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

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About Tom Matlack

Tom Matlack is the co-founder of The Good Men Project. He has a 18-year-old daughter and 16- and 7-year-old sons. His wife, Elena, is the love of his life. Follow him on Twitter @TMatlack.

Comments

  1. 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 dictionary.com): “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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. C.A. George says:

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

  10. 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!

  11. “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. http://unknownmisandry.blogspot.com/2011/09/word-for-mens-rights-1856.html

  12. 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:

              Factory,

              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.

            • Thanks Julie, I appreciate it. I try my best!

      • 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”.). http://volokh.com/2011/10/05/north-carolina-crime-of-assault-on-a-female/

              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?

              Seriously

              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…..you 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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5OdQGbVNa4

    • 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

          -N

          • http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Feb11/WomenSci.html
            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.

            • Yes, I agree that today, choices determine the success of female scientists. This is relatively recent, though.

          • 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.

  15. 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…

  16. 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.

            • Thanks, Erin. I’m impressed by your genuine and steady effort to seek common ground. Hope you have a great start to 2012!

            • Lisa Hickey says:

              Agreed! Here here!

            • Thanks Ping & Lisa, Happy New Year to you two, as well!

  17. 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?

  18. “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).”

  19. 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.

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

  21. Silly comment alert:

    I was really hoping for a picture of Jeff Bridges.

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

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

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

Trackbacks

  1. [...] This comment by Dave was in response to Tom Matlack’s post Being a Dude Is a Good Thing [...]

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  4. [...] piece “Being a Dude is a Good Thing” has troubled me. His narrative about how men, “get blamed for everything,” rings hollow to [...]

  5. [...] from Tom Matlack’s discourse throughout this kerfuffle. I read his original article Being A Dude Is A Good Thing and understood its main premise about the sterotypes and blame facing men. I felt the article had [...]

  6. Life says:

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  7. [...] a Dude Is a Good Thing Being a Dude Is a Good Thing by @TMatlack As the founder of the Good Men Project, I am the butt of my share of jokes. Guys in high places [...]

  8. [...] week, gender thinker Tom Matlack wrote a piece about men’s dismay at feeling “blamed for everything” that was scoffed at as risible garbage by Amanda Marcotte.  I thought Mr. Matlack’s piece was [...]

  9. [...] The Good Men Project Magazine. For those who did not follow it, Tom Matlack wrote an article called Being a Dude Is a Good Thing that focused on how some men feel that women blame them for being men. Matlack’s article [...]

  10. [...] response to your article…that was your divorce papers being served. Never mind that it was couched in terms of [...]

  11. [...] Being a Dude Is a Good Thing by @TMatlack — The Good Men ProjectHere’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. [...]

  12. [...] apparently frustrated by pervasive man-bashing, wrote an article in defense of men titled “Being a Dude is a Good Thing.” It’s actually quite reasonable, and could only be interpreted as provocative by those [...]

  13. [...] of the criticism’s of Tom Matlack’s original post “Being a Dude is a Good Thing” (the post that started this all) was that some people didn’t see the world as Tom did. [...]

  14. [...] founder Tom Matlack is getting a lot of heat from feminists for his article “Being a Dude is a Good Thing”.  Amanda Marcotte calls him a whiner; David Futrelle casts doubt on every anecdote that [...]

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  16. [...] entrenched with Hugo in the “Rape Culture Exists” camp, and Marcus has identified more with Tom. Because he’s a man and I’m a woman? Maybe. Probably not, though. Marcus is awfully open-minded [...]

  17. [...] want you to be”; and there’s no other possible way. As Tom Matlack noted in his article “Being a Dude is a Good Thing”, sometimes it seems that “The female view is the right view. The male view just gets you into [...]

  18. [...] –from Being a Dude Is a Good Thing [...]

  19. [...] here at GMP there was a nuclear meltdown just before the holidays over a piece I wrote entitled “Being a Dude is a Good Thing” in which I said, among other things: One close friend jokes, “When speaking to my wife I always [...]

  20. [...] But on December 14, 2011, the site’s founder, Tom Matlack, published a piece called “Being a Dude Is a Good Thing“ in which he argued that men and women were fundamentally different, and that women refused [...]

  21. [...] But on December 14, 2011, the site’s founder, Tom Matlack, published a piece called “Being a Dude Is a Good Thing“ in which he argued that men and women were fundamentally different, and that women refused [...]

  22. [...] piece “Being a Dude is a Good Thing” has troubled me. His narrative about how men, “get blamed for everything,” rings hollow to [...]

  23. [...] know. Feminist is a big tent and it wasn’t ALL of them that I alienated with my discussion of why being a dude is okay. But this story has really got my blood [...]

  24. [...] So when we decided to create an editorial section on “The Presumption of Male Guilt”, with 15 different really great contributors, Hugo wrote the above article, I wrote from my point of view on “When Women Fear Men” and Tom Matlack wrote “Being a Dude is a Good Thing.” [...]

  25. [...] to essentialism  ”Why I Love the Gender Binary” and Matlack’s brotastic “Why Being a Dude is a Good Thing.” My personal favorite headline is the master troll “Patriarchy Shmatriarchy.” [...]

  26. [...] been nine months now since I penned the now infamous blog post, “Being a Dude is a Good Thing,” which started with my idea that as guys we are often misunderstood and ended with what felt like [...]

  27. [...] December 14, 2011, the site’s founder, Tom Matlack, published a piece called “Being a Dude Is a Good Thing“ in which he argued that men and women were fundamentally different, and that women refused [...]

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