Being a Dude Is a Good Thing

With so many men feeling like they’re being blamed for being men, Tom Matlack wants us to embrace manhood.

As the founder of the Good Men Project, I am the butt of my share of jokes. Guys in high places love to take pot shots at me, laughing at my silly little obsession. But that’s in public. Behind the scenes the conversation is always quite a bit different. Most guys I meet in business are still socialized not to show weakness. Emotion is weakness. But behind the scenes, that same guy who made fun of me at the table always has a question. Or a story to tell.

I’ve become acutely aware of the difference between what men say in public and what they say in private. What they do to keep things superficial and the clues to what is really going on.

I’ve been doing my own soul-searching during this last week as a series of articles broke out on our site about the end of men, gender war, and whether or not men have made enough progress collectively to be considered “good” (that’s not exactly how others defined it but that’s how I think about the issue underneath it all).

Amidst all this comes the question of blame.

Why do men get blamed for everything? Well, the cynical response is, “because we can really be assholes sometimes.” I’m going to set aside gross acts of what I would call evil: rape, sex trafficking, murder, and felonies of pretty much any kind. I’m more interested in the petty shit that fills our day-to-day and ends up defining us normally imperfect human beings.


So are dudes as a gender really assholes?

If you look around in the press, on TV, and in popular culture you certainly might conclude that. Again, that was the whole point of starting the Good Men Project—to provide example after example of not perfect men but damn good ones.

I am not interested in the macro here. I really think the question comes down to the micro conversation. How do men in their own lives feel blamed? How do women view men not in general but in particular?

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.

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.


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’ve watched him. He loves his wife.

He’s a very competent human being. 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.

So where does the blame come from?

My unscientific theory is from a fundamental disconnect between men and women at the micro level. 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.

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


Here perhaps we have to go back to the macro picture for some explanations. God knows men have done some really bad shit. And god knows as guys we can, at times, live up to the stereotype of knuckle-draggers looking to eat, fuck, drink, and sleep. In that order. 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.

Sweeping generalizations about individual relationships are pretty useless. How a guy who teaches Gender Studies relates to his spouse is probably pretty different than how some Navy SEAL does. And I am sure there are plenty of heterosexual relationships where the gender roles are reversed before even getting in gay marriages.

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.

One of the most interesting things about the Good Men Project is the readiness of women to talk about men. They are more than welcome here, but I still wonder why? Why such a passionate outcry by women about men?

I’ve probably done over a hundred talks by now about manhood. For the first couple years I would always say that my best audiences were women, boys (who are dying to know about manhood), and prisons (because the guys can’t leave).

But that has been changing recently. I spoke at the Boston Book Fair a few weeks back to a room of nearly a thousand. And for the first time I noticed more men than women.

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. We are no longer willing to be blamed for being men. We are no longer willing to avert our gazes and stay silent about our feelings. We are raising our voices and telling our stories in our own male vocabulary.

To women, I assume the response is, “well, it’s about time.” But just remember when we talk it’s not going to sound like a women in a man’s body. It’s gonna be all dude. And you are just going to have to deal with that.

—Photo physiognomist/Flickr

About Tom Matlack

Thomas Matlack is a venture capitalist.


  1. Great way of viewing things – I am a bit more of a monochrome individual, myself

  2. It’s sad to say how refreshing it is to hear that is a good thing to be a man.

    I’m starting to like this website more and more. Keep it up.

  3. Martin Nash says:

    Thanks for writing this. have been trying to find the words for a similar post myself.

    I have often pndered on why men have to change to be accepted by women but no one suggests women should learn to accept that men (as a generalisation) handle some tings differently.

  4. Sandy Zeiset says:

    I think men and women are different, and that we should embrace those differences. I just wonder why so many women feel dissatisfied with their relationships with men. Are we supposed to just accept that “men are men” and not expect more of them? Or is it really true that they don’t have the emotional and psychological capacities to understand us and give us what we need? What do men want from women? I mean, besides sex and affirmation. It just seems that women want so much more….why is that? I know that I am generalizing here…but there still seems to be the message to women that if a man is “good enough” (ie, stable, generally attentive, loyal) we should be happy to just accept that and not ask for more.

  5. You made various good points there. I did a search on the matter and found the majority of folks will consent with your blog.

  6. Silly comment alert:

    I was really hoping for a picture of Jeff Bridges.

  7. Wow, Erin, kudos to you for being the most reasonable and sensible person on this forum.

  8. Erin, Ive read along this whole time and finally had to post. Simply this, *balance* is a word people like to use. That’s it. Nothing more. In women it generates a soothing feeling. Its why marketers of products where females control the spend use it, balance your life, your diet, your moods, your energy, your hormones….whatever, who can argue with balance?

    What does it even REALLY mean? Nothing. Period.

    There are no women’s issues anymore.

    Ive asked on femsites for years, describe a world that allows fems to say, job done lets go home. (Ive asked the same on political sites about race hucksters too). No one answers. What you conflate with rights/issues are normal and ubiquitous outlying attitudes. You cannot codify opposition to them. If there is a man out there discriminating against women, and Im sure there are some, guess what there always will be. “Awareness Raising” is just another feel good word like balance. Its an excuse to garner EMPATHY. Empathy is what drives the female. They seek it like men seek sex. To get empathy is to experience a form of engagement, positive or negative, that animates a women, drives her to get more. The empathagasm is when she and another gal say “I know exactly how you feel” after the foreplay of sharing bits of experiences. It is the subconscious goal of female interaction, it is the drive for perpetual victim-hood, it is the reason women tell men listen don’t fix.

    But you claim you want to balance 2 sides. There are not 2 sides, objectively speaking. Things that are tangible and codified are 100% pro female, and anti-male. There is zero reason to be platitudinous and seek “balance” except the feeling the use of the word gives you. It allows you to keep a foot in all doors, ostensibly for fairness, but in reality to keep all paths to empathagasm open

    • Don’t you think it is unfair to say that empathy is what drives the woman and sex is what drives the man?
      To both men AND women?

      If there were as much a gender divide as you have outlined here, it would make sense that women are usually awarded custody of children. “Driven by empathy” is a much better childcare slogan than “driven by sex.”

      Of course, the current child custody regulations are unfair BECAUSE such a gender divide doesn’t exist. Most men would agree that they also desire empathy and are capable of giving it. Do you really know no men who say “I know what you mean!” or worse “Chicks are crazy!” That is the exact same empathy as “I know exactly how you feel.”

    • I meant balance as in this definition: “A condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.”

      Regardless of how the word is used in yogurt commercials, that’s not what we’re discussing on this site.

      I see you’re questioning my motives, which is fine, but that’s a lot to take from one word. You might want to focus on the overall message, instead.

  9. “So are dudes as a gender really assholes?” What a piece of writing! The use of so much slang is a sign of cultural decadence. The use of “gender” instead of “sex” implies an adherence to the bogus PC theory that sex roles are culturally conditioned rather than natural. Please consider that not all readers speak like a TV-addicted teen living in a single-mom household without fatherly guidance. Please consider writing for men, instead of just writing for guys and dudes. “Like, uh, yuuuh (add emoticon here).”

  10. Tom said
    “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.

    We are no longer willing to be blamed for being men.

    We are no longer willing to avert our gazes and stay silent about our feelings.

    We are raising our voices and telling our stories in our own male vocabulary.

    To women, I assume the response is, “well, it’s about time.”
    (Wow you where sure wrong there TOM!)

    But just remember when we talk it’s not going to sound like a women in a man’s body. It’s gonna be all dude. And you are just going to have to deal with that.”

    Yeah,deal with it.

    We’re not gonna be silent, nor distracted by dissimulation.

    The presumption of guilt in society and the courtroom is the most corrosive injustice
    anyone could face.

    Changing that would not take one iota away from womens rights,but they insist we not talk about it.

    That clearly shows they want to tear down men,not build up women.
    (much less men)

    I would not treat an animal in such a fashion,yet the women here seem to think it’s a God given right!

    • You’re right, the presumption of guilt is counter to our entire idea of justice. Which women here won’t let you speak about it?

  11. A few things:

    I think a lot of people who got their fires lit got about this line, “Why do men get blamed for everything?”, stopped reading, and went right to setting on declaring that its actually women who get blamed for everything.

    This post comes off as a what could/should have been like the inaugural posts for this place. It sounds like basic level stuff that a lot of men feel and with this being a place for men to talk open it sounds like something that needs to be said. Even if not totally true (and I can’t help but notice how feminists seem to zero in straight to “Why do men get blamed for everything?”, ” We are no longer willing to be blamed for being men. “, and “Men and women are different.” and then go to town with responses).

    • I’m confused as to why ANYONE would think that “women get blamed for everything” when men are thrown in jail at absurdly higher rates for virtually all crimes, with higher sentencing for many of those convictions? Considering that a “Crime” is where some action occurs that society isn’t happy about and metes out justice on an individual as retribution, wouldn’t the statistics suggest that, at it’s basic form, it’s men that suffer most?

      • I don’t think any group can claim to suffer most. And I don’t just mean in terms of men and women. I mean in terms of every demographic. It really depends on the individual.

        I’m not trying to counter your point and say that women suffer more. My point is more or less that many men and women have suffered more than I have, and many men and women have suffered less.

        I do think that the criminal justice system in the US needs serious review. Regardless of whether or not men are committing more crimes, there is a serious problem going on with incarceration in the US, especially in regards to black men.

        • I agree with you on your points with incarceration, especially with black people. That being said, let’s use your logic on that group, shall we?

          “My point is more or less that many black people have suffered more than I have and man black people have suffered less.” This statement is true. However, it would NOT negate the point that black people have and are likely suffering more than I am — and I’m assuming you agree with me given your posts. Blacks are incarcerated more, die of virtually every cause more, are unemployed and homeless more, and less educated than other racial cohorts. Interestingly, the same stats we’d use to prove this point for blacks ALSO HOLD TRUE for men vs. women.

          Yet I’m guessing that, when viewed through a gendered lens, you dismiss those facts fairly quickly. It exposes the hypocrisy of most women who argue on this issue.

          • I think where you’re not getting me is that I don’t think of us as ‘men vs. women.’ I think of us as people. To continue your analogy based on my logic, yes, black people likely suffer more than white people, generally speaking. And yes, we need to address those problems within our social framework. However, that doesn’t mean we should stop supporting white people in areas where there’s a need.

            My point is, no matter who suffers more, the suffering of another group is still valid. Yes, men need more support now from society than ever. That doesn’t mean women no longer need support, or that women’s issues have been rendered invalid.

            I have never said that men don’t face hardships, nor that they don’t deserve more attention. In fact, guess what? I’m here. Paying attention. Listening. Trying to understand and to do what I can to lend support. But I won’t abandon women in the process. I know and love women and men in my life. I don’t want a male friend to not be allowed custody of his children because of his sex. I don’t want a female friend to be passed over for a promotion, or to not have anyplace to turn if she’s abused or assaulted in any way. I would also apply either of those scenarios vice-versa.

            I find that the tone of your comments directed at me has been somewhat argumentative. I’m not saying this to be rude or to start a fight or to belittle you. I understand that you genuinely care about men’s issues and you don’t want to see people suffer due to inequality. I think that’s noble. My point is, I’m here with you. I’m listening. But just as I won’t dismiss men’s issues, I won’t dismiss women’s issues, either. We’re not a perfect society. We have to make strides for the sake of everyone. Helping each other can be mutually beneficial, and I’d rather attack our problems like that than at the expense of one another.

            • I’ve spent a few years reading a lot of feminist sites. I’d say my worldview is affected by that. I’m not trying to pass blame—I chose to frequent those websites. I was trying to understand feminism, something I didn’t know much about, or understand at first. Personally, aside from abuse and assault, I’ve never suffered discrimination save for the occasional jerk who doesn’t think I can do this or that because I’m a woman. I’ve been fortunate in my life.

              I’m here trying to get a grasp of the issues and understand things I haven’t previously been aware of. But knowing what I learned from feminist sites and from mainstream media, I stand by my assertations that both men and women’s causes deserve attention and action.

              I will defend women’s rights and I am also trying to defend men’s rights. What I won’t stand up for is either side dismissing the other. That goes for feminists saying “men have nothing to complain about” as much as it goes for MRAs saying the same about women.

              You’re fully within your rights to choose not to believe me, and to think I hate men, but the fact is that I don’t.

              • Okay, Erin, you don’t “hate men”, but what strikes me as interesting, both here and elsewhere, is the notion that to speak up for men’s issues is to negate women’s issues. I kid you not, I’ve seen this. In Canada, earlier in the last decade, some feminist groups tried to sue the government over a program that focused on men because they found the mere notion of that a “hate crime” against women. Similarly, when I returned to college in 2003, a women’s studies undergraduate protested an article on the student paper about male-on-male prison rape, because for her, that meant that a negation of the reality of male/female rape. And what do we see here? Stuff like “we support men’s rights, but please, we just don’t want you to forget women’s issues”.

                In short, if not for you, Erin, for so many of your “sisters”, merely to broach men’s issues and rights is nothing short of a zero sum game, where somebody win’s at somebody else’s expense.

                And to think like that implies a presumption of guilt for the male of the species.

                • Hi again Rick, thanks for asking. I really do appreciate a chance to clarify what I’m trying to say. It can be hard to be crystal clear in such a charged environment.

                  I don’t think men’s rights negate women’s rights, or vice-versa. I think the approach some feminists as well as MRAs take either accidentally or intentionally try to oppose the other’s. I think it’s ridiculous for a feminist group to sue the government for considering the issues facing roughly 50% of the popuation (men). I distinctly remember times when I’ve been for men’s rights in a few cases that hit the mainsteam media. These may be small potatoes compared to issues more often discussed here on GMP. These include: women suing men’s only gyms to allow women’s membership, when women’s gyms don’t have to allow men. I think it’s OK to have both unisex, men’s, and women’s gyms, because each fills a need for some people to work out in a comfortable space. I think “ladies night” is kind of bull. I mean, I get that the idea is to create a male-friendly environment, where women are abundant for dating purposes, but do these clubs not think that they could just lower cover for both, call it cheap night, and everyone would have a ball? I mean, ladies nights are about the most overtly sexist things around. A male teacher posted elsewhere about how he was instructed to raise his hands in the air when a student came seeking a hug, but female teachers were not given this instruction. He was told by fellow staff that they were “watching him.” If that’s not a case of presumption of male guilt, I don’t know what is. There are more issues I’ve come to understand, but it’d be exhaustive (mostly to me, heh) to list them all.

                  I get that there are feminist groups out there that seek to oppress men. I really do. These groups get a lot of attention, and are why I thought feminism was silly when I was young. Until I found decent feminist communities, I thought all feminists were militant. I’ve since found some that are relatively balanced, given that they exist to promote the rights of a single gender. One, for example, points out that often men make more thank women in certain positions and fields because women fail to ask for higher starting salaries and raises. That was an eye-opener for me.

                  I want to say that not all feminists and not all women are my “sisters.” Just as there are militant feminists, there are insane sects of the Christian and Anglican Churches (and others), and there are militant MRAs. And more. It doesn’t mean I have a problem with all feminists, all Christians and Anglicans (etc.), or all MRAs. Hateful people exist, and can take any decent cause and use it for their own harmful agendas.

                  I want you to know that I don’t think most men, or you or anyone else on this site in particular, are guilty of anything. As you can imagine, there are a lot of men in my life (not as lovers! only one of those for me), and I care for them. Some I owe debts of gratitude. I’ve met some who were awful to me, but they don’t constitute the majority.

                  Generally, the comments I take issue with state things like “men suffer x while women enjoy x and never have to deal with x and never suffer.” I am 100% open to understanding the “x” (not to trivialize—I used ‘x’ because there’s a myriad of things) that’s harming men, but I don’t think that dismissing women’s issues is the way to go. There are a lot of nuanced statements purporting to call attention to men’s issues but that actually try to trivialize women’s. I certainly don’t mean all of them. Some may not even mean to do that. I try to call attention to it, and may sometimes come off as though I’m dismissing men’s issues. I’m really trying to advocate for mens and women’s rights. Really. But there’s no one harder to look at objectively than yourself, and I know I may not understand how I come off, especially to the huge variety of people of different creeds and perspectives on GMP. Vice-versa, too (women trivializing men’s rights). I don’t appreciate any woman or feminist who comments on this site and calls men whiny, or creeps, or whatever. It’s simply not productive. It helps no one.

                  Ok, honesty time. I just finished my first margarita. Happy New Year’s(!) and let me know if I totally missed the point.

  12. Excellent post.

    This site never seemed to hold any value to me before, but after seeing this post and the accompanying comments, I may have to rethink prior judgments…

  13. Days of Broken Arrows says:

    This seems a pretty well thought out editorial.

    If some feminists disagree with it, it’s still good to know they’re able to voice their opinions on computers built and designed by men, running programs conceived and engineered by men, on the Internet, which was an invention of you-know-who.

    When some speak of “privilege” they should think that perhaps that privilege was earned by gender that built a society and all those nice little technological conveniences that women take for granted. For whatever reason, feminists choose to ignore this.

    • I’ve always wondered why the 70s, 80s, 90s, and millennium have not produced the distaff equivalent of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison (Oracle), Sergey Brin and Larry Page (Google), Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew Mason (Groupon), and Niklas Zennström (Skype). I’d be reluctant to chalk it up to an oppressive “glass ceiling”, since all of the above were entrepreneurs who opted to not only to think outside the box, but to work outside the system, and on their own terms. I’m not saying that women like the imagination, intelligence, courage, and adventurousness of these men, but if they share these qualities, why haven’t we seen some woman showcase it yet? Particularly in a capitalist system where gender matters less than the bottom line.

      • Typo: I meant “lack the imagination” not “like the imagination”

      • I think the glass ceiling is something that happens in isolated instances now, rather than across our culture. Many, and I’d hope most, job creators now look at male and female candidates for jobs based on what they have to offer, not their gender. There are inevitably some job creators out there who do look at men and women differently.

        You guys aren’t the first to notice that fewer women are involved in STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) fields. I’ve seen a lot of discussion of feminist sites in particular. I think part of it is still the more subtle social expectations we place on men and women (men = logical, women = intuitive).

        I also think the male/female contributions to STEM fields will become more equal. I think my generation (I’m a late 80s baby) is one of the first to really receive equal encouragement and instruction in fields we used to consider gendered. For example, my grandma’s generation was allowed to work if their job was along the lines of nurse, caretaker, secretary, assistant, typist, etc. (wartime excluded in order to look at the longer-term picture). My mom’s generation was pushed toward HR and “caring” fields. I remember how amazed I was when my mom told me that in school she and all the other girls had to take home economics while the boys had to take shop. My generation has been given a lot more freedom. In my middle school, boys and girls both took home ec and shop. My generation is getting started in the workforce now, and I think that while there are still nuanced notions that men and women should do this/that, it’s really not a big deal to become a woman engineer or male nurse anymore, as long as you’re good at it.

        So hopefully you’ll see some cool and very significant contributions to science and tech from women soon. To be fair, let’s not forget Marie Curie and other notable women like her. I’m grateful that I would no longer have to be considered a radical to pursue a career in science.

        A final note, let’s not forget that women used to contribute disproportionately in the home while men contributed disproportionately in the workforce. So behind those men, there were probably a lot of great moms and wives taking care of the details of life, and allowing their sons and husbands to immerse themselves in their endeavours.

        • Correction Erin, your generation was among the first generations to have women be the de facto privileged sex, particularly in education, whether it be through fewer incarceration rates, fewer forced medication rates (ritalin and the like), gender based scholarships, curriculum criterion that lionizes traditional female actions, etc.

          Interestingly, as men not surprisingly drop backwards and begin to have higher unemployment and education completion rates in virtually all cohorts (even when delineated on race), the federal government still seems to believe that increasing female participation in STEM fields is far more deserving of thought and funding.

          You wouldn’t be a radical to pursue a field in science. In fact, if you were to view your educational upbringing with a jaundiced eye, you’d see that you had a heck of a lot of help getting there while your average male-counterparts don’t.


            Choices — not discrimination — determine women scientists’ success, researchers say…

            Funny, I had a lot of Chinese and Russian women in my advanced organic chemistry courses in college. American women were not represented at all.

          • Well, I was part of the “forced ritalin” thing. Then dexedrine, then concerta. For years I was prescribed those meds. Dexedrine actually caused a lot of problems for me. I’m sure scholarships for females existed, but I never got one.

            As for being a radical for pursuing a STEM field career, you’re just echoing my point. What I said was that women in my generation are able to go into STEM fields without being seen as radical.

            Male incarceration is clearly a problem, especially in the US where laws are very extreme (3-strikes rule, all that).

            As for female scholarships, they’re there to ensure we end up with women and men contributing to STEM (and other) fields equally. They’re there to promote equity in those fields and in general, because it wasn’t long ago that women attended post-secondary in far lower numbers. We’re seeing the crest of women receiving equal education to men right now. I believe that things will sort of “level out” either naturally, or when society starts creating more incentives and giving more support to men for education initiatives.

            • Erin, those scholarships and our views on education are not “promoting equity”. They’re promoting favoritism for girls, which is coming at the expense of boys.

              Women are not receiving “equal education”. They’re getting MORE of it. The fact that you’re parroting terms like “equality” when every statistic in education shows women outpacing men in attendance since society started legislating their advance is a little weird. The hilarity of your post is that, when women outpace men, then “society” has to create more incentives — you mean the government, like we did for girls, right?

              • Yes, I do mean that the government needs to support men now. Women achieved equality in schools, and then outpaced men. Now it’s time to focus on supporting men.

                I don’t appreciate your attempt to belittle me and what I have to say by referring to it as ‘hilarious’. I’m sure you’re aware I wasn’t joking. You’re being very argumentative given that I’m essentially agreeing with you that yes, women have more than achieved equality in education and now it’s time to support men in order to level the playing field.

    • You are aware that a woman invented the first computer program, right?

      Moderator’s Note: Edited for Ad Hominem.

      • Not buying it says:

        Not true, So show your evidence & let me save you time & effort if you’re gona mention the group of women who were instructed to operate & find kinks plus trouble shot that big heavy semi computer /research calculator for trajectory of fired shells during the cold war,!!! Get your fact straight the whole thing was designed & put together by two male scientists.

  14. Tom – You “obviously touched a nerve” as feminists like to say.
    You dared hint at questioning the narrative, and now you witness their nature.

    Feminists are anti-male everything; promoting a rather visceral hatred of men.
    Men’s Rights Activists are anti-feminist and pro-equal rights for men and women.
    We judge you not by your gender, but by whether you’re a gender supremicist or not.
    The ultimate egalitarian (not domination) concept.
    Now you know.
    Perhaps MRA’s aren’t so “crazy” after all.

  15. I’ve been kicking around for a few days here tyring to start a dialogue with some commenters, with some minimal success. The thing I keep seeing is knee-jerk defensive reaction (why do women/feminists always try to tell me what to do/women hate me/my life is harder than all women’s/it’s not fair women get every privilege) from some commenters. I’m also seeing a lot of comments from people who disagree with this post who are dismissing the article and calling it “silly” and the like.

    I’m bummed out by all of it. Dismissing someone’s concern instead of trying to understand it is callous and pompous, and adds nothing to the discussion (for those calling the whole article silly).

    Feeling sorry for yourself and blaming all women (or men) generally won’t help you or anyone else (for those caught up in who is more hard done by: men or women).

    I don’t mean to dismiss anyone, myself. I wanted to say that above all, this strikes me as kind of heartbreaking. That so many men and women feel so victimized they can’t even look at other people with empathy, concern, or well wishes. The animosity of some men and women toward the opposite sex in this comment thread is completely disheartening. It’s also very disappointing when I try to express myself in favour of mutual understanding, but some commenters really don’t want to try to inclusively problem solve. If we can’t try to talk about these issues and treat each other as equals, what other option is there to move us forward? The only way things can be improved is with empathetic dialogue (which I think GMP tries to provide and promote, and has made strides in doing so). But telling other commenters “I once had this happen why do women/men always mobilize against me?” is not going to help anyone. We’re really not opposing sides. We’re all people and I think most peope here genuinely want to see equity, despite everyone having a slightly different idea of what that would mean.

    • Julie Gillis says:

      Yes, I can understand your frustration. I see it in the comments all over the place, on both sides. It’s hard. We can only keep asking clarifying questions and so forth. Hope we all are listening to each other.

    • **smirk**

    • Erin, do you have your own blog? 🙂 I’ve read lots of your comments and would love to follow your blog if you have one.

      • Wow, thank you! That’s a damn cool compliment. No, I don’t have a blog (yet—I promise to keep you posted if that changes). Amazing, I know, because I talk *a lot.* Who knows, maybe I’m just a reactionary who thrives in comment sections.

        I’ve been reading and enjoying a lot of your comments as well. Do you happen to have a blog?

        • You should start a blog Erin, I’ve read your comments and I think you are one of the few persons that is right on Target and with a reasonable and equal position. Good for you.

          • Thanks, I’m thinking of writing something of my own. I’ll be sure to let folks here know if and when I do. Glad you like what I have to say.

            • I would totally be interested in reading as well! We need more people blogging about these topics.

              I’ve got my own blog where I just write about subjects regarding recent conversations on these topics. jonathanese(dot)blogspot(dot)com

        • Who knows, maybe I’m just a reactionary who thrives in comment sections.
          That’s how I started as well. I had strong opinions on issues kept getting the, “If you feel so strongly about it, then why not start your own blog about it?” So I did and have been doing it for a few years now. One thing I’ll say for sure is that creating a space for those reactionary responses (and I’ve done plenty of posts that were basically long responses to the comments and posts of other people) certainly does open the way to start thinking of other stuff as well.

    • Wow. Erin: I’ve only just come upon this entire controversy and have been reading Hugo’s and Tom’s articles to gain some context, and your comment immediately strikes me as the most compassionate and intelligent thing I’ve seen so far.

      Neither this article nor Hugo’s “rape culture” article seem exceptionally offensive to me—both points of view are understandable. There is plenty to hear and empathize with in both articles, and even in the frustration and anger of the comments. But how sad that there is so much more generalizing and blaming than thoughtful reflection on the experiences that have led both authors to their points of view!

      Please, we need more of your kind of thinking and writing—a lot more—if we are to make progress understanding each other.

    • Unforunately, you are incorrect when you say “we’re all on the same side.” Many of the people you see commenting in offensive ways have already set their minds on war. There would be no “battle of the sexes” to joke about if no one out there were more interested in winning than in the truth.

      So–those who are dead-set against the multi-faceted truth except when it suits their position will continue to deserve opposition; those who are interested in hearing about the whole thing will continue politely discussing.

      • True. Some folks have already decided that women or men are against them. It will be hard to get them to listen to any point of view but their own. But we can try.

        I’ll revise and say instead that we’re all in this together. And we’re stuck that way, whether we want to take sides or not. There are great voices on GMP from many perspectives. I’ll do my best to listen, as so many here do. I’ll do my best to be fair and civil in what I contribute to the conversation. If we can pull one person out of the adversarial mindset and into the cooperative discussions and debates, we’ll at least have one more perspective to add to the collection. I know some people will never want to listen to people whose beliefs are at odds with their own.

        Hopefully all the sharing of experiences and all the open ears on this site can convince one or two folks that not everyone within a particular subset is against them, and we can start that dialogue.

        • Tell you what…I’ll get out of the ‘adversarial mindset’ when men have equal legal rights with women…including equal reproductive and parental rights, an equal amount of attention AND MONEY spent on boys education, AA for female dominated industries favoring men, and prosecution of feminist hate mongrels for hate speech. Then we can turn to unjust laws like those surrounding rape (inversion of presumption of innocence) and start charging false accusers and jailing them for years.

          Only then will I listen to ‘let’s all get along’ bullshit from privileged feminists.

          • Well, no one can tell you what to do. I just think that if every man banded together to fight for men’s rights, and every woman banded together to fight for women’s rights, and neither side woud entertain the other’s concerns, we’d certainly fight a lot. I’m just not sure we’d come up with any answers.

            But that doesn’t mean we don’t need men fighting for men’s rights alone, and women fighting for women’s rights alone. Sometimes we need those stronger, louder voices to remind us of the importance of either group’s struggles. It’s ok if you’re one of those voices.

            I’m just going to disagree whenever I see prejudice against all women, or all feminists, or all men, or all men’s rights activists.

            • I’ll do more than that.

              See, I view feminism as a great evil that has at its heart the hatred and subjugation of men and boys. Moreover, in almost 20 years of asking, I have yet to see a feminist show otherwise..

              I have ZERO interest in ‘engaging’ feminists. I want them all seen for the hateful bigots they are. I’ll change that view when I actually see a feminist be anything else…( hint: this means actually acknowledging that feminist inspired laws HAVE hurt men, and actually working to change them …

              And that hasn’t happened yet.

              You might THINK you’re ‘egalitarian’, but it’s easy to see you can’t acknowledge male pain without acknowledging women’s more…even when women don’t actually suffer.

              Actions speak a LOT louder than empty platitudes do.

              You will have a leg to stand on demanding we ‘all get along’ ONLY after men have legal equality with women.

              Your failure to even admit these issues exist, let alone DO anything about them is all I or any other man needs to know about your hateful religion. No matter how much you bleat that it’s not YOU doing the evil…but only those you protect.

              You are every last bit as guilty of man hate as Andrea Dworkin.

              • I suppose I do have an easier time seeing things from the female perspective, because I am one. I’m sorry if I’m being unbalanced. I generally try to remember that everyone experiences the same troubles and also distinct troubles from time to time.

                I know I’m not perfectly egalitarian. We all know nobody’s perfect, and I don’t believe anyone is truly egalitarian, because we all have different ideas of equality, focused on the singular value.

                I’m not trying to deny that men are discriminated against in law or the courts. I’m pretty sure I haven’t denied that, but if I have, please let me know where/when I said it.

                I’m neither hateful, nor religious. I’m trying to tell you that I’ll listen to you if you want to tell me what’s wrong. I don’t (can’t) know everything, and I’d like to understand where you’re coming from and what specific problems you face, because until i know that, I can’t even begin to empathize, converse, or help.

                I also don’t know who Andrea Dworkin is.

                • Feminism IS a religion. Well, cult actually.

                  I’ve had years of ‘concerned’.feminists asking for clarification… Here’s what I don’t get: you say you don’t know what issues face men, or how they feel about it…and you’re here ( where A marcotte – a featured author – wants MRAs banned…you know, those folks trying to tell you what’s wrong and what we want to fix it?)

                  I’m sorry, you have

                  • No right to ask what’s wrong. You know already…you just don’t like the answer.

                    Feminism, and modern entitled attitudes, are the problem.

                    • Well, I’m learning. I haven’t been on this site long, and I’m learning a lot, between the articles and comments.

                      An I think everyone has a right to ask questions, but you certainly don’t have to answer.

                      Hopefully we’ll understand each other eventually.

                    • IWantaThirdPill says:


                      I think your baseless attacks on Erin, who’s clearly trying to have an intelligent, civil discussion with you, are actually pretty similar to the sort of thing Andrea Dworkin used to do. As it happens, not recognizing that you’re doing exactly what the kind of person you’re opposing does is also something Andrea Dworkin did. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be pissed off, but I am saying the way you’re approaching this particular comment thread is not only rude, but also strategically counterproductive to your own stated goals. If you truly believe in what you say you believe in, then don’t allow yourself to fall victim to exactly the sorts of divisive assumptions and self-defeating strategies that feminism has (these strategies are also damaging to others). As I see it, anybody who’s willing to approach issues of gender in an open-minded, sensible manner, and who’s capable of avoiding the pitfalls of various entrenched dogmas (traditionalism, most forms of feminism, and discourses opposing feminism in a reactionary manner), ought to be welcomed into the discussion with open arms, and acknowledged as shining beacons of hope.

                      Anyway, it’s great to hear another insightful, ethically sensible voice entering the debate, Erin. Furthermore, I’m glad people are beginning to question feminism without becoming that which allows it to continue to justify its own misconduct (misogynists, that is). I’m personally concerned with teasing out the way feminism and reactionary forms of anti-feminism sustain one another. Anybody else with me on that one?

            • Julie Gillis says:

              Empathy, action, allowing cognitive dissonance. Thank you Erin, for your balanced comments. Some here will hear you but disagree. It happens. It’s part of the process.

      • Unforunately, you are incorrect when you say “we’re all on the same side.”
        I think Erin means “we’re all on the same side” in a “we share the same fate” sense.

        I’ve engaged in my own fire fights (a few with Erin on this very forum) but over the last few months I’ve been able to take the time to study the darkness while i was mired in it. I’m not completely over it but I am fighting back against it and one thing keeps me motivated.

        In the long run we will all either sink together or swim together.

        • Danny, I’ve read a few of your comments, and I like what you have to say. You’re right, I mean we all share the same fate. Because in the end, we have to cooperate if we’re going to succeed in creating greater equality.

          In reply to Factory, I’m not trying to say “let’s all get along” as in “let’s forget our troubles,” I mean that I want to hear about the world through the male lens, and learn what’s causing life to be tough for you, too. Both women and men face hurdles in life, and personally, I believe in trying to uplift each other, rather than dismissing each other. I get that you don’t have much interest in women’s issues, and that’s okay. Everyone gets to have their own values. What I’m trying to say is that I am here listening, and you can hate me or insult me, or you can accept that I’m here with good intentions and I’m not out to get you, and we can have some more productive conversations.

          • Erin, media and education are constantly blaring the trumpet about how hard the world is for women — and our legislation reflects that. We have 5 separate bodies under 3 different departments of the federal government dealing with women’s health despite the fact that men die of virtually every cause more than women. We have not one body or department for men’s health. There are 2-3 times more gender based scholarships for women available despite there being far more women applying to and graduating from college. Despite the fact that domestic violence is perpetuated by BOTH men and women, a significant majority of shelters only house women. None only house men. In familial courts, despite statistics showing that children are abused under single mothers FAR more than under single fathers, over 90 percent of the time custody is awarded to the mother. I could go on and on and on, but I’ll abbreviate my post here.

            In other words, while your idea of “let’s not dismiss each other” is a laudable goal, it’s somewhat laughable that your equating the ills of the two sides as being “equal”, when the law is clearly biased against one side. It’d be like white people during slavery telling black people that each side has its ills, and to not dismiss each other while “separate but equal” was on the books. Laudable goal, but totally laughable when viewed in context.

            • I would be surprised if men die more often of every possible cause, given that we all die, there are slightly more women than men in the world, so it begs the question: what do women die of, then?

              Women’s health has more governing bodies perhaps because of obstetrics? (I can’t say for sure, I’m not sure whose country’s laws you’re referring to—the US?) Women’s health receives more attention for a few reasons. The government sees childbirth as an important study of its own, the government regulates women’s bodies (choice and birth control issues), and because women generally received poorer health care than men until the most recent decade.

              Heart disease is woefully underdiagnosed in women, as are back problems, etc.

              There are currently more scholarships for women than men because of how unequal post-secondary attendance was until very recently (as in *within* the last decade).

              I agree with you that there’s a lack of social supports for men trying to escape abusive situations. As someone who has seen a few friends forced turn to shelters, I can tell you the system doesn’t do a good enough job for anyone. Spaces are limited, if you don’t have children, you’re not likely to get in. In general, we need to do more as a society to protect those among us who are being abused.

              I was having a really good chat elsewhere on this site with someone about custody in family law. I didn’t know much about it before (I’ve never been divorced, and the few friends I have who are don’t talk much about it). I do think it’s unequal, and I think it’s a big failure on the part of the justive system. I’d like to see more media coverage of the problem, and I wonder where we can start to try to ensure family law becomes more fair and balanced.

              The point of all this isn’t to get into an argument with you. The point is that you and I could each tab over to Google and pull up hundreds (probably thousands) of studies to throw in each others’ faces to prove each other wrong. Neither of us would have trouble producing evidence that women/men have it worse. I don’t think either group as a whole does. think it has a lot to do with other facets of life, including class and income, race, quality of parent/guardian (not in terms of being present, but let’s be honest, some parents won’t or won’t be able to give their child any advantages, to say the least).

              I don’t think the plight of the male today can be associated with that of black people before slavery ended, before the civil rights revolution, or even today. I think your analogy is exagerrated and also disrespectful to groups that truly suffered as a whole at the hands of oppressors. Go outside your door and I really don’t think the world we see is one so polarized (but then again, I don’t live in your end of town).

              Either way, even if we are your oppressors, you’re gonna need our help.

              • Side note, with regards to incarceration: I’m with you. Crap like this makes me sick.

              • Erin, where are the laws that overtly discriminate against women? There are laws in some states (north carolina in particular) that literally state that if a man hits a woman, he should have a longer sentence than if a woman hits a man because a man by definition is physically stronger than a woman — but they are quick to say that this logic CANNOT be used when it constrains women’s choice (i.e. if men are physically stronger than women such that they can be thrown in jail for longer on this account, then shouldn’t they be advantaged when it comes to firemen, soldiers, or even orthopedic surgeons? Of course not. That’s “unfair”.).

                And in full disclosure, I’m a doctor in the US — go look up the statistics for deaths of all kinds (infectious disease, cancer, heart disease, homicides, suicides, occupational deaths, military deaths, etc.) and you’ll see that men die more often than women. There are currently 4-5 million more women than men — because our demographic is skewed towards the young and infusions of an immigrant population (the latter of which are mainly men), it seems like there are equal men and women. However, life expectancy for women has been increasing relative to men throughout time (1 year more in 1920, now it’s about 5 years more and rising). Women in this country enjoy unparalleled access to medical care, have unmitigated access to abortion clinics over the age of 21 due to federal law, deaths from childbirth have been reduced to absurdly low levels in the western world, yet we STILL have 5 more bureaus of women’s health and NONE for men (who, again, die of virtually every cause more than women) in the federal government? In addition, despite the fact that the number 2 leading cause of cancer death in men is prostate and in women is breast, and that they die in equal numbers from each disease, the federal government funds breast cancer at a 2.5 to 1 margin. Exactly why aren’t my federal taxes going to each side equally if they both die equally from each disease? And better yet, how come the “gender equal” feminist groups haven’t taken up the charge of men on this matter? Imagine if the situation was reversed?

                Your argument about women and heart disease is specious because while heart disease is underdiagnosed, women die far far less than men from it. It’s tantamount to me saying that breast cancer is underdiagnosed in men. Women die from over 95 percent of breast cancer related deaths than men — it makes sense to focus on them. Heart disease is similar – it certainly doesn’t negate the fact that women’s health is a much much much higher priority than that of men with our federal government and legislative body.

                And considering your views on education — I presume then you now support more scholarships for men than women and affirmative action for boys for secondary and tertiary education as we did for girls when their enrollment numbers were lower? Somehow I’m guessing not, but if so, kudos to you.

                My analogy with black people is hyperbolic, but it’s not disrespectful at all. If anything, I’m giving due justice to that extreme example to illustrate how you (as a member of a group who is favored overtly in legislation and funding in the US) cannot tell me (as a member of a group who is NOT favored legislatively or via funding in the US) that things are “equal” because you can do a google search. The hope is that a favored group can think critically about their situation instead of suggesting that “it’s hard for them too” when legislation and statistics about dying suggest it totally isn’t.

                • I didn’t say there were laws that overtly discriminate against women. I agree with you on that point. In fact, under my last comment I posted a link to exactly the type of thing you’re talking about. I think women and men should receive equal sentences for equal crimes. Equality does not mean you get to pick and choose.

                  And yes, seeing as fewer men are entering and graduating from post-secondary, I do think they need more support. Scholarships are an obvious and good place to start. I didn’t explicitly state that, but I was saying that women received more support today because historically, they haven’t attended and graduated in equal numbers. I meant to imply that we have not been able to adjust yet to the upswing.

                  As for being a member of a favoured group, first of all, I’m not from the US. Second, I don’t think I’ve ever been a beneficiary of any kind of affirmative action or special treatment due to being a woman so far in life. I still may someday, who knows. To date, I haven’t received any subsidies, scholarships, special treatment in court (never been, mind you), etc. My point is that it’s still about the individual. I’m also not trying to tell you I’m personally hard done by. I have a pretty great life. I mean to say that for members of lower socioeconomic classes, life tends to be harder across the board.

                  My point is that there are still major problems that both men and women face. With women, it’s now mostly about attitudes in our society, as well as domestic and sexual violence. With men, it’s the criminal justice system, family law, a lack of general social support systems (in case of homelessness or abuse), and attitudes (as primary issues based on what I’ve been able to learn so far.) The kinds of attitudes that affect men include being expected to protect others, expected to be breadwinners, etc. I can’t add much to your account of health care for men, because in Canada, where I live, the situation is reversed based on parliamentary reports, and generally speaking, men and women receive closer to equal access to health care.

                  I just don’t think that dismissing the struggles and hardships of women furthers the men’s rights cause. I’m not saying men or women experience more hardship. Just that each gender is subject to some difficulties, inequality, and discrimination. I’m not arguing a lot of the subjects you bring up because I do agree with you. Where I don’t agree is where you state that women aren’t also experiencing these troubles. And my point about the google search wasn’t that things are equal, but that I could find numerous studies stating that women are receiving poorer medical care, and likewise for men. There’s a lot of conflicting research out there.

                  I absolutely don’t think men and women enjoy equality. I just think that both men and women face unique challenges, and that each issue facing either group deserves attention. I disagree with anyone who attempts to derail by saying “well, look at this aspect of women’s/men’s issues, clearly this group is being oppressed by the other.” I don’t think we oppress each other. I think we fail to understand each other and work together to create equality throughout various institutions and in society at large.

                  I think any feminist truly for equality should want to see men and women face the same sentences for the same crimes in criminal court, equal consideration in family law, equal support to obtain education, equal social support in case of poverty, homelessness, or abuse, and so on. I think both men and women have a ways to go, and that we can get there quicker if we actually listen and try to understand each other, rather than try to talk over each other and “win” at being the most hard done by.

                  • What are the major problems women face?


                    Look, yes there are womens issues like breast cancer…..why advocate for those and call that “balance” in a gender dynamic sense? Its already out of whack. Show me a womens issue, any one, and I will show you how women are already way out of balance with men.

                    This call to fairness and reason Im sure is heartfelt, and you can see women lapping it up as well as our friendly self effacement males.

                    Appeals to listen and not try and ‘win’ and all that……guess what you are doing. You are trying to make a conversation, not a solution. because if one can drag out a conversation, and use words like balance and win-win and fairness and both sides etc… will get lots of doses of empathy.

                    To state facts and address those….well, not so much empathy there.

    • Here’s the extent of female understanding:

    • Carl Menger says:

      I’ve said many times that a large part of the current problem between men and women is that men did not have a corresponding “Mens movement” to the “Womens movement”. Women made monumental changes in the late 60s and later, that men have yet to adjust to. To this day many, maybe most men are not sure what is expected of them in their relationships with women. Women have, by and large, learned to speak up for themselves. That’s a good thing, but men seem to think that the only response to that is to submit meekly, as the author describes his friend doing. To some degree, I think, this irritates women even more (I could be wrong, this is just my perception, and I am male). Anyway Erin, I’d be interested in that dialog you’re seeking, and I think I can keep the blame out of it.

  16. “well, it’s about time.” Funny how the attitude that whe universe came into existence on one’s own birthday (the ahistorical narcissist perspective) causes many to ignore the larger, longer dialogue. This article, “A Word for Men’s Rights,” was published in 1856. That’s an “18,” not a “19,” there.

  17. Anonymously Annoyed says:

    I’ve seen a lot of comments, both here and on Hugo’s resignation statement, that claim GMP is become anti-feminist. Is that really a bad thing? Should feminism be without criticism? If there is evidence to show that feminism is not in practice what it claims to be in theory, should we not embrace the truth instead of denying it like some religious ideologues from centuries ago threatening to burn someone at the stake for insinuating that the earth is in fact round and not flat?

    I don’t frequent this website very much due to its usual pro-feminist feel…I read the occasional piece. But reading an article like yours is refreshing. I think we need to look deeper into the way males are made out to be society’s scapegoat for just about anything evil. If not evil, then we’re at least childish, stupid and need to grow out of our Peter Pan syndrome so we can all be good providers/protectors (i.e. disposable utility) for women. If women were liberated from their roles, why are men still expected to keep up their end of the old bargain? The men who do attempt to liberate themselves and try to live life as they truly want are the ones you hear complaints about needing to “man-up”, “be a real man” and such. I suppose the female equivalent, “woman-up” is never heard because it would mean “get back in the kitchen” and we’ll never go back to that…not that we would want do. But it’s strange that it’s politically incorrect to tell women to “get back in the kitchen” while the male equivalent is so socially acceptable it’s become a catchphrase.

    That’s all I have for now….happy holidays!

  18. C.A. George says:

    I enjoyed your article Tom, and I think it’s great that you stood up and spoke up.

  19. Great to see Mr. Matlack take a stand on women and men being different. What seems obvious to most is verboten speech for some. It reminds me of the 1960’s when I took part in some activism for women and was told by the feminists at the time to basically shut up, that I didn’t have any idea of what it was like to be a woman and to just be quiet and listen. Now these same women are telling us that they are the experts on being a man and on masculinity. The arrogance of this stance is monumental. The double standard boggles the mind.

    Good men don’t let lies and liars hurt others. Good on you Mr. Matlack.

  20. Kimberly Lee says:

    It’s interesting that women are blamed for taking up “emotional dialogue” and for men feeling as though they have to succumb to certain gender roles. I don’t for a minute doubt that being a man can be confusing in this time and age, but to blame women for the confusion I think is a bit misguided. These gender roles have been in existence for a long time, and confusion has occurred as feminists attempt to break through the these taken for granted gender roles and fight for women’s rights. The media has played a part in confusing the situation as well; just look at how both women and men are portrayed in the media, and I think you touch on that in your article.
    But are women to blame for this portrayal and confusion? I really don’t think so. Perhaps we dominate the emotional dialogue because society tells us that’s how women are and how they act? And men don’t, or feel they can’t because society tells them they can’t or shouldn’t.
    Of course, as individuals, we all play a role in society and we all have played a part in perpetuating these stereotypes, and I don’t doubt that men often feel attacked, possibly by women. But this article seems to portray women, especially those who are vocal about the oppression of women, as aggressive and man-hating, and revel in the oppression of men as revenge?
    Do you realize that the your friend who loves his wife and jokes about having to be deferential to her at all times for fear of raising her “wrath” is demeaning his wife in that joke? Because her anger, or her dissatisfaction with his responses couldn’t be because she has a legitimate reason for being upset, it must be because she’s so sensitive. And men have no choice but be oppressed and deferential because otherwise they will be seen as sexist pigs. Really? I think both men and women need to be given a little more credit than that.
    To blame women as a whole for the so-called oppression of men as evidenced by the examples given in this article is a stretch to say the least.

  21. Sting Chameleon says:

    We’ll gladly welcome you in our ranks Tom. Your taskmasters have thrown you under the bus, it’s time for you to join your brothers in the battle against misandry.

  22. I had to backtrack a lot to find this:
    Miss Representation Facebook page –> Hugo Schwyzer’s criticism –> your Twitter –> Amanda Marcotte’s Twitter –> here

    Based one what I read, I am shocked that this isn’t more offensive. I was expecting something extremely different. If I’m understanding correctly, the main idea is that a sensitive, masculine man might handle a conversation differently from a sensitive, feminine woman. That being a “good man” doesn’t mean becoming more feminine, but expanding the definition of masculinity, and that shouldn’t be defined as “more feminine.”

    It reminds me very much of the feminist topic that a “good female politician” is more masculine. That women debating in politics should act like the male peers. Women politicians should not be considered less effective for traits that are typically considered “feminine.” In the same vein, men should not be expected to enter formally “feminine” topics of conversation from a feminine perspective. It’s simply masculinity applied to a new front.

  23. Tom…you finally get it…or at least you’ve finally said so here.

    Unlike so many of the current detractors on this post are saying; it has never been about “hating women,” or “wanting to go back to the good old days.” It has been about finding balance. Few men want to see women go back to the way things used to be. We don’t want to dominate our marriages and/or relationships. We want the partners we were promised…through good times and bad; through sickness and health; until death do us part. Both men and women can do the “heavy lifting” in a relationship, but lately…men have been getting the short end of the stick and many of us are fed up with it.

    I want my sons and daughters (when we decide to have some) to grow up in a world where they are valued for the people they are, not for the reproductive equipment they are born with. I do not want to see young men made to feel as if they are some sort of lower life-form simply because they are male. But that is what is happening today and few people seem invested in stopping this. Young men are in crisis, especially young men of color…but who truly gives a damn? Who?

  24. This article is interesting, because it really highlights the male v. female internet pissing match.

    I agree that some women treat all men as threats, but demanding a smile or hello is no one’s right. Sometimes someone is just having a bad day. Also, just because you’re a good guy, it doesn’t mean any woman owes you anything. Not a chat, not a date, etc.

    However, I won’t say that men aren’t sometimes vilified. But. Women, and especially feminists, are vilified, too. For every time a woman assumes you might roofie her drink, a man assumes a woman can’t run a business, or succeed professionally. For every time a woman refuses to make eye contact with you because she’s scared, a man refuses to make eye contact with a woman because he sees her as inferior. For every time a woman increases the distance between the two of you during a meeting, a man actually does inappropriately touch a woman. For every time your words are misinterpreted, a woman’s are.

    This type of debate of how to best portray oneself based on the gender binary is irrelevant to progress. The key is not for men to behave the “right” way. The key is mutual respect and healthy curiosity about other individuals. Don’t ask how women expect you to communicate. Just communicate. Effectively. As in, ask questions and don’t make assumptions. Don’t feel sorry for yourself because one woman wants you to emote and another wants you to drag her by her hair to your cave. Understand that women are also subjected to conflicting societal expectation. Some men want us to be “one of the guys” or they label us crazy. Some men want us to want to have millions of babies, or else they label us heathen. And there are more labels. Oh so many labels. So try to drop the labels, and ask the individual person you’re speaking to “why?”

    You might learn something…

    • ‘Scuse the very uncool practice of commenting first on my own post, but I meant to get to something and …forgot. Heh.

      When women judge prematurely and excpect all men to be macho or otherwise, and assume men are whiny privileged jerks, it’s a lot like when men judge feminists and call them demanding, spoiled brats.

      And please, please don’t take every feminist article about gender relations as an attack. Women misspeak, just as men do. I’m guilty of saying “men suck” (even to my very un-sucky fiance) at times out of exasperation. But when I say those words, I’m often referring to past abusive relationships, or to a man who marginalized me and spoke over me in a business meeting.

      Sweeping generalizations (like mine) suck. But sometimes we fail to communicate effectively because something is overwhelming to us. When I say “men suck,” my very un-sucky fiance asks me why I say that. And it reminds me not to say it, without chastizing me. And it gives me a chance to share my frustrations with him. And he listens, which is why he is the bomb.

      • Lisa Hickey says:

        Nicely said, Erin. Been there too.

      • Great post Erin, same here too.

      • ‘woman’ and ‘feminist’ are not the same thing. I love women. I hate feminists.

        • I really want you to know that I don’t hate you, nor do I hate men in general, nor MRAs in general. I wish I could make you understand that feminism doesn’t mean hatred against men. Maybe for some women and men it does, but it’s a viewpoint that can only hurt both sexes.

          Your interpretation of feminism differs from mine, and I get that when I identify as a feminist your hear “man-hater” or “anti-MRA” but I’m not that person. I wouldn’t be spending so much time here if I wasn’t trying to get a grasp of the MRA point of view. MRAs are right when they point out that their perspective isn’t represented in media. That’s why I’m learning now. Because the problems and ideas presented weren’t available to me in other media, and I feel like I need to have a balanced view of the hardships both sexes face.

          It is possible to support both women’s and men’s rights. I just want you to know that it’s what I’m trying to do.

          • And I wish to make you understand that the dictionary or you description of what feminism Means to you has ZERO bearing on how feminism affects men. And there is plenty of feminist hate and injustice directly attributable to feminism, and feminists.

            None of which is even acknowledged, let alone addressed, by ‘reasonable’ feminists. All we see is hate and condemnation. And when we tell you that, your response is meal-mouthed defense lawyer tactics, denial, and minimization.

            And you’re the kind of feminist that ‘cares about men’? Gee, I wonder why you have such a crappy rep…

            You deserve it.

            MODERATOR’S NOTE: This comment is an ad hominem attack and not allowed under our commenting policy. This is a warning. Further comments that are in violation will be removed. See complete commenting guidelines here.

    • Just like he is not entitled to a smile ,eye contact or a chat neither should you expect WHY ? .if you say something and someone chooses to uses that to judge so be it .dont ask men to be respectful yet double talk and when you say some thing is viewed as assholish from a guy point of view they should stop and go but WHY .

      • I guess I miscommunicated. I don’t mean that I think I’m entitled to a “why.” I just think it’s more productive. And I intented to advocate both men and women asking that question to try to understand each other.

        I didn’t mean to imply that it is or should be a one-way street. My entire point was that no one is entitled to anything from anyone else, but if we want the world to be better for everyone, there is something we can do in trying to understand each other and look out for our fellow people. That goes for men and women. And it’s also a choice for each individual. I think this would help us understand each other, but it’s just my opinion, and you’re more than welcome to disagree.

    • Transcend the gender binary by having equal compassion for men as you do women. To assume gender roles and expectations are ok for men but not for women creates a gender binary.

      • I don’t think gender roles are any more ok as applied to men than women.

        “The key is mutual respect and healthy curiosity about other individuals.”

        The entire point of that comment was to show the experience I’ve had as a woman, but to point out repeatedly that rigid gender roles harm both men and women, and that if a woman tells you how to be, it’s wrong, and if a man tells me how to be, that’s wrong, too.

        I think you may be misreading what I’m saying.

  25. I share many of the same frustrations as you Tom. But I don’t feel this article is a good representation of my own experience with women. Relationships are very complex. We meet people who we feel want to change something we feel is essential to who we are. It’s very easy to look at gender and point our finger at it as the culprit. It’s because we are men, and they want us to be more like women. That’s the easy answer isn’t it? We don’t need to look a little deeper. If we did, we’d see that maybe they just aren’t a good match for us. Feeling that a woman wants to change your essential maleness may be that clue.

    I can’t think of one day where I felt my wife wanted me to be more like a women. She’s wanted me to express myself more emotionally. But there’s been times when she wanted me NOT to be emotional because she couldn’t handle it. So what am I to say about what ‘she is doing to me’ in those times?

    There is so much discussion about what women are doing to men, and what men are doing to women. There are greater forces at play here. But we never go there. We can’t seem to ever get past this “us vs. them” struggle. That blinds us, always will.

    The ecosystem includes how women respond to men’s behavior AND how men respond to men’s behavior. How we ALL are reinforcing gender stereotypces. You don’t watch a football game if only one team shows up for the game. There are interactions coming from all directions. We can’t pretend like there isn’t.

    Often, I feel like I am being pulled in two directions. By women and men. They both want to narrow my base of experience based on what they think a man should be. But how do I unsubscribe from both philosophies and find some freedom to evolve my own? That’s the question.

    • Lisa Hickey says:

      HI Chris,
      What we are doing here — and what we do best, I believe — is getting a whole, diverse group to tell their stories. Of *their own* experience as men. They might be the same, they might be different — but ultimately there is something most other men — and those women who are supportive of what we are doing here — can get some insight from.

      That was what was most baffling to us about the “feedback” to Tom. He was writing about his own experience. This was in the middle of a whole series about “the presumption of male guilt”, but his piece also stands alone. We want everyone to be able to express their own POV freely. I invite you to submit your own story that does the same. thanks.

      • Lisa,
        I understand and that’s how I took it. Course that’s why we have a comments section so we can express our reaction. I think we learn the most from the feedback section because that represents a community response, and I certainly appreciate Tom’s article to spark it. If you are surprised by the reaction then that may be an insight into some of your own expectations as to how men would receive Tom’s experience.

        Maybe men are not only different from women in many ways, but maybe we are different from each other in substantial ways as well. It seems expressed pretty well in all the comments above. So I hope Tom or others don’t view our feedback as threatening or as attacking because then the content of what we are saying get’s lost in the process.

      • Lisa:
        This is a feminist website, used to try and indoctrinate men and defuse the men’s moment ( don’t try to deny it, I’ve read the Ms Magazine quote), this is NOT a place for men to talk openly. This is a place where feminists openly advocate for the censorship of men’s voices they disagree with…feminists that are Featured Writers here, no less.

        And gee, what’s so unwelcoming about knowing there are just some things men aren’t allowed to say in polite company? It sure is a good thing we have you feminists here to tell us men what we should feel, how we should think, and the things we should be concerned about.

        The only thing more ridiculous than the assertion men can speak freely here is the assertion that you have anything less than malicious intent behind the establishment of this site.

        MODERATOR’S NOTE: This comment is an ad hominem attack and not allowed under our commenting policy. This is a warning. Further comments that are in violation will be removed. See complete commenting guidelines here.

    • I love what ou said here. I’m so tired of this “girls against boys” mentality that pervades the discussion anytime gender is brought into the equation. When we talk about advantage and disadvantage, generally we’re hoping to solve a problem, and focusing on whether or not something happens predominantly to one gender or another serves to polarize us and create further inequality and discord.

  26. This is funny.
    Tom writes an article about how women constantly blame men,and he receives more blame as a result.

    Now that your gyno masters have turned upon you Tom,you are welcome among us kind hearted MRA’s who actually believe good men do exist.

    We will not turn upon you for your gender as the wymyn have done.
    Open arms buddy!

    Ours is a message of love and hope, not dark oppression like the rad-fems.

    Yes, we do dare to speak out in our defense, it’s called basic human rights wymyn,get used to it, it’s going to be happening a lot more!

    • Both men and women deserve to be treated fairly. I wish your perspective wasn’t so exclusive. There are valid causes for both men and women to pursue.

      Blame is thrown back and forth all over this message board. It’s disappointing, and a step backward. There’s no need to be adversarial. Women and men can work together to make the world a better place for *people*

      I really think that’s the goal of both MRAs and feminists. To make the world more equitable and better for everyone. We approach it differently, support different causes, sometimes in conflict, but it takes all kinds and it takes discussion. I truly think that people do things because they believe they’re doing the right things. People try to act fairly. There’s no reason to split boys and girls up, and erect a fence in the middle and lug stones at each other. A productive dialogue would be better for everyone.

      • I agree so much with you on that Erin. Men and Women need to learn to stop building a fence between themselves and to stop the stupid fight and start learning to work together to make the world a better place for everybody. Why can’t we see each other as “people” intead of dividing the human race in a man-woman war where nobody is going to win? I think it would be much helpful to humanity if both MRA’s and feminist would stop throwing stones at each other and start to find a common ground to help all people who is oppresed and suffering from inequality.

        • Well then you feminist types might want to pay attention to the thngs men actually care about, rather than trying to foist your own ‘goals’ for men, and deny and minimize the concerns men actually have.

          And you CONSISTENTLY minimize and dismiss and redirect mens actual concerns..

          Let me ask you this: What do you think men care about more? Parental and Reproductive rights, or the right to wear a skirt?

          Because I see a lot of feminists talking about the skirt thing, and completely dismissing mens concerns over parental and reproductive rights.

          Want to guess how that plays out?

          It’s plainly obvious that Feminism is about WOMEN, not men or equality, and that anything that goes against female self interest is automatically Not Good For Society(tm).

          YOUR concerns are not OUR concerns. But that never stopped a Feminist from trying to tell men what to be, and what they care about….

          And you folks wonder why we hate you so much…

          • Feminism is defined as (from “The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.”

            Equality is the key word, to me. But people will interpret things differently. I know there are a lot of feminists out there who I’d disagree with on a lot of issues, and other I’d see eye-to-eye with. Just like men advocating for men’s rights have different points of view on certain issues and different approaches to advocacy.

            I hope you don’t really feel like women try to tell you what you want and what to be. That’s terrible. It’s the kind of chip on the shoulder some feminists carry, too.

            I wish you didn’t hate all feminists, though. That’s sad.

            • Erin:

              Feminists deserve nothing but contempt for subscribing to their hateful religion. There is no such thing as a feminist that doesn’t hate men to at least some degree. And there is no such thing as a feminist that ‘stands up for men’ as evidenced by not only the silence from feminists regarding the radfem hub stuff, but the complete and utter failure by feminists to even give the impression that men mean anything other than disposable beast of burden to them.

              Hell, you even dismiss MRAs…people who are actually speaking up about men’s issues…as ‘not speaking fo men’…THEN you folks proceed to tell us what we REALLY want…

              You might say that you’re ‘not like that’. In my view, you are exactly as innocent as a concentration camp guard. You might not do objectionable things, but you enable those who do, and defend their results.

              I’m glad you all turned on Tom though….it shows just what feminists mean when they say ‘good man’…

              Sort of like others say ‘good dog’.

              I just hope your hatred and ‘concern’ is returned to you and yours a thousand-fold. No mercy, no forgiveness.

              Oh, and Merry Christmas.

              • For one, feminism isn’t religion. I don’t hate men. I hate people who hurt other people. Sometimes that will be men, sometimes women. I don’t hate men. You don’t have to believe me, but you also don’t get to tell me how I feel.

                I’m sorry if I gave you the impression I think you’re a disposable beast of burden. I don’t think that, never said it, but if it helps at all: I don’t think that. I think you’re a person with thoughts, feelings, and a passion for men’s rights. And none of that is negative.

                I don’t remember saying men’s rights groups don’t speak for men in such a simple context. I believe I have stated several times, though, that not all men’s rights groups and activists speak for *all* men.

                I’m sorry we’ve invoked Godwin’s law here. I don’t see how I enable anyone to do objectionable things. I don’t get to okay the actions of others, nor do I provide a platform for anyone other than myself. I’m not even sure what you’re accusing me of here. I’m trying to listen to and understand you, and tell you I think your concerns for men’s rights are valid. I just disagree with blanket condemnation of any number of people based on shared ideology. Not all Catholic priests molest little boys. Not all feminists want to steamroll you.

                I, personally didn’t turn on Tom, nor am I in any way affiliated with the people who did. You’re lumping me in with people I’m not associated with, and you’re putting words in my mouth and trying to ascribe ideas to me that aren’t my own. I’m not doing that to you.

                I hope you can find some comfort and happiness in life. I hope you find people who treat you with respect, so you don’t have to be so angry and feel so marginalized. I don’t wish you any harm, I just wish we could work together instead of fighting.

                I’m really unsure about the sincerity of your “Merry Christmas,” but really, have a good one. Enjoy your friends and family and whatever you do. I hope we can have more productive and mutually beneficial discussions in the future.

                • Feminism most definitely IS a religion, as you would know if you’ve ever debated one…in exactly the same way a fundamentalist of any other stripe behaves.

                  Maybe not all feminists hate men…but the only ones doing anything, the only VISIBLE feminists are the man hating kind. The only time we see ‘egalitarian’ feminists is when they are defending their religion. And they NEVER criticize feminist thinking…only it’s detractors. There is no difference, practically speaking, between you and Andrea Dworkin ( she is a co inventor of Patriarchy theory, and therefore has shaped YOUR understanding of gender…and she was a radical mandating feminist).

                  You do NOTHING to stop the hateful ideologues harming men…and you have the nuts to posit MRAs just don’t understand’? We understand a lot better than you do, that’s for sure.

                  As long as you defend Feminism, I will regard you as an enemy functionally identical to a genocidal white supremacist. Look into radfem hub to see why that analogy is 100% accurate…

          • Tom, thank you for your article.

            It is high time men were proud of being men, in whatever collection of virtues and vices that each individual man considers define his incarnation of manhood. The time of asking feminists for permission has passed; there is no benefit to men to bow and scrape to those few women who have malignant views on men and human sexuality.

            It is high time too that women who stand up to be counted amongst those humans who want true equality, that they are cut loose from the ruined reputation that is feminism. Feminism was never about benefit for all women, it was for shifting power from all women into the hands of a few women. In essence feminism modelled their matriarchy on their nemesis the patriarchy. There are some, very few, good women. Only if they are encouraged to work with men, instead of against them, will those of us who care be able to improve and rebuild our societies.

  27. This is the silliest thing I’ve heard in a while.

    “Why do men get blamed for everything?” “Why can’t women accept men?” “Why is ‘masculine,’ always wrong?” “Why do women want men to be more like them.” “Why are men’s voices not a bigger part of pop-culture?”

    “And most of all – why can’t we move away from generalization?” If there’s too much generalization about gender, it’s because you’re writing it. Try again – with concrete examples about individuals this time. See if you can manage it.

  28. NB: Most of this comment is super heteronormative, but it’s in response to a conversation that is almost exclusively talking about heterosexual cisgendered folks. Oh, and, judging from preceding comments, this probably isn’t going to be that popular, but, whatever…

    I read this post last week, around when it was posted, and had an initially bad reaction to it. I didn’t think to respond, however, until hearing of the “The Wrath of the Feminists” page, which struck me as particularly bad form. Mr Matlack, here, took criticism so poorly as to use a space he supposedly dedicated to sorting out a what a “good man” is in order to mischaracterize feminists as wrathful (because that’s never been done before).

    At any rate, my initial misgivings about this article stem from my own discomfort with the tiny boxes afforded to masculinity and femininity. I’m a man. Heck, at times, I even do “manly” things (like teaching martial arts classes, working out, fixing computers and working on my car). However, I’ve never been properly masculine, according to the sort of rigid definition assumed in the OP here. Further, and perhaps this is projecting, I don’t think any of us guys fit neatly into the standard definition of “masculine” and, when we make every effort to, we deny very important parts of ourselves, even if it gives us temporary comfort to do so (because of the collective acceptance of such “masculinity”).

    There’s more I find disheartening about this piece than just the male/female “quite different” binary relied upon in order to make the argument. There’s also this issue of “blame,” which is framed really oddly in the post. “Why do men get blamed for everything?” is a garbage question. Men most certainly do not “get blamed for everything,” though men get the spotlight a lot more than women with regards to both blame and credit, which could cause you to draw this wrong idea if you were more sensitive to criticism than to accolades. And this seems to be the case given the “The Wrath of Feminists” post.

    I also take issue with your argument that “dudes as a gender” are portrayed as “assholes” in “popular culture.” Perhaps some men, but also men are portrayed as world leaders, inventors, scientists, doctors, and so on, to such a degree that, just a few years ago, there was real political discussion about whether or not a woman could handle being president.

    This is further troubling: “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.” First, it suggests that there exists one female view and there exists one male view, which is absolutely wrongheaded. There is more variance among men and women (in terms of world view) than between us as groups. Further, it sounds like there are things to work out in that relationship; I certainly can’t be sure what they are, but to suggest that your friend’s relationship is symptomatic of “women [not] accept[ing] men for who they really are” is quite a leap of logic.

    I would suggest that the problems men face with regards to our “slow[ness] to reveal our inner thoughts and feelings” stems more from popular constructions of masculinity (where “manning up” is the same thing as stuffing your feelings back down into your chest, where boys get called “sissy” by *other boys and adult men* for being sensitive or reflective, etc.) than from any sort of fascism of femininity as portrayed in your article. As a man who was often called a “faggot,” “queer” and so on, who was told that if I want to be respected, I need to learn not to cry, I will tell you straight-up that such policing of my masculinity almost *never* came from women, but from other boys (who were improving their status) and men (who thought they were helping).

    Perhaps I’m not “all dude” enough for this new “male vocabulary,” but, as I’ve matured, I’ve found that there is not one thing on my mind that needs expression that I cannot express to a woman as easily as to a man. I also feel no need to call feminists “wrathful,” so perhaps we’re just in different places in our lives.

    My last point, and perhaps this is more about the “The Wrath of the Feminists” selective tweet blog post, is that it’s important, it’s critical, that we listen to one another. It’s important that the OP’s friend, who is deferential to his partner, and this partner figure out a way to communicate where both of them speak and are heard. Similarly, when your supposed allies offer up a critique of the points you’re making, it’s important to listen and not to get defensive, as was the case with regards to both feminists and people of color in the back-and-forth on twitter. There needs to be a space for women to be heard without being cast as shrews just as there needs to be a space for men to be heard without being cast as unmanly. It may just be that simple, but the OP seems more focussed on holding up classical masculinity as the thing men should be better able to express (never mind that there is plenty of space for that already). That’s more than a little disturbing when coming from the creator of “The Good Men Project.”

  29. I’ll be honest. What I see here is someone looking outward, asking what’s wrong with his critics, rather than looking inward and honestly examining how he may have fumbled his intended message. Your piece titled “Being a Dude is a Good Thing” (and your tweets about it) engendered some heated responses. Here you attempt to understand why this happened, not by asking how you might have failed in communicating your message, but by asking what’s wrong with feminism. I think you have it backwards.

    I see a repeated contradiction, both in the “Being a Dude” piece and in this one. I’m supposing that this contradiction is what’s really causing most of the confusion and frustration among the feminists who have responded. The contradiction is between your assertion that you don’t and won’t generalize about gender, and your tendency to do exactly that.

    I’ll explain what I mean. You claim that you don’t believe in gender essentialism. “The variety of first person stories on our site shows, if nothing else, that I value the unique experience that every man has in negotiating his own maleness,” you wrote. Also: “I understand that there are as many different kinds of men (and women) as there are men (and women).” Most contemporary feminists would wholeheartedly agree with that. They would characterize gender strictly as a cultural construct, one which limits both men and women. So whenever we talk about gender differences, we feminists like to be very careful and very clear: these are not innate qualities we’re talking about. These are sets of cultural expectations into which all people are conditioned. The differences between males and females may be biological, but the differences between men and women are invented by society.

    The contradiction comes in when you say things like this: “Why do men get blamed for everything?” What an extreme generalization! I mean, really? EVERYTHING? And then of course you claim, “women would really like men to be more like them.” Do you see how this premise is deeply at odds with your other claim, that every person is an individual? How can women be unique individuals, each expressing her womanliness in a different way, but at the same time they all want men to be more like them? In fact, that makes no sense at all. If women are genuinely different from one another — as many different kinds of women as there are women, right? — then how can they want men to be more like them? There’s no “them” for men to be like. Are you saying each individual woman wants men (or her man) to be more like her, as an individual?

    No, that’s not what you’re saying. You’re saying that although there are as many different masculinities as there are men, and as many different femininities as there are women… there is still such a thing as masculinity. There is a way that men simply “are.” You never define what this quality of masculinity actually is, but you operate on the assumption that it exists. You write: “Men and women are different. Quite different in fact.” Also: “My point is that men and women are different, thankfully.” But… are they? Are men and women so different? On the one hand you say you’re not a gender essentialist, but on the other you insist that there is a difference between the genders. Is this a difference in how men and women have been socialized?

    Please try to see the contradiction I’m seeing here. You say that being a man is not one single thing. Being a man means different things to different men, and is as varied as the number of men on earth. Yet at the same time, “to be a man is to be unacceptable at some level to the woman in your life.” How can that possibly be? The only way that can be true is if being a man has a single definition — which you insist it does not. How can being varied individuals be objectionable to women? It makes no sense, unless “to be a man” involves having a specific set of “man” traits. You dance around this idea, refusing to pinpoint what set of traits constitutes masculinity. Try to understand that it’s discomfiting to be told that you’re not accepting some inherent trait that your partner desperately wishes to express, but which you find distasteful — especially when that trait is never described or defined. You ask: “Is a good man more like a woman or more truly masculine?” To the mind of a person who views gender roles as artificial constructs imposed on people by their culture, that question makes absolutely no sense. In other words, to most feminists it makes no sense.

    My point is that if you want to talk about the way men and women are socialized, perhaps you should say so. There is an interesting conversation to be had about how gender expectations negatively impact people, but also about the gender-associated qualities which can be positive and constructive, if we would only value them appropriately. But if you truly do not believe that men and women display inherent traits that are embedded in their genes, it’s entirely unclear from your writing.

    You go to great pains to say that you don’t care for generalizations. But even the question, “Why can’t women accept men for who they really are?” is so riddled with generalizations, false accusations, unexamined assumptions about gender… It positively stings in the feminist mind.

    You hint around the problem of socialization when you assert that one of the things men may have done poorly, as a gender, is being reluctant to talk about inner thoughts and feelings. But that, you theorize, is because women have dominated emotional language. It sure sounds like you’re BLAMING women for men’s perceived failure in that arena. Wait – which gender is it that’s getting blamed for everything again?

    No, I don’t think you actually meant to blame women, per se. But this is the stage in the conversation in which feminists point out that, indeed, boys are socialized into a confining set of gender expectations that include not expressing their feelings readily or openly. And gender socialization is an artifact of (patriarchal) society, reinforced by both men and women — for patriarchy needs the willing participation of both men and women in order to perpetuate.

    I appreciate what you’re doing with the Good Men Project, and I’ve been especially impressed with how eagerly you’ve created spaces for different viewpoints and for open discussion on your website. I hope you’ll consider that the backlash you stirred up may very well have been the result of your muddled message, rather than some problem inherent to the feminist movement. Feminism, by the way, has never in its history been one single thing, any more than men are any one single thing or women are any one single thing. Rarely is it helpful to generalize, even in asking questions.

  30. Huh, looks like my comments about transcending the gender binary aren’t welcome here. Sorry, have fun fitting everyone into neat little gender boxes. I’m going to go cry, bake and blame my boyfriend for everything. *eyeroll*

    I’m very disappointed in this site. I thought you were actually getting somewhere talking about masculinity and how it limits men. But it looks like it is turning into just another MRA website.

  31. We don’t want men to be more like women. The problem that I see women having with men isn’t that they won’t talk about their feelings more. The problem is that many men either can’t or won’t see the world from any perspective but their own, or truly take others into account in their worldview. I don’t think that’s strictly a feminine ability, but experience keeps telling me that ability either isn’t valued by men or just is made more difficult by the flood of testosterone. This post chalking it up to “blame” from women doesn’t really help much either. Thoughtfulness – and adopting a wider perspective than your immediate wants and needs – isn’t that difficult. It also is probably easier for women after being second-class citizens and socialized to value what others want first. But I have to say, the fact this discussion is even happening is a positive step.

    • Wirbelwind says:

      men won’t tell you about their feelings because they are shamed for it later (check Hugo Schwyzer articles for some shaming tactics) or women tell men they are “scared” of them when men express feelings they do not approve of (sadness, anger, despair etc.).
      Men can only see things from their perspective because they are-well, men. For the same reason women can only see things from their perspective. Of course, it does not mean we shouldn’t have compassion for each other, but I won’t allow myself to be emasculated, made to wear high heels etc. to “feel how a woman has to live”. I think there is an article about such a self-hating man here somewhere.
      The longer I read feminist articles like “Why men rape”, “Politics of Hello” or ANY ARTICLE BY HUGO SCHWYZER I am grateful to voters in my country which did not vote for Women’s Party (it did not pass threshold).
      I am from Poland by the way.

    • I have brutal memories of my mother’s psychotic eruptions of anger whenever I tried to “share” my “feelings” with her during my childhood, vivid and brutal enough to convince me that this notion that women want men to “open up” is laughable. Women claim they want men to “be sensitive” and “open up”, but when men actually do, they resent them. Does anybody know what women really want?

      • I’m really sorry that happened to you. But just as women shouldn’t blame/fear all men when they’ve experienced abuse at th hands of a few, you shouldn’t blame and fear women because your mother was abusive.

        The right partner and respectful peers will encourage you to open up if and when you’re ready, but ultimately leave the decision to you. Any decent person won’t erupt in anger at another person’s reasonable self expression. I’m sorry you had to go through that, but just as all men aren’t rapists, all women aren’t emotionally abusive. The sooner you free yourself from that kind of stereotyping, the sooner you can start to heal and move forward.

        • by_the_sword says:

          @ Erin

          Guffaw!!! The age old Not-All-Women-Are-Like-That (NAWALT) argument. Please tell me why all men are treated as potential rapists, child molesters, sex-abusers, and violent felons? Why are all men viewed with suspicion by women and yet when a man expresses his actual experiences with a woman he is told NAWALT? (his own mother, by the way… isn’t motherhood supposed to be some sacred goddess/ nurturing instinct that all women possess)

          • Well, I don’t think all men are potential rapists, child molesters, sex-abusers, and violent felons. And I have no idea about this sacred goddess/nurturing thing. I think a lot of people (male and female) have varied aptitudes in different areas and can be great and shitty at different things.

            • Well, I’m not going to lie and pretend to know and understand things that I don’t. As I’ve mentioned, I’m here to learn and support, but I won’t dismiss women’s causes in favor of men’s. I’m trying to find a balance.

              To be fair, I didn’t say anything in the comment you replied to about “not knowing much about…”

              I said “I don’t think all men are potential rapists, child molesters, sex-abusers, and violent felons.” In response to the accusation that all women/feminists/I think that.

    • I think there’s a problem inherant with the way you interpreted the article, based on your response. You started by saying “We don’t want…”

      The issue here is that it’s a reaction in kind to Tom’s article. For one, you don’t have to apologize or explain on behalf of all women. Another thing is, you can’t. You can’t speak for the women who exist out there who do quash men’s emotions. You shouldn’t have to anyway. You can’t speak for me. I can’t speak for you. Neither of us can speak for all women.

      Women are not of a single mind. There are wonderful women in the world, there are hostile women, there are wonderful women having bad days, and there are hostile women having good ones. Just as all men shouldn’t have to answer for some men’s violent acts, all women shouldn’t have to answer for some women’s emotionally abusive acts. And I don’t mean to imply men are generally violent and women are generally manipulative, but these are two core issues this site explores repeatedly, so please let them stand as unassuming examples.

      Excuse me if this is too much semantics, but I just wanted to say I don’t think Tom’s intention was to make women feel personally attacked. And clearly, some women do feel attacked. But I like what you said, because it’s your perception. I’m glad you think men need to communicate more, because that tells me you want to listen. But I don’t think we can demand they communicate more. I also think that while some men won’t see the world from any POV but their own, some women are guilty of that as well.

  32. Much as I appreciate this site and its intent, in the future I would appreciate more evidence in support of your contentions, and more specificity.

    I, too, was rather affronted in this article. Of course it was because ‘I don’t experience so it must not exist’ – but it was also because you treated both genders as homogeneous units. I can respect that your intent was probably to speak to your personal situation, and to the sort of women who engage in that sort of behavior, but both men and women who are not exposed to this kind of behavior will be confused or angry at the articles presentation. For instance, my love would roll his eyes at the notion that he must ‘submit’ to me, because we can have long and involved arguments where we simply cannot agree. Such would not be possible if he were merely to submit (and what would be interesting in speaking to someone who had no mind of their own?).

    As an, erm, perhaps positive critique, you may wish to use the article: – it shows that women are more likely to commit (or admit to commiting) physical violence against their significant other. This can be used to show that women are often accepted, by society, to react violently because they are ‘harmless’, and that such reaction does not count as ‘abuse’ because, by supposed definition, abuse must be male-to-female. This of course doesn’t go into severity of abuse, but that’s not the point. The point IS, there are very many valid studies that show certain forms of female privilege and the apparent disinterest of society in revoking some of women’s power over men.

    Your article just… seemed to perpetuate societal stereotypes. I see your potential meaning, but not well.

  33. Paul Tiderman says:

    I wist to subscribe to your blog, Tom. But I did not seem to be able to find the “SUBSCRIBE” button. Will you help me, please. Thank you…

  34. Andrew D. S. James says:

    This post reveals more about your over-reliance on sweeping and flawed generalizations than it does about gender issues. I’m shocked by your post as a whole. I suppose vulgarity is a human right. I don’t think this conversation is the proper place for it – but to each their own. More to the point, you assume a gender studies professional would have a profoundly more woman-like relationship with his wife than a Navy SEAL. Really? That would be laughable if not so offensive. You assume that to understand issues in gender naturally makes one a woman. You assume that a Navy SEAL cannot be a compassionate partner. You conflate understanding and compassion with femininity. You demonstrate your own actual belief that emotional connectedness is in fact weakness while claiming to be speaking out against that. YOU are the problem …”dude”. You are the quintessential angry White male of privilege. You are so blinded by your privilege you cannot see that gender isn’t about women – it’s about us …ALL of us. This is without a doubt the most upsetting post I’ve read on this blog. I’m shocked that you’re a co-founder. I’m glad my male friends and family do not espouse the same values you do. I would hate to only know the world you come from.

    • Michael Rowe says:

      Oh, thank God. For a moment there, i was afraid no one was going to try to shame and trivialize Mr. Matlack’s exploration of a topic that clearly resonates with many, many evolved, liberal, pro-feminist, pro-LGBT men with shrill, trite, shopworn clichés like “angry White [sp] male of privilege” (itself surely a prime example of a “sweeping and flawed generalization.”) Well said, Andy,

      Now that Andrew has correctly identified Tom Matlack and The Good Men’s Project as the vile engine of sexist oppression that it is, there’s still time to put on our Indigo Girls CD and rustle up a delicious organic mung bean noodle casserole in time for the collective’s pot-luck supper and film night.

      And yes, for the record, I too am glad that “my male friends and family do not espouse the same values” Mr. Matlack does. Can you imagine how degraded the culture would be if it were populated by men who founded men’s websites dedicated to men asking themselves how to be better men–getting men to actually question their own place in the world, and what they owe to women, other men, their families, their friends, and society as a whole–men’s websites that provided a forum for both male and female writers, welcoming the latter even when the writing is critical and occasionally very harsh towards men in a way that no women’s website ever would if it were a man writing about women? Or who travels across the country, from prisons to schools and everywhere in between, asking men to take a long hard look at their lives, where they’ve come from, where they’re going, and what they owe?”

      And what could such a man ever know about gender, let alone the relations between men and women, or straight men and gay men, or straight men and lesbians, or, or, or…?

      No, good call Andy. You’ve demonstrated your own actual beliefs perfectly.

      • Andrew D. S. James says:


        You self-diminish the value of your reply by packaging it in patronizing sarcasm. It didn’t escape my notice that you then attempted to diminish my value by truncating my name to it’s shortened form. That’s a particularly savvy move on the “I have nothing to offer but vitriol” debate circuit. I suppose I could unpack what you’ve written by saying that, yes, The GMP offers a forum for discussion re: many issues. The point of the matter *here* is that Tom’s piece (and subsequent Twitter activity) is particularly troubling and offensive. His piece attempts to speak for all males and understand all women. This is classic White male privilege behavior. To mollify Tom’s writing by contextualizing it as part of the great work that The GMP does on the whole is a nonstarter. I cannot overlook the offensiveness of this piece just because other works have value.

        You make a valid point that Women are given a place to write critical pieces on TGMP. This is essential and appreciated. You point out that Men are not given an equal opportunity for this on Feminist blogs. What your example doesn’t account for is the difference in power that our society has ascribed to Men and Women. Women have license to write critically of this structure because it exits. Men, on the other hand, are privileged and face nothing resembling the systemic pressures and oppressiveness that Women face.

        Tom’s writing clearly demonstrates his disappointingly narrow views on how Men and Women relate, true masculinity, and what we must do as Men to move forward. Given these limitations I would very much appreciate it if he didn’t attempt to speak for me as a Male. I am on a different path. I would also appreciate it if he didn’t include any of the Women in my life in his generalized comments re: all Women. I do not know any of the Women he refers to.

        • “His piece attempts to speak for all males and understand all women. This is classic White male privilege behavior. ”

          “Men, on the other hand, are privileged and face nothing resembling the systemic pressures and oppressiveness that Women face.”

          Do you not see any inconsistency in these two claims? Reducing the complexity of our society to “men are privileged, women are oppressed” is not only doing exactly what you’re accusing Tom of (and in a fashion much more insulting to men who wish to be good), it’s also ignoring the many many other conflicting power structures people deal with.

          Black men, for example, are often less privileged than white women. But if you took a well-educated, articulate black man and put him next to a high school dropout, drawling white woman, I expect you’d find the black man in question to be more privileged. How about gay white men versus straight white women? Etc. Trying to claim that only one power structure exists with a clearly-defined hierarchy, across our entire society in all places, is absurd. Yet your comment admits of no nuance, nor of any belief that some men really have a harder time of it than some women.

          Discussions of privilege are useful for explaining some broad trends and for analyzing some aspects of interpersonal behavior, but usually I just see them used as dismissals by a non-privileged person of a privileged person’s views — as though oppression conveys infallibility. The white hats vs black hats mentality of most narratives of privilege might be gratifying, but it’s neither accurate nor helpful.

          • Andrew D. S. James says:


            You make excellent points. You’re absolutely right. I made no attempt to offer nuance to the discussion of privilege. Because of that it weakened my argument. In my defense, I kept it general because by merely mentioning privilege I was met with denial or diminishment of its existence. But yes, you are 100% correct. Privilege is not homogeneous nor, “a clearly-defined hierarchy, across our entire society in all places…” I defer to the correctness of your statements and am glad that nuance has been introduced into the discussion of privilege. This is a much better conversation to be having than the denial that privilege exists in our society. Cheers.

            • Yet you don’t mention female privilege at all. The privilege of living longer and enjoying better health and still having more health dollars lavished on them, the privilege of controlling the majority of personal wealth, the privilege of not being homeless, the privilege of not having to work in the most dangerous jobs, go to war, die on the job, the privilege of not having your viewpoint dismissed because of their privilege, the privilege of graduating at greater rates from university, the privilege of biased family law and gender unequal legislation that only addresses women’s concerns

              • Women have historically lived longer, but that might change drastically in 60 years or so, because women finally have the freedom to live their lives and enjoy vices as men always have, and increased rates of drinking, and rates of smoking increased in proportion to the number of male smokers (despite an over all decline in smokers) might bring the average life spans closer.

                Women have a harder time getting taken seriously and treated for a number of ailments, from sports injuries to heart disease. If more health dollars are “lavished” on women, I’d like to know where that money is spent. Maybe on obstetrics? So both little boys and girls can be born?

                Women definitely do not control the majority of personal wealth.

                They do not have the privilege of not being homeless. If you’re referring to women’s shelters, they’re usually for battered women trying to start a new life by leaving their abusive partners, generally they’re full, and if you don’t have children in your custody it’s very difficult to be accepted into the shelter.

                Men do not “have” to work the most dangerous jobs. You decide what job you want. Women are eligible as well for such jobs, and to go to war, and many have.

                The idea that your viewpoint is dismissed is disappointing, but we all feel that way at times. It happens to both men and women. It’s not a privilege that women receive. Anyone can come up with anecdotal evidence that they’ve been marginalized, but the truth is, sometimes everyone gets talked over. It really depends on the person you’re speaking to, and if they are dismissive with you, that’s their poor character and fault, and not the fault of another gender.

                University is not a privilege for anyone. Studies have shown that the greater female populations in post-secondary institutions is recent, and often the result of women paying their own way. Men used to attend universities in greater numbers than women. But there’s no need to resent an entire gender because there are more of them attending school than your gender. You don’t have to get defensive about statistics when you’re not being harmed.

                I don’t even want to touch on biased family law. I’ve seen personal friends’ divorces go strangely. Yes, I’ve seen a mother get custody when I personally believed the children were better off with the father. I’ve seen it happen the other way, too. But those laws are being challenged in courts, and I believe a more equitable or subjective solution will be found. The reason the law generally grants custody to the mother is because historically, the father was not willing to take on custody, and because historically, society has looked to women to raise our children.

                There are hardships for both genders, but getting sore about it heps no one. I don’t understand the resentment behind your comment. It reads as though you genuinely despise women, and see yourself as a disadvantaged, helpless person. None of us are helpless. I didn’t want to make 80 cents for every dollar as a guy in the next office cubicle, so I started my own business instead of complaining that it’s unfair. I employ one other person, a man, if you’re interested, and pay him the same rate I make. Instead of acting like the world is out to get you, why not try to improve your life, and then maybe even the lives of others?

                Maybe you in particular have gone through some really difficult things, and had bad experiences and relationships with women through no fault of your own. Of that’s the case, I’m sorry for you. But many women (myself included) have had a hard time in life and with men, too. Some lash out and hate on men and complain about every advantage a man receives compared to them, and others move forward, and decide to be decent people who don’t want to marginalize anyone. The ones who turn and resent an entire gender for their experiences are the losers. The ones who try to look at people as people and make the world a better place through their own actions are the smart ones.

                • “Women are eligible as well for such jobs, and to go to war, and many have”

                  Yes the difference is that women ARE NOT allowed to fight in the front lines. I would like to see
                  more feminist fighting for the right of women to fight on the front lines.

                • Why do you assume you got paid less because you are a women? Do you know some males get paid less than other males and the general disparity in wages are shown to be due to life choices not discrimination.

                  First you dismiss a huge disparity like women getting 50% more degrees as insignificant then try to use your anecdote about getting paid less at ONE job as a righteous claim to superior victim hood with men making up 90% of prisoners and you expect to win the victim Olympics? I am sure you know men are 90% of the work place deaths but what you don’t recognize is that choice is built around our culture of male disposability. We have no problem with throwing away men’s lives but hurry to protect women. It’s internalized in men from a young age that they have to put themselves on the line for the collective defense or be labeled cowards unworthy of love or respect.

                  Women don’t grow up with that so don’t give men a lecture on victim hood who have spent the past 50 years listening to women’s complaints. Soon as it’s your turn to listen you are ready to make excuses and turn the other way. I think that is sad.

                  • I am not referring to a specific job where I was paid less. I’m talking about a trend in my particular industry. That said, I’m sure no one would believe I went into business myself solely because I was worried about being paid less than a man. There are many reasons I decided to go into business for myself, and the biggest one is probably that it’s just the type of person I am. I’m happier finding my own work than having a traditional desk job where I have a salary. For me, the risks of working for myself are worth the benefits. Pay equity is a small part of the equation, and I am relieved I don’t have to worry about it, as long as I ask for a fair rate, I will receive it. I’m also happy that I can bring my own morality into action when I pay subcontractors, and hopefully someday employees.

                    I actually was not aware that women are earning 50% more degrees than men are now. If the difference is that significant, I’d think something should be done to bring balance back to the equation. I didn’t mean to be dismissive, but not having a firm grasp on the statistics (this isn’t something I’ve looked into beyond reading editorials as of yet) I can’t say much about that disparity for the time being. This is also a recent trend, and it will be interesting to see more thorough analysis.

                    I appreciate the vote of confidence, but must admit I also didn’t know that men make up 90% of workplace deaths. I don’t think it’s fair that society places men in a position of danger disproportionately with women. In an ideal world we’d all be safe at work. It is messed up to tell men to protect women. We should be teaching individuals to help and protect each other, regardless of gender. I hold the door whether there’s a man or woman behind me or coming out as I go in. That’s just common courtesy. By the same logic, if I saw a man at risk, I’d do what I could to help him, just as I would a woman.

                    I’m listening to what you and others are saying, believe it or not. I’m not trying to make excuses. I think this is more of a debate, where I state what I know and can source, and you and others do the same. We’re swapping information, albeit passionately. The key is that if we keep listening to each other and sharing experiences, we can make some really good things happen in life. I hope you don’t think I’m trying to dictate fact. When I make assertions that don’t match your own, I’m expressing what I think and know. I’m not trying to tell you how it is.

                    I also certainly wasn’t giving a lecture on victim-hood. I was just expressing my experiences and those of the people in my life. My comment was somewhat of a rebuttal, but I’m not standing on a soapbox yelling “It’s harder for women! Shut up, men!” I’m just trying to share what experiences and knowledge I have that can help me show you that there are reasons other people think differently than you do. You don’t have to change your mind, but it’s cool if you want to acknowledge that those reasons are valid, and that other people have lives that might not mirror your own.

                    I’m acknowledging that we each have our challenges, and learning from you folks in the process. I would hope that it’s a two-way street.

                    I personally don’t love this back-and-forth about “who has it worse?” because I don’t think it helps you or me. I’m not trying to one-up you or blow your mind with how hard women have it. That would only make you hostile toward me. At the end of the day, I don’t think *most* men or women suffer a great deal because of their gender. I think there are some very big problems with the world that we can only solve by working together, but I don’t think (but correct me if I’m wrong) that each day you or I rise from bed and look our the window and lament starting the day due to our possession or lack of a penis. I think you and I each face hardships of varying degrees at different times throughout our lives. I think we’re both better off as allies than as enemies.

                  • I want to add that when I respond to comments like yours (excuse the assumption, but I think you’re a strong supporter of men’s rights) I try to be careful with language. I want you to know that I don’t mean to dismiss any of your concerns, but that I hope you’ll consider my concerns in turn.

                    If I say something you find offensive, please let me know. And if you can do a better job of being civil than I have, please do! I made a mistake once. (Sorry, that’s such a dad joke—as in literally, my dad says it all the time).

                    It’s good we’re all here hoping to promote a better world. We can’t all be champions of every cause. I am more suited to support women’s causes because of my own life experience and the knowledge I have from the media I’ve chosen to consume. I imagine you make a way better men’s rights advocate for similar reasons. It doesn’t mean I intend to be at odds with you. You and I support different causes, but they’re not mutually exclusive. I think you’re genuinely trying to do what you can to make the world a better place. I’m doing the same. I think feminism and men’s rights will both do better if we can come to see them as complementary, rather than mutually exclusive. That doesn’t mean I expect you to buy into every feminist cause and claim, but I won’t buy into every men’s rights cause either. But we can find the situations in which collaboration helps us both. Thanks for the brain food 🙂

            • Justin Cascio says:

              I’m so glad to have found this comment thread, Andrew. Thank you, and I agree with you on the way that Matlack has conflated certain traits with femininity that sell men short: we are also compassionate and have emotional lives.

              In the one telling example that Matlack gives, of his friend who yields power to his wife, I see how he holds onto some very old essentialisms about power relations between the sexes. It’s that his friend is submissive, eyes cast down, that he sees as feminine. So feminine is submissive, masculine is dominant? How is this feminist, or egalitarian, or humanist?

              • The point was his friends should not have to be submissive. That should be obvious unless you are trying to misinterpret his comments to favor your preconceptions. A person who must always accept the submissive role is not in a egalitarian relationship. This is so much the case with men and feminism. Instead of taking part in the conversation on equality they have reduced themselves to echoing the sentiments of women in order to appear more progressive. It’s time for men to think for themselves, it should not be a privilege reserved for women or limited to the confines of a poorly constructed social theory like feminism.

          • It looks to me like you don’t know what the term “privilege” means
            A privilege is a special right, benefit, or immunity given to one group of people and not to others
            What privileges would an educated, articulate, black male have over a dropout female?
            He doesn’t have any special rights or benefits and he’s still held accountable for every mistake that he makes

    • Lord Bangarang says:

      White women are the greatest beneficiaries of affirmative action.

      • Women still only make 80 cents on the dollar a man makes, even after adjusting for factors like leaving the workforce temporarily to have children. Women also are the most likely to lose their job in a recession (as has been the case during this recession), despite being equally qualified with their male peers.

        But this doesn’t need to be about men v. women, it should be about people working together, trying to understand each other and working together to improve life for everyone, and having mutual respect. Women are still considered a “special interest group” despite making up more than half of North America’s population. Some women have a hard go of it, and so do some men. Pointing fingers and saying “he/she got this/that and I didn’t and it’s not FAIR!” is childish and unproductive. Why not bother to learn why affirmative action is still relevant?

        • Scott Mclelland says:

          Erin, I have to ask for facts there , the consad report shows that women earn the same when they work the same hours, its actually an accepted fact that women now who are single and childless in their 20s earn more than a man in the same profession, thats fact now. As for your comment about the recession, with all due respect more men than women lost their jobs, even without data of which there is plenty the “mancession” as it was dubbed saw the crunch in construction as well as many more male areas of employment that women dont flock to in terms of choices and yet even when this was taking into consideration female industries got a larger proportion of stimulus funding in relation to jobs lost than male industries. , I never thought id say this but i finally have seen a reason to post on the GMP it might finally encourage men to be GOOD MEN instead of being something less .

          • I’m paraphrasing from articles I’ve been reading over the past year, above, but I did some digging and found this and this (I’m Canadian, so these are possibly more relevant to me).

            As for my statement about women losing more jobs during the recession, I stand corrected. The article I was thinking of refers to more men being hired post-recession.

            You are absolutely right about the loss of manufacturing and labour jobs, which is a shame across the board.

            I wrote the comment you’ve replied to because I wanted to reply to what I saw as incorrect assertions, and highlight the one-sidedness of the post. I realize after reading your comment that my post was rather one-sided itself. You and I each refer to separate artciles and studies with conflicting findings on the gender gap. I do trust mine, for Canada, as it is a parliamentary report, but yours likely contains valid and important insights of its own.

            Rather than argue about who’s more hard done by (and I don’t mean to imply that your very polite and informative post was argumentative in any way… I’m more or less anticipating further argument in this thread, though), I think it’s important that we stop focusing on the male v. female debate.

            It seems clear that in some industries, men make more than women, but that the same is true in reverse in other industries. This is a failure on the part of employers. It’s most important that every individual with similar experience and qualifications is paid the same, or very close to the same, as another individual doing the same job.

            While I don’t think it’s fair that women in Canada make less than men with some alarming consistency, I also don’t think it’s fair for a man to be paid less than his female counterpart.

            I think this discussion is interesting, because it demonstrates how easy it is to get caught up in gender “wars” (so to speak) and blame one another for our problems, when really our focus should be on employers and lawmakers who are supposed to promote fair treatment of workers, and prevent exploitation of any individual.

            • C.A. George says:

              I came here from A Voice for Men to read Tom’s article, but after reading some of the exchanges here I have to pose a question to you Erin. While I don’t believe the “women are paid less for the same job” argument, I will concede that there have historically been more males in the “power positions” such as CEOs, CFOs, Bankers…etc. and thus men have historically EARNED more. Why? Some great social injustice? A patriarchal conspiracy? Glass ceiling? OR…because men have to.

              You see, a man, unfortunately, IS his job title in Western society. A man’s job title, and the amount of resources he can acquire is almost the sole determinant of that mans reproductive success; the more he has, the higher “value” mate he gets. Women don’t even have to work if they don’t want to. The pressure on men to succeed is FAR greater than it is for women. What I’m getting at here is that in high status positions, men will usually out compete the females. Is this making sense?

              • These statistics are broken down by industry and job type, so they aren’t comparing CEOs with the lady at the grocery store checkout, for example.

                I understand that men are given less of a choice about working in western society. Things are changing somewhat, though. I have two friends who are stay at home parents, and one is a man. And I’ll admit I’m jealous of him, because I’d like to be a stay at home mom when I have kids, but I know that won’t be possible, because my fiance is against it. Which is fine.

                I actually started my own business because I didn’t want to be paid less than male peers (more common in my industry of branding, graphic design and web development) and so I could become a job creator. I work from home for now, and employ my fiance and occassionally contract work out to old college classmates.

                I see your point about men being more pressured to succeed professionally and financially, and I do think that generally, people expect men to be “breadwinners” and expect women to nurture and all that. I agree that it’s unfair.

  35. (r)Evoluzione says:

    Tom, this is one of the best pieces I’ve seen on GMP.

    Thanks for bringing this to light.


  36. 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 even bigger problem is that I’ve noticed women seem to want to pick and choose when men are men, and when they act like women. The very same man is supposed to go to work, and be womanly. If he talks to shy women, he needs to be something inbetween a man and a woman, if he talks to confident women, he is expected to “man up” and be a 1950’s man.

    Then when he goes on a date, he is supposed to become the girlfriend and act less like a man.But then when they get into the bedroom, he needs to turn into a caveman and have caveman sex.

    It’s those incosistencies that make it the worst. I won’t even mention that different women want different levels of masculinity (and define the one they prefer as the good one, and all others as evil). It’s that the very same woman chooses different levels for different contexts, as if men are little dolls that you put in whatever pose you’d prefer them in for the given act.

    • anonymouswoman says:

      No one expects each individual to be exactly as anyone else thinks they should. And your sensitive man in public/caveman example reminds me a lot of the lady in the street/whore in the bedroom nonsense.

      You seem to me to be making the mistake of not recognizing that there all kinds of people and they all like different types of people. It’s not all that complicated, really.

      • anonymousman says:

        That’s pretty much exactly what I was going to say. I guess we speak the same language. (Who’d have thought?)
        Some men I meet expect me to act a certain way. So do some women. Apart from that all I worry about treating people like human beings. Apart from that I act like myself, and if that’s not enough for people they can fuck off.

      • Men don’t mind women being feminine all the time. Not behaving like a whore in the street is hardly a fair comparison to being expected to constantly vary your level of masculinity. What women want in the bedroom is more masculinity than they might want outside of it which is far more challenging for men than not wearing revealing clothing and flirting with random people is for women.

    • Jackie Smith says:

      CRY ME A RIVER, YOU WHINY BOYS! this is called backlash. susan faludi won awards for writing about this over 20 years ago and it’s still relevant. whiny men, and the stupid things they say when women might show a TINY sign of making progress (like being the majority of college students).

      males are 84% of congress, 66% of the supreme court, and 100% of all past and present presidents and vice presidents. men are 90% of world leaders and own 99% of world property, while women do 2/3 of work in the world. males are 96% of fortune 500 CEOs. men are gang-raping women in the congo as we speak, throwing acid at girls walking to school in afghanistan, sentencing women to lashes for driving cars in saudi arabia, and marrying 9 year old girls in yemen. STOP YOUR WHINING.

      if males have problems with their feelings they have nobody to blame but themselves. don’t minimize the garbage women go through and still go through by playing the victim. the last thing on earth men are is the victim, so stop crying.

      now everybody needs to go find a job. men were meant for manual labor, and they need to be worn out. domestic violence rates against women and children increase when men are out of work, this is documented fact in this male-caused recession (tell me how many women leaders there are on wall street). get to the employment office, boys.

      • Jackie Smith is a sexist idiot. She looks at the top of society but not the bottom where men outnumber women as well. Men just try more in the professional sphere because that is the only way to get women and have a family. Look up male rape in the congo while your at it, and in prison.

      • Lord Bangarang says:

        Yes, Jackie! Let’s allow Western society to keep going against nature and throw all common sense into the wind as they pretend that a woman can do anything a man can. Ask the 24 year-old prison guard in Sweden who had her baton taken from her and was subsequently beaten to death with it by a Muslim inmate. I’m sure she was of the same physical stature and strength as all the other male guards, aren’t you? Jackie, doll, listen. When (reasonable members of) society say(s), “Maybe it’s not a good idea to have female prison guards or soldiers,” we’re actually just trying to protect you, not saying that you are lower than a man. Unfortunately, mother nature doesn’t share your opinion that women and men should have similar roles in this world. But, that’s ok, go ahead and put women in charge, along with some underqualified NAMs, and watch the Chinese laugh at us as we continue our freefall. 🙂

      • “now everybody needs to go find a job. men were meant for manual labor, and they need to be worn out.”

        Alas, I am much better at splitting infinitives at my keyboard than I am at splitting wood. As with regards to the Islamic societies (Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen) you mentioned, guess who fully supports this cruelty? Women! Not necessarily the victims, but it is rather eye-opening to read of how often women in these societies are quick to label their sisters “whores” and worse for not submitting to their “culture”, and how these women often eagerly endorse these “punishments” for not doing so. Furthermore, they EXPECT and DEMAND their men to enforce such measures, or else these same men risk being called “traitors” and “infidels.”

      • Now there’s a feminist for ya….what a peach.

      • Jackie, I think it’s only fair I give you a dose of my annoyingness because I’ve been giving it to the men’s rights folks disproportionately. I get that you’re angry and frustrated, but dismissal won’t help any of us, nor will it help us understand each other. I don’t feel comfortable with a number of things Tom said in his post, but he’s written an account of his experiences. I can’t literally walk anywhere in his shoes, but I’m trying to listen. We all say things out of frustration sometimes, and starting a comment by calling the men on this site “whiny boys” is not going to make anyone receptive to what you said. Case in point: I’m a feminist myself, and I didn’t read a word of your post after the first sentence. Maybe you said something worth reading, but I was turned off immediately by the vitriol.

    • Wow, that got heated. I think what you’re reacting to, AlekNovy, is that sometimes women get defensive, and sometimes men do, too. When a woman complains of being treated poorly or marginalized by men, she is probably telling the truth. But it doesn’t mean she intends to blame all men for what some men have done.

      When a man asks “why am I treated this way and why don’t women trust me?” many women take that as an affront, because many women have gone through a lot (or witnessed other women’s experiences) at the hands of a few bad men. It has less to do with the man in question, and more to do with needing validation, because so many women do not receive justice when they’ve been harmed or marginalized. Many of these women have never experienced sympathy or support from a man. Whether or not they sought it out is beside the issue. Many victims will become intoverted and unwilling to seek out help and support, especially from anyone who loosely resembles the person who victimized them.

      Hearing the complaint that women judge men prematurely can hurt, because it can be interpreted as though the man does not believe what the woman has experienced, or does not understand the impact of what the woman has experienced.

      That said, when a woman says “men are jerks,” it’s a harmful, sweeping generalization. However, please recognize that a woman saying this may not understand its impact, and may not mean it as an attack. Consider that sometimes a woman might be saying this as a verbal exasperated sigh. It might signify defeat, rather than anger.

      Again, not helpful. But my point is that no matter how a person approaches life, this adversarial approach to gender helps no one. This simple way of dealing with the problem applies throughout life, gender aside: Be patient. Before getting angry or defensive, ask a question. Ask for clarification. Ask WHY.

      When people don’t understand each other, it’s because we all have different motivations, and ways of expressing ourselves. Both women and men need to stop finger-pointing, and start asking “why” when something doesn’t make sense to us.

      Next time a woman says “men suck,” instead of taking offense, just ask why. I’ll bet she has a reason. And it might be a good one. And in asking why, you’ve accomplished two things: 1) you’ve started a dialogue, 2) you’ve learned something. If she says “men only want sex and treat women poorly,” ask her why she thinks all men are the same. Ask her if she really believes you’re looking for sex.

      Patience and understanding would go a long way. Whether a man or woman comes to the table with a gruff demeanor, or a vulnerable approach, we can come to understand each other.

      And to cap this off, I’d like to add that anyone, male or female, who treats you poorly because of your gender, and who refuses to try to learn and move the relationship forward, is missing out. And they’ll either learn their approach is flawed, or they’ll have a tougher life because of it.

      • “When a man asks ‘why am I treated this way and why don’t women trust me?’ many women take that as an affront, because many women have gone through a lot (or witnessed other women’s experiences) at the hands of a few bad men. It has less to do with the man in question, and more to do with needing validation, because so many women do not receive justice when they’ve been harmed or marginalized. Many of these women have never experienced sympathy or support from a man.”

        And do you know why, Erin, why they have never experienced sympathy or support from a man? Because these same women SEEK OUT men who will not offer sympathy or support. I have seen this countless times; a woman falls for a guy who is charismatic but cold-blooded, rejecting any number of available nice guys in her midst, then when he treats her like dirt, she whines “WAAAAH! I’M A VICTIM! MEN ARE MONSTERS!”. Then she signs up for Feminism 101 to intellectually validate her self-pity and drama, and never once — ONCE — does she take personal responsibility for her life. Which is why so many of us regard Feminism as a philosophy built on lies.

        • It’s quite possible that some women put themselves in dangerous positions and fail to take responsibility for their actions. But the person at fault is still the person who harms another. And that person is not always a man.

          I really can’t say much in reply to your comment, because I think it’s simply an evil point-of-view (not trying to be rude, thats just how I feel), and that a Good Man or Good Woman would want to help a man or woman who is victimized, despite how that person got into their predicament. The idea that anyone deserves to be abused or assaulted is disgusting to me.

          • “The idea that anyone deserves to be abused or assaulted is disgusting to me.”

            Me too. And the good thing is that I never said as much. But leave it to a feminist to distort one’s words, or even outright lie, which is in fact, evil (not trying to be rude, that’s just how I feel). The question is about how somebody can ostensibly “know” another for six years and then be betrayed. My response is that if the relationship went on for THAT long, you in fact did know him, or her, but chose to ignore the warning signs that this person might be dangerous, and now you — Julie in this case — is claiming that we can NEVER know somebody, and that NOBODY can ever be trusted, which I think is bull___t.

            • “Because these same women SEEK OUT men who will not offer sympathy or support. I have seen this countless times; a woman falls for a guy who is charismatic but cold-blooded, rejecting any number of available nice guys in her midst, then when he treats her like dirt, she whines “WAAAAH! I’M A VICTIM! MEN ARE MONSTERS!””

              Sorry if that wasn’t what you meant to say. It just seemed like you were putting the blame on the shoulders of the abused, to me.

              I agree with you that the idea that nobody can ever be trusted is bullshit. I bet there are some men and some women too emotionally damaged by experiences they’ve had to trust the opposite sex, but most people just need to get over their prejudices.

              I’m not trying to fight with you here. I just interpreted what you wrote in the other comment as victim blaming, and as someone who has been abused and who knows people (men and women) who’ve been abused and assaulted, I had to speak out. I’m sorry if you weren’t intending to blame the victim, I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth. I just can’t stand seeing someone’s painful experience diminished and blame placed on the wrong shoulders. I repeat, I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth, I guess I just misinterpreted your comment.

            • Julie Gillis says:

              Well, I knew him to be a shy boy who didn’t ask people out, who was fun and funny and quite smart. I knew him as well as any 17 year old can know anyone, given he was a year older and not in classes and we didn’t start dating until after high school.There weren’t other women saying….girl, don’t date him. There weren’t then what I’d consider warning signs now. I didn’t suspect that he’d get so frenzied during a make out session (clothed, even) as to ignore me asking him to wait. I knew he was Catholic. Maybe that, I’ve often thought was a huge piece of his issue.
              I wasn’t hurt, mind you. I didn’t feel any need to go to cops. I was angry and annoyed at him for being so…dumb. Just think, he could have gotten so much more sex if he’d waited a day or two. Sad, really.
              And like I said, it didn’t stop me from taking lovers or dating and mating.

  37. Well, Mr. Matlack, although you once gave ManBoobz an additional forum to dump on the Men’s Rights Movement, ManBoobz has turned on you and condemned you as just another loopy MRA.

  38. Really? You really think men are blamed for EVERYTHING eh? Off the top of my head I can think of many many things women are blamed daily for:bad mothering outcomes, bad parenting outcomes, working for pay when they should be at home, wasting their human resources if they stay at home with their children, having children just to get on welfare, not being able to negotiate a good salary, not having the drive to succeed, not having the skills needed to do mathematical or technical work, not having enough testosterone to succeed in financial jobs. Some groups blame women (though not usually men) for having sex outside marriage and for not being a strict enough gatekeeper when it comes to sex. And let’s not forget, frigid if you don’t have sex. Women are also still argued to be ruled by emotions rather than intellect, while men are assumed to be ruled by cold logic only. Feminists have been blamed, by some, for the end of the Western culture, for the death of the white race, for the end of men, for the end of family, for latchkey children, juvenile delinquency, alcoholism among women, the unhappiness of women and last but not least if the men in their lives are happy, it must be their fault.

    Thank you Shakesville for the list which I added to.

    • Odd because there are people who do actually blame men for some of the very things you list here (or at least an equivalent when accounting for gender roles).

      So maybe you’re trying to say that rather than EVERYTHING it should be A LOT OF SHIT but frankly you come off as trying assert that “teh wimminz are the real victimz of everything”.

      But you are thanking Shakesville so it really doesn’t surprise me much…

  39. The Bad Man says:

    I believe that you are being completely honest, but I don’t agree with much of what you wrote.

    The male view only gets you in trouble when the female view doesn’t agree. The female view uses emotional language to manipulate the male view. It’s not a matter of right and wrong, it’s a battle of emotions and generally men relent and defer. This is supported by studies in relationships that show women often make most major decisions and men defer to their spouses to keep the peace. Men aren’t allowed to be emotional, because we are then accused of being angry and that’s perceived as bad. Women can get away with almost anything.

    If women want men to be more like women then it’s quite obvious who’s steering the boat. Tell me all about how much power and privilege you have in dealing with women? Personally, I think it’s a false stereotype, because privately women desire men and not men who act like women.

  40. Dear Tom,
    Okay. I’ve read the piece. And to answer your question, YES, men are still assholes. Why? Because most do not have the ability to think outside of a linear path. What do I mean? I mean that men do not seem to be able to grasp that the women they’ve just fucked the crap out of and never called back could really, oh yes REALLY, be BETTER at putting together that proposal then them. That the same woman who cries at commercials and weddings and funerals and obsesses over birthday parties can, YES, ACTUALLY CAN operate on that patient better then her male counter part could. WHY? Because women can change hats. We can emotionally diversify. All men seem to be able to do with emotions is turn them on or off. They definitely have emotions, but the next day, they’re gone. They can’t function with emotion too forward in their everyday lives. Women can. We do. And that is why we have the ability to empathize, sympathize and men do not seem to. If they aren’t feeling the EXACT same thing at the EXACT same time, they don’t get it, they don’t care and it shouldn’t be getting in the way of their TV show. It’s that simple. Guys have an on off switch. Women have a dimmer. That’s why you’re assholes. Because you don’t even want to acknowledge the in-between. Because if it doesn’t affect your life it doesn’t exist, and you know what? That mentality has caused world-wide problems. You have to sympathize with the perspective of others. Women have universally and historically been able to do this. Men don’t or won’t or can’t- I’m not sure. Sometimes the cut and dry of men’s way of communicating is refreshing. It’s solidifying. But often it’s misplace or inappropriate. It’s so frustrating as a women, to be able to see the purple when all men can see is the red and blue. It’s real, it’s there, but you won’t believe it because you don’t see it yourself. Well, then maybe you’ll just have to believe us. Which means also believing in us and our abilities to make important decisions and be as important as you are. I’m sorry but A LOT of the anti-male sentiment was reactionary. It was a reaction to the oppressive anit-female mentality that we as a sex have had to fight against for so many years, and are still fighting against. Purple really does exist. And until you’re able to see it, don’t deny that it’s there. Really, if men could figure out how to do that then many of women’s problems with you would go away.

    • What do I mean? I mean that men do not seem to be able to grasp that the women they’ve just fucked the crap out of and never called back could really, oh yes REALLY, be BETTER at putting together that proposal then them. That the same woman who cries at commercials and weddings and funerals and obsesses over birthday parties can, YES, ACTUALLY CAN operate on that patient better then her male counter part could. WHY? Because women can change hats. We can emotionally diversify. All men seem to be able to do with emotions is turn them on or off. They definitely have emotions, but the next day, they’re gone. They can’t function with emotion too forward in their everyday lives. Women can. We do. And that is why we have the ability to empathize, sympathize and men do not seem to. If they aren’t feeling the EXACT same thing at the EXACT same time, they don’t get it, they don’t care and it shouldn’t be getting in the way of their TV show. It’s that simple. Guys have an on off switch. Women have a dimmer. That’s why you’re assholes.

      So, men are arseholes because you say they cant ’emotionally diversify’ like women?
      Youre a nasty piece of work, just looking for reasons to justify your hatred of men.
      If it is true what you say, that men cant emotionally diversify why would that induce hate.
      A Feeble reason.
      You just hate men. Accept it, and own it.

      • 100% right. One of the biggest problems in this culture is that too many women have been allowed to live the fantasy that their deep seated hate is enlightenment.

    • “All men seem to be able to do with emotions is turn them on or off. ”

      Oh – that is an interesting take! So where do we as men hide this switching mechanism?

      I have heard that claim before and other claims too such as “You Have No Emotions!”

      That is in fact emotional abuse – just as if a person told a person from a different culture they were inferior because they did not conform to that person’s view of humanity!

      I have no issue with people being abusive – but I do have an issue with those who fail to take responsibility and ownership of their abusive ways.

      “All men seem” – such a lazy and crass generalization! It is an interesting gift that has no value to so many!

      Please take it back – and see if you can get a refund! P^)

    • Yes, if you obsess over petty bullshit like your birthday party or commercials or whatever, I will be extremely skeptical of your competence at actual work. Because my experience is that highly competent people rarely have time for petty bullshit — they’re too busy being awesome. Especially if I, as your coworker (rather than romantic partner), know these things about you. This applies across the board. I’m in a male-dominated profession. I’m in the epicenter of men who obsess over petty bullshit and are despised for their incompetence and furious concern for the irrelevant. I loathe this largely-male group of ego-trippers. You’re not about to convince me that because it’s a woman doing the dumb, ego-tripping obsessing, that this is no longer a general reflection of competence the way it is with a man.

      Again — this is not a male-female issue, regardless of how you want to paint it. People who can’t keep their shit together emotionally infest both genders. Just look at American politics. It’s a lethal combination of emotion (fear, envy, etc.) and greed.

  41. Tom

    I keep reading your comments and I wonder when you are going to explode! I think you need to – a great big blast – Gigatonne size – Thermo Nuclear!

    I suspect you need to explode to clear your own head and blast away a fog that you seem to be descending in to.

    You say “Emotion is weakness”. Is it? So being happy is weakness – being caring, sympathetic, empathetic is weakness?

    I wonder how your views are becoming so tightly channeled that you miss the obvious and state a stereotype!

    You say “I’ve become acutely aware of the difference between what men say in public and what they say in private.” – Oh, that old demon!

    Acute awareness can be a real set of blinders!

    “I’ve been doing my own soul-searching during this last week…. ” Oh yet another Demon!

    Searching your own soul is very harsh – simply because you have decided to seek fault in yourself!

    And what of the fault is not there?

    Some will seek to make a scar as an act of contrition for sins that lie in other souls! The devil is in the details, but looking for details where they don’t exist is the act of another devil!

    You’re even creating theories to account for it all! Oh Boy! Theorizing to make sense is an even bigger devil!

    You haven’t actually stated that you are Moralizing yet – so there is still time!

    I’m wondering if you may have developed that chronic male disease – “Short Arm Syndrome”. It’s a terrible affliction and you have all the symptoms!

    It manifests in only one particular observable symptom – the inability to pat yourself on the back as necessary!

    There are only two known cures – a large explosion which seems to defeat the neurological shackles – else repeated pats on the back from others until the sufferer gets so fed up with what they perceive as being patronized they swear – tell others to jump of very high places – and to prove the point the sufferer then pointedly displays the ability to lift arm, rotate , bend and use hand to repeatedly pat self on back!

    I’m just wondering – which is your preferred therapy? P^)

    Pats waiting as required!

  42. Tom

    If you show the independent stats on domestic abuse and rape, show which gender is abusing children most (and so creating the most adult abusers and criminals) and show that most arrests for trafficking offenses are arrests of women, things like that and you can go a long way to debunking all this anti-male propaganda.

    You are in a good position to do that.

  43. Here’s the deal Tom Matlack. My dad taught me a lot about being a man, through his actions and statements. He taught me that I didn’t have to try to “act manly”, but just be myself. He taught me that using my mind was just fine, and probably the best thing I could do. He taught me to allow myself to feel whatever I was feeling, and to understand that that was what I was feeling, but not necessarily to always act upon it. He does not tend to whine about women, probably considering it beneath him to do so.

    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 bizzarre statements about a man-hating American mass media, I become suspicious. Honestly, the whole thing makes me feel hostile. I do not want to be your version of a “Dude”, and I never have.

    • I was wondering if any man would feel this way and say this, and you did. Maybe what it comes down to is there are lots of ways to be a man (or a woman) and then, each unique human being decides who to befriend, who to marry, how to raise kids, and so on, according to what works for them. So, I am open about being the kind of woman who loves emotionally sensitive men (even though lots of men say women like me don’t exist). Because of who I am and what I like in a man, I seek out men who I am compatible with, and they seek me out. The problem only arises when a woman tries to change a man, or a man tries to change a woman. So, Atheist, you can and should be the kind of man you want to be, and do not need to conform to anyone’s definition. There are plenty of men and women who will appreciate you just as you are. Your father certainly did, and vice-versa. That’s how it works…for both genders. I think Tom’s article is basically good and speaks to a lot of men, but not to all of them, and it shouldn’t claim to. I love GMP, but I don’t love the way women are often described as all being alike. Neither gender appreciates the stereotypes, right? I liked your comment. I bet you had a great dad!

      • So, I am open about being the kind of woman who loves emotionally sensitive men (even though lots of men say women like me don’t exist).
        Lori, I disagree the men in the ‘handgun to the head’ thread were saying women like you dont exist. They were say women like you, are in the extreme minority. Youve also noted that most other het women are not like you in this regard

        • Hmmm. I’m the first to admit I don’t have the greatest memory in the world, but I don’t recall saying that “most other women” are not like me. You are welcome to point me to that quote if you like and if I said it that way I’ll take responsibility. But what I really think–whether I communicated it well or not–is that there are a lot of women like me. I do recall saying my four sister-in-laws are like me, and more than half of my female friends are like me, in this respect. I do remember writing that. I absolutely do not think I’m in “an extreme minority.” I can only speak to my experience living where I live among the people I’ve met in my own life. But in that context, no, I do not think I’m an extreme minority, and do think quite a lot of women like sensitive men. Isn’t the point that there are plenty of women who like emotionally expressive men…for the men looking for one? We can all only offer our own opinions, right? I know so many women like me, this is therefore my experience I offer up, and yours seems to be different, so maybe we agree to disagree??

          • Hi Lori

            Lori Day says:November 10, 2011 at 6:08 pm :Jameseq, I honestly don’t know, and don’t speak for other women regarding this. I come from an emotional family with a father and brothers who can cry openly. I also married a man like that, and I love his sensitivity. But recently one of my brothers made a similar comment to me. He told me that he thinks a lot of women *don’t* like for men to be emotional, sensitive, or show vulnerability. I think he’s right. So probably, women differ greatly on how they feel about this.

            Lori, Im not attacking you.
            I like the fact that youve taken an emotionally sensitive man as your hubby. Youre a rare feminist who actually practices what she preaches – values ‘femininity’ in men.
            I think youre awesome. If hubby wanted to wear the unisex

            of 12 Century CE Europe around town, you would be more open to it than other women.

            painting of man in bliaut. Nobles wore silk leggings, or stockings and suspenders, or tights. Poorer men wore similar legwear but made out of a form of figurehugging elastic wool. The merchant classes nicking the crown of the aristocrat has robbed men of our beautiful clothing.

            You accept what is considered currently viewed as ‘feminine’ behaviour in your man.
            I say currently, as in the 18th Century Ce Europe, during the Age of Sensibility. Such a man was seen not only as masculine, but a superior masculine man (of course there were dissenting voices on that view). An intelligent man, was supposed to show the full range of emotions. A man to be intouch with his feelings eg. weeping, was intouch with a higher truth. Im surprised that feminist historians havent highlighted this period of masculinity, to bash men over the head with it

            At the same time, theorists asserted that individuals who had ultra-sensitive nerves would have keener senses, and thus be more aware of beauty and moral truth. Thus, while it was considered a physical and/or emotional fragility, sensibility was also widely perceived as a virtue.

            • the links didnt connect properly.
              (remove the 2nd h from hhttp)


              painting of bliaut link:

      • Lori, thank you for your response. You sound like a very open-minded sort of person. Your take on relationships sounds very reasonable.

        I agree that Tom Matlack may be describing the feelings of some men in this essay. However I believe he is also attempting to police the actions of men, and argue that they should act a certain way. In a world with lots of very real problems, this kind of passive-agressive manipulation is just a waste of time.

  44. Yael Tiferet says:

    There’s a very basic reality here that’s being ignored.

    From childhood on, women are taught that they have to guard themselves at all times and watch the way THEY behave in order to avoid getting raped. Don’t park in a dark area. Don’t wear short skirts. Don’t drink too much in public. Don’t accept help from strange men if you get stranded. Don’t act too interested in sex. Carry your keys between your fingers. Be sure to set sexual boundaries.

    None of this can stop someone who wants to rape you badly enough from doing so. But we all see that women who haven’t followed the rules (and also those who have followed the wrong ones–there are several sets and they all conflict with each other in subtle ways–so basically this is all women) are blamed when they are raped. What were you wearing? Were you friendly to him? Didn’t you know better than to get into a stranger’s car?

    The result of this is that women are taught to engage in subconscious threat assessment 100% of the time. Many women think they don’t do this, because it is so unconscious–but I am pretty sure most women who will insist that they don’t do this do take some basic forms of precaution that most men wouldn’t think necessary because when a man is raped, we may still look for excuses to blame him–but we will treat it as an unusual event outside of prison.

    Because of this, it’s natural for women to be nervous around men who are being boisterous or openly desirous or trying to get them alone for a private discussion. That nervousness may not go away for a while, even within a relationship (most women know that most women are raped by people they know, after all–and after a few years you probably are relatively sure that you won’t wake up to find yourself having “sex” or be pressured for sex or have your birth control sabotaged, but everyone knows that living with someone is not the same as dating them.)

    There are several simple things men can do to make women feel more at ease without deciding to like ballet, talk a lot about their feelings, wear pink and never get sweaty and dirty.

    These are:

    1) Don’t laugh at rape jokes, don’t tell them, don’t let other people tell them in your presence; treat violence against women and sexual violence seriously.

    2) Don’t violate women’s boundaries. If she doesn’t want you to touch her without asking first, don’t pull her into a friendly hug without asking. Don’t call when she says she’s busy. Don’t look at her phone. Don’t pressure her for sex or for sexual acts she’s not comfortable with. Don’t tell her how she feels or what to think. When men don’t violate my boundaries in small ways, I can trust them not to violate my boundaries in bigger ways.

    3) Don’t keep friends around who are disrespectful to women. Men sometimes act differently when they’re in a group. That’s far less threatening to women if they know the man’s friends don’t tolerate disrespect for women, rape jokes, and so on.

    4) Never give “rape prevention advice” to women. First of all, unless we were born under rocks in the forest and raised by wild animals, we have heard it before. Second of all, it shows that you are more concerned with women’s responsibility not to get raped than with men’s responsibility not to rape. And third of all, none of it works. Even if you cover your entire body at all times and never leave the house alone, you can still be raped if someone is determined to rape you. Even if you have weapons and know how to use them you can be caught without them or overpowered. We don’t tell people who’ve been mugged that it’s their fault people took their money after they were seen giving money away. We don’t ask a beat up mugging victim if he’s sure he got mugged, even though we give the accused mugger a fair trial to make sure he’s the actual mugger.

    5) Believe women and pay attention to the things they say.

    6) Believe men and pay attention to the things they say–if another man loves rape jokes and says awful things about women, he is probably an abuser whether he’s a rapist or not; don’t support him.

    If you do these things, women will be more likely to trust you and to trust you earlier in their acquaintance with you, no matter how much football you watch, how much mud you track in, how suddenly you like to move, how energetic and boisterous you are. We want you to be yourselves, whatever that means, but we like to know you take responsibility for your own behaviour, don’t tolerate abusive behaviour in friends (birds of a feather) and respect our right to set boundaries.

    • Marcus Williams says:

      In a discussion about rape, those would be interesting points. In response to an article about men feeling automatically blamed for being men, doesn’t it *confirm* that point by responding with a long list what men should be doing to end rape culture? If there’s more to men than than raping and potential raping, how do you suggest we discuss that?

    • Get lost with your rape obsession.

    • “There’s a very basic reality here that’s being ignored.

      From childhood on, women are taught that they have to guard themselves at all times and watch the way THEY behave in order to avoid getting raped.”

      Sorry – I have to apologize as a man before addressing such issues – BUT – your use of the term Women to imply a universal group is lazy and incorrect!

      It is a lazy claim that perpetuates stereotypical views of both men and women. It is not Feminist – It is in fact ANTI-Feminist!

      “Carry your keys between your fingers” – OH! Is that a trait of Women? That makes me a Woman!

      I was trained to use that weapon as a man by a man some 30 years ago when it came to doing Street Outreach with sex workers. If it;s to be reserved as evidence of being a Woman and at risk of rape 24/7 then I have been remiss in not declaring myself female for such a long time!

      I seem to have been ignoring some basic reality?

      You seem to be over applying Gender and mixing it up with some Stereotypes! Not a nice mix and again – It’s Not Feminist – but it can be ever so abusive!

      Yours a Key Clutching Man!

    • 1. Absurd. And the Holocaust happens because of Holocaust jokes, too, right? And I joke about using a pitchfork to move dead babies, from ground to truck, so I must actually do that or encourage other people too, right? Oh, wait… Sometimes a shock laugh is a shock laugh *because* it’s shocking. It’s not at anyone’s expense. That doesn’t mean you’re wrong to find it offensive when someone cracks the joke in front of you, but it does mean you’re wrong to insist that there’s never a context which wouldn’t be wrong to tell that joke.

      2. Yeah, obviously. No kidding. This is not something I need to be taught; it’s what I do because I’m a decent human being. (PS I see this behavior from guys and I see girls cheer it on because they think it’s funny or they like the guy who does it.)

      3. OK. If you live in a part of the country where you can form a large circle of friends where no one is prejudiced about anything, you are very blessed. Most of us aren’t, and have to figure out what we will and won’t tolerate in terms of asshole behavior from our friends (male and female). Incidentally, non-assholes not having asshole friends means no one is discouraging the assholes.

      4. First of all, if men are giving you this advice, it means they care about you and your safety. Second, this is no more victim-blaming than suggesting someone should lock the doors of their house at night, or not leave their door open when they go out. Sometimes people don’t know practical ways to protect themselves, and you know what? Never once, in confronting someone for racist or sexist attitudes, have I seen someone change their mind. And that’s not with vicious criminals; it’s just moderately prejudiced ordinary folk. What do you think the success rate will be of trying to persuade vicious subhuman savages to start acting like decent human beings? Probably close to nil, if you don’t get them when they’re young. Since we can’t make criminals peaceful, the best we can do is make the people we care about into hard targets. Third, of course it works…sometimes. Nothing in this world is 100%, including this statement. Assuming that once someone has decided to rape nothing will dissuade them, no matter what, ever, is ridiculous. Killing a rapist stops the rape. Would it have been nicer if we had persuaded him not to commit rape in the first place? Sure. But he’s garbage, so that’s unlikely. So we’re stuck with preventive measures. (This is analogous to saying that if we have a terrorist attack, we should implement no security measures because it’s not our job to protect ourselves; it’s the terrorists’ job not to attack us! Well, that’s great, but they’re effing terrorists.)

      5. OK.

      6. Again, context matters.

      But I’ve never had a problem with feeling that women don’t trust me.

  45. The differences between us as people is larger than the differences between us as genders. If you took a less heteronormative stance to your article, maybe you would realize that. But I’m not surprised you didn’t, as many straight men make this mistake, and when they do, I ask them how many men they’ve dated. If they had, they would realize that we each are individuals with our own quirks and ways of communicating and the gender difference is just a socially constructed framework we are forced to work w/in. Even that framework is different for each person depending on the part of the world they’re from, time period they grew up in, their race, their class, their family background, their religion, and a million other different defining experiences.

    It’s really no wonder that you and your friends have issues communicating and being yourselves when you have no idea what frames your perspectives. Yes, some of our differences are gender related, but those can be better understood by listening to your partner, exploring the gender binary, and breaking it down – not defining your partner by them.

    Perhaps that’s the root of your problem – that defining yourself as a man is extremely important to you. It can be hard to realize that masculinity is just a flimsy, poorly created construct when your entire life you have been taught that fitting into that masculinity box and defining yourself apart from women is of the utmost importance. That POV is not uncommon and reinforced throughout a man’s life, but it is toxic, oppressive, and degrading to those who are not men.

    Or perhaps this article is just an exercise of white, male, hetero privilege where you can demand that people listen and understand you while ignoring the fact that everyone else already contorts themselves to simply survive in your world.

    • But I’m not surprised you didn’t, as many straight men make this mistake, and when they do, I ask them how many men they’ve dated. If they had, they would realize that we each are individuals with our own quirks and ways of communicating and the gender difference is just a socially constructed framework we are forced to work w/in.

      Well Im a Bi-man. While humans are individuals, they also tend to cluster around behaviours and instincts. What i have seen is that the average man( gay through to straight) and the average lesbian tend to have the same responses – easily visually aroused, high libido, and dont need: – two references, 10yr checkable workhistory, fingerprints etc to hop in the sack(have sex)

      When men, whether gay or bi, ‘crossdresser’ or not, masculine or feminine, see me they go – they go head down, arse up in short order( eg. 2 emails, a quick facetoface chat for 10 to 20 mins to check that theyre not a lunatic – and then BANG, Im in their behind). I enjoy the ease with which men spread their legs. When hetero women see me their eyes widen with desire, but – they want me to WOOO them…

      The ‘gaybestfriend’ embodies the stereotypical traits of feminine gay men.
      On Queerty(a gay men’s forum) masculine gay men have spoken about the gay-best-friend phenomenon . How hetero women are disappointed that they do not act like a stereotypical feminine gay man eg. love of shopping, interior design, emotionally very expressive.
      Well, of course feminine hetero women, and feminine gay men will often connect so easily – theyre feminine, and share the same instincts. Masculine gay men, masculine straight men, masculine gay women, extremely masculine straight women however share different instincts.

      Youre wrong, Tom is right.


      Perhaps that’s the root of your problem – that defining yourself as a man is extremely important to you. It can be hard to realize that masculinity is just a flimsy, poorly created construct when your entire life you have been taught that fitting into that masculinity box and defining yourself apart from women is of the utmost importance.

      Firstly why do you sneer at men? why do you hate men? Why is a man attempting to define himself a problem? Why?
      Secondly, it is het women THEMSELVES, who demand that their men define themselves apart from women.
      Notice hetero women now do virtually all things the men do, while hetero men dont dare do most of the things women do. DK, a prior post here suggests you are a married woman. I take it you find feminine het men just as sexually, romantically attractive as masculine men? hubby more fem than masc, is he? hope you lead the charge into this new gender frontier.
      After all, as good feminist youre all for breaking down the gender binary arent you?
      It has not gone unnoticed that feminist het women differ little from a 1950s uppermiddle class USA housewife, in their preference for masculine men…

      It’s really no wonder that you and your friends have issues communicating and being yourselves when you have no idea what frames your perspectives. Yes, some of our differences are gender related, but those can be better understood by listening to your partner, exploring the gender binary, and breaking it down – not defining your partner by them.

  46. I think you’re wrong about the fundamental differences between men and women.

    People, on their own, are fundamentally different from each other. I am very different from the girl I share an office with, she is neat, pretty, concerned with appearances, conscientious of her environment. I’m messy, loud, involved in my work to the exclusion of other things. The only reason we can really communicate is because I’ve spent part of my life learning to communicate with women like her. But though she and I are both women, we are not alike.

    There are men in my office that have very little in common, but they are socialized to communicate with each other in a certain way, and they do.

    I have much more in common with the men in my office than any of the women, we communicate better and I am more comfortable around them. What does that make me?

    We’re all different, we all have to learn to communicate with other people as individuals not as representatives of their entire gender. (Which is of course difficult when we’ve spent our entire lives being put into column a or b based on our gender.) It doesn’t have to be that way though, and I think perpetuating the idea that men and women are just not the same at some fundamental level is problematic for that reason.

    I think sometimes men can feel blamed for things not because anyone is actually blaming them, but because they shoulder a weird burden of responsibility. They are the MAN they are supposed to make things RIGHT. And that’s just silly. No one can always fix things, responsibilities should be shared between both parts of a couple. A healthy relationship is the responsibility of both parties, when things go wrong it is everyone’s fault.

    • Socratic Method Man says:

      Yes, yes, and yes. Excellent comment, particularly the point about Taking Responsibility To Fix Things. By all means work on your relationship together, but if you think this means randonly hammering nails into gender stereotypes and then being confused about why those GOSHDARN Women Just Can’t Make Up Their Minds (They’re Emotional!!), you’re going to have problems.

    • Marcus Williams says:

      I think sometimes men can feel blamed for things not because anyone is actually blaming them, but because they shoulder a weird burden of responsibility. They are the MAN they are supposed to make things RIGHT.

      That sounds suspiciously like a difference you’ve observed between men and women. I have observed and experienced it as well. It hasn’t resulted in a belief that women can’t feel responsibility or fix things, or that all men are fixers, but sure enough, that tendency to “want to fix” seems unevenly distributed across genders in my culture. This and similar observations add up to an overall picture of the world in which men and women are different, and while individuals can and do defy those gender expectations and I’m happy to adapt to that, they still serve as useful rules of thumb for understanding my world at both micro and macro levels every day. Am I supposed to consider this a problem?

      • This is one of the things David Deida discusses in Way of the Superior Man…it is a masculine trait, to want to “fix” everything. Possibly getting slightly off topic, but one of the biggest mistakes men make in relationships is their “need” to fix the woman in their life. When she’s feeling sad/depressed or whatever, the man has this need to understand it in a logical manner so that he can provide the solution to fix it, much like diagnosing a problem with a car and repairing it. This is a huge mistake. We need to stop trying to “fix” each other all the time. Just offering our love/support/compassion is enough.

      • Excellent post Marcus

  47. Tom, I haven’t looked at all of your posts, but Robert Bly in his commentary on Iron John has some remarkable things to say about receiving blame verses living out of our masculine soul.

    You write from your heart. I like that. Please don’t stop and don’t tone it down. Just be you. Following you on twitter.

  48. Hi Tom (and others)…have you read The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida? As far as men “being men” and “understanding” women (which is to say we never will, so stop trying to fix the ones in your life) I think it’s the best writing I’ve seen on the subject, and I wish I’d read it before getting married (and, subsequently, divorced). There are a couple women I’ve come across who think the book is sexist, but most women I know loved it…do yourselves a favor and read this. This is what being a man is about.

    I think it comes down to living life in an authentic way that is true to yourself. Learning how to listen to ourselves, getting beyond what society has beaten into us from childhood. Being a good human being that is compassionate, understanding, empathetic, loving. There are differences between the feminine and masculine (which are energies, and which men and women exhibit both of, but in differing quantities) but these qualities are universal. Environment also plays a huge role…since moving from the city to a small town in the mountains (which, admittedly, is very liberal and “hippie-ish”) I don’t come across this “what men are and what women are” conversation very much at all. Almost all the men I’ve met here are comfortable with themselves, able to express emotions and feeling, able to express themselves as they really are, without hiding behind this big wall, able to shed the masks that our culture has taught us we need to wear.

    Imagine if people were just themselves, able to express freely without feeling like they have to conform to some sort of ideal. Break free, be yourself. If you feel like crying, cry. It feels good. If you feel like dancing, dance. It feels good. We have to move beyond the gender debate and just be good, venerable human beings, who celebrate the differences in each other and who love through adversity and diversity.

  49. “Why do men get blamed for everything? ”

    Michael Kimmel says presumption of male guilt is a myth – on this very website.

    I don’t think genders should celebrate themselves (or each other). Celebrating one gender is impossible without demeaning the other. Why? Because of the binary nature of the sexes. We can’t choose which to be. If you celebrate one gender, then I ask you why and then you have to come up with positive traits of that gender. Then I’ll ask “and the other does not have those qualities”? Then you have to choose between being a sexist and saying “no” or you say “yes” but then I’ll send you the question of why not celebrate people? And then you’re out of ideas.

    • Lisa Hickey says:

      @Adi, I disagree. I can (and do) celebrate the fact that men are different than women. I happen to like that about the world. I like the fact that men tend to be more logical and women more intuitive. Sometimes that means I learn to be more literal and logical – which is great, and exciting to me because I’m seeing the world in a way I don’t usually, and learning from it. I do celebrate that! And sometimes, the opposite is true — I am just completely at peace with the fact that I’m more emotional. (and I celebrate the fact that men can be whatever they want and do that, but I don’t necessarily have to. ) The same is true with physical strength. I like the fact I can go work out, do strength-training, just like a man. But at the end of the day, they are probably going to be stronger than me. So what – that’s great! I’m not sure I would want or need to be “muscular”, for example, but there are certainly times when muscles can be handy.

      I also celebrate the fact-that men tend to be more risk-takers in the business world and the field of technology. There is so much I simply wouldn’t have been able to figure out without being able to see that. I admire men who have an entrepreneurial drive and a passion for discovery. It doesn’t mean women can’t have that – but it does mean that men more often do. I would never want to short-change men’s accomplishments there – instead, celebrate the fact that there’s a whole way of thinking about life that I might never have realized were it not for men.

      As a society, I’m not sure we have been socialized to actually celebrate each others differences – but I see no reason not to.

      • You can personally like and celebrate anything of course. I meant there shouldn’t be a societal or collective celebration of any one gender. Also, what you’re describing now is a celebration of differences which isn’t exactly the same thing as celebrating (any) one gender. But here too, I’d prefer us to just celebrate the diversity of people in general. Everything you said about the differences between men and women can also be said about differences between people of the same sex or skin color or whatever else.
        Another reason why I have a problem with this kind of simplification is that it’s a very small step from celebrating differences to enforcing differences. In fact, most arguments that justify gender oppression rely on the innate differences of the genders (more precisely between the average man and the average woman).

        • Tom Matlack says:

          Adi I was pretty clear that I wasn’t trying to make a macro statement but get at what happens on the micro level where every interaction is different but I still see a pattern of men holding back because of what they perceive as the right and wrong way to talk based on female emotional vocabulary. That doesn’t hold in every case but does a lot IMO and gets the way of honest discussion. Just look at the comments here. More women than men responding to a post about manhood.

          • Socratic Method Man says:

            The problem here is that, in attempting to identify “female emotional vocabulary”, you are buying into and normalizing gender performative crap. A man who attempts to speak to me while taking into account my “female emotional vocabulary” is going to be a patronizing liar, whereas if he speaks to me as a human being to another human being we might just get somewhere. If he bases his dealings with me on the assumption that tits=vagina=female emotions=different type of human, the resulting shitstorm will be his fault, and his alone. Period.

            You skirt around a lot of issues in this article, but the question you’re asking in fact is “how do I, as a unique individual man, learn to navigate the thicket of gestalt, identical, stereotypical western straight cisgender female emotions???”. When you talk about women this way, you make it clear that you have forgotten that any other definition of “woman” exists or is valid, and that rather more broadly illuminates the problem BEHIND your problem.

            This is a deeply flawed piece, and I’m sorry to see a load of man-cave justification for toxic gender roles on a normally good site.

            • Well, you have just as extremely limited a view of reality as those you are attacking.
              The fact is that sex is biological, and even “gender” is biological to the extent that all human society emerges from the psychobiology of the human mind and is constrained by the larger biome in which humans live.

              This often means that as groups the sperm producers have different styles of interacting with the world than the egg producers. The sperm producers tend to be taller and stronger and the sperm producers cannot give birth.

              You are right of course that there is no psychological trait that is solely possesed by sperm producers and not egg producers, that some sperm producers are weaker than some egg producers and etc. Individual differences are good, and to be celebrated, and certainly not oppressed. Nor are inter or asexual people to be oppressed or denied humanity and fair treatment.

              But nonetheless the patterns of difference between egg and sperm producers remain. As groups they don’t even always agree at a political level, there’s certainly plenty of evidence that as groups women want to live their lives in ways that do not perfectly comport with how men want to live their lives. Rather than whining and imagining most men and most women will be the same, and should be the same, maybe you should instead focus on opening people’s minds up to the exceptions.

      • ” I like the fact that men tend to be more logical and women more intuitive. ”

        You don’t seriously believe this, do you? Seriously? How do you even prove something like this? And how do you define ‘logical’ and ‘intuitive’?

        • Julie Gillis says:

          I think a great deal of “men are more this and women are more that” is culturally mediated. The four Humours, anyone?
          Currently in western cultures “logic” is considered the arena of masculine and “intuition” the arena of feminine. I suppose at some point in the past, in some culture or another we could find an opposite take on it.
          All humans have the ability to utilize logic and intuition. Some men may build up more logic skills and cultural bias may support teaching them that. Some women…same thing with intuition.
          I prefer looking at the Myers Briggs personally. So many more options and men and women both find mirrors for themselves more equally.

  50. Lisa Hickey says:

    Interesting point about whether women would like men to be more like them. I certainly see that in the way women talk * about * men, and often in the way they talk to men.

    I personally, often feel like I would rather be more like men – but still be able to keep every ounce of my feminine side. And yes, I’d rather keep even my emotional vocabulary distinctly female. At the same time – I love hearing stories from men – in their own vocabulary, a way that’s logical, and straightforward and often brutally honest – in a way that women aren’t always. I think that understanding that has helped me grow as a woman. I can take what works about that, and put my own uniquely individual (and feminine) spin on it

    Also, as a woman – I do think that in my past I’ve blamed men for being men. Or wanted to connect with them, didn’t know how, grew frustrated. One of the great joys of working on helping to build this project has been to completely change my point of view and find a way into connections with me that truly do respect them for who they are. That has been life-changing.

    Finally, I would certainly like men to be feel they can celebrate who they are, as men. That’s part of the reason we’re all here.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Heres the thing though: what does it mean to be like a man? Or to be feminine? Unless I’m very much mistaken it means picking and choosing gendered privileges (and opressions, naturally).

      • DavidByron says:

        In a feminist society? It means always being in the wrong, always being suspected of being a criminal, always being screwed over to protect women from your violent “potential”, always being a second class citizen.

        Now what does it mean to be a “Good Man”?

        Does it mean to knuckle under and be an Uncle Tom or does it mean standing up to that injustice and being kicked down for it?

        • Interesting. I’d explain where you’re wrong, but as you’re someone who also just used the term “UNCLE TOM” (with the implication that there’s a particular role, attitude, or set of convictions that are appropriate to a race or gender, the lack of which marks them out as a pariah of some kind?) in the mocking, anti-abolitionist twist that Harriet Beecher Stowe’s original rather mawkish antislavery tale was written (and clearly in ignorance of the history of how the shift in meaning came about, or the original role of Uncle Tom as a figure of stoicism and adherence to duty in the face of being beaten to death by his master), I’m not even going to start getting into gender roles with you.

          Honestly I am amazed some of you can even get out of bed in the morning. As soon as you – any of you – start saying “Men do THIS and women do THIS”, you have forgotten that these roles are imposed externally, and have nothing to do with individual choice (and that gender is more than binary…….)

    • The problem here is that the gender differences are socially imposed, not biologically, and as such they’re arbitrary and as irrelevant as whether or not you throw salt over your shoulder after you spill some. The other problem is that entire classes of people are directly and brutally oppressed due to the supposition that those things are “hardwired”.

  51. Interesting piece, and well-put overall, but I’m concerned about this:

    “But just remember when we talk it’s not going to sound like a women in a man’s body. It’s gonna be all dude.”

    Quite seriously, what could that possibly entail? What could a “dude” say (beyond, “I am a dude,” of course) that would *necessarily* sound like a man, such that a woman couldn’t say it? This sounds like a great deal like gender essentialism. Instead, I suggest that men should be able to say whatever it is they want to, and have what they say be taken on its own merits, without their gender being taken into consideration. Just like any human being should.

    • Mark Jones says:

      I do think that was the point: Whatever a man says will be man speaking, not whatever a woman expects him to sound like. The point was more about the woman’s expectations than what a man should or shouldn’t say. But in terms of most people’s experiences, yes, men often communicate differently than women, and that’s OK. It’s as much the woman’s responsibility to understand how a man thinks and communicates as it is a man’s responsibility to try to communicate in a way that the woman understands (and vice versa!).

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      I assume he meant that if gender is somewhat hardwired then a men’s rights movement won’t necessarily resemble feminism. For instance: less poetry.

      I’m not sure if its true, I guess time will tell.

      • Tom Matlack says:


        I simply meant that The vocabulary of masculinity, to me, is what guys talk about to each other because they are afraid to when women are around for fear that they will say the wrong thing. It’s the way men talk about their lives/stories. It’s the way they express emotion, which at least for the guys that I hang around with (admittedly a non scientific sample) is different from their wives. What I am saying is that as men it’s time we speak up rather than going along to get along. Have honest dialogue. Not because men speak with one voice. There are as many kinds of manhood as men. But because men, in my view, often see the world differently than women. And as long as women are doing most of the talking about manhood, which seems to be the case right now with folks like Hannah Rosen proclaiming the END OF MEN, we are never going to get anywhere.

        • Socratic Method Man says this better below, but still: So what you’re saying is, you and your friends (who just happen to be all men), communicate in a particular way, therefore you denote those voices with the universal term of “men,” despite recognizing that this has everything to do with you social group and little to do with specifically being male? If the “guys you hang out with” had happened to all be women, don’t you think you would have the same relative experience? We all are best at communicating with our close friends, after all.

          You say that “there are as many kinds of manhood as men.” But there are also as many kinds of womanhood as women, and further, the sets of potential womanhoods and manhoods are almost precisely equivalent. See: hetronormativity, etc. Many butch gay women communicate far more “like men,” as it were, than most men do. Hannah Rosen is certainly wrong, but the inverse error doesn’t help anybody.

          (For the record: I am a cis man. My in-person communication style is coded feminine about half of the time. I thus often have trouble fitting in with any group, and it would really help if people would just listen to what I have to say instead of constantly trying to gender it.)

          • From your initial post, its feeling, its construction. I actually thought you were a feminine woman , until i read your blog. Then I suspected you are a feminine man, or had a good degree of femininity.

            I note on this thread, that defining what a man or woman is, is especially troubling to those that do not fit the norm.

            Most men tend towards masculinity. Because you are a feminine man, does not mean you are less of a man. You are just a different kind of man.
            Should we not use the ‘universal term of men’ to mean a nontransman with a penis, just because a minority of nontrans men will either not be born with a penis, or lose it to cancer or to accident? No

            So what you’re saying is, you and your friends (who just happen to be all men), communicate in a particular way, therefore you denote those voices with the universal term of “men,”

        • But because men, in my view, often see the world differently than women.

          Great article Tom. I completely agree doesnt matter whether by nature, nurture or a combination of both – the differences are there. To expect male bodies and female bodies to experience the world in the same way, is rather like going to another country and expecting no cultural differences. So I dont understand where B, a “pansexual biological man” according to his blog is coming from in his comment, especially as he agreed with your article. He must clearly have experienced those differences as a pansexual man. eg.I remember an article here written by a young bisexual woman suggesting that men wait for women to approach them, as that worked for her. The men had to explain to her that things were different for men. That for most men, hell would freeze over before they were approached, so they had to approach women.

          I simply meant that The vocabulary of masculinity, to me, is what guys talk about to each other because they are afraid to when women are around for fear that they will say the wrong thing. It’s the way men talk about their lives/stories.

          We saw a great example of this in the “ruined tits” firestorm. Where the women here were outraged at the comment, and the men surprised at the outrage.

          • Marcus Williams says:

            I agree that the “ruined tits” firestorm was a great example of Tom’s point in this article. I had it explained to me a million times, so I don’t need more explaining, but there was a clear gender difference in whether people could separate the word choice from the behavior, or not. Even when there was broad agreement about the related bad behavior (sneaking around), the consensus from women was that “ruined tits” was a disrespectful, hurtful, wrong way of expressing such a feeling and they never would, so men shouldn’t either. Many examples were given of what women would or wouldn’t complain about, to whom, and how to phrase it, and the implied advice or request was that men should do it the same way, with the same vocabulary. More concisely: talk more like women. It could be selective memory, but I don’t recall any of the initially outraged women coming around to the idea that “ruined tits” might mean something different between two men talking and feeling as men, than it does between two women or a man talking with a woman.

            However, I don’t think this is just some estrogen-induced flaw. I think men also wish women were more like them in many ways, particularly when it comes to sex. In either direction, I see it as a byproduct of people trying to connect with and understand other people, because we’re a social species. It may not be a very realistic wish, but I don’t think such wishing is evidence that either gender is out to destroy the other. Frustrating, sure, but not mean-spirited.

            • Hi Marcus, don’t worry, I won’t add further to the firestorm, and already did. 🙂

              I think this is spot-on:

              “However, I don’t think this is just some estrogen-induced flaw. I think men also wish women were more like them in many ways, particularly when it comes to sex. In either direction, I see it as a byproduct of people trying to connect with and understand other people, because we’re a social species.”

              Honestly, that’s exactly what I was thinking, but I didn’t want to weigh in. It goes both ways. If I had commented that I’ve been in personal and professional relationships with men who wanted me to be more “male” in my disposition, someone would have said I was doing the “whataboutthewomenz” thing. But if you say it goes both ways, you’re just giving a balanced view. So, I’m agreeing with you!

        • What??

          “as long as women are doing most of the talking about manhood, which seems to be the case right now”

          People – men and women – talk about manhood every day, and in every framework. Be a man, grow some balls. Man up. Masculinity as a metric for adulthood, competence, bravery, and ambition permeates every aspect of our culture. Just because the definition is toxic doesn’t mean it does not get talked about. Maybe you just don’t see it, but every woman or queer man who has ever heard “QUIT BEING A CUNT AND GROW A PAIR” will tell you that the rigid and patriarchally enforced definition of manhood is ALL that matters, EVER.

          Women – usually feminists – are talking a lot about what it means to be a man because we love allies, and we love our husbands and sons and fathers, and we want to see a world where you can reach your full potential – but make no mistake, we’re still marginalised women in a world made for men talking about men, and it’s a staggeringly huge pisser to have you act like it hasn’t been about you the whole goddamn time.

          “women are doing most the the talking about manhood”, jesus. JESUS. I mean, have you turned on a tv lately? Opened a book? Watched a movie? Pondered the fact that books by and about women are for women, but books by and about men are for everyone, because masculinity is FOR EVERYONE?

          My daughter is allowed to wear pants, the color blue, and enter a traditionally masculine trade. Why not? After all, who doesn’t want to be a man in a culture where “manning up” means taking responsibility? My son, however, can’t wear pink, or a dress, or flowers, or braid his hair, because to identify with anything traditionally female is bad, wrong, deviant, and disgusting.

          Tell me again how the ONLY people talking about manhood are women?


          • My daughter is allowed to wear pants, the color blue, and enter a traditionally masculine trade. Why not? After all, who doesn’t want to be a man in a culture where “manning up” means taking responsibility? My son, however, can’t wear pink, or a dress, or flowers, or braid his hair, because to identify with anything traditionally female is bad, wrong, deviant, and disgusting.

            Tell me again how the ONLY people talking about manhood are women?

            Im glad youve noticed that het women now do virtually all the things men do, while het men dont dare do most of the things women do.
            it is het women THEMSELVES, who demand that their men define themselves apart from women.

            Now It would help greatly if women attracted to men, found femininity in their men attractive or desirable. It really would, however, as a rule – theyd rather eat their own vomit.
            Feminist women should lead the charge – THAT would be the start of the 4th wave. The general acceptance of “whatever is considered feminine” in men, by women who are attracted to men. Just as Western men have generally accepted what was once masculinity(victorian masculinity) in women.
            As feminism defines the core of your being. You surely must practice what you preach, and value. And find ‘femininity’ in men attractive, yes? infact a musthave? I take it you find feminine het men just as sexually, romantically attractive as masculine men? No doubt you have chosen a man that does something that is considered ‘feminine’ eg. wears slinky lingerie?

            Im sure youre not one of those feminist women, for whom femininity in men is fine – as long as it is in the men of other women…
            There is little evidence that feminist women prefer men who act in nonmasculine ways, in any greater numbers than nonfeminist.. or even ‘traditional’ women. That feminist het women differ from a 1950s uppermiddle class USA housewife, in their preference for masculine men.

            Again, No doubt you have chosen a man that does something that is considered ‘feminine’ eg. wears slinky lingerie? yes? Yes?

            • Answer to the question-
              Because women actually TALK about things! Men won’t SPEAK!
              But also, wearing pants isn’t “male”- it just makes sense for certain things. And in some cultures men still do wear Kilts or tunics because it makes more sense. That isn’t a male/female thing it’s the gender biased western way of dressing and you can choose to not engage. As for “traditionally” male careers, do you mean tradition in terms of nature or tradition in terms of, once again western bias? Because traditionally women are the healers and nurturers so why was it we weren’t ALLOWED in medical school? Hmmmm? You see, much of our western tradition was really just bias, sexism, prejudice and oppression. With those things gone they really aren’t inherently MALE things after all, just like cooking, baking, cleaning aren’t inherently FEMALE things to do. FYI

              • I wrote

                Just as Western men have generally accepted what was once masculinity(victorian masculinity) in women.

                Which would surely suggest that i know bloody well know the origin and the recency of ‘tradition western’ notions of ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’. Note in my quote, I even used the term ‘western’. Again showing full knowledge of temporal and geographical borders.

                As to clothing. Look for my post (it’s in moderation) about the bliaut. Trust me, I know ALOT more about the history of clothing than you do.

                Finally, I ask you the same question. Did you think you could squirm away from it.
                As feminism defines the core of your being. You surely must practice what you preach, and value. And find ‘femininity’ in men attractive, yes? infact a musthave? I take it you find feminine het men just as sexually, romantically attractive as masculine men? No doubt you have chosen a man that does something that is considered ‘feminine’ eg. wears slinky lingerie?

                Cease your whining and get to it

                • … your definitions of “masculine” and “feminine” are strawmen, though, and refer to cultural ideals rather than the inclinations of actual individuals. What a man does is, by definition, masculine.

                  Your idea that “FEMINISTS LOVE MASCULINE MEN” handwaves away a LOT of issues, starting with what “masculine” and “feminine” mean. From here it looks like you’re taking the idea that to be masculine is to be competent, logical, interesting, strong, smart, and sexually healthy.

                  Who DOESN’T want that in a partner? And what does that have to do with how people dress? My husband looks delicious in makeup, and is no less “manly” thereby. He claims he’s straight because he’s never met the right man. I told him that if I make the change to transman, I had better be his type or he’s dead meat.

                  The question you appear to be begging is that your definition of “feminine” is weak, petulant, clingy, childish, and codependent. Nobody should be like that, male OR female.

                  I am curvy, with long hair, a low, pleasant voice, and I love to bake and cook and clean. I have two children. I don’t wear makeup, and never wear dresses. I lift weights and shoot guns and chew my nails and build computer systems. I have a low pain threshold, and cry at movies. I am confrontational, and logical, and analytical. Am I masculine or feminine?

                  Hint: I am neither. I am me. Typifying me by gender performativity is pointless.

                  • Your idea that “FEMINISTS LOVE MASCULINE MEN” handwaves away a LOT of issues, starting with what “masculine” and “feminine” mean. From here it looks like you’re taking the idea that to be masculine is to be competent, logical, interesting, strong, smart, and sexually healthy.

                    Who DOESN’T want that in a partner? And what does that have to do with how people dress? My husband looks delicious in makeup, and is no less “manly” thereby. He claims he’s straight because he’s never met the right man. I told him that if I make the change to transman, I had better be his type or he’s dead meat.

                    The question you appear to be begging is that your definition of “feminine” is weak, petulant, clingy, childish, and codependent. Nobody should be like that, male OR female.

                    I dont think that at all. Nor do i see how you could read my posts to you that way. You WANT to see that in me.
                    I thought “whatever is considered feminine” clearly showed that i know what is considered masculine and feminine can change radically. eg. virtually all of modern woman’s clothing was originally only menswear, European dark age princes thought, to write was feminine.
                    Although now i can see, “whatever comes to be considered feminine in a culture” would have been clearer.

                    I wrote, “Just as Western men have generally accepted what was once masculinity(victorian masculinity) in women.”. It would have been clear to someone who knew history, or feminist history that i was aware of the radical change in notions of masculinity and femininity that were caused by american, french and industrial revolutions. I talk about an aspect of the prior masculinity in the below:

                    jameseq says:
                    December 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm

                    Lori, Im not attacking you.
                    I like the fact that youve taken an emotionally sensitive man as your hubby. Youre a rare feminist who actually practices what she preaches – values ‘femininity’ in men.
                    I think youre awesome. If hubby wanted to wear the unisex bliaut of 12 Century CE Europe around town, you would be more open to it than other women.
                    [[[painting of man in bliaut. Nobles wore silk leggings, or stockings and suspenders, or tights. Poorer men wore similar legwear but made out of a form of figurehugging elastic wool. The merchant classes nicking the crown of the aristocrat has robbed men of our beautiful clothing.]]]

                    You accept what is considered currently viewed as ‘feminine’ behaviour in your man.
                    I say currently, as in the 18th Century Ce Europe, during the Age of Sensibility. Such a man was seen not only as masculine, but a superior masculine man (of course there were dissenting voices on that view). An intelligent man, was supposed to show the full range of emotions. A man to be intouch with his feelings eg. weeping, was intouch with a higher truth. Im surprised that feminist historians havent highlighted this period of masculinity, to bash men over the head with it

            • Jameseq: This makes for extremely bizarre reading, particularly as you appear to be growing more and more angry with me with every fresh and unfounded conjecture about my personality and needs, and you seem to be utterly unaware that you’re making things up. I mean, are you aware of this? You’re just making stuff up based on what you read and your own weird interpretations of what those things mean.

              The person you are screaming at does not, in any sense, exist. Can you imagine what you must sound like if you’re wrong about me? Didn’t you think of that before you pressed “Post Comment”? Is this how you live your life, making things up and getting angry about them? You don’t even know my gender, or whether I am cisgender or straight. All you know about me is what I have written, and the utterly broken chain of logic you have used to create the person you’re trying to argue with.

              To answer the last question you seem to place so much emphasis on, as though it’s going to be difficult to answer, no. I’m a queer ciswoman, though I have been known to identify as male. My husband is larger than me, with a deep voice. He has large hands, facial hair, and broad shoulders. He’s stronger than me, which is pretty cool because I’m not weak. He is lusty and sexually demanding, which suits me very well, as he has utmost respect and concern for my well-being and I know that I’m safe with him even when we get rough. If I ask him to stop, he does – no matter what – and he expects and gets the same from me. We lift weights together, and clean the house together, and cook together, and go hiking together. We love our pets and our kids. He’s sensitive and loving with both children, the eldest being from a previous relationship of mine. He is a good-looking guy, and gets a lot of attention from women of all ages. He’s my best friend, and I point out good-looking women to him. He returns the favour, and points out good-looking guys. He is sensitive without being petulant. He is considerate without being passive. He’s an excellent father. He is a wonderful, wonderful human being. He identifies as a feminist ally, and lives it every day of his life, and does not apologise for anything he has not personally done. He calls people out on racism, sexism, and homophobia wherever he encounters it, and is not afraid of confrontation.

              I tell you these things not because they’re any of your business, or because they have anything to do with the matter at hand, but to illustrate to you that your “logic” is broken, and your suppositions about what “kinds” of people who have the opinions I do is utterly, completely flawed.

              Maybe you should go off and think about that for a bit.

              • My husband looks delicious in makeup, and is no less “manly” thereby.
                Makeup could have been for halloween.
                Im not angry, Im questioning. So i read you as a androgynous-to-masculine genderqueer woman(who may be an androgynous-to-masculine trans man), who is married to a masculine nontrans man. Im a masculine bisexual nontrans man.
                I didnt expect you to reply in detail. I was just asking the question whether he was feminine, or allowed to “feminine” things. I note that hubby is not a feminine man as I suspected(femininity in men is fine as long as it is not in my man), however a person cant help who they fall for. Nor does he do much that is now considered ‘feminine’. The question is, would you who are a genderqueer woman, be happy if more ‘femininity’ developed in him.

                • Michael Rowe says:

                  jameseq, maybe you need to stop assigning masculinity, femininity, androgyny, transgender, or queerness to people you’ve never met, based on their writing? Just as thought, perhaps as a way for you to seem less hysterical, offensive, and presumptuous….?

          • Socratic Method Man, how could you possibly think phrases like “man up” constitute any sort of valid discussion about manhood? Equating phrases like “QUIT BEING A CUN AND GROW A PAIR” with thoughtful conversation on masculinity is like considering American Apparel ads a comprehensive investigation into healthy female body image, i.e. preposterous. If you’ve seem thoughtful debate on this subject by men on the TV, in books, or in the movies recently then please for the love of god direct me to them. All I see is Entourage, The Forty Year-Old Virgin, and Knocked Up.

            The facts of the matter are, until recently very few men were publically challenging or even discussing masculinity. This is why the Good Men Project and spaces of its ilk are so necessary. Just because masculinity in its various negative stereotypes abounds in our culture doesn’t mean there’s any sort of critique of it. Obviously you are frustrated at the “rigid and patriarchally enforced definition of manhood”. That’s great! So are we! Dialogues about this definition – such as the Good Men Project hosts – lead to change.

            In your comment I noticed a tacit assumption that because this definition is so prevalent, people discuss it. I’d contest that repeating stereotypes and speaking in ways that reinforce the usual narrow definition of masculinity does not constitute talking ABOUT it. Tom’s made the point that many dialogues about masculinity are female dominated, which is true. The feminist movement resulted in a generation of women (and several handfuls of men) educated and socialized to think critically about gender and gender dynamics. However males have not undergone such a revolution, and therefore have no education in how to think about or challenge stereotypes about themselves. Cut guys a little slack as we figure out how to actually talk about these sorts of things.

            Finally, I’d like speak a little to your son’s inability to identify with anything traditionally female. As a heterosexual male, I am also scared of being judged as “bad, wrong, deviant, and disgusting” for, say, wearing pink. But do you know who will judge me? Not my close friends friends. If anything they’ll see my breach of social norms as funny. Not the male population at my school. It’s unlikely they’d give something like that even one thought before shrugging it off. It’s the straight female population that would judge me, that would question my sexuality. The reason why many straight men don’t embrace traditionally female tropes is because it harms their ability to date and their chance of finding a partner. Jesus, but that’s messed up.


  52. nipun kalia says:

    Dude, you are so right !! And I am not talking about just this write up but this whole endeavour of yours – The Good Men Project. I read most of the write ups/ articles and share quite a few of them on facebook every now and then.
    Keep up the good work !


  53. as a woman, I have ideas of what I look for in a man but I try to not get that confused with a generality of what all men should be like. I like this site because it makes me think about what life is like for men. It’s not the same to be a man, that’s for sure. I don’t want a man to be like a woman with the ability to get lids of jars and move the heavy furniture. I like the differences.

  54. Tom, I dont remember how, but I came across “The Good Man Project” website. As an educated man in my early thirties that is currently going through a divorce and grappling with not being around my daughter on a daily basis- I am mesmerized with this site and what being a “good man” in todays society means. Its strange to me how trying to be a so called “good man” today is so hard and utterly confusing. I like what Im reading on the site, and I like what I believe youre trying to do.


  55. As a female writing both male and female characters, I’m always interested in some of the basic differences–and I do believe there’s a very different hard wiring in men and women. Since many of my readers are women, I think my heroes tend to behave and think the way women wish they would rather than the way they actually would. But I try to make them believable to both genders.

  56. What a great piece, Tom. I love it. I’ll make sure to spread this around to as many women as possible – women need to understand what men are dealing with, and you’ve said it so well.


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