women spend more time providing unpaid caregiving than men. Women are more likely than men to care for children and elderly or disabled family members. One study found that 69 percent of unpaid caregivers to older adults in the home are women. Because combining unpaid caregiving with paid work can be challenging, women are more likely to work part time or take time out of the workforce to care for family. Twenty-three percent of mothers are out of the workforce compared to just 1 percent of fathers.

              Domestic and sexual violence can push women into a cycle of poverty. Experiencing domestic or sexual violence can lead to job loss, poor health, and homelessness. It is estimated that victims of intimate partner violence collectively lose almost 8 million days of paid work each year because of the violence perpetrated against them by current or former husbands, boyfriends, or dates. Half of the cities surveyed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors identified domestic violence as a primary cause of homelessness.

              *moving on*
              The SCUM manifesto isn’t even relevant – you’re discussing a 40+ year old document that many regard as satire. It has no place in serious feminist discussion.

              As to the sacrifice you mention of, say, men in military/combat roles, you and I are arguing two ends of the same stick here – it’s because of patriarchy that men are encouraged into these roles and women are active discouraged. It’s just another example of how men are negatively affected by patriarchy as well.

              • AnEntitledMan says:

                “Women are paid less than men, even when they have the same qualifications and work the same hours. Women who work full time earn only 77 percent of what men make—a 22 percent gap in average annual wages. Discrimination, not lack of training or education, is largely the cause of the wage gap. Even with the same qualifications, women earn less than men. In 2007, full time, year round female workers aged 25 to 32 with a bachelor’s degree were paid 14 percent less than men.”

                You can’t just compare people who have a bachelor’s degree. A degree in engineering or computer science commands a higher income than say, english lit. Comparisons of this type must be apples to apples or they mean nothing.

                “Women spend more time providing unpaid caregiving than men. Women are more likely than men to care for children and elderly or disabled family members. One study found that 69 percent of unpaid caregivers to older adults in the home are women. Because combining unpaid caregiving with paid work can be challenging, women are more likely to work part time or take time out of the workforce to care for family. Twenty-three percent of mothers are out of the workforce compared to just 1 percent of fathers.”

                One word: Choices. Also which is it, do women get paid the less for the SAME amount of work, or do they work less? You have listed both as reasons for a wage gap. Please try harder.

                • AnEntitledMan says:

                  Also: “Twenty-three percent of mothers are out of the workforce compared to just 1 percent of fathers.” This would indicate a choice to spend valuable and fufilling time with their children say over working to pay the bills. Many men would switch this in a heartbeat and be “oppressed” to spend irreplaceable time with their children.

                • You’re ignoring the fact that women are actively discouraged from pursuing certain fields like engineering (boys club type of work) and mathematics. This determines what kinds of degrees they earn.

                  I don’t have to try harder, you just need to listen.

                  • AnEntitledMan says:

                    Strange that they have managed to make such headway into medicine then. Also prevented doesn’t mean excluded. Minorities were once in the same predicament, but a few brave souls braved the challenges and proved that it could be done. Isn’t it far more likely that women don’t want to be engineers and computer science majors despite the current value of that work? Again this is a CHOICE. It is very unreasonable to expect to do whatever you want for a living, and to demand that it pays a high way (ever heard of supply and DEMAND?)
                    BTW some female-dominated professions are very well compensated, such as Nursing (incidentally in high demand by the market)
                    Also, where is your rebuttal of the mother/father divide in employment?

                    • AnEntitledMan says:

                      Damn typos. High way is high wage.

                    • @Archy
                      I’ve enjoyed our discussion; I think you and I have a lot more in common than you may realize.

                      I can already tell there’s no point in continuing with you.

                      Again, great article. Looking forward to reading more of your work.

                  • ht tp:// Look under “forced to penetrate” which most people I know consider that to be rape. Biased titles already but still important to read.

                    ht tp:// – has quite a bit on the various misinformation of domestic violence portrayal.

                    ht tp:// – Male victims of violence, 17.8million, female victims of violence 3.8million. Victims of war, 6.3million men, 1.06 million females. This is for the year 2004 ALONE.

                    “You’re ignoring the fact that women are actively discouraged from pursuing certain fields like engineering (boys club type of work) and mathematics. This determines what kinds of degrees they earn. ” And men are actively discouraged from child-caring roles and expected to be the breadwinner in many cases, so of course men are going to have dominance and power in the workplace and women have dominance and power in the child-caring and home roles.

                    Males die the most, suffer the most violence, have the most workplace injuries and deaths. But of course, women suffer more yes they really do mhm I totally agree. BOTH suffer, in different ways but how do you compare which is worse?

                    By the way, the most likely person to be homeless is male in Australia, and I believe also in the US. Does the 23% of mothers out of the workplace include those who are on social security? Or how many of those fathers are not fulltime carers who are paying child support? There’s clear evidence for both men and women that they suffer. I really cannot see an overall winner…one gets to be the child carer more of the time and finds it harder to work, the other gets to work and gets injured and dies more. One is protected and kept out of conflict whilst being implied as weak whilst the other is expected to sacrifice themselves to protect others whilst being implied as disposable.

                    Do you understand what I am getting at here? I’ve listened and seen how bad it is for women, but not many seem to listen and understand how bad it is for men. The men at the top in power aren’t the same as most men, there are women at the top who have far more power than the average man. Intersectionality I believe it’s called, I understand more of the ones in power are men and can see there is the perception of power there but I also understand that with that power comes burden of power struggles (war, failed businesses, etc). I also understand women are seen in society as the powerful and most knowledgeable in anything relating to children, that is a lot of power and collectively one I consider on par with the power of CEO’s. To care for and raise the next generation, be dominant in numbers of teachers and have the most face time gives a lot of power in how you raise them.

                    It’s gender roles at play forcing both genders into roles that are beneficial and harmful. There are social privileges on both sides and privileges in law too that seem to have both male and female benefits. Sexism against both. As they say the patriarchy harms everyone, but it also affords men and women privilege but in different areas.

                    Thanks for the debate, I’ve learned a bit. Hope the links help.

    • I hope you understand attacking men under the guise of attacking patriarchy doesn’t make it ok. Feminism needs to be held accountable like any other ideology and we can’t have a discussion on equality solely from the female perspective. Feminist have created a one sided discussion and that’s why it’s toxic. Silencing men to empower women is not a path to equality.

  8. MorgainePendragon says:

    Thank you, Amanda.

    I find your writing and analyses insightful, to the point, CONCISE (which DOES seem to be such a difficult concept to “master” for so many … erhm, well, won’t specify), and persuasive without being bullying or condescending.

    Your tone–or rather, having now read a number of your pieces, I would call it a clear voice– is humorous enough to take the sting out of some of your sharpest criticisms while also authoritative enough to carry weight.

    I think this is why the MRAs hate you so much. You’re incredibly difficult to argue with. You’re both reasonable and honest without sliding into that apologetic tone of coddling the tantrum-throwers (which I do see from time to time from writers/participants in the GMP).

    So again, thank you. I’m glad to have discovered your voice and I’m SO glad that the GMP continues to support it.

  9. I am so delighted to see this discussion taking place. It confirms my belief that men and women are ready to get real together.
    At one time in my life I described myself as a feminist. Today I am a confirmed humanist. We are living in obsolete stories in the USA circa 2011

    In my view woman as inherently morally superior beings is a really stupid story.

    Flip that coin—if woman is inherently morally superior—and we all accept that at face value, then of course if a man makes a choice that is unconscionable—OH WELL!—it’s the woman’s job to set the standard anyhow. Clever hat trick.

    Face it: Men have a perfectly awful role to play in our social order, always the be the first, the fastest, the best, know the most, compete, vie for the alpha dog status. Be willing to protect and defend laying one’s life on the line should the situation call for such an act.
    Go to war. Go to war every day of their lives in America. Compete, beat, win, score, achieve, succeed at all costs. Be the breadwinner. Be the person responsible to go down into the sewer when there is something that needs fixed. Be the bottom line.
    Oh! And while you are at all the above display a sex drive that is indistinguishable from an every-ready battery. Maintain the manly man’s erection, and face rejection of your sex drive gracefully, with the woman having the last word in this world. Now fit this into the framework that you are supposed to dominate, as you were coached to do all your life to “prove” your manhood, the magnitude of this wack-a-doodle role becomes evident. In their heart of hearts any man worth talking to really wants to know he is loved and respected, and deeply invested in pleasing the woman in his life, who rarely speaks directly about what she really wants…BECAUSE she has been in the “not-out-loud-cloud all her life.

    Women have an equally shitty role, now liberated to be another family breadwinner WHILE; competing to be the fairest of them all, at all times competing with the airbrushed images and professionally trained video hardbodies that are all over the media. Attractive but not TOO sexy in the workaday world.
    (Because as we all know a woman who has authentic sexual desire is a loose cannon. 
One never knows where she will drop that estrogen bomb next).

    Bottom line: subjecting ourselves to these old stories is just nuts!

    We are in the Twenty-first Century outside the man/woman story. We can communicate with people all over the planet at the speed of light. Why then do we choose to communicate within our primary connections from the point of view of a stone-age story?

    My (working) top nine list of obsolete ideas about the sexes;

    1)The Animal Story; When it comes to dating, mating and relating we are just like those other primates.
    OK then it would stand to reason that monkeys should be able to type, paint the Sistine Chapel, and build a spaceship that would take us to the moon. We are not animals, we are divine animals. We do not transcend the flesh we infuse it with the divine.

    2) Sex is about procreation; A women’s hip to waist ratio is the key determinant for mate selection; Would be significant, if the world’s population were not seven billion. Repopulating the planet is not at issue. Give it up! It’s an obsolete story. You can’t text your response and tell me you are incapable of making change. Open your mind and the rest will follow.

    3)Women are inherently morally superior: Women are fifty percent of the world’s population and therefore 50% responsible for every condition on the planet. Any of my sisters who are hiding behind their Goddess skirts using their inside voices in a woman’s circle; it’s time to woman up. Lean to speak up in mixed company. Keep speaking up until you are heard. You will be called “aggressive”. Don’t take it personally. That language is designed to keep you from speaking up again. Ignore it.

    4)Men should form men’s support groups and talk about this with one another and Women should support women’s support groups and talk about this with one another.
    You are either in gender bias or your are in gender balance. Pretending we are unable to have an open discussion between the sexes holds us in our current limbo. In our separate gender circles we can only reinforce our dysfunctional patterns. We have to break out of our own molds.

    5) Men/Women have to do the changing. All men are dwags, irresponsible, grown up boys, all women are bitches, nags, hormonally crazed, gold diggers…etc. This kind of shaming, blaming and name calling supports irrational prejudices. To paraphrase; consciousness-up!

    6)Men are from one planet Women are from another and can’t ever understand the other. Major cop-out! How does this rhetoric build a bridge? People who choose to make a conscious effort will not fail to understand one another. This is a very damaging story as it leaves everyone at an impasse. This is undoubtly the most deblilitating conversation out there, perpetually reinforced by pop culture (an oxymoran at best) We are have yin and yang qualities; collaborate with your partner to expand you balance.

    7)I’m the only one who always does the everything—because I’m the only one who always does the everything just right! If you do it it’s your job. Either don’t do it or don’t play martyr if you choose to do it. Own your choices.

    8)The Sexual Revolution moved us forward. The sexual revolution is over. Everybody lost. (Well not EVERYBODY, Americans now spend $41 billion a year on their pets). The couple dynamic is the foundation of society. Ours is ruptured. Doesn’t matter much to me who is in that couple dynamic as long as both parties are treating one another with love and respect.

    9)Men want sex more than women. Consider that men spent 10 billion on viagra last decade, Women spend 30 billion ANNUALLY to be attractive. Which begs the question whom are they trying to attract for what? Women want sex just as much if not MORE than men they just don’t want Titanic Sex* (Starts as an adventure and ends as monumental disaster disproportionally leaving men dead in the water— no oxytocin is produced in Titanic Sex
    To find out more on how you can Occupy Titanic Sex check out the website with the same name.

    • #9 Exactly how does Viagra use measure the horniness of men under 60? It doesn’t! Ultimately, you know that men like sex way more than women and so you will frame your arguments to make it appear that this is not true, but deep down inside you know the real truth. You also know this truth can be determined by a very simple behavioral test… a test which women like you will make sure is never mentioned.

  10. . The end result is an unshakeable feeling that Tom and the men he claims to speak for are simply angry that their unquestioned male privileges are being eroded. It’s not that men are being edged out of the conversation at all, but that women are beginning to have a say that appears to be the problem. Watching privilege erode, even slightly, can be disconcerting for the privileged. But the bare minimum of being a “good man” is not conflating the erosion of your privilege with genuine oppression. The good men I know in my own life enjoy the challenge of shedding sexist stereotypes like “nagging wife” and “naughty man-child” to enjoy going forward with women, hand-in-hand, as equals and as friends.
    Goodness and mercy this again.

    Man speaks up. Feminist disagrees and cries privilege.

    I know plenty of women in my life that enjoy the challenge of shedding stereotypes but that doesn’t mean the crap that a lot of women deal with doesn’t exist. But someone a small portion of the male population is proof that men as a whole are just scared of losing their privileges.

    As for me I agree that there are some privileges associated with being male and I hope to see the day when that is no longer the case. But that is never going to happen as long as we have folks like this that get all hurt in the heart when they see something that goes against the conclusions they’ve already made.

  11. Sigh…google is your friend, James.

  12. But plenty of women do “everything,” James. There are greater differences within the genders than between them. This is so established that it is a fundamental premise in any discussion of differences between men and women.

    No need to start at the beginning of the beginning of the beginning. We’re past that discussion.

    • ill post this again to your reply.

      Amanda was hardly specific when she wrote ‘plenty of women do this or that’ either. As she was demanding precision from Tom, perhaps she should have stat’ed up those lines

  13. Hmmm.

    Amanda’s critique is a fair one in terms of the lack of specificity.

    If Tom could just give us concrete examples of his generalizations, perhaps I would be less Knee-Jerk.

    As the only female in a rural household of hunting-fishing-sports mad men, I can certainly acknowledge the deference of the BH and sons to standards of hygiene, cooperation and common sense. I suppose it should be noted that the BH and moi were pretty much on the same page about how we wanted our household to run, lest anyone here automatically assume that Mom the Tyrant consistently terrorized her family into submission.

    Quite simply, with 3 boys close in age to raise, deferring to the rambunctious behaviors, as long as they were not egregious, was the path of least resistance. The rule was “do your bleeding in the mud room and clean up after yer damn selves.” From taking the occasional bouts of fisticuffs in stride to yelling my lungs out at their events to the resigned amusement of broken limbs that were the result of utterly bone-headed stunts…to obnoxious maternal pride in the men our sons have become…

    …I’m just not recognizing the “problem” that Tom is writing about.

    So like Amanda…I’m wondering if Tom could be more specific in his complaints.

    • Amanda was hardly specific when she wrote ‘plenty of women do this or that’ either. As she was demanding precision from Tom, perhaps she should have stat’ed up those lines

  14. Bruce McGlory says:

    Matlack definitely does not speak for me. I won’t presume to know what his issue is with women, but his entire piece sounded to me like one gigantic justification for . . . . something. . . . his vagueness, his complete lack of evidence, his childish defensiveness when it was pointed out to him he pulled all of this out of his butt says to me that he doesn’t like women and doesn’t want open dialoge.

    Therefore, I’m glad I discovered Ms. Marcotte. In this piece, with extensive quoting of Matlack’s piece, etc. shows someone actually willing to look at these issues and actually discuss them. A refreshing change from Matlack’s self-pitying piece.

  15. Ewell Smith says:

    It’s fear of being perceived as feminine even in some small way that is the biggest problem for men, thats what I think when I see all these movies with a confused guy trying to hold onto something he feels is being taken away from him by female antagonists, its really an internal battle but because he throws up a roadblock to any actual understanding the only happy ending he can get is one where a good woman becomes his wife and the representation of everything feminine in his life. The goal should be to be a good human, not to separate men and women by gender and what is proper and then it becomes easier to see what is really right or wrong.

    • Liz McLellan says:

      and homophobia – deeply inculcated in school by brutality of bullies tolerated by adults – is the starting point of that fear. It’s the fear of a child about to be brutalized…. it is horrible to contemplate and needs to be completely eradicated from our schools and other institutions…

      • I am annoyed the discussion of bullying has been high jacked by LGBT advocates who ignore all the vast majority of bullying which has nothing to do with being gay or lesbian. We need to get out this cycle of choosing a new victim class each week and focus on humanistic solutions to our problems that address everyone.

    • Ewell Smith: WORD.

      Ironically, it is often the strongest, the most intelligent and most accomplished men I know who have the least patience for those who fear femininity, and the least attachment to the ideal of masculinity.

  16. ‘The good men I know in my own life enjoy the challenge of shedding sexist stereotypes like “nagging wife” and “naughty man-child” to enjoy going forward with women, hand-in-hand, as equals and as friends’

    Sounds awful lol. The let’s-just-be-friends talk sent out to all men everywhere by Amanda Marcotte.

    Remind me again what these “unquestioned male privileges” are – the privilege of working long hours paying alimony for child you see 4 times a month? Or do you still believe the gender wage gap stuff?

    Thankfully more and more men are questioning feminist views, which appear to be nothing but pure political dishonesty.

    The counting of percentages is pointless – will feminists not be happy till there is a 50/50 balance in everything? Looking at education in the UK, one might be forgiven for thinking they’ll be hot under the collar till women are hugely ahead of men, then equality will suddenly go out of fashion for the delightful sisterhood 🙂

    • Henry:
      A lot of women are also questioning feminist views.

      If you go on youtube and search for “feminist” you will see there are many many intelligent critics of popular feminist stances who are women.

      Also, a few years ago when Glenn Sacks became the executive head for fathers& it was regularly mentioned that 50% of fathers rights activists are actually women (although I haven’t seen that claim mentioned lately). Many of these women are 2nd wives, estranged daughters, paternal grandmothers who see first hand the horrible affects on fathers and children from family courts adopting the view that fathers are optional and parental rights of fathers should be at the mothers whim.

      People are waking up to the horrible harm the cr@ptastic 40 year social experiment of replacing dads with a child support (or welfare) check.

      Things are turning a corner and you know what? We have GOOD WOMEN to thank for it who are willing to stand up for the men in their life and fight back the horrible harm of feminism.

  17. Marcotte wrote:

    I’m sad to see the MRAs have, as usual, taken over this thread and destroyed it. But it was nice having a substantive discussion before they ended it.

    You were not having a substantive discussion. You were responding to people who already agreed with all your views. If that is a substantive discussion, then so is mass.

    That so many men are so determined to end substantive discussions about gender online is…..telling.

    That so many feminists think that anytime a man challenges their views or speaks about his experiences he “ends substantive discussions” is telling. How can you talk with someone if every time they get a chance to speak you get mad and run home? While I did not agree with Matlack’s article, I do agree with point that many women basically want men to do what women tell them to do, and your condescending comment is a good example of that. It is a thinly-veiled, unclever way of telling men to “shut up and listen.” Maybe more men would listen to you if you had anything of any substance to say.

    • Julie Gillis says:

      You had me till the last paragraph and then it turned into a cycle of the same thing. Marcotte does have things of substance to say. So do you, Jacob. I wish, and it’s my wish, certainly not a command 😉 that everyone could lay off with the sarcasms (as tempting as it is to launch them) because that just sets up a circle of erasing and so forth.

      • I do not think saying “I don’t know anybody like that, so what you said isn’t true”, “you’re just mad because you’re losing power”, and “you’re so vague” is remotely substantive. Yes, Marcotte couched those views in a lot of words, but she essentially just rolled her eyes at Matlack’s comments and shooed him away. As for the sarcasm, a little sarcasm does not hurt anyone.

        • Julie Gillis says:

          Jacob I’ll clarify. Marcotte has hundreds of posts in the world out there with lots of substantive commentary. As do you on your site. If sarcasm shouldn’t hurt her, it shouldn’t hurt you.
          Which was not me being sarcastic, ironically.

          • Julie:
            Yes Amanda Marcotte has a record. A public record. A pretty crappy public record at least if you care about “gender egalitarianism” and the rights and sufferings of the falsely accused. It’s too bad Tom didn’t do more research before he started talking with her.

          • Julie, I have very thick skin, so it takes a lot to bother me. However, there is a difference between sarcasm and condescension, and Marcotte often come across as the latter even if she meant to be the former.

            At any rate, I do not think that anyone making substantive comments would bow out the moment someone challenged their views.

          • Amanda had an opportunity for which many, including myself, would traverse broken glass. She blew that chance within moments because she couldn’t control her hatred OR her potty mouth.

            She demonstrated herself to be a complete lightweight at that time.

            GMP has really got down with the canines here.

            • And of course, she wasn’t being “lady-like” enough for you, so all of her points regarding Matlock’s article are bullshit. God forbid a woman be anything but the sweetest, nicest and kindest she can be when talking about something that is so incredibly insulting to her on a daily basis…for her whole life. God forbid a woman ever be angry about anything, even if it is totally and completely valid.

    • AnEntitledMan says:

      Feminist: “Gee, it would be so great if men could open up and discuss their feelings and the things that challenge them like women do”

      Man: “Wow, thats so reasonable, what a great idea!”

      Feminist: “So what challenges are you facing today”

      Man: “I kind of feel like I am a bad guy guy in any interactions with women, like there is nothing I can do that is true to myself and egalitarian enough for a feminized society”

      Feminist: “Whiner! Creep! Come back when you have problems like women have had for thousands of years!”

      MRA entering discussion: “Forget that bitch! Women only want to use you and toss you aside, best course of action is to just ignore them”

      Man: “But I want to have positive relationships with women that meet my needs and theirs”

      MRA and Feminist: “Tough!”

  18. Amanda, I agree, Tom’s arguments are often frustratingly vague. The latest article about women stifling men reminded me of his notorious “ruined tits” article where he described this friend who was unhappy about his wife’s post-baby breasts and he was going to strip clubs and somehow that was because men aren’t allowed to express their sexual needs. Or something. I think I posted a comment asking what exactly Tom imagined the man would do in a less repressive world. Would the guy tell his wife her tits were ruined and she’d be totally okay with it? She’d tell him to go to strip clubs with her blessing? Or what? I mean, when you think it through, I couldn’t figure out what Tom was advocating, exactly. He never responded to my comment. I respect Tom and what he’s trying to do with this website but when he talks about men being stifled or repressed by women, I really would like to hear more detail about how he thinks men would be different if they were freer to be themselves. There may be very positive ways that men’s lives could change but Tom doesn’t always articulate it. Instead you get the feeling that in Tom’s perfect world, men could simply f%ck and sleep and fart without women getting so annoyed by it. That’s not much of a platform. (Sorry Tom)

    • I don’t think there is an articulation beyond “if I’m not happy every minute it’s Mommy’s fault. Daddy said so.”

      If there were any rational thought behind this “we’re not free waaaaah” stuff, it would be clear that it’s not women or feminists who set up this train wreck of a system.

  19. But my basic point is that many men, I think, feel blamed for being simply men. That their most basic instincts are twisted around to torture rather than celebrate who they are.

    Maddeningly vague! What are these “most basic instincts”? And why should women specifically celebrate them? The only specifics we’ve been presented are this urge to do nothing but “eat, fuck, drink, and sleep”, which is equally shared by women. …

    This maddening vagueness was the thing that annoyed me the most about Matlack’s essay. It seemed like a passive-aggressive ploy to complain about women without allowing any response. Passive aggression can be useful when one feels the need to attack a superior. When it is done to attack equals or inferiors, it is mostly a waste of time.

  20. DavidByron says:

    It can be hard to feel like you are having to fight against numerous opponents at once. For a feminist that must be especially tough because normally of course, on her own blog Ms Marcotte wouldn’t have to engage with even a single opponent, and when one did turn up she’d have many of her cohorts with her. I know I’ve been in the position of one against ten or twenty with no allies, many many times. It is not easy to keep your cool. It is not easy to do at all. Well I guess things were not quite that bad for Ms Marcotte here but even so, you have to respect her coming here instead of staying behind the gates of her safe place.

    Although I am an anti-feminist I do not have any antipathy towards individual feminists, and I’d be very happy to see Ms Marcotte back again.

    Also of course all respect to our own Julie Gillis (I believe she is a feminist?) or Hugo or anyone else who might have felt a little picked on.

    • Julie Gillis says:

      I can’t say I feel picked on DavidByron, just bemused. I’ll have to spend some time reading the past night’s comments! Maybe I’ve been picked on and I didn’t realize it? Were you picking on me? I thought we were arguing.

      I had a wonderful night last night surrounded by an incredibly diverse group of people at several different parties, everyone sharing vastly different opinions and none of it wound up with the fighting tone here in the threads. I figure that the only way to really move into conflict well and with honor is to be as face to face as possible, accept the fear of it, and be willing to both stand up for self, but also back down and make room for the other.

      Really seems impossible to do online. Much easier to launch zingers and so forth (not pointing at you, but in general). Anyway, hope to see dialogue not attacks, arguments, not smackdowns, and I’m going to enjoy a lazy day with family.


      • Liz McLellan says:

        I’ve made an argument which in effect makes all this back and forth pointless….but no one would like to address the substance because it undermines the basis of all “sides” here. It is not just an interesting aside.

        I find this very interesting.

        So again…anyone care to address my point? Bueller?

        • Julie Gillis says:

          I didn’t respond as it appeared you were seeking comments from Tom or Amanda? Did MediaHound respond? I dislike binary thinking too and it isn’t comment upon much when it’s brought up. Care to write a piece about it in response here? I bet Lisa Hickey would find that interesting.

        • Liz, I responded to this point yesterday. Did you not see it? It’s on Page One of the comments.

          • Liz McLellan says:

            Hey Lori! I did see it. I didn’t mean to ignore it. I was hoping the major combatants would respond… I had presumed the open minded folks – would in fact be open minded. 😀 Sorry if you felt ignored. Thank you!

        • Without neither agreeing nor disagreeing with your example – no, it does not nullify the contention being discussed. It may help to understand it better, but it does not lay it to rest.

          That dogs fight among themselves does not necessarily nullify that the kind of contention between cats and dogs is not different in both kind and degree.

          • Liz McLellan says:

            Except it’s not different. The people involved are still men and women. I don’t think you address my point with much consideration. Cats and dogs are different species. Men and women are not. They have been taught they are though it seems.

            • I used an analogy Liz. They are not meant to be identical in every sense.

              You did not give my response proper consideration.

              And with this : “they have been taught to be different” Now you seem to be arguing cause of the difference not that the difference exists.

            • Liz – I love the use of irony!

              “They have been taught they are though it seems.”

              But as I say – use Irony and they will see iron and fashion a sword from it! P^)

        • DavidByron says:

          The gay thing? Idk… just seemed to me like it was a short piece so space didn’t allow him to talk about it. While I can see that would be frustrating for someone who had that as a particular interest, I wouldn’t read the absence of an opinion as disregard. I’d personally be interested in more on that sort of direction although my motivation would be that discussion of corner issues tends to reveal what I see as gender essentialism in feminism. I come at this from a Maths background and considering corner cases is often extremely useful for understanding the whole.

        • AnEntitledMan says:

          I think the article was addressing the situation in hetero couples who are married. Your point is valid, but outside of the author’s experience is all. All relationships seem to need someone to take lead or the initiative if you prefer. Since men are assholes if the exert leadership in marriage these days the only acceptable choice is to let your wife make all the decisions. This can spiral into tyrannical behaviour very easily. Probably not as much an issue in other types of relationships.

  21. Marcotte

    “I see no evidence that there’s a widespread “men behaving badly” obsession.”

    How about you, aren’t you and feminist like you constantly conflating men, masculinity and patriarchy with rape and domestic abuse while denying sweeping female perpetrated crime under the carpet?

    Isn’t the news about one bad man after another with no balance of good men?

    You are so in it, (the men behaving badly obsession) that you cannot see it.

  22. So Marcotte who stereotypes men as having all the privilege and women’s privilege as non existent is chastising Matlock for making inaccurate gender stereotypes.



    you should be reading Feminist Critics, Gendereratic, Quiet Rot Girl, A Voice for Men etc, you need to have the reliable data, because Marcotte and co. have an answer for everything at their finger tips, just like canvasing Christians. if you are going to debate these female privilege denying/men have all the privileges types, you need to know what the rock solid counter arguments are.

  23. Amanda Marcotte:
    We as a society can’t hold men fully accountable when they do something unquestionably evil to a woman…


    You are joking, right?
    Look at the sentences men receive for any crime against females, and compare them with sentences women receive for crimes against men.

    That’s so easy to prove you are wrong….

  24. Amanda Marcotte says:
    December 17, 2011 at 11:07 pm
    I’m sad to see the MRAs have, as usual, taken over this thread and destroyed it.

    @Amanda Marcotte

    Honestly, what kind of reply do you expect for posting this? Do you expect men to feel sorry for you?

    You have to learn to accept critics. Like it or not. This is not your own blog where deleting and banning is the usual way to go for a feminist bigot to remove comments you don’t like to read.

    Many men, MRAs or not, totally disagree with your frequent and often hateful accusations against men.
    BTW, I never found myself to have any privilege in my life despite I am white and male.

    While you expect many men to remain silent and belittle their problems, MRAs do not care about your shaming rhetoric.

    We are talking back to you and will continue to assist men who are badly treated by women, that’s for sure.

    About our own MRA-forums and MRA-blogs, we welcome females too. We do not hate women, not at all, but we are against feminism.

    • “About our own MRA-forums and MRA-blogs, we welcome females too. We do not hate women, not at all, but we are against feminism.”

      Why are you trying to defend yourself against Amanda Marcotte? Seriously, why?

    • Bruce McGlory says:

      LOL this is a BLATANT lie. MY brother spent a lot of time on MRA forums – what did he find? Advice on how to rape/kidnap/kill your wife/daughter/sister/mother and how to blame it on someone else. Advice on how to dump your wife and make up lies so that you can humiliate/hurt her in public. Advice on how to poision your childrens’ minds against their moms.

      etc etc etc.

      Luckily for my brother, he pulled himself out of the sick cesspool of whining flaccid weenies, grew up, got his shit together, had an actual discussion with is ex to iron out their issues and is now engaged to an awesome woman.

      • Robert Zimmerman says:

        Bruce is really Marcotte…

      • DavidByron says:

        The bs is strong in this one.

      • try the /masculism reddit, it’s pretty decent. /mensrights one seems to have quite a bit of misogyny going on.

        • Any how to rape your mother links?
          I have to say that is a new low even for feminists that accusation. You should be embarrassed to have that guy on “your” side.

      • Neo Durden says:

        I’ve been on plenty of men’s forums, both the public and private ones. I’ve never seen anything advocating any of those things you claim. I call BS. Post the links to prove it. This is so over the top it’s laughable. I also call BS on you being a man. You’re a woman, posing as a man, trying to smear men who want equal rights. The tip-off was your insult of the men, on these mythical sites, and their ability to get it up. Only women question a man’s size or ability perform when debating, men certainly don’t. The hatred for men comes through in your post all too clearly, and that can only mean one thing – you’re a feminist.

      • Bruce McGlory says:
        December 19, 2011 at 1:43 pm
        ….. MY brother spent a lot of time on MRA forums – what did he find? Advice on how to rape/kidnap/kill your wife/daughter/sister/mother and how to blame it on someone else. Advice on how to dump your wife and make up lies so that you can humiliate/hurt her in public.

        I have no idea, about what kind of forums you are talking. But not about MRA-forums. That’s for sure.

        MRAs are going their own way – they are not interested in any personal relationship with Western
        women because of their bad experiences with them in the past.

  25. Liz McLellan says:

    I am hoping Tom or Amanda will address my argument…

  26. oh, and if you should choose to berate me personally instead of addressing my comments, I’ll beat you to it.

    “I am just angry because I am a small, bitter man with a really, really small penis.”

  27. Ms. Marcotte,

    Did you register for selective service when you were 18?

    Did you ever get told to “man up?”

    Really, you haven’t walked a day in my shoes and I haven’t in yours so lets cut the “privilege” crap. I don’t know what definition you are using but this is what I found in the dictionary:

    “a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most: the privileges of the very rich.”

    anyways, interesting statistics you have posted above, here’s some that I find interesting:

  28. Mr. Walker:
    Unquestioning, slavish obedience to any ideology isn’t healthy.
    I suggest you consider that.

    • It is interesting to see how this cult operates at the elite end, and how it imposes discipline and censures its wealthy supporters, sorry allies ‘to keep em in line’. I wonder what degree of ostracisation will he be subject to

  29. I’m sad to see the MRAs have, as usual, taken over this thread and destroyed it. But it was nice having a substantive discussion before they ended it. That so many men are so determined to end substantive discussions about gender online is…..telling.

    • Rhett Walker says:

      Amanda, thank you so much for this post and for taking the time to thoroughly repsond to Tom (and even some of the comments here).

      I’ve been following the posts on GMP for awhile. I followed the entire twitter conversation. And, today, I was really upset to see the “comment of the day” on this site and the twitter convo posted with the title “The Wrath of Feminists.”

      I really hope what I’m seeing here on the GMP isn’t a trend. It almost seems like a weird “bait and switch” in which GMP is inviting feminist bloggers to post articles examining how men can be “good” by being allies to women, examining privilege, etc. – only to then provoke and promote the idea that there’s this gender battle, all men are guilty, and Tom (the champion of the every-man) is being attacked mercilessly by evil feminists. It’s just not what being “good men” is about to me. I hope this doesn’t continue. It just really seems like GMP has an “agenda” when things pan out like this. Granted, they are posting great articles from yourself and Hugo about the disagreement.

      As a man, I couldn’t agree more with the following:
      “The end result is an unshakeable feeling that Tom and the men he claims to speak for are simply angry that their unquestioned male privileges are being eroded. It’s not that men are being edged out of the conversation at all, but that women are beginning to have a say that appears to be the problem. Watching privilege erode, even slightly, can be disconcerting for the privileged. But the bare minimum of being a “good man” is not conflating the erosion of your privilege with genuine oppression. The good men I know in my own life enjoy the challenge of shedding sexist stereotypes like “nagging wife” and “naughty man-child” to enjoy going forward with women, hand-in-hand, as equals and as friends.”

      • Marcus Williams says:

        It almost seems like a weird “bait and switch” in which GMP is inviting feminist bloggers to post articles examining how men can be “good” by being allies to women, examining privilege, etc. – only to then provoke and promote the idea that there’s this gender battle, all men are guilty, and Tom (the champion of the every-man) is being attacked mercilessly by evil feminists.

        That’s not the impression I get. The impression I get is that GMP welcomes stories and perspectives about being good men. Naturally, that will often involve women and how men relate to them, which makes feminism a natural perspective to include, and I have seen it welcomed. However, any “switch” has been by those participants who appear to think that the only relevant dimension to being a good man is where he stands in relation to feminism and awareness of privilege. When Tom or anyone else points out that it would be nice to not limit the good men conversation to topics of rape, privilege, and feminism, you get this kind of piling on and assertions of privilege, Patriarchy, misogyny, and all sorts of other labels that deny any goodness in the man or men being accused.

        It’s fitting, I guess, that Tom’s original piece was part of a series called “Presumption of Male Guilt”. He had the temerity to suggest that women seem to want men to talk more like them, and then got raked across the coals for not talking like the right kind of feminist. All denials or counterarguments have been rejected because as a man saying the wrong kind of things, he’s presumed guilty.

    • Liz McLellan says:

      I wouldn’t say “so many men” – Most men don’t have time for this kind of crap…this is a dedicated loud few…and not representative of the men in my life.

    • DavidByron says:

      I know it is intimidating for you to have to deal with critics.
      Is there something we could do to help level the playing field for you?

      • Liz McLellan says:

        How about addressing my point about same sex couples…which destroys the basis of all you argue?
        And the field is plenty flat friend.

    • Ms Marcotte

      You say:”I’m sad to see the MRAs have, as usual, taken over this thread and destroyed it.”

      Sorry but that has the Whiff of the old “Thought Terminating Cliché” about it.

      Nice turn of phrase to terminate communication and even facilitate exit on a supposed high note and claiming the high ground. It also indicates contempt for people who are communicating, and that Privilege and Superiority are presumed, so as to facilitate the exit by negative attribution against the other parties.

      The Internet has spawned much communication and even changes in language, rhetoric and has even generated it’s own laws.

      Godwin’s law is my favorite.

      “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”

      It has even been observed to change patterns of dialogue and communication, so that users don’t get called out on Godwin’s Law. It is just not de rigueur anymore to link others to Nazis, Hitler or the Third Reich.

      Godwin’s law has even been likened to an Evolutionary Driver which has forced communication via the net to evolve. That evolution is being studied closely.

      It seems that we need a New Law which will have the same effect.

      “As an on-line discussion concerning gender grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving MRA or Feminism, with that comparison being negative and dismissive, approaches 1.”

      I’m wondering – what should we christen this new law?

      1) “The Good Men’s Project Law”?
      2) How about “Matlack’s Law”?
      3) Or “Marcotte’s Law”?

      I would welcome feed back so that when It gets written up and disseminated with the correct attribution in place, it does have a most suitable name.


      PS – I don’t consider “MediaHound’s Law” to be a suitable name – It just doesn’t have the ring to it that will allow it to catch on and enter wide usage where it evidently belongs and is evidently needed. P^)

      • MediaHound, this is for you!!

        P.S. Mike Godwin now follows me on Twitter!

        • Mike Godwin Follows you on twitter?

          So have you invited him here?

          Attorney and Cyber Ethicists. Maybe GMP should appoint him Honorary Judge and Jury or even Referee.

          Good Men Are Hard To Find! P^)

        • I have to say Lori – you have gotten me thinking on other laws too!

          Poe’s Law “ Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is utterly impossible to parody a Creationis­t in such a way that someone won’t mistake it for the genuine article. ”

          It is adaptable to other views that induce extreme positions.

          Not sure though how it would need to be restated to control the worst excess that can occur around gender?

          Danth’s Law (also known as Parker’s Law)
          “If you have to insist that you’ve won an internet argument, you’ve probably lost badly.”

          Pommer’s Law
          “A person’s mind can be changed by reading information on the internet. The nature of this change will be from having no opinion to having a wrong opinion.”

          I think Pommer’s law is more of a health warning! P^)

          • Check out Rule 34. Off-topic, but funny nonetheless. And so true!

            I mentioned Poe’s Law because it is my daughter’s favorite and she is so quick-witted about calling it out in internet threads.

            Love Danth’s Law and Pommer’s Law! Thanks for sharing them with me. The fun thing about the HuffPo piece was the comments and people turning me on to other internet laws and rules. It was really hilarious.

            • You should Formalize Day’s Law or Day’s Maxim and get it up on Wikipedia.

              Mortality is short – Internet Immortality even shorter!

              You can have that to add to the Maxim! P^)

              • Funny! “I am not worthy.” Wiki-worthy. 🙂

                Hey, did you see Lisa published the Godwin piece on Good Men?? Mike Godwin will eventually find it in Google Alerts and contact me. Maybe he’ll become a GMP reader/commenter!

                P.S. How many comments will it be before my post on Godwin gets Godwinned?! Who do you bet will do it–an MRA or feminist??

    • so anyone who doesn’t automatically follow the world view you and Mr. Schwyzer tell us to believe is automatically an MRA?

      The fact that you result to insults such as CREEP when you don’t control the moderation… is telling….

    • HI Amanda I run a blog and I find on the contrary, many men enjoy discussing gender issues and do so intelligently and insightfully. Maybe they just dont enjoy discussing gender with you?

  30. Liz McLellan says:

    It’s not “venom”…. It’s a critique of a faulty premise and a rather good one. That’s it. It is possible for a man to have made the same critique but a “feminist woman” made it and so the discussion goes off the rails.
    I love this site and the insightful exchanges that happen here. Let’s try to continue that tradition…presuming of course the intent of Tom was to reach a deeper understanding both of his sense of his situation and of the world we live in together.

    Can someone address my point about gay and lesbian couples.
    It was pertinent, might help us clarify what we all mean and totally ignored.

    • I thought that point about same-sex couples was really interesting. It seems quite true of all of the gay couples I know. It supports the idea that relationship conflicts can’t be unilaterally ascribed to gender-specific behaviors.

  31. You wrote:

    “The end result is an unshakeable feeling that Tom and the men he claims to speak for are simply angry that their unquestioned male privileges are being eroded. It’s not that men are being edged out of the conversation at all, but that women are beginning to have a say that appears to be the problem.”

    You spend a few thousand words criticizing Tom largely for being vague and nebulous on specifics, and you conclude your piece with “a feeling?” You’ve got to be kidding me! Not to mention part of your argument is based on anonymous men who are friends with you. Because anonymous sources who already have a preexisting relationship with you are so specific and concrete, right? It is the height of hypocrisy to call Tom out for this stuff and then do the same exact thing in your rebuttal.

    Also, while I’m happy you don’t personally know any women who expect 100% compliance from their husbands and who literally forbid their (loving, supportive) partners from going out, they are out there. I know a few of them. And yes, part of the problem is the men need to speak up for themselves. This is not a problem solely to pin on overbearing wives. But they do exist, they are out there and they do get unbelievably angry if their husbands don’t do what they say when they say it. And while their wives can’t ground them, they can absolutely punish them. Let’s not pretend the metaphorical dog house doesn’t exist. Again, these men are hardly blameless and need to advocate for themselves. But the women are a problem too.

    In the end though, to say Tom and the men he purports to speak for are simply pissed because our “privilege” is eroding is ludicrous. Tom hired female CEO Lisa Hickey to run the company. He has spoken up against assaults, injustices, racism and sexual trafficking on a regular basis. This entire site is predicated on the notion of fostering good men. What I’m saying is, for the most part, you’re preaching to the choir. The vast majority of men who come to this site are interested in bettering themselves and the world around them. Which is why I fail to see why you’ve decided to unleash your venom in this direction.

    And on a personal note, you might want to watch how you treat people. On Twitter, I never attacked you. Yet you called me “gross,” said you felt sorry for my wife and accused me of “policing” women. I have no interest in policing everyone. Will I disagree at times? Of course. But I’m not trying to stop people from having an opinion. The fact that you defaulted to this tired old line and personal insults is pretty telling.

    A little civility goes a long way.

    • I never said there were no women who are awful. But I find it interesting that you support holding the vast majority of women accountable for what a few abusers do. I condemn abusers of both genders. I fail to see, however, how a very slim minority of women who behave in socially unsupported, stifling ways is something that all men are oppressed by.

      I realized from your tone policing on Twitter you’re not interested in a real discussion, but for the sake of the readers here, I thought I’d point out the flaw in your whining.

      • But I find it interesting that you support holding the vast majority of women accountable for what a few abusers do.
        I dont read him as holding that position. But I find it interesting that feminists hold the vast majority of men accountable for what a few abusers do

      • Amanda: You wrote the following in the comments section:

        “I’ve never, not in liberal or conservative areas, seen the world Tom portrays, where men are quiet and deferential to women who dominate them.”

        Never. You used the word never. You said you’ve NEVER seen men deferring to women. Then you respond to me and write “I never said there were no women who were awful.” Well which is it? In the span of a few comments you’ve already contradicted yourself and backtracked. Maybe you should spend some time policing your own points of view so you don’t look so ridiculous. And unlike you who continues to put words in my mouth, I’m quoting you. These are things you actually said.

        Also, you used the word “abuser” regarding women who seek to control men. I don’t even go that far. I don’t consider that abuse. I’m also not “holding the vast majority of women accountable for what a few abusers do.” I never said that. I’m holding the people who act that way accountable. All I was saying is that they do exist, since you said you NEVER see such things.

        I am interested in real discussion Amanda. But I’m no longer interested in any discussion with you. Because you’re rude and you automatically dismiss anyone who doesn’t agree with you. It is not productive to speak with you. You bring nothing positive to the table. And you give feminism a horrible name.

        But I’m sure pointing out your hypocrisy using your own words is just more “whining” right? You’re pathetic.

        • She said she never saw that world that Tom portrays, where men (as a group) are afraid of women (as a group) and are blamed for everything and do what women say all the time.

          She JUST UP THERE said that women sometimes do this.

          Are you stupid or pretending not to know the difference? In either case you should be a SHAME d. Yes I SHAMED you. Because you should feel SHAME for lying or being deliberately obtuse.

      • AnEntitledMan says:

        Wow you threw out “whining”. Do you speak to people in face to face situations like that? If so I bet you get told to fcuk off an awful lot.

      • “But I find it interesting that you support holding the vast majority of women accountable for what a few abusers do.”

        *spit take

        Uh, hello?

      • “I condemn abusers of both genders.”

        Amanda, you are simply a liar. Care to address these statements you made?

  32. I found it particularly hilarious when Marcotte wrote:

    ” We as a society can’t hold men fully accountable when they do something unquestionably evil to a woman, such as use her drunken state as an excuse…So why would we presume that men are somehow automatically the only people held accountable for lesser, more ambiguous events?”

    This is amusing in light of Marcotte’s insistence, as late as 2008, that the Duke lacrosse team was actually responsible for the crimes they were falsely accused of. It makes it extraordinarily difficult for me to take any of Marcotte’s writing seriously: in her mind men who are actually completely innocent are guilty of unspeakable crimes, she is on the record claiming as much.

    Yet she then has the gall to turn around and tell us all that men secretly aren’t blamed for “lesser” events.

    Then she decides to drool out the same old lines about “male privilege” as the secret reason that men might be upset with some of the things feminists have to say. Not the documented false accusations, not the writings of Hugo Schwyzer that “all men are potential rapists,” no, let’s ignore the obvious reasons for anger and make pretend that this is all secretly about “protecting male privilege.” Whatever you need to do to sleep at night Amanda.

    • DavidByron says:

      Yep. If feminists had to abide by the commenting rules that article would be taken down as abusive and offensive. It’s the feminist equivalent of someone coming here and saying that “the Jews” run Hollywood. But we’re just supposed to sit here and take it because — oh well that’s just feminism for you.

      Instead I wouldn’t be surprised if your comment and mine complaining about the abuse is the stuff that gets deleted.

  33. Liz McLellan says:

    It’s interesting to me that some posters her assume feminists aren’t in happy relationships with happy men…

    Resident MRA trolls imagine that their relationship problems or problems with women in general are because of “feminism…”
    Intelligent egalitarian women seek intelligent egalitarian men generally.
    Non egalitarians also seek each other I imagine. Maybe there’s even a dating service out there which caters to finding the conflict averse girl of your dreams!

    • Liz:
      Please don’t speak about people you do not know.
      I know quite a bit about Amanda Marcotte, both her private life and her political and feminist writings over 6 years.
      You know nothing about me. I know nothing about you, I’ve never encountered you except in this thread.
      If I weigh the evidence different than you or Amanda that does not make me any more bitter or misogynistic than it makes you stupid or misandric.

      • I’m sure Liz can speak for herself, but my first reaction when reading your “cute little essay” remark was exactly the same: it comes across as a trolly sting, and I am betting you would *never* have used those words had the author been male. Dismissing someone’s reply to your bitchy remark because they don’t know you is downright childish. Your opinion counts just as much as everyone else’s, you don’t get a VIP treatment because you’ve been reading someone’s articles for longer.

        • gert:

          I call out haters of whatever sex they are and can easily prove it. Of course once I proved that I can be hard on men too, you’d probably accuse me of beating women or something, thus giving me another personal attack to try and refute and so and so on.
          I’m 40 years old. I don’t know how old you are, but assuming that personal insults or assumptions of sexism are winning arguments when you receive intellectual challenges is characteristic of ideologues and 20 year old women’s studies majors. If you are an ideologue, I have no real hope for you. But if you are in your 20’s perhaps you have some growing up to do.

          • Interesting how you say “…assuming that personal insults or assumptions of sexism are winning arguments…” while you start your comment with “…you’d probably accuse me of beating women or something…”

            I’m a 40yr old feminist white cis-male IT specialist who spends too much time fighting bitter angry trolls, so I guess I’m a lost cause.

            • Gert:

              Lost cause? That depends on whether your automatic assumption is that anyone who disagrees with this kind of gynocentric feminism is a sexist, and, more to the point, whether you could be convinced otherwise.

              I used to consider myself a male feminists back in the early to mid 90’s.
              I grew out of it when I found out there were far more Amanda Marcottes than Wendy McElroys or heck, Noami Wolf’s in the movement.

              I wonder what your excuse is.

      • Creep.

        • OMG , the woman who was calling the three accused Dukies “rapists” and “sexual assaulters” in January of 2007 after the Attorney Generals report came out completely exonerating them and declaring them “actually innocent” (something very rarely done) has called me a “creep”. The woman who has never apologized (let alone admitted she was wrong) to Reade Seligmann, Colin Finnerty, and David Evans for a years worth of hate and insults all over the blogosphere has the nerve to call me a “creep”. Oh my heart..the burning.. the pain…whatever shall I do?

          I lost all respect for you , Ms, Marcotte in 2006 and 2007 when I saw that you were willing to throw those white boys under the bus for your ideology. Your subsequent missteps over the years (a certain book with illustrations you had to apologize for, getting kicked off the Edwards blogging payroll etc) are known by me. You’re just as shrill and self-righteous now as you were then, and just as full of hate too.

          • lolol Clarence, hasnt the creep comment created a wave of shame in you? Of course as you are not part of this cult and also not under 30, the word has no emotional meaning to you – but the cultists dont realise that

          • “OMG , the woman who was calling the three accused Dukies “rapists” and “sexual assaulters” in January of 2007 after the Attorney Generals report came out completely exonerating them and declaring them “actually innocent” (something very rarely done) has called me a “creep”.”

            But, remember, she thinks God is a rapist. So when she calls you a “creep” and the Duke players “rapists,” she is likening all of you to God. So it could be a compliment!

        • nice shaming language…..

          maybe you should check your privilege and see if you have any bigotry, it’s not just a one way street y’know….

        • DavidByron says:


        • Misandirst….

        • That’s not very nice Amanda. You do realise don’t you, you have blogged on The Good Men Project- a forum for men to express themselves. We are not at Feministe now.

          • Liz McLellan says:

            So that means you ignore the nasty tone of a few of the guys here? She’s just supposed to suck it up? And be a nice girl? Riot girrl? Really?

            • You focus on tone, Liz, but only when it comes to men (or those you perceive as men) speaking. Amanda’s unsolicited insults (such as “creep”) get no condemnation by you. Thus, it is easy to see you are not used to “fair” argumentation, because that means holding your own posts and those of others on your side to the same standards as well.
              As for Amanda Marcotte in my opinion she deserves to be spit on by all decent people simply for trying to sacrifice kids on a Lacrosse teams health and lives to her ideology.

            • “So that means you ignore the nasty tone of a few of the guys here? She’s just supposed to suck it up? And be a nice girl? Riot girrl? Really?”

              Huh? Amanda is obviously trolling. I could understand asshole but creep is just pure trolling. After all how was he creepy?

        • AnEntitledMan says:

          Bravo. Rude shaming language in response to a basically polite critic. Your credibility definitely grew there.

    • DavidByron says:

      People in hate movements like feminism often have entirely healthy relationships with people regardless, and often have quite rational beliefs on topics outside of their blinkered zone. They remain fully functional members of society for the most part. Even their relationships with individuals in the hated minority group are often normal enough (leading to the classic “some of my best friends are black” excuse).

  34. The author on Cristopher Hitchens – posted on her blog today:

    “I wish that he and the men who are like him that are still around could apply the same rigorous thinking to their own prejudices.”

    Why men only? The “vague” nature of “conflicts” indeed.

    Imagine if you had instead ended with: “I wish that he and people who are like him and still around could apply the same rigorous thinking to their own prejudices”.

    Or are there differences between genders and their prejudices that cause conflicts?

    Or maybe you mean to say that there are no differences or conflicts with men who agree with your positions.

  35. DavidByron says:

    I didn’t think much of Tom’s piece but, it does seem like he was asking the feminists to maybe check their own privileges and the response was, “no way in hell”. The irony is that they probably agree on about 99% of feminist idiocy but there’s like a terror of allowing ANY sympathy for the enemy.

    I have to say that is probably the best strategy for a feminist because the movement is so shallow on the facts. Just about any dialogue is going to make them look worse. The only way to win is to not play.

    • PursuitAce says:

      BINGO! They have it all figured out. Dialogue is just not an option that provides much progress unless you call progress coming to an agreement with them. It’s the curse of ideology that just freezes this entire country up. I come here for some education, but more for the entertainment. Hey, I actually liked me some General Hospital back in the day. Laura and Luke could be riveting.

  36. Read the last line of her cute little essay. “Male Privilege” indeed.
    It only validates women’s concerns.
    Of course I’ve been reading Amanda Marcotte since 2005, and I know her view on such things. Male privilege exists, all males have it, female privilege doesn’t exist, and if you, as a male, have any issues, it’s always your own fault or other males and never any females let alone females as a whole. I’m surprised she didn’t call Tom and out and out liar for his claim that his friend “looked at his feet” and deferred to his female companion as a matter of course.. Proper feminists know that NEVER happens, just as they know that abused men are a very tiny minority and can be safely ignored.

    Amanda is very consistent in men never having any legitimate complaints.

  37. What a hateful little essay.
    Of course, only WOMEN have anything to complain about.
    I don’t think Amanda Marcotte adds much to feminism or this blog and everything she writes merely confirms that.

    • Hateful? Amanda points out that many men and women get along fine in real life “as equals and friends” , and that Tom’s stereotypical idea that men and women are somehow from different planets (Mars! Venus!) just isn’t valid. How is that hateful?

      • There are three recognized ways to read:

        1) Scanning for key words.
        2) Reading for Content.
        3) Reading for meaning and the intent of the author.

        Often all three can be used – a cursory glance – a quick once over – and then a study of words and meanings.

        Often people can arrive at different conclusions as to what has been read depending on how they have read.

        It would appear that how some have read makes them conclude the piece was hateful. Others hold different views.

    • PursuitAce says:

      Yes, Clarence. Only women have anything of value to complain about. Men have it made and any complaints by them are simply whining. That’s the current culture we live in. It’s best to accept that and be strengthened by it. Self-acceptance and self-reliance are a wonderful thing. You will be a better man for it.

      • While her article does strike me as somewhat bitter, I am erring on her side. Do I think men suffer oppression in relationships? Absolutely, some men do. For that matter all people do – to the extent that we must sacrifice some level of personal freedom in order to maintain the relationship. However, I feel that much of what Amanda was writing here was directly in response to Tom’s lack of evidence or substantiating material. For instance, if he would like to demonstrate that men, too, experience physical abuse he need only to cite an article that shows women admit to hitting their significant other more than men (an article which exists, by the way). Possibly using THAT as a grounds to say that men, concerned with previous manly images, are unwilling to admit to abuse. Rather than blame women, he can blame societal roles in that instance.

        The fact that he addresses women as a whole, and as though it were composed of only one carbon copy female, is problematic. This same problem DOES occur in feminism. Its what makes both lose credibility in the eyes of egalitarian onlookers. Eh?

        • Gwen:
          I appreciate that you made a balanced, rational reply and hence I must tell you that is why it seems to be ignored.

          However, society is made up of men and women. It’s not just men that “police” masculinity (heck, you can see an example of policing masculinity anytime AM writes about HER version of Nice Guys TM) and hence, men, often to IMPRESS women, will commonly deny or denigrate any pain they may be feeling as well as any vulnerability.

  38. Thank you so much! After reading Tom’s piece I was left with a vague feeling of being quite annoyed, but the only coherent summary of my instincts and thoughts were “what? no! this is all wrong! That’s so far from my experience I don’t even know where to start disagreeing!!”. Thank you for putting my feelings into words in such a good way.

  39. Liz McLellan says:

    I also found the hetero-normative binary gender frame of Tom’s piece annoyingly presumptuous…. We can’t really get anywhere until we undermine the idea that there are only two genders and that they are opposed and in separate bodies… Otherwise we might as well be playing a game of musical chairs in the house the Cleavers lived in.
    Thanks Amanda (and her male friends) for a terrific response.

    Tom free yourself, the only thing you have to lose is your anxiety around defending unexamined privilege….Which can’t be much fun AT ALL at this point.

    Love the last line Amanda. Sharp and beautiful writing.

    • PursuitAce says:

      Is the number of genders in the human race a bone of contention within the feminist community? Or is there a determined number at this point? 0,1,6…Where should we be headed with this? I have a 2 year old grandson who already thinks he’s a boy, so I kinda need to know.

      • Liz McLellan says:

        And there are kids out there who know they are not the gender they are seen as… I am just saying it is not a binary thing. There is a lot of science worth reading on the subject out there. I am not up to reprising the body of work here. Suffice it to say that this frame is too simplistic.

        As Tom imagines the world – It seems there are no same sex couples in it. There are no arguments between two gay men in a couple for instance because …they what…communicate their needs telepathically? Same with lesbians. If Tom’s binary view of couples conflict were true, every lesbian and gay couple would be forever. They would never fight over the remote, over dishes, over money, over where to live, over who has more power in the relationship, over feeling under-appreciated, over feeling one is not being heard no matter how hard one tries, over who has to move in the case of a promotion, over how to raise the kids, over how much sex to have or over who takes the most advantage of undiscussed conflict. No issues of passive-aggressive resistance would exist, no internalized family of origin baggage (how do you feel about your Mom, Tom?) which has not been addressed with awareness with aim to resolve and move on…., no addiction, no tendency to hostility in one person, no withholding in the other, no conflict in actual conflict styles (She’s a screamer, she’s a “discusser”…)

        No. It all comes down to a binary battle – a male fixed nature vs. a female fixed nature.

        It makes little sense considering what we actually know about the world.

        • Liz

          I have to say that I agree whole heartedly with your concerns about The Binary Gender World View and the damage it causes to people who do not fit within it. I recognize your concerns about reprising all of the relevant material – and I recognizing your jaded view of how little it would be read and considered. If I have to yet again explain why forms with tick boxes for gender, with only two options of male and female, are wrong and even discriminatory, I may just scream! Very Loudly.

          I have to disagree with you on The Idea that Tom has a limited world view that excludes others. Tom has his world view, as we all do, which is informed by our own experiences and existence within the world. That does not make it right – it just makes it what it is.

          I have not seen Tom at any point indicate or claim that his world view is correct or right – in fact the setting up of GMP indicates quite clearly that Tom is not only willing to question his own world view, but he’s allowing and empowering others to do the same. Now that is to me courageous and even very Manly – It’s a Good Man Thing.

          I can understand Tom’s Frustrations and even his use of Irony in light of the number of people who have come along, seen what he is doing an assumed that they have the right and even the obligation to impose their world view upon Tom and What he is doing.

          So recently people have been on the streets under the banner of “Occupy”. They are not imposing a world view, they keep on promoting questioning of World Views. It seems that Tom is in tune with culture and the need to Question.

          So I have to wonder why so many believe they have the right to impose their World Views and ideals upon Tom’s work?

          It strikes me as anti-cultural and antisocial – and then when Tom rightfully and reasonable expresses frustration, he is the one held to account?

          Hmmmm? I think that some really do need to look at what is going on and who is doing what!

          It’s like that Tick Box issue – A or B. Tom seems to be Looking at and for other Options, so why are some so willing to have their pens handy and demand that it’s A or B?

          Why is it that when they don’t get the answer They want, they scribble at high speed all over the Net about Tom being wrong?

          “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
          George Bernard Shaw

          It’s evident that some wish to see Tom as The Unreasonable Man.

          In that case they can count me as well.

          I hope they have enough Ink and pens to keep up with the comments! P^)

          • Liz McLellan says:

            I was offering Tom a way out of his pickle more than anything else. Worldviews are not static – in intelligent people they evolve as new information becomes available. I will put this in a more personal frame.

            I felt much like Tom at one point. I was in a relationship with a man that was not working very well. I had concluded some nasty things which wrongheadly revolved around my partners maleness… my conclusions were similar to Tom’s and I was at a very painful impass.

            You see it is rather hopeless to conclude that the basis of the problem with your relationship is your partners gender. Where does that leave you? As a heterosexual person…really fucking alone… like in the cosmic sense – ALONE.

            I took a trip to visit some friends, a lesbian couple…as it turned out they were deeply in conflict mode. Their exchanges were an exact mirror of the emotional dynamics and struggles we had been having. I landed in a space of conflict that was EXACTLY like the shit, I and my boyfriend were putting each other through. EXACTLY. I however could see MUCH more clearly the power dynamics, the faultlines and the baggage each of those women brought to the relationship. Looking objectively at their relationship – I could look objectively at mine.

            So I am not trying to wag my finger at Tom – or any of the other essentialists here… I am trying to say your conundrum – which is obviously painful – is escapable, is transcendable, is healable….

            And what we all need is some healing.

            It is more an offering than an argument.

            • Liz

              I will wait to hear from all parties in their own good time. Offering someone a route on the map is always appreciated, but on the net such proffered road directions can get lost.

              I think your offering is quite Insightful and as with all such offerings ( few and far between on the net ) It is very valuable.

              I have to laugh – as I was writing this my spell check went odd! It was also most mystical!

              Each time I wrote “Insightful” it insisted the spelling was “Inciteful”!

              I have checked and it’s not even in the spell check dictionary – real “Twilight Zone”.

              Maybe there are ghosts in the machine which are trying to give some a message? P^)

              • Liz McLellan says:

                inciteful is a typo I make all the time….and often I just choose to leave it in…
                make of that what you will!

          • Tom Matlack says:


            I have mostly stayed out of this since it’s seems like the fight is much bigger than me and not sure what more I really have to add at this point. But I just wanted to say how much I appreciated your comment here and the idea that I am the Unreasonable Man in the GBS sense of that word.


            • It’s a really great quote.

            • Tom

              I may not agree with what you said – but then again that is not the issue – I did recognize the, shall we say, stress that you were expressing. I wonder why others did not notice?

              I did offer you a jokey man to man response – I don’t know if you saw it – talking about that terrible affliction that so many can suffer from, “Short Arm Syndrome”.


              I am more than happy to deal with people as they are, and accept them for who they are.

              I don’t expect perfection, as I am far from perfect myself. Respect and Dignity cost nothing, but so many believe that it costs a great deal for them to allow such in others.

              I do not welcome Rabble Rousing and taking advantage of others.

              I respect silence.

              I am such an Unreasonable Man and Very Proud Of It! P^)

              I even deal with those who may have “Short Arm Syndrome”. Explosive or otherwise, everyone deserves a pat on the back – no matter what others think!

  40. Enough already with the garbage about the men and women are different story. This whole story is a fifty year old fiction that doesn’t have anything to do with reality. Effective as of the bloodless revolution AKA “the pill” a certain group of women e.g. educated middle and upper class women in the West are able to plan their lives beyond 28 day cycles—cycles that take place over half their lives.
    All this men are from one planet and women are from another blah blah blah, is claptrap.
    If an emotionally self aware and otherwise conscious man chooses to relate to an equally emotionally self aware and conscious woman the whole soulmate dream becomes possible. Do the work. Reap the rewards. Noxious stereo typing is adolescent and atavistic. We just need to grow up, men and women alike, and shuck the gamesmanship.

    • PursuitAce says:

      So men and women are the same. Now we just convince everyone to teach that to young people and in a couple of generations we’re pretty darn unisex at that point. Problem solved.

  41. Sorry – but why do I get the impression that the only reason this post is here – indicating that it originated from Tom’s post “Being a Dude Is a Good Thing” – but actually it’s about comment on a Twitter Dialogue that he been reported and commented on?

    I also do other things too – such as note writing style and use of language. I am a big of a word smith and a Cunning Linguist, so I apprehend both words and meaning rather quickly, and I can spot certain rhetorical tricks and devices as easy as a lion can spot a limping gazelle.

    I am a lover of irony and also know how to use sarcasm in ways that leave people wondering if I have been or not. Implied reference abound as do the most subtle of “double entendre” where ambiguity in language is used to play upon the readers own perceptions and even re-serve them with a nice twist.

    I’m also used to the ways of the Net – I have been using it from before the days of public access – I’ve News grouped, e-mythered, blogged, tweeted and farcebooked for so long it’s all very old hat. Seen the tricks – seen the games – had to deal with the “real” bad guys, the worst you can imagine and then some . I’ve seen the lot.

    I’ve also learned a certain sensibility from reading so much and observing – and I note when writing styles change, the ways words are used – subtle shifts that are marks for concern. I’m also a man – so I do have a certain sensibility for those changes in men’s behavior, but I am also just as adept in picking up subtle nuanced behavior changes in women too.

    I have to say – that from experience I know when to wait for a person to speak. I’m also used to those who take any form of silence as a route to make comment in the assumption that silence is either permission or even consent. I have even seen how such views get exploited and are even exploitative.

    I am also only too aware of those who may not be as adept as others in using the written word, and how their Ironic Statements can changed from Irony into Iron that is then forged ultra fast into a sword to be used against them.

    So I’m always wondering when we will hear comment and from who! And should there be silence I wonder all the more! I have learned to be patient.

    Whilst I’m waiting, I also keep up with other matters – such as looking at how to deal with such things as conflict better – Things such as Win Win Strategies, as well as some who keep making the most crass statements about all members of a sex and even indicting that all people raped are then subject to murder. Foolishness knows no bounds it seems!

    I have even been joking about people getting “Rail Roaded” and how to stop it happening!

    Have you ever seen someone being Rail Roaded? I have!

    Maybe you would like to find out how it gets dealt with?

    Click this link – you may find it a revelation! P^)

  42. Funny, how it really doesn’t make any sense for Tom (of all people!) to write an article based on such generic and vague positions of “male view” and “female view”. It detracts from his message of equality and understanding of what it takes to be a good man – I feel he’s perpetuating stereotypes rather than breaking them down.

    I personally would love to sleep, drink, eat, and fuck and just leave it at that. I don’t know a woman who wouldn’t. Why are those desires strictly male? Specifically, why is the desire to have sex strictly male? It’s not. I’m unsure about his statement of “men and women view sex differently”. How so? Men want it all the time and women don’t? That’s a stereotype. I have been in a relationship where I had the higher sex drive, and I suffered because I was craving the intimacy and closeness that sex provided but wasn’t getting. He viewed it as a chore. Are you saying that I was the man and he was the woman?

    His piece only furthered stereotypes that confine us all. I’m disappointed.

  43. Julie Gillis says:

    Amanda, thank you for coming here and sharing this very detailed and cogent piece. I think you summed up my main frustrations with the original piece, which was it’s vague generalization of this “something” that women blame men for, as well as the gender essentializing about roles.

    My own view of the world is one where men and women (gay, straight and otherwise) speak to each other really kindly for the most part, aren’t afraid to argue and challenge each other and often show traits that should, in a traditional sense, belong to the other gender. I, like you, am outspoken, driven and confident/assertive. My partner is far more studied, quiet, and solid in his body, not passive at all. Commanding in a quiet way. I appreciated the quotes from your friends and they made me wonder if there is a division in POV here in terms of liberal non traditional folks and more conservative traditional commenters.

    I work in a liberal city, I am relatively left wing. I’m surrounded by artists who are curious about how the world works, but also about how much differently it could work. Non traditional marriage and relationship styles are common and the corporate dollar isn’t something most of my peers value. Most are also atheists or agnostics. Those men aren’t cowed, afraid of women, or deferential. Most of my male friends are rude, bawdy, and fun as hell. Most of them are highly political, wildly flirty and really competitive.

    The world I often see described here in articles like Tom’s and in comments is a world I don’t usually recognize. I try to believe that the things people are saying are true for them. I am not, by nature, a polemicist but a peace-seeker, so I want to understand their point of view. I realize that probably won’t get me very well read or earn me a lot of blog hits 🙂 but that’s just me. I like thoughtful and thorough and I like dialogue.

    Finally, thanks also for coming here and writing this out in many, many characters instead of 140. I’m not a fan of participating in twitter battles (though I admire your skill at it) and this post gives me the opportunity to engage in full sentences. 😉


    • I come from a more conservative culture, and so I get to see the other side of things. I’m still not seeing this matriarchy of women just blaming men for everything. In fact, one of the things that causes me indigestion when I go home is that I see more deference from women, more willingness to take the blame for stuff they didn’t do and overlook some truly obnoxious behavior from men. I’ve never, not in liberal or conservative areas, seen the world Tom portrays, where men are quiet and deferential to women who dominate them. I’ve seen the occasional domineering wife, but those women are not well-liked and usually have deep insecurities. They don’t get widespread social support for their behavior.

      I mean, liberal or conservative, yeah, men are expected to go to work, shower every day, refrain from violence, and not cheat on their significant others. And? Women are, too. That’s life.

      • Julie Gillis says:

        Well, I’m glad it’s not just me not seeing it. It’s been confounding. Your last few statements in the article were very well said. Good humans need to be able to see that loss of privilege isn’t “loss” as we know it, but a doorway opening into a more collaborative world for all of us.

        And that that privilege is part of a systemic dynamic not necessarily an individual power. I don’t know why that’s so hard to either understand or accept.

      • Amanda, so many literary and pop culture figures come to mind. For every J. Alfred Prufrock there is an Archie Bunker or Bill Sikes, and everything in between. In my life, I have also seen many more women without voices…voices subdued, stolen, talked over, scared or beaten into complete silence by men. But there are women who do that to men too. I bet that men notice more men who are dominated, and women notice more women–maybe it is natural to be tuned into the plight of others of your own gender. So doesn’t this argue for the relativity of any broad statement? If you look at the world through female eyes, will you maybe be more likely to see the oppression of females? And likewise, if you look at the world through male eyes, will you not equally sympathize more with men?

        I agree with your statement that men should not confuse the erosion of privilege with oppression, but won’t most male eyes only SEE it as oppression? Each gender claims to be the one who sees that the Emperor wears no clothes. I have an opinion about what clothes are or are not being worn. But I also get that men can see things very differently–not to be obstructionist (although some are) but because that is truly how they see it. And they have the same discussion about women! How to get out of these solipsisms?

        • I don’t know that humans are necessarily that myopic. We can step back and look at the world around us, if we want. Men can choose to pretend it’s all equal, or they can look at the mass of direct experiences and sociological research that proves that we do live in a patriarchy that is eroding, but still functioning. Men can see that women’s bodies are political footballs, that women are more likely to suffer battering and rape, that women do more housework and childcare, and that men who work full time make 25% more than women who work full time. Once a man absorbs the facts, it might be a lot easier to process his experiences.

          Are there women who abuse and dominate men? No one said otherwise—ours is a diverse world. But did Tom write a piece about this phenomenon, with the appropriate caveats explaining that while this happens, it’s less common than male-on-female abuse? No. On the contrary, he seemed to be arguing that dominating women and submissive men are the norm, and in fact, that there are so few exceptions to this rule that they’re nearly irrelevant. And that men’s voices are marginalized in this supposed matriarchy, so much so that men can barely hear male voices or male stories in movies or on TV. It was a warped fantasy, much like Christians who complain of “oppression” in a country where they have a majority.

          • But Amanda, so many men produce their own “studies.” You and I may agree on the facts, but I see plenty of men doing incredible mental gymnastics to debunk them. And then people say, “Well…there are different studies…” I know plenty of men who recognize male privilege–I run in diversity circles, so my experience is laden with people admitting male privilege and white privilege and Christian privilege, etc. I know a lot of people who consider it critical to their own personal growth to do this kind of personal work on themselves. But there ARE a lot of myopic individuals who can’t step back. Many of them are right here on this site. They do not see women’s bodies as political footballs or agree that women are more often raped. To the contrary! The war on Christmas is indeed a joke, and there are other jokes, but not everyone is laughing at them. I very much appreciated your post, but I am less optimistic than you are about open ears hearing it and stepping back and seeing the real world. Everyone feels they have exclusive viewing privileges of this real world around us, and they don’t all see the same thing. Is it “pretend” or delusion or what? I don’t know. I just know that a lot of men think it’s a zero sum game when it’s not. Women’s gains are not men’s losses. And yet, I’ve heard men say that for every new female engineer, that’s the loss of a job for a man. I say, so what!! Women should have a shot at those jobs and we need women in those jobs. But what do you say to the man who maintains he has lost something? He is being selfish, right? He is not considering what is overall fair, right? But he does not step back. He is myopic in this instance. And there are many other examples like this. BTW, thank you for what you wrote and for trying so hard. The piece was brilliant. I’m simply less sure that any change that equalizes things for women who have been oppressed since time began won’t be seen by a lot of men as their own oppression. It takes some abstract and unselfcentered thinking to assume a fair and altruistic POV..

            • Well, of course some men are going to defend their own privilege until they are blue in the face. You see that with white people who deny racism, too. There’s a point where you just write off unreasonable people. We can’t convert every bigot.

              • DavidByron says:

                I think you are being offensive and sexist when you compare men to racists.

                I’ve never seen any man “defend their own privilege”. How could they when nobody is ever able to tell them what that supposed privilege actually is? Please feel free to point out any man you think has done this here on anywhere else.

            • DavidByron says:

              Can you actually name any of these studies you claim show male “privilege”?

              For example: the name of the survey showing that men are raped as often as women is the National Intimate partner and Sexual Violence Survey (or NISVS). I don’t do “mental gymnastics”. To be fair I’ve never seen a feminist do mental gymnastics either. They simply shut up as soon as anyone challenges them to produce the data.

            • I, as a man, can see that women do more housework and the childcare more than men but also see that men also work more

              hours at the office (depending on stats of course). Time magazine or time online had an article on the myth of the second

              shift, men and women were doing the same level of work when working at home and office were tallied, however the article

              many seem to link to showing women doing more in the house is based on a biased study that doesn’t take into account

              yardwork due to it being considered a pleasurable activity (which is non-sense, I don’t enjoy sweating and getting bad

              sunburn in the Aussie sun or mowing once a week due to heavy rains).

              I can see the privileges males face, but I notice many women just cannot for the life of day see the privileges they

              have. It becomes a contest of who gets it worse and it seems many feminists want women to be seen as being the worse-off,

              this may or may not be true, but the thing I find the most rare is many feminists and women in particular acknowledging

              and accepting the areas men get worse off.

              Yes women are raped more, however according to the latest CDC stats the part under the last 12 months have an equal level

              of rape and forced to penetrate, 1.1% of people in the study and roughly 1.2million people. Rape does not include forced

              to penetrate under it’s definition by the FBI and how the stats use the word, so already the stats are biased since it

              discounts something many view to be rape of men. Women suffering battering is a tricker topic, there are varying stats

              showing physical abuse is men getting 1/2 of what women get up to 1:1, physical injuries however seem to favour female

              victims but as anyone knows physical injuries aren’t the only damage done. CDC stats report men and women suffer

              psychological aggression the same, however the stats don’t seem to speak much on the effect son self esteem, self harm,

              depression, anxiety, drug abuse after being abused that I could find (if you spot it, lemme know). We also have men suffering 2.5 – 2.8x more from violence overall according to the W.H.O. has a nice list of various misinformation that seems to plague many violence against women or domestic violence campaigns. This isn’t to assume that men get it worse or women get it worse but simply, Both get it bad and both need support n representation. Women may or may not suffer more DV and rape but regardless, men suffer a lot and deserve help and with the latest stats their doesn’t seem to be a privilege with either. We could say women are privileged that they suffer less violence overall, but what’s the point? Violence against anyone is the problem especially due to the cycle of abuse.

              I have no troubles with feminism as a whole but the endless oppression olympics that goes on with quite a few men n women

              of masculism and feminism is quite tiring. We have articles on the GMP atm describing clearly the female privilege as teachers in their interactions with kids, their is the privilege of suffering less violence overall, or the major privilege of their abuse and violence being acknowledged and accepted so much that there are gendered laws to stop it (VAWA seems to be a big problem with many) and have a plethora of DV shelters where men rarely have any. Men also are the majority of workplace deaths and injuries so the privilege of being in a career that isn’t as dangerous. We can argue about the privileges men have of being a CEO but that fails to account for the many men who fail to achieve that status, men being the majority of homeless, in prison, in dangerous and also many are in quite a lot of low-end jobs. Then we have the female privilege of not being conscripted, we could argue men made the law but society still accepts this law in the US, and a culture that heavily promotes males as disposable and sacrificial to protect women who are believed to be more innocent. Of course there is also the privilege of being the primary child carer and not seen as a child abuser everytime you’re around kids.

              I am under no assumptions that women get it easy, but neither am I under the assumptions that men get it easy too. Who get’s it better? I have no idea, both have their up’s and downs but all I know is that both can be victim, both can be perpetrator and both require the support, education, love, positive male and female role models, access to the same services (within reason, aka pregnancy will be for women mostly though men do need support for post-natal depression too). We need to accept that men and women are privileged in different ways and work towards equality, but assuming male privilege exists without female privilege is ludicris and offensive to many men which is why it gets so many fights. The privilege of power comes also with the negative of having to defend that power, put your life on the line and die to protect others, defend the borders from attack and history suggests it was mainly men who were doing this on the front lines. Power was and still even today is faught over harshly, to the victor go the spoils but don’t forget just how many are the losers. I’d say privilege would be having the power without the requirement to fight, something royalty of today probably have.

              Men produce “studies” that contradict studies that women are posting, which study is correct? The CDC one seemed to be well liked although still quite biased especially under rape, but the study paints a picture that the abuse of men is either more aware or is INCREASING DRAMATICALLY. Women can post studies n stats showing how bad it is for women and men can turn around and post the same showing how bad it is for women, how about instead of fighting over who gets it worse we simply acknowledge both get it bad and work to end the issues FOR ALL PEOPLE. You can’t have equality if you have pissing contests over who gets it worse and then focusing only on who gets it worse as if that magically makes equality happen, you have to work on ALL issues, even if it’s 80:20 female to male biased, the 20% male needs to be dealt with along with the 80% for equality. Maybe it’s the privilege of who gets it worse and thus is more worthy of attention that women have? Because I see so much this focus on who gets it worse as a way to minimize the harm the other suffers whilst claiming equality equality! It’s not a zero sum game, focusing on men’s issues doesn’t destroy the validity of women’s issues.

              • Ugh, is it possible a moderate clean up the the first paragraph, “Yes women are raped more, however according to the latest CDC” is the start of the second. Thanks.

            • “But Amanda, so many men produce their own “studies.” You and I may agree on the facts, but I see plenty of men doing incredible mental gymnastics to debunk them. And then people say, “Well…there are different studies…”

              Men produce “studies”? You agree on “facts”? The patronising tone is disappointing and appears anti science. In complaining about toms generalisations to then suggest women just know something that men don’t is absurd. When it comes to racism proving that “black privilege” isn’t significant is fairly easy its quite clear that racism faced by blacks compared to whites is a huge disparity. The same isn’t the case with sexism. It is just fundamentally different.

              “but I see plenty of men doing incredible mental gymnastics to debunk them”

              So you agree they were debunked? or are you just dismissing the debunking because it required “mental gymnastics”?

              “It takes some abstract and unselfcentered thinking to assume a fair and altruistic POV..”

              Almost mental gymnastics wouldn’t you say?

          • DavidByron says:

            Women refuse to recognise their privilege of course. No surprise there. In fact feminists constantly bang on the drum saying that privileged people don’t recognise their own privilege. And you don’t.

            Thanks btw for trying to name a single male privilege. Or rather thanks for repeated lame feminist propaganda that is decades old.

            Men can see that women’s bodies are political footballs

            I assume you mean reproduction. Women have far more reproductive rights than men do.

            women are more likely to suffer battering and rape

            Men are the majority of victims of violence and the new survey says they are the majority of rape victims too.

            women do more housework and childcare

            Men do more work than women overall.

            men who work full time make 25% more than women who work full time

            Because those women are not doing as much work as men. Women are paid just as much if they ever do the same work as men.

      • “I come from a more conservative culture, and so I get to see the other side of things.”

        I do find that assertion most amusing. Coming from One Culture allows clearer sight of matters across diverse cultures?

        Seeing clearly and even commenting clearly is not about Culture, but it is about vision.

        “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”

        Personally I find it interesting to deal with people who have doubts and even those who find themselves in Unpleasant Conditions.

        Certainty is a Privilege, and as with all such Privileges those that have them are blind to their own Privilege.

        It tends to lead to absurdity and even worse – The Polemic – and even Theology.

    • Julie, I’m so interested in what you say about nontraditional/liberal vs. traditional/conservative…or some such thing. That actually resonates with me and I had not thought about it. But, like you, I often wonder what world some people are living in, and don’t recognize it as the same one I live in. There was a thread recently about how all women want macho men, and just say they want sensitive men, but then shame their boyfriends or husbands when they are emotional. Of course there are women like this, but over here in my world, this does not characterize most of them, so I feel disoriented when I read such things.

      When I read Tom’s article, I sympathized in certain ways. It is painful to know he feels as he does, and that he or other men feel so hurt or silenced by women. But a lot of what he wrote I could have written about my first marriage. The one looking at the floor, always nodding yes, being dominated, and having no voice was me, the woman. So, I just do not see this as the plight of “the men” or “the women.” It seems like it can happen to either gender.

      I too want more peace. I don’t think it is something you find. I think it is something you make. And it takes lots of hands. I sometimes feel people would rather fight, or need to fight, because the world can be a harsh place, especially in today’s political and economic climate. But then what happens is we turn on each other. I so wish there were less of that. I’m with you, Julie.

  44. Kirsten (in MT) says:

    It’s not enough to say “men and women are different”. Really? How? The most obvious examples are that women have uteruses and breasts and vaginas, whereas men have penises and testicles. Is Tom suggesting that women want men to have vaginas? Obviously not. But then what? If you’re going to make a risible argument about how men are so different than women and women are so angry about it, you need to be specific.

    Precisely! Thank you! It’s funny how many times I will ask this same question and get the run around. Tom, in fact, has gone silent and simply ignored my questions when I tried to get specifics from him.

    • PursuitAce says:

      What’s the question? I’ll answer it for you.

    • Differences in behaviour:

      1. Women are far less willing to have a one night stand.

      2. Women are less competitive in ascending status hierarchies.

      3. Women’s fertility ends earlier than men and they get pregnant, not men.

      4. males engage in more coalitional violence

      5. males more prone to lethal violence

      6. males more prone to theft

      7. females do more direct childcare

      The last four (4, 5, 6, 7) come from here:

      These 3 are human universals which have been observed in every single society ever studied by anthropologists. Hence they are human universals. Cultural invariants. There is mountains and mountains of evidence demonstrating differences between men and women. Feminists have simply denied the evidence exists by saying everything is culturally determined. This is usually because they just don’t like the evidence and they want to get rid of it. Typical for any true believer. However there is no reason to believe any of this is culturally determined. An equally valid argument is that its not culturally determined, its biologically determined. So why should feminists necessarily believe its culturally determined.

      The only way to prove things one way or the other is to do cross-cultural comparisons. If something is truly culturally determined than there should exist cultures were it does not exist. For many gender differences this is not the case. So the evidence does not favour feminists.

      • MorgainePendragon says:

        There are cultures that have been documented in the past and that exist in the present in which #s 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7 are not true. Therefore, they are not human universals.

        And that link goes to nothing but a list of behaviours that are not documented by any peer review study that says that they are absolute universals across all cultures. I couldn’t even find the behaviours you list in the words you use.

        In addition, most of those “behaviours” wouldn’t exist at all in a number of cultures. Many of them are based in patriarchal values and don’t exist (as in there is not even any word for/concept of them) in egalitarian and cooperative cultures.

        Everything on that list except the point about women’s fertility can be and has been shown to be influenced by environment.

        • “There are cultures that have been documented in the past and that exist in the present in which #s 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7 are not true. Therefore, they are not human universals.”

          Name them.


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