The Feminist I Used to Know


The Good Men Project started with the goal of empathy. Empathy for other men. Tom Matlack hopes that today’s feminists can understand that.



So if you happened onto my blog, twitter stream, or anywhere near my person over the last few days you will know I experienced a lot of “Feminists Responding With Reasonable Arguments and Insights.” That’s what Amanda Marcotte so helpfully described the cascade of criticism I took for objecting to Hugo’s piece about women being justified in seeing all men as rapists, until proven otherwise, and my blog about how being a dude is a good thing.

Truly, I haven’t felt this popular since criticizing Esquire for objectifying women in their Women We Love Section — a post (“Cleavage or Soul?”) which for a time won me the honor of being the “Mangina of the Month” among Men’s Rights Activists (MRA for the un-initiated, who wrote about me here). That time, I took my clothes off and put a picture up of myself with make-up (“Have You Seen My Mangina?”) to admit to my obvious deficiencies.

Having experienced the pain of attack from both the most active men’s and now women’s groups, I have to admit to seeing both sides of this gender divide as fundamentally wrong in their view of manhood in all it’s many shapes and colors.


My original goal in founding The Good Men Project with my business partner James Houghton was to give voice to first-person stories by men about their attempt to be good fathers, husbands, sons, workers and men. And we did just that — publishing stories from men inside Sing Sing to men on the battlegrounds of the war in Iraq, stories that range from a dad who lost his child to men going through sex change, men dealing with divorce and men dealing with unemployment.

I, personally, have been moved and inspired.

We’ve also tried to “spark a national conversation about what it means to be a good man.”  That’s worked really well in the boys’ schools I’ve visited, in the inner city and on leafy campuses in the suburbs. It’s worked in prisons. It’s worked in churches and synagogues. It’s even worked in open readings where we had as many women as men, if not more.

But somehow my attempt to look at how manhood has played out in those people and places I know–particularly as related to our relationship to women–has caused those who call themselves modern feminists great discomfort as they see my points as somehow trying to identify a binary or “essential” gender structure. That’s not what I believe or aspire to. Quite the opposite. The variety of first person stories on our site shows, if nothing else, that I value the unique experience that every man has in negotiating his own maleness. And when asked to pin down what it means to be a “good” man I have said over and over again that it is not an abstract concept. It has to be lived and self-defined. Our only goal has been to provide a platform to tell stories of men grappling with that aspiration and to allow open discussion about what it means to be a man.

So I come back to this basic disconnect that is filling my inbox and causing random men and women identifying themselves as “feminists” to contact me just to let me know:


To me, a key question in unpacking how and why this has happened goes to the meaning of the word “feminism.”



I was raised in a family where social justice was (and continues to be) the highest and most important calling in life. My parents were in Mississippi the summer of 1964, they marched for Civil Rights, my dad was imprisoned for protesting the Vietnam War on many occasions. When I was eight, I went to prison with him.

From the first grade on, I grew up in what my parents prefer I call a “communal living situation,” as opposed to an all-out commune. I was in first grade in 1970. My parent’s focus had shifted — from Civil Rights and the Anti-War Movement, to women’s liberation. My mom went back to school to get her PhD. Our communal living situation included a lot of graduate students, many of whom happened to be lesbians.

My grade school dinner table was a place where we talked about women’s rights, about the ERA, about what feminism meant.

I say all this not to somehow set myself up as an expert or morally pure. I am neither. I am capable of racism, war mongering, and sexism. No doubt. But I am not uneducated on what the feminist movement of the 60s, 70s and 80s was all about when many women in this country changed the 1950s stereotype of being a “good wife” into something profoundly different and better for women, and for men.

I recall my mom defending her dissertation and starting to work. And the profound pride she felt and shared with me at being able to pay back her school loans and, when my dad experienced a professional setback, her ability to be the primary earner in our household.

No, I say this because the feminists I am interacting with today seem to have so little in common with the feminists with whom I sat at the dining room table as a kid.


What’s really strange to me is that female authors are proclaiming the End of Men (meaning in terms of careers, not ironically in terms of their capacity to be good fathers and husbands) at the very same time when the most ardent feminist voices are attacking me, and others men, for our inability to see the continued patriarchy. I don’t agree with either, but you can see my confusion.

I realize that there are issues that impact women much more heavily than men. Issues like sex trafficking, porn, and the glass ceiling, I am 100% on board with speaking up and taking actions to create change. I am fully in support of working hard to prevent rape and pedophilia.

What I don’t understand is the rage directed at me when I try to talk about one man’s perspective, albeit partial and deeply flawed for sure, of male emotion. Even the idea that women, or some women, would prefer men to be more like them than more manly sends the twitter-sphere into orbit. The idea that it’s not okay to treat all men as rapists, despite the preponderance of rape committed by individual men, is wrong. And, when I say that I believe treating every black man as a criminal just because there are one million of them behind bars is just as abhorrent as treating all men as rapists — it brings strangers to my door to call me not only a sexist but racist and deeply offensive.

This isn’t the feminism that I used to know. The feminism around our kitchen table was about equal rights. I agree whole-heartily with men and women having equal access to everything. I don’t agree that men and women are the same. Far from it. And maybe that is the sticking point here.

In my work life I have worked for lots of women. And I have hired lots of women in a field, venture capital, where there are less than they should be. One of my partners was a woman. The person who I work most closely with—who I frankly trust in business now more than anyone else, having started over 30 companies together—is a woman. The CEO of The Good Men Project is a woman.

I wish we had a woman for President (see Germany). I tend to think Hilary would have done a better job than Obama has, though I am still going to vote for him over whatever the Republican circus produces.

My point is that men and women are different, thankfully. And the world would be a better place, in my view, if women had more power rather than less.

That doesn’t mean that I believe in a binary/essential view of gender. I understand that there are as many different kinds of men (and women) as there are men (and women). I am only speaking about my own experience. But I don’t think it’s helpful in a gender discussion to blow up the concept of gender altogether or see it simply as a matter of sexual attraction (whatever your orientation) without being able to at least talk about the emotions, reactions, thought processes that are tied to gender, whatever that means to you.

Maybe I’m the only one who takes this view, that a discussion of manhood is a worthy topic despite its many nuances and my vastly limited view. I could be totally wrong to even bring it up. But does that view deserve the “wrath of the feminists” as I said on twitter? Even then, I was quickly attacked for using such sexist language (they were pretty darn mad at me and they did say they were feminists).


At the core of the idea that became The Good Men Project was the goal of empathy. It had saved my life to hear other men’s stories and develop empathy for them, to be inspired by them, to love them fully. It’s how I came back from a horrific bottom and slowly rebuilt a life that had been blown to bits.

James and I believed at the start that we, as men, don’t have enough empathy for each other, for our kids and for the women in our lives. We don’t share our stories as readily as we might. And so we thought that the male sharing of experience could be a powerful force for change and good in the world.

We also believed that our very differences as men are what can be the most powerful in this context. We set out to find men who were as different as possible from the two middle-aged white straight finance guys we were. And in our original book and film, that turned out to be the case. It was in our differences as men that the common elements came through the most profoundly. When we saw ourselves not in skin color or wealth or sexual orientation but in heart and soul that we knew we had hit the jackpot.


I consider myself a feminist. Perhaps it’s a club that doesn’t really want me at this point but the fact remains. One comment on twitter noted that “feminism isn’t static, it’s constantly changing.” Which I suppose is a good thing. And perhaps it’s like “God” in that it is a concept both so broad and so personal that it almost escape a single definition. But I’d like to believe that at the core of feminism is a commitment to empathy—to empathy for women and for human beings in general.

I can understand being angry. Angry about the lack of women in positions of power, angry about women who have been raped, angry about sex trafficking. I’m angry about those things too. But I don’t understand being angry at men at-large, or to criticize those of us who are trying to get really honest in hopes of building a stronger foundation for intimacy and relationships and goodness in the realm of fatherhood and husbandhood.

I am reminded of a particular story that showed up in our film by James’s brother-in-law Kent George. I love what he was willing to share with us, and with our viewers, because it says in a few short minutes more than I ever could about the fact that sometimes being a man is about surviving. And even a white man deserves our profound empathy no matter what our gender, orientation or color.

About Tom Matlack

Thomas Matlack is a venture capitalist.


  1. Andrew Richards says:

    The problem Mr Matlack has is the same one that feminists and traditionalists have whenever they argue- despite claims to the contrary, both traditionalists and feminists both espouse versions of chauvinistic gender-based values systems.

    Traditionalism has never been about the oppression of women in a conventional sense – by that I mean that it has never been a master/slave dynamic. However what it has perpetuated in terms of women is a culture of perpetual infantalisation -where women have been traditionally sheltered and given the agency of children. The phrase “women and children to the lifeboats” is a glaring instance of this.

    Conversely, men have been treated as being perpetually disposable, divorced from their emotions, socially oppressed by both men and women – men who tell other men to “man up” et al and women who “want a real man” (in fact female sexuality has been a powerful tool used to police the behaviour of men) – and emasculated and ridiculed the moment they deviate from the Alpha ideal.

    Tosh wrote it best when he said that men are solely valued in society for their ability to protect women, ability to provide and sexual prowess. In other words, we traditionally view men as being nothing more than walking ATMs, walking human shields, and penises on legs!

    Feminism, contrary to it’s deceitful propaganda, is nothing more than the hypocritical compounding of chauvinism. It reinforces traditionalist chauvinism through the myth of patriarchy (which claims that homeless men oppress Gina Rinehart when followed to its conclusion) while compounding female infantalisation through perpetuating a climate of perpetual female victimhood and compounding male disposability by blaming men for being the victims of expendability-based chauvinism.

    Further compounding this, are male feminists or “white knights” as they are correctly called

    In this climate, viewing women nothing more as vaginas and a pair off tits on legs is seen as vulgar, but not only is viewing men as nothing more than walking ATMs, walking human shields, and penises on legs completely socially acceptable, but something we blame men for being dehumanised as.

    It’s tempting to say that this is only a trait of modern feminism, but even the suffragettes were proudly at the forefront of the White Feather Campaign – which saw men who had no voting rights, shamed into fighting a war, to be treated as being subhuman and good for nothing except tripping over their intestines or bleeding out after their torsos had been blown off of the rest of their bodies, on the battlefield.

    It’s highly telling the responses to a piece of calculated satire which recently showed up on A Voice for Men – both on the site and on their facebook page. The piece quoted 2 non-existent studies which claimed to have found the majority of women reflected positively on their experiences of being raped with a disclaimer down at the conclusion off the piece that the studies had been faked and that this was a satirical example of “evidence by citation” and other forms of academic fraud which feminists have been guilty of for years in ways which are equally victim blaming towards male victims (

    Yet whilst people were reacting viscerally to the fake study; the notion that it was satire and that it was an example of what feminists have been doing to male survivors for decades, went completely over their heads.

    Is it any wonder that in at least five US states, children as young as 12 can be raped by pedphiles, only to be forced to pay child support to the pedophile when they become pregnant from the rape and it results in a child (

    The fact is that you cannot be a feminist and genuinely interested in the rights and dignity of men – they are simply incompatible. Anyone who claims otherwise is either blatantly lying or severely misguided.

  2. I was unsure about your site when I first stumbled across it. But after reading this and a couple of other posts, I’m starting to think you get it. Guys no longer want everything to be framed by feminine entitlement. We want to be liberated the way that women were liberated, to have more fulfilling lives. We want to be more connected to other men. And we’re not going to get there by having to filter our thoughts through a feminine perspective.

    We need our own perspective, our own thoughts, and we need to start living the way we think is best not the way our outdated gender roles tell us, and certainly not the way feminists would like us to live.

    I think feminists are threatened by men talking on their own and figuring things out on their own. They have their own sort of entitlement, and the thought of losing that frame on masculinity makes them feel insecure. But you’re doing the right thing, and for what it’s worth I support you at least on these issues.

    I am not against feminism, per se. I think it’s done a lot of good for women, but where men need to draw the line is when feminism starts to try and enforce old gender roles that are holding men back.

    I’ll have to start reading your site more.

  3. Tom, I can see that you are trying to be sincere in dealing with this whole debacle. I offer my sincere best wishes to you in gaining some perspective on this.

    That said, a couple of things: if you want to talk about sex differences, I strongly urge you to check out the empirical literature of the social sciences and the neurosciences from credible peer-reviewed sources (I recommend: Cordelia Fine, Rebecca Jordan-Young [her book is a spectacular critique of the science of sex differences that has been extremely well-received in some of the most prestigious scientific journals — you absolutely must read it to understand how complicated this topic is], Donald W. Pfaff, and others). Once you start dipping into this literature you’ll find out that in modern societies, it is really difficult to make clear-cut statements about male and female behavior. Moreover, even in areas where sex differences are more well-established, it is difficult to conclude from those sex differences that men and women are automatically destined for entirely different life outcomes. There’s a way to talk about all these topics with nuance and complexity and without being simplistic.

  4. “Feminism has gone from a movement that wanted equal rights to a movement that wants to let women do anything without consequence. Casual sex? You were coerced by a man.”

    Absolutely not. Modern feminists are all about taking control of your sex life and being able to have sex for pleasure if you chose to (and not if you don’t). Casual sex is no one’s ‘fault.’ It’s a consensual give and take between two people that is sometimes great, sometimes ends in heartbreak, and is sometimes altogether forgettable. I take offense at the idea that women must be manipulated in order to have sex. Many women simply want to have sex–because they want to have sex, not because they’re weak minded lambs manipulated by men. There is nothing wrong with that.

    • Why do people say “modern feminists are all about x” and yet some people get very angry when others say feminism is about control, this, that, n other negative generalizations? Are good generalizations totally fine to cast on most or all feminists whilst negative ones can’t be right? The more I hear “feminism isn’t a monolith”, the more I am baffled at how many feminists speak of it as such.

      Did you mean SOME modern feminists? Is it the majority/all that believe this or just a common belief amongst many?

      • You know what, you’re right. I can’t speak for all feminists. But the original comment was way off base from what I hear and see on feminist websites and from feminists. The comment also tried to talk about all of feminism being like this. My experiences with it have been the opposite, but I can’t speak for everyone.

        • I usually find many feminists to be quite open about sex, though some seem quite jaded over the idea of sex, especially if it involves penetration. Like all groups, there are good n bad in feminism and masculism, etc.

  5. My Mom was a feminist. She worked really hard, raised two boys by herself and put herself through college. The thing is, she was a doer. The person she was…I have no doubt whether she was born in 1955, 1905 or 1855…she would have been a doer.

    Someone who makes their living today, writing inflammatory, 1-dimensional, link bait…Good for them. But they are nothing like my mother was.

  6. Yep

  7. Femme Fatale says:

    i’m sorry Tom, this is disappointing. i’m not going to join the ranks and agree/disagree, i’m just going to say that although you have some valid critique, it got lost in a predictable trajectory (the list of comments proof my poin) you see, that’s what i like about TGMP, it always pleasantly surprised me in terms of approach regardless of whether or not i agreed with the content, critique or analysis…it was the approach that was refreshing and unique. an approach that one rarely sees from men responding to patriarchy. this is a hard hole to get out of.

  8. I bite my tongue long enough.
    Tom, I love the (what looks like) velvet jacket and your pendant.
    Looks cool

  9. “At the core of the idea that became The Good Men Project was the goal of empathy. ”

    This is great. Having more empathy for each other is a good idea. However, when you talk about men being pushed to be more like women at work it sounds like you are pushing back against the idea that being empathetic is good. (At least that’s what I thought you meant. Being more specific in future blog posts could help skip the side arguments.)

    • Scott Mclelland says:

      smhill, i took it as meaning as he said men and women are different , thats not a bad thing and feeling empathy as a man can happen in a different way and thats not a bad thing a man can embrace the good in emotion and still be a man , its about a balance.

  10. I’ll be honest – I am torn. While I grew within the feminist movement during college, I’ve found myself drifting farther and farther away from it to the point where I no longer consider myself a feminist. It seems the movement is more interested in having fun and patting each other on the back in agreement than to actually get things accomplished. What’s more, anyone who disagrees with it is written off as sexist, misogynist, mansplaining or other terms that, rather than helping the discussion, serve as the very silencing mechanisms that its members claim their critics of using. While I don’t doubt feminists have good intentions, their wide-eye innocence as well as inability to think critically has left me with no choice but to leave it.

    The post below is my critique of Hugo’s fight with the GMP, what’s taking place within the pro-feminist movement, and how the movement has shortchanged itself. Irony of it all – I first posted this post about dissent and silencing fellow feminists on Feministing and it was taken down after about 30 minutes.

    They can keep their feminism. I’ll fight for gender equality instead.

  11. Anyhow.

    I look forward to a real and positive conversation about men and masculinity developing here. I’m relieved that we will no longer have the steady stream of pedalstalising the female perspective and trashing men from a certain individual.

  12. All good things must come to end

  13. I just read Hugo Schwyzer’s resignation letter:

    Even just from that, it was pretty obvious you are in the right here. Bullying is an endemic problem in the “feminist blogosphere”, both in intra-feminist blogosphere and toward those deemed to be “enemies” of feminism. And Amanda Marcotte and Hugo Schwyzer are definitely a nasty little politically-connected clique that has gotten to be way too powerful. You’re going to get a lot of flack for standing up to them, but do the right thing and stick to your guns on this issue. Just because they have large numbers of followers does not make them *right*.

    • “The painful thing about all this, of course, is that no man is in any real physical danger on the internet— or even in real life — from feminists.”
      Andy Warhol beg’s to differ. Man-bashing though doesn’t mean they’re out bashing men physically, they’re doing it figuratively. For someone who is an academic, it’s a bit of a failure. He then adds this gem “Women are regularly beaten and raped — even on college campuses — but I know of no instance where a man found himself a victim of violence for making a sexist remark in a feminist setting! ” Why mention the beatings and rapes? How about I do this magic trick, in 2004 men died 4x more than women did from violence, probably even on college campuses!, but I do know of an instance where a feminist attempted to kill a man. I don’t know if it was from him being sexist or not, but it’s irrelevant just like dropping the whole women raped n abused line into the sentence. Considering how much he disapproves of Tom using man-bashing as an exaggeration he sure knows how to attempt to invoke emotion for the plight of women, Question is WHY mention it?

      “Here’s the basic axiom: power conceals itself from those who possess it” By the nature of this statement one could argue feminists do not understand their power, so the MRA’s that say feminism is a power grab aren’t as crazy as once thought? Or more likely, the statement is a big stretch.

      The most damage I’ve seen happen to the rep of GMP was the incident with inviting the MRA’s and then blasting them, and the misandry articles (quite a few by Hugh) and justifications for prejudice.

      The comments on the reaction to criticism make me laugh, and the talk about silencing really takes the cake. Silencing and marginalization plague quite a few feminist areas, just like they plague quite a few MRA areas. A group of people who believe one thing won’t always accept criticism or a different view, there are many tactics used to try get rid of the differing views. Eg, banning, accusations of privilege and being blind to that privilege (a feminism favourite), arguments of who gets it worse/oppression olympics, linking biased stats in one way attempts, etc.

      Sadly I must say I am glad Hugh is leaving, his biased stats and studies that have been debunked, inability to read stats, misandry and self-flaggration grow tiring. The goodmenproject has a lot of male victims of abuse and Hugh has marginilized them in some of his articles, anything about abuse pretty much. Just take a look at the article on the new cdc stats and he says “Despite recent claims about a proliferation of female rapists, the CDC found that “male rape victims and male victims of non-contact unwanted sexual experiences reported predominantly male perpetrators.” yet glosses over stats for the last 12 months, 1.1% of men were forced to penetrate and 1.1% of women were victim of rape or attempted rape with 79.2% of male victims saying their abuser was female. This is a groundbreaking stat, it’s a massive change to the perception of abuse yet instead his article is worded to act as if female rapists/abusers isn’t significant compared to the amount of men that do it? If 40% of rapists being female isn’t significant then I don’t know what is.

      Hate to be so critical of the man but I really find it hard to stomach some of the trash he speaks, if you want to discuss how bad women get it then go ahead but don’t trash men in the process and treat male suffering like it’s non-existant.

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        Thats very well said. I really feel sorry for that kid in his class who tried to point out how aggressive they were being.

        • Obviously Hugo didn’t want to listen to it, their anger was justified because the men had oppressed them! Criticism doesn’t seem to be well taken at all, even if there is a genuine concern and then to have it proven by his own bias just takes the cake really. Luckily I’ve known feminists who don’t automatically assume man = bad, and they can even see where men get treated bad.

          Only way to move forward is to help each other, and by help each other I don’t mean having many feminist articles telling men to do more to help whilst not bothering to help the men for their issues, a selfish Ideal I’ve seen way too common in some areas…Can’t fix the world if you only look at half the problems, can’t stop abuse for example if you only focus on half of it allowing the other to suffer like crazy and end up with the cycle continuing. I am absolutely shocked that not many people seem to understand this link, it’s so easy to see?

  14. Finally someone says it. Feminism has gone from a movement that wanted equal rights to a movement that wants to let women do anything without consequence. Casual sex? You were coerced by a man. Father’s rights? Haha, like men know anything about children. Rape accusation? The man might as well put his head between his legs and kiss his ass goodbye because if a women accuses him, he must be guilty.

    Basically, the main idea is this: Women’s problems are caused by men. However, men’s problems are not caused by women, rather they are also caused by men. Therefore men are to blame for everything. This has become the dirty secret of modern feminism.

  15. The Bad Man says:

    Great pic doode. I love this talk about empathy, especially when I find the occasional sentence among a long list of women’s issues. Have you ever wondered why this site is far more popular with women rather than men? It’s so hard to find writers who have any empathy for men, except in the context of their service to women.

  16. The missing language is the missing link. F%@#$% feminism. Humanism is the deal if we are to move forward.
    Men have a shitty deal. The male roles sucks eggs. Always be the first, fastest, biggest, strongest, know the most, do the most, provide and set aside your inculturation; the propensity to dominate in your primary relationship, defer to the woman. Please her. Protect her. Name that dirty job—it’s probably yours. I get it.
    And Women have a shitty deal as well. Mirror mirror on the F^%$%^& wall who is the singing underwear belly button dancer dujour I am supposed to look like this week, while I mange my job, my household and manage everyone’s emotions.
    The real point for everyone is we are operating in power. Give up power, and competition. Step back from domination. Women don’t have any interest in competing with men for anything.
    We are designed to share the healing effects of oxytocin with you. Mend and tend.
    Women are not inherently morally superior. We are 51% of every F^%&#%&# thing taking place on the planet right this minute.
    Step up and off of power as the bottom line.
    How do you know you are operating in power?
    The body doesn’t matter. More later.

    • I have no issue with women and men having equal power, just remember the responsibility and negatives that come with such a highly competitive thing as power. The rate of female death and injury will increase, women will be expected to fight frontline and toe to toe with the enemy. I don’t think humans will ever give up power and domination though, even with unlimited resources someone will always want more and try to fight for it.

      Competing for limited resources though atm is a big battle so we probably need a major drive in science to get the technology to try ensure every person has access to food, shelter, water, and adequate entertainment. We’d have to also change our perception of wealth, focus on being happy with the self and not with the new Porsche, we’d have to learn to share.

      The fight for power has 1 victor and many losers, for everyone at the top there are a lot at the bottom. The common man and woman are pawns on the chess boards of those in power.

  17. Ahh , girls , escape when its just getting interesting? How dare men criticise feminism and disrupt the self flagellating consensus on “new masculinity” (= emasculation)? Surely debate is what its all about?

  18. Nick Simmonds says:

    I only ever came to this site because Hugo Schywzer’s participation gave it a credibility that other attempts to create a new masculinity lacked. My previous experience had led me to believe that it was virtually always a veiled flailing against the perceived loss of power that a feminist society implies. Now, after having watched this site for a while, I think I can drop the “virtually” from that assessment.

    • Nick , you and Hugo should get together, sounds like your are made for each other.

      Hugo give “credibility that other attempts to create a new masculinity lacked ” Bullshit, each man defines his own masculinity and those at the extreme of wanting to as much like women as possible ( yourself and Hugo) have little in common with and nothing to offer the ordinary male majority.

      I avoided this site for exactly that reason, extremist feminist ideologues like Hugo.

      “veiled flailing against the perceived loss of power that a feminist society implies”

      It’s not anything to do with power, the male majority had never had any power, just duties and responsibilities, dictated to them by the elites. Women have always been part of the controlling elites, and feminism is defined and operated by white elite female who increasingly enforce their ideology by feminist governance on the powerless majority of men and women to the detriment of both.

      Perhaps one day you may ( and its increasingly likely) find yourself bitten by the feminist beast, perhaps then you will see things differently.

    • “I only ever came to this site because Hugo Schywzer’s participation gave it a credibility that other attempts to create a new masculinity lacked. My previous experience had led me to believe that it was virtually always a veiled flailing against the perceived loss of power that a feminist society implies. Now, after having watched this site for a while, I think I can drop the “virtually” from that assessment.”

      The idea Hugo Schywzer adds credibility or authority is a bit much. The idea that Tom Matlack created this site to attack feminism about his percieved loss that feminist society implies is over the top . Disagreeing with someone shouldn’t be perceived as attacking unless you are denied a chance to respond. I am a sceptic and the suggestion that i should accept Hugo Schywzers version of feminism or else im flailing against a percieved loss from feminism is absurd.

  19. This might be the ugliest series of comments I’ve seen on a “legitimate” website (as opposed to an anonymous message board).

    Mr. Matlack, this lengthy and martyr-esque rationalization of your hateful remarks during the Twitter brawl rings hollow. I don’t understand how anyone could consider this an apology. If that was your intention, you might have saved time and posted something much shorter and, well, apologetic. Something like, “The Twitter argument became contentious and I made some ill-advised remarks in the heat of the moment. I remain committed to the GMP and hope this aberration won’t derail our goals.”

    Instead, you chose to continue playing the victim in this piece, and felt it necessary to defend the entire history of the GMP. I don’t understand why it’s so impossible to simply admit you behave badly, and that it had little to do with the history of anything.

  20. Hi Tom. I am new to your site, but I very much like and appreciate it. I don’t agree with everything I have read, and I like that, too. I guess I missed all the excitement over this topic, which I would have anyway since I don’t Tweet and all that. I debated on jumping into this shark tank of a topic, but what the heck.

    I consider myself a feminist. I believe in women having equal rights as men, as well as equal responsibilities. In my judgement, that means in order to have the perceived priviledges of men, that women must also be willing to take on the burdens which men have ‘traditionally’ shouldered. Many women are afraid of taking on those responsbilities, such as being drafted into war, and rightly so. Many, if not most, men are afraid of many of those burdens as well. Often is the case where people will see, focus on, and become obsessed with that which they judge they do NOT have, and are therefore prone to miss those strengths and priviledges which they DO have.

    I would love to believe there is a perfect system for instituting changes which increase the treatment of all humans, beings, environments, etc, but that is a pipe dream. Attempting to control others through manipulation, coersion, threat, all will backfire.

    I personally believe the overarching delimma which creates the fear and suffering which leads to the hate speech, and the attacks, and the bitterness, and the envy, is our very basic need for resource. Resources seen as space, or jobs, or mates, or children, or money, or food, or energy, anything. And when humans are treated as resources, those humans suffer deeply, and their potentiality as humans is often stripped away. Perceived patriarchy is an artifact of this resource driven culture, the conqueror’s mindset where some rule so others must serve.

    A gentler, kinder pecking order? A mindfulness of what our instincts drive us towards, and how to choose better for ourselves? Personal accountability?

    Wouldn’t that be great? Wouldn’t that be ideal? Wouldn’t that be……

    Anyway, thanks for opening the shark tank, and I am glad it looks like you came out with all your limbs in tact.

  21. DavidByron says:

    I bet a feminist could tell us all why gay male porn victimises women (and how it’s all men’s fault that it does). That’s why I defined feminism to be the belief that “women are universal victims and its all men’s fault”.

    • “I bet a feminist could tell us all why gay male porn victimises women (and how it’s all men’s fault that it does). That’s why I defined feminism to be the belief that “women are universal victims and its all men’s fault”.”

      I think that is way too harsh.I am sure a few feminists would behave as your first sentence suggests but to say the entirety of feminism is like that is over the top. And as such your definition is exaggeration. And its not helping.

      • Scott Mclelland says:

        Leta , Id say im a middle of the road MRA, first to contextualise my view i have to disclose my history , I grew up in a single parent household ( have heard a few different storys as to why , i know what i belive but i dont say because i dont have definitive fact ) and my mother was a died in the wool radical feminist , my sister who i have only recently reconnected with still has a box with her reading material including the scum manifesto etc, I was brought up to belive that as a man i was pretty much a rapist in waiting I heard on more than one occasion that she “should have left me to rot at birth ” ( which is possibly the reason why i am so angerd about the stuff coming out of the radfemhub recently ) and it wasnt just my mother, she brought my sister up in the same way , to an extent that i hadnt spoken to her in 18 years ( she had a son four years ago , and she reached out to me to apologise about 6 month back as she realised what she had done and what happened ) if I was a woman I would have been tailor made to become radical and a hater , i didnt I left home I worked hard , got my degree while living on my own and got as educated as an abuse survivor with ptsd and the early signs of bi polar could be. I ended up in the field of drug and alcohol abuse , and I was and still am very much a staunch believer in equality of opportunity and equality of support for those who need it , but as i started to work i found myself dealing with a lot of guys who turned to drugs and alcohol because there pain was ignored or mocked, victims of violence who when they sought help were told services were only for women and i questioned it , first time my boss complained to HR saying I had been sexist because i queried why male victims were offered little to no support and every time i question anything to do with feminism I am hit with so much hatred and abuse, , i am called a misogynist, hateful and many things i wouldn’t type because i may not be the greatest speller , but i wont ever swear on a forum like this. Being put in a position where you arent allowed to question something one of two things can happen, you either submit or rebel, and the amount of anti male sentiment by many ( not saying all ) feminists has resulted in a point where men arent allowed to say they are unhappy about these things , by the wall of noise and the refusal of feminists to …. well show empathy and try and work with us its causing a backlash and thats where the mra grew from , my fear for some parts of it is that as its growing, as more and more people question things that the backlash becomes something worse, and the only way things can change is if feminists can sit down with us , acknowledge that in some areas feminism has strayed from what it was meant to be into something …. less pure and work with us to actually move forward and everyone to be equal in every way that matters . An analogy that for me fits is islam , Im scottish and in scotland even though the radical islamic terrorists did attack we dont have problems, there isnt resentment as everyone knows that there is radical and moderate , and that happened because the moderates stood up , they put community first and wanted to be on an equal footing with everyone else and took there position as followers of islam to challenge those who spread hate and lies in there name , surely any ideology that claims to be of peace and good, irrespective should do the same with its radical elements. Questioning feminism isnt bad , its fair and its just .

        • Thanks for this Scott, the reality is that there is an increasing number of men who have been harmed and damaged directly by feminism as in you case or indirectly as in my case ( False DV accusations, and abuse of the feminist corrupted family court system to attempt to alienate me from my children) Before I was bitten by the consequences of feminist governance, I couldn’t have given a hoot about “gender relations” , I thought everything was rosy. As a practicing family physician and medical education I organised one of the first education programs for medico in my city – about domestic violence. 20 years later, I was subject to false allegations of dv as a tactic in divorce, by a system that out of empathy I had is some way allow to be created. Now I question everything, and that puts me somewhat to the right of moderate as far as MRA’s go.

          As the number of men in situations such as ours and others intelligent enough to see throughout the propaganda before they get bitten grow, debates such as this will become mainstream and I have no doubt feminism will face the same end as other ism’s in history.

        • I agree with questioning feminism completely. But things have to be measured and precise there is a saying about giving someone enough rope. If you want to challenge something and you know they will never be convinced by you argument no matter how much truth there is its best to be completely reasonable and rational so a 3rd party won’t just see “crazy MRA vs those feminist heroes” but will see a reasoned argument vs an unreasoned response.

          • Scott Mclelland says:

            Leta, the problem is , when someone questions feminism, feminists want to control the way thats done to allow them to deflect from issues and any that couldnt be deflect are met by accusations of being a bigot , Feminists wont let me discuss my perceptions or feelings and that is the reason why i cannot see it as something that is good any more, thats not to say all feminists are bad , they are just claiming a name that represents something different to what they want , until discourse can happen fairly and men can voice there feelings without fear or being shamed then we wont get anywhere.

    • Well said. Modern American feminists are the Al-Qaeda of feminism. All the other ones have recognized that women are equal and have turned their attention to the 3rd world, where they are not equal.

  22. Part of the problem is that because we’re in a culture where it is less acceptable to be seen as openly sexist, patriarchal attacks against feminist expressions can’t be as blatant as they used to be. So anytime you make any sort of criticism of feminists, you run that risk of being branded a sexist, not because feminists think men are evil, but because evil men are sneaky, and it’s not always easy to tell which is which until he’s forced you into the alleyway or taken away your rights.
    Feminism has changed because society has changed, and feminism needs to respond to that. You can’t pat female co-workers on the butt and get away with it anymore, but constantly hassling a subordinate about dressing “professionally” when she’s clearly conservatively dressed but happens to be attractive still goes on. Feminism has also adapted to the concerns of women in the developing world, ethnic minorities and of women of faith. It’s no longer just about correcting bad, sexist laws that discriminate against women; it’s about undoing the systems that skew things in favor of a certain group of men, and replacing them with systems that are better for everyone.

    • “Feminism has changed because society has changed, and feminism needs to respond to that.”

      Feminism has changed (and continues to change) because it cannot stick to a consistent set of rules, principles, goalposts, etc.

      If feminism sticks to a consistent set of rules for too long, the other side invariably catches up and starts WINNING. So, it becomes necessary to shift the rules, the goalposts, etc…. in order to stay ahead of the game and forestall feminism’s ultimate decline into extinction.

      • Michael Rowe says:

        With regard to “feminism’s ultimate decline into extinction,” I actually listened to one of your YouTube rants, fidelbogen. My favourite part of the one I heard was where you said rapturously, “Can you imagine a world without feminism?” I can, actually. Afghanistan comes to mind right away.

        • Michael Rowe says:

          Sorry, are you making the case that your YouTube video actually WASN’T “a speech conducted with some passion, tending toward a conclusion one strongly disagrees with?” Have you listened to your own video, fidelbogen? It is, in fact, a rant, by the definition you listed above. In the case, “rant” wasn’t intended as an insult, but rather a descriptive–using the very description you just provided.

          And again, a world without feminism: Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq. Egypt, especially as seen tonight on the news with women being beaten in the street with sticks for daring to protest.

          • ” women being beaten in the street with sticks for daring to protest.” and of course no man has even been beaten or dragged away or imprisoned or murdered for political protest? certainly not in the middle east in recent times!!! Get real Mikey, even better get equal. If you are concerned about political oppression be concerned for all the victims, most of whom are men. Pointing this incident out is typical of the obsession with “violence against women” when the majority of victims of violence, men are ignored, no need to offer concern or help to them, they are just men , they are disposable. Your illogic is really starting to make me nauseous and wanting to rant.

            • Michael Rowe says:

              Actually, Rper1959, we weren’t talking about political oppression in the middle east, we were talking about fidelbogen’s proposition of “a world without feminism.” Please try to keep up, and try to focus. The reference to the women being beaten with sticks in the streets of Egypt was specific to yesterday, in Cairo. You know–out there in the real world beyond your obsession with “radical feminists” and their dark designs for “female supremacy.”

              And the women in Cairo yesterday weren’t beaten merely for political protest, they were beaten because they were women daring to be part of a political protest. Which is why thousands of them took the streets today and made major news around the world, which was watched by most people with a sightline beyond their own navels.

              And for the record, while men are frequently beaten or dragged away or imprisoned or murdered, they aren’t beaten or dragged away or imprisoned FOR BEING MEN, unlike women in that part of the world who to whom the above happens BECAUSE THEY ARE WOMEN living in a patriarchal, anti-feminist religion-driven society.

              Is there some reason you have a hard time understanding that historical fact? Or can you show any evidence that no concern or help is offered to these men, or that they’re considered “disposable?” Any stats to back that up? I’m a member of Amnesty International. Their work makes no gender distinction. Can you show otherwise? If so, please share.

              On the other hand, you’ve already demonstrated your stunning ignorance yourself on the topic of gender and gender theory, and the APA’s political stance. Shall we tackle world affairs too, and make it three for three?

              • And for the record, while men are frequently beaten or dragged away or imprisoned or murdered, they aren’t beaten or dragged away or imprisoned FOR BEING MEN, unlike women in that part of the world who to whom the above happens BECAUSE THEY ARE WOMEN living in a patriarchal, anti-feminist religion-driven society.
                What makes you so sure about that? Those in power are going to all they can to hold that power. Let’s say in the warped minds of these dictators and powerful people “man = powerful / woman = powerless”. In their minds any other man is a threat whether or not that other man is actually seeking his power.

              • Males are routinely given harsher sentences for the crimes for which females often avoid harsh sentencing. This is especially true in the juvenile justice system in the US.

                More than race, more than income, the overriding factor driving sentencing severity in criminal cases is gender, with males receiving harsher sentences than women who commit the same crime.

                Boys are used as slaves and child soldiers to a much greater extent than girls throughout the world, especially in the Third World countries.

                I realize it’s not de rigeur to give consideration to “the disposable gender”, but you might want to look at the facts and spare some sympathy for the boys and men throughout the world who are punished simply for being male.

              • You are going to excuse me but I totally disagree with you. Egypt is a military regime and if you haven’t noticed Ghada Kamal (the woman whose being beaten started this whole thing) was a political activist against the regime. I don’t know if you have realized that in a military regime if you are against it you are going to be beaten up. Ghada didn’t get beaten up for being a women, she got beaten up FOR DEMANDING THE END OF THE REGIME. That would have happened to anyone male or female in a military regime. The women beaten up were beaten up because they were protesting against Ghama’s beating. They got beaten up NOT FOR BEING WOMEN, they got being up for PROTESTING AGAINST THE REGIME. If you don’t agree with me then how do you explain that none of the women who have suffered violence are related to the regime? Many women are closely associated to Mubarak’s regime and NONE has ever suffered violence. If women in Egypt are being beat up for being women then how come that the ones pro-regime are not being beat up. That shows you that the situation in Cairo is entirely political and has nothing to do with gender. And if you think that the beatings in Cairo are bad, why don’t we talk about Pinochet in Chile who used to kidnapp pregnant women, take their babies away when they were born to then beat them up and threw them to the ocean from an airplane, have you heard about the March of Women in Chile were thousands of women were beaten, tortured and dissapeared for protesting. Tell any Chilean that those women were brutally killed and tortured for being women and they are going to tell you that you are out of your mind, because every person who has lived in a military Regime knows that violence in a military Regime has nothing to do with gender.

          • All right, so you disagreed with my carefully written SPEECH, and called it a “rant”, because the tenor of it disturbed you. If the tenor of it had *not* disturbed you, then you would have just called it a speech.

            Got it.

          • “Egypt, especially as seen tonight on the news with women being beaten in the street with sticks for daring to protest.”

            And the men are being spared?

        • Indeed , “That’s easy. It would be a world in which women are held morally accountable. Strictly and consistently.” and might I add, “equally to men”

          easy Hey Mike!

        • Actually Afghanistan has a very similar view of gender to Western feminists in many ways. Feminism is a very conservative movement and has a lot in common with traditional views of gender.

    • Dancer says:
      “Feminism has also adapted to the concerns of women in the developing world, ethnic minorities and of women of faith.”

      How is that last part possible considering most women’s (and mens for that matter) teaches abortion is wrong.
      I have seen very little drive for feminists to be inclusive of pro-life women.

      • 2nd sentence should have been:
        Considering most women’s (and men’s for that matter) FAITH teaches abortion is wrong.

  23. TheSpaceHoax says:

    According to our text there are three waves of feminism with us being in the third wave right now that’s called contemporary feminism. The first wave although it had many dimensions much like other eras is mostly known for the suffrage movement (the right for women to vote)(12). The second wave took place in the 60s and was mostly known for equal rights in the work force(18). Today feminism will hopefully be known for quite a bit more than the previous waves. Contemporary feminism like previous waves have many different perspectives and goals for the movement. Our text uses sociologist Judith Lorber’s three categories to help break them down. 1. gender-reform feminism focuses on the similarities between women and men and the need for equal opportunities in education and the work force. 2. Gender-resistance feminism is more radical and focuses on the differences between men and women. There concern is the power dynamic men have over women won’t change so women need to protect themselves by getting away.(22) 3. Gender-rebellion feminism sometimes called “third wave feminism” includes men’s feminism, multiracial, social construct, postmodern feminism and queer theory(24). To me this is kind of a mixture of both gender-reform and gender-resistance in that it tackles some of the tough questions that the resistance movement highlights and then brings in some of the optimism of the reform movement. When I took gender communications last year I considered myself a feminist even though I had little idea of what that was. I was kind of embarrassed because I thought the class was thinking I was a man hating lesbian feminist (gender-resistance). Already after the readings for this class I’m proud to say that I’m a feminist and kinda wish I was a man so I could be a male feminist (gender-rebellion). I think that would be the coolest!!

    11:51 PM
    Views (15)
    Jan 24, 2010

    • The problem with this long-winded, chattering, boilerplate explanation of “feminism”, is that is leaves NON-feminism totally out of the picture. It is dripping with ‘feminist subjectivism’, and fails to make terms with non-feminism as an existential Other.

      • Michael Rowe says:

        How does it leave “non-feminism out of the picture?” There are many people who don’t identify as feminist, but neither do they rant on and on about “feminist agendas” and “feminist plots” and “female supremacy?” Or do you think not identifying as feminist is the same thing as being actively antifeminist, as you are? Seriously, don’t you find it ironic how your position is the mirror image of the positions expressed on radfem hub, except with the pronouns reversed? I

        • Do not mix the personal with the political. Your derail attempt will not work here.

          • Michael Rowe says:

            They’re two fairly simple question, fidelbogen, especially the last one, about how your position, and the position of other radical MRAs, is identical to the position of the radfems, except with the pronouns reversed. Ironic? Or not?

            • Michael Rowe says:

              If you really wanted to be “left alone by feminism,” you probably wouldn’t run a blog about it and make YouTube videos about it. Or argue about it on the GMP until 5:00 a.m. (EST)

              • “And I don’t say “jackwipe” about somebody who believes men have rights. I say “jackwipe” about someone who misrepresents Tom’s clearly stated position in his essay in order to make a pathetic, slimy, MRA-style slur about him “begging forgiveness of radical feminists” when he’s done nothing of the sort.

                You don’t need to be a feminist to see that. All you need to do is be able to read.”

                I agree with you there.

              • Mikey , you flatter yourself if you believe that one would miss out on their beauty sleep to continue a dialogue with yourself. There is world outside where ever you happen to be situated, and perhaps you have heard of time zones. So in GMT + 10, I am posting yesterday evening in NY. Get it?

    • DavidByron says:

      What would be cooler is if you were a woman who resisted feminist sexism (gender rebel)
      Just believe in equality. Make your own name up for it.

      • “Egalitarianism” is accurate, but a bit clunky. “Humanism” usually works.

        A believer in equality should emphatically NOT be assumed to be feminist as well. Indeed, many egalitarians would find that assumption insulting.

  24. @Matlack “What I don’t understand is the rage directed at me when I try to talk about one man’s perspective”

    Welcome to the real world Thomas , your are male therefore you are the enemy , you are the epitome of the patriarchy and you are the object of hate not just rage , courtesy of the worlds largest, best organised, government and elite funded hate movement – modern feminism.

    Welcome to the light side!

  25. It is not men who lack empathy for women, friend. It’s pretty much everyone who lacks empathy for men.

    • Nice link girlwriteswhat.

      I also like your home page. It’s heartening to see some good women are understanding that men have problems of their own, separate from feminist theory or patriarchy theory.

  26. The Bad Man says:

    Maybe in the future you’ll actually show some empathy for men instead of writing a whole article about women’s struggles. What about those male victims of rape, pedophelia, domestic violence, family law bias, etc? What about the glass cellar?

    Kudos for the honesty about being a feminist but you don’t represent most men or understand most men’s experiences.

  27. The Bad Man says:

    “Men’s Rights Activists (MRA for the un-initiated, who wrote about me here).”


    The Spearhead IS NOT an MRA site. The Spearhead has NOTHING to do with activism or men’s rights.

  28. Very level headed piece OP, the video clip was very apt.

    As for the way you were spoken too … one funny thing is, members of that group think that their bad reputation is created by the media and in peoples imaginations, rather than it being generated directly by their own behaviour, bigotry and beliefs, there is a real lack of self awareness there.

  29. Very level headed piece Tom, the video clip was very apt.

    As for the way you were spoken too … one funny thing is, members of that group think that their bad reputation is created by the media and in peoples imaginations, rather than it being generated directly by their own behaviour, bigotry and beliefs.

  30. This is all so disturbing. In answer to Tom’s question, who the hell knows what feminism is, as it it ever changing–as someone else intelligently pointed out. What I believe hasn’t changed is the idea of CHOICE, and that the choice goes both ways. That includes opinions and one’s own experiences that shape who we are. No amount of hate-spew is going to change things (like Tom’s view, for example), it only makes those who spew look unenlightened. For me, the biggest mistake we can make is to count gender OUT. Good lord, my husband’s maleness, my sons’ maleness is at the very core of who they are, as my femaleness is to me. I will fight to the death every single day to see to it that their gender is not only embraced by them, but respected in the outside world. Part of what is so wrong about this is that somehow TODAY’S feminism has deemed it OK to obliterate one gender in favor of another. The comments against Tom are appalling and embarrassing.

    • Julie D:

      You should say “sex” rather than gender.

      ‘Gender’ is a word which the feminists introduced into the common vocabulary, and it completely muddles common thinking. (Which serves feminism well, by the way!)

      You can help the cause that you appear to believe in, by not validating feminist semantics.

      • Michael Rowe says:

        Julie’s right. Gender is the correct term. It’s used by evolved, educated people everywhere. I see all the ignorant MRA troll posts are coming out now that it’s the midnight hour.

        • Don’t get hoity-toity with us.

          And kindly don’t tell us “where the dialogue currently is”.

          THAT location is subject to dispute.

          WHICH dialogue do you Do you mean the one right here, now? Well, your participation, so far, is a monumental fail. You aren’t even paying attention.

          You do not own the discourse, buddy! So please don’t be an arrogant ass. It does not make you look evolved or intelligent. It really doesn’t.

          • Furthermore, Rowe, are you aware that I do NOT employ the term “MRA” as a self-appellative? And yet, you have suggested that I am one. Just thought I’d point that out. 😉

          • Michael Rowe says:

            One more thing, Rper1959, with regard to the APA being “a hotbed of radical feminist propaganda” with regard to gender?

            Most radfem politics are specifically anti-queer and anti-transgender. The APA’s position on both of those things are diametrically opposed to the position taken by most radical feminists. Furthermore, it takes no official political position, let alone a propagandizing one. So unless you have some evidence that the APA is “a hotbed of radical feminist propaganda” (other than the fact that its professional membership doubtlessly includes people that someone like fidelbogen would call “hoity-toity) I’m afraid your train left the station without you.

          • DavidByron says:

            Actually the radical feminists are the consistent ones. It’s your feminism that is incoherent. That’s because you are still embarrassed enough at the implications of your own philosophy to deny or at least de-emphasise the worst of them.

            The radicals are the ones who do and say exactly what feminist ideology predicts they ought to do and say without much of a filter for appearances sake.

            I generally prefer the radical feminists because I value honesty and sincerity in a debate opponent.

          • “…when education becomes an afterthought for people with way too much time on their hands.”

            Mikey, have you ANY idea how many radical feminist man-haters there are in Higher Academia?

            I will tell you: A LOT.

            They are crawling like cockroaches in that neck of the woods. (One of them even cited ME in her bibliography, interestingly enough.)

            I have studied literally hundreds of their papers, journal articles, et al.

            Until it was oozing out my ears.

            But no. Those people are not educated as an “afterthought”.

            For them, it was undoubtedly a beforethought.

        • Well, it’s like this.

          Biological SEX is simple. It means “male” and “female”. This is bedrock reality, and we all intuitively understand it if we are honest with ourselves.

          “Gender” is a word which the feminists cooked up. It refers strictly to behavior based on cultural training. ROLES, in other word.

          Yes, we all know that little boys and little girls get a different behavioral training regimen during their formative years. So the feminists (for mainly political reasons) gave this the name “gender”, in order to instill the idea that there are *NO* bio-essential, non-physical differences between men and women. (i.e. women are just ‘men with boobs.’) Well I, and quite a few others, find that highly questionable.

          Anyhow, knee-jerk doofus over here is just tossing out red herrings in order to derail what is actually being talked about. Go back and look at Julie D.’s comment. What she, herself, is ACTUALLY REFERRING TO, is the biological SEX of those various men and boys. In other words, Julie shows herself to be a bio-essentialist — meaning that she believes there is an “essential”, NON-PHYSICAL difference between men and women.

          And my helpful response to her, was to suggest an alternative terminology that would be more in line with her VERY OWN stated belief system.

          Anyway Rper 1959, it’s nice to see ya around this neck of the woods! 🙂

          I’ll see you back at AV4M, I reckon. We have big things planned over there…. oh yeah! 😉

        • You watch television? I don’t.

          Don’t intelligent, evolved people kill their TV?

        • DavidByron says:

          LOL, so anyone who disagrees with you is a caveman and ignorant.
          Yep; you’re a feminist.

    • Yes, Rush Limbaugh is a feminist.

      So’s Michelle Bachmann.

      Adolf Hitler was a feminist of sorts, given feminism’s myriad dimensions.

      Jerry Lewis is a feminist. Foster Brooks was not a feminist, however.

      Feminism is everything, always changing, always mutable. Therefore it cannot be criticized or subjected to objective scrutiny.

  31. As always, Tom, very good piece. Thank you: I’m really inspired by your attitude and openness (both mental and emotional).

    Now, my 2 (euro)cents about all the attacks you received…

    – First, remember you can’t please everybody: whatever your position, someone will complain. Especially when your idea go against prejudices, you’ll find strong opposition.
    Besides, “complainers” and “victims” always complain, because they are “losers” and that’s the only way they have to feel “superior” to someone else, and to put the blame on others.
    And the harder the attack, the dumber the attacker, usually: smart people argue cleverly, they don’t go rabidly.

    – Second, the feminism you’re perplexed about is no more about equality, is about “world domination”.
    Just as patriarchy was about men’s “world domination”, many feminist have now the same attitude towards their own gender. They want it all, no matter what. How could you honestly discuss with people like that? That would be like discussing about racial equality with the KKK. 😉
    Feminism has become so often the female equivalent of patriarchy; how ironic!
    That’s why I can’t define myself a “feminist” anymore (like I did for 30 years): I’m now an “equalist”, believing in equality and parity regardless of gender.
    Or – maybe – those “feminists” are just out for revenge. 😉

  32. Hmm…

    First and absolutely foremost – I fully, wholeheartedly agree with the mission as stated of the GMP. I believe we often lack a place for men to voice not only their opinions, but their stories. It is movements (yes, movements) like this that will illicit change, and that do begin to break down our gender stereotypes and a culture that is constraining and detrimental to men and women.

    That said, in terms of specifics here, I actually did not hear any women attacking you in that twitter feed, Tom. I really didn’t. I heard rational, and very legit, responses. The underlying point was not to demonize you, the GMP, or anyone else – but to voice opinions, and ask for understanding. Yes, understanding – and I don’t think they wanted to attack you.

    One of the problems I personally see here is that these very emotional, complicated, and nuanced conversations are taking place in a medium that allows for little emotion and nuance to come across correctly, and for so much interpretation by the reader. To me, reading the conversation, it makes some things very clear – and one of them is we need to have these discussion in another forum.

    • Lisa Hickey says:

      Hey Nikki — I do think part of it comes from knowing the background of the people involved. I looked at the Twitter stream and saw something different than you did. I saw the people there dismissing Tom, trying to control the conversation, and it was a multitude of voices against Tom’s. I saw Tom asking for understanding and not getting it. But that is definitely different than what you saw. I’m not saying your view isn’t valid. Jut that it’s not what I saw.

      Which is the whole reason for this, quite frankly — so that multiple viewpoints — from the experience of men — can help us see things in ways we wouldn’t otherwise.

      We are, of course, looking for other forms to have this discussion in. We are working on a play that we hope to have open in NYC next year that interweaves the stories of men and gets back to our roots. There’s a group of us that gets together on phone calls every Friday — there was a time that two commenters got on the phone and I said “UH-OH” because I had seen them as bashing it out in the comments section. They were not only civil on the call, but have ended up working together closely. We are looking at doing more speaking engagements across the board. Radio shows with call-ins. Whatever forums we can use to help talk about these things in a way that is most productive and most helpful.

      Thanks for your support.

    • Michael Rowe says:

      Nikki, may I borrow your rose-coloured glasses, please? Just for a bit?

      I’ve been watching Twitter, Facebook, and various blogs for the past 72 hours (not non-stop, of course–I do have a life beyond commenting on GMP, as much as I love you all.) During that time, in various posts, I’ve personally seen Tom described as “an asshole,” “a sexist asshole,” a “piece of shit,” a “sexist piece of shit,” a “piece of crap,” an “idiot,” “sexist,” “risable,” “cissupremacist,” “racist,” and “homophobic.” The latter–as a not-exclusively-cis-defined gay man who has precious little, on the surface, in common with Tom Matlack, but whose occasionally outré perspectives have always been welcomed on the GMP– is absolutely fascinating to me, but that’s a whole other story.)

      Most stunning of all is that Tom, personally, as well as the GMP mission, is “misogynist.” Really. Really? He actually HATES WOMEN? And the GMP has been taken over by men who HATE women? Wow. I must really be sleep deprived, because I just don’t see it yet. Or maybe I’m just blinded by whatever leftover “male privilege” I have after having it beaten out of me by the sort of football playin’ “real men” who have taken time out of their busy days as feminist allies to take Tom to task for having the temerity to write open-heartedly in the first person as a man, from his own experience, and to make himself vulnerable to an Internet keel-hauling like the one we’ve seen over the last few days by refusing to sink to the level of his detractors, because it makes these men “look bad” (which of course is a load of horseshit–it’s provided them a way to play white knight while still burnishing their feminist ally cred at his expense) and because he “doesn’t speak for” them.

      Me, I don’t need Tom to speak for me, because I can speak for myself. I can ask any goddamn question I like, and I can come up with any answer I like.

      While I realize being a gentleman by not venting his frustration in the same orgy of invective and condescension he experienced is probably a dated, patriarchal, sexist, cissupremacist (sorry, I nodded off there) construct, it’s clearly also clearly an Achilles heel in Tom’s case.

      As I said, Tom’s a straight white financial guy and ex-jock. I’m a gay writer and activist. We have very little in common on the surface. If anyone should take issue with his perspectives on masculinity, manhood, and being a “good man,” it should be me.

      For that matter, if I chose to look at the majority of commenters who’ve been flaying Tom and the GMP over the last three days, I’d be quite justified in pointing out the degree to which they’re pickled in their own cissexist, male and female heterosexist privilege, and how they’ve taken full advantage of a didactic, polemical academic social construct where they’ll be cheered on and celebrated for accusing Tom of all the things I listed in the first paragraph, and most of all, how THEY don’t speak for me any more than Tom does. But I can read their views on the GMP because unenlightened, sexist neanderthal men like Tom Matlack responded to their attacks by offering to publish elaborations on their views right on the very forum they deride.

      Another reason I don’t, it because I find caricatures rather less than useful, and also because as a writer and as human being, I tend to find first-person stories both valuable and essential, whether they resonate with me or not. Also, because pack attacks, Twitter smear campaigns and tautological haranguing is what rude assholes do when they want to shut down the conversation.

      • You know this is probably a good thing. You and Tom have apparently never had this experience of seeing how mean and nasty feminists can be before. So now you have something in common with the majority of the male readers and commenters here that you didn’t have.

        Did any call him a rapist yet? Did any call him a pedophile yet? Did any accuse him of stalking them or of raping them personally?

        That’s how *I* get treated by those lovely ladies. That’s how most men get treated.

        So please see this as a learning opportunity.

    • P John Irons says:

      Nikki, maybe you would find the twitter stream more hostile when you look at it again after reading this:

      Amanda Marcotte told Tom that he should make more effort to understand womens’ point of view, in order to be a good person (by implication, calling whether he is a good person into question).

      But now look at how much effort she really put into understanding Tom’s point of view. She repeatedly harps on the “drink/eat/fuck/be lazy” statement he made in the article, without seeming to make any effort to understand the larger point he was trying to make. It’s all about a legalistic literal reading of his words for her.

      And jennpozner keeps on harping about how his initial tweet should be taken on its own, without looking at the larger context of Tom’s article it was taken from. In other words, if a person cannot express themselves acceptably in 160 letters, then they should be attacked for it, even if they afterwards try to clarify their meaning and point to a fuller expression of their thoughts.

      Does this sound like them really listening? Or just engaging in rhetoric?

    • Nikki

      “That said, in terms of specifics here, I actually did not hear any women attacking you in that twitter feed, ”

      Nikki, were the gender reversed, you would be likely be calling it abuse and misogyny. I really don’t think that misandric feminists, even one that don’t realize what they are, have a whole lot to offer here, its only going to cause more trouble Nikki.

    • Nikki

      I have seen what you wrote and I have seen a number of people putting in their two cents – so here’s a dollar!

      I agree with Lisa and Michael. It is very easy to see things in a certain light when it’s De-contextualized. But it did happen in a clear context that was far bigger than twitter and there was and is a great deal of background information being used. Your comments smack of eyes wide shut.

      I’m extremely unhappy with the conduct of certain people, and how they have sought to exploit the situation. I have been dealing with the Net since before it was even public and I have seen it quite a few times before. I was seeing some of the maneuvering at least a month before Twittergate! It was in plain sight.

      You only have to cross reference public sources and what has been said to start seeing the tangled web. You always find some who love to exploit those webs for personal gain.

      Rabble rousing and the Raising of Lieutenants to attack is such an OLD trick – and it’ even worse when the lieutenants are ignorant of how their own strings are being pulled and they attack willingly. Some can be very good at social manipulation with a smirk or grin on their faces.

      So – I can see your view, from where you are standing, but you may need to turn round and see a different view that is far far bigger.

      Under the circumstances Tom’s conduct has been Exemplary – and I’m very happy to be labeled what anyone wants from “Micro-Aggressive” to “Troll” and MRA – and even worse – and I have been, for not having my chain yanked and falling under the influence of Puppet Masters playing games. P^)

      The shamming tactics have been comical – and it’s funny to find people trawling over dead threads to try retroactive shamming!

      As the saying goes – You Can Fool Some Of The People All Of The Time, All Of The People Some Of The Time – But You Can’t Fool All Of The People All Of The Time.

      I’m glad to hear that the future is being looked at with developments in the pipeline.

      Odd – if some folks knew of them they could well have been seeking to exploit those and gain advantage by playing power games – and some would hate them too and want to attack long before they got off the ground. The Picture Just Got Bigger! 8^)

      Pincers are like that – Ouch!

  33. You do not have to apologize for anything, Tom. They were attacking you on Twitter, practical bullying, and giving you no room to explain yourself. In fact, I was appalled by their behavior, not yours. I was incredibly bothered by their justification for holding all men responsible for rape and being deluded into not seeing how you can compare it to the black men analogy you used–and calling you a racist for it no less!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    5)Men/Women have to do the changing. All men are dwags, irresponsible, grown up boys, all women are bitches, nags, hormonally crazed, gold diggers…etc. We all have to behave better. Name calling is a great way to stay in blink don’t think unconscious reaction.

    6)Men are from one planet Women are from another and can’t ever understand the other. Major cop-out! How does this rhetoric build a bridge? People who choose to make a conscious effort will not fail to understand one another. This is a very damaging story as it leaves everyone at an impasse. This is by far the baffling and most debilitating conversation out there. We all have yin and yang qualities. Explore them with your partner!

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

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

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

  35. Wow, deleting comments much? Not cool.

  36. Wirbelwind says:

    Looks like my posts are automatically placed in moderation. Well then, at least Tom will read this.
    Tom, listen. You do not have to identify as a feminist men to be a decent human being. You do not have to be sorry and apologetic to every women who thinks she is insulted when you (or anyone else) is pointing out their obvious misandry, double standards and hypocrisy.
    I doubt this will be posted (like, 4 or 5 other posts I tried to make) but at least somebody will (hopefully) read it before deleting.

    • Correct in every regard, Wirbel. Decent human beings are dedicated to equality, freedom, and justice.

      None of that requires you to embrace feminism in any way.

  37. To see Tom Matlack beg and plead for the forgiveness of radical feminists is truly beyond words. I’m almost embarrassed for the man.

    • Michael Rowe says:

      Considering that Tom is neither “begging” nor “pleading” for the “forgiveness of radical feminists,” you should be embarrassed–not “almost embarrassed”–for yourself, not Tom. You’re either illiterate or on some sort of cheap hallucinogenic drugs of the very lowest sort, as he has done nothing of the sort. Jesus, you people. You know, if you MRA jackwipes could learn to get along with the radfems, I’m sure you could find a rock big enough for both of you to live under without any undue stressing of your respective lunatic nerves.

      • Michael Rowe says:

        I don’t care what Forweg calls himself, much less whether or not he made that “very clear” to you. What he calls himself couldn’t be less interesting.

        And I don’t say “jackwipe” about somebody who believes men have rights. I say “jackwipe” about someone who misrepresents Tom’s clearly stated position in his essay in order to make a pathetic, slimy, MRA-style slur about him “begging forgiveness of radical feminists” when he’s done nothing of the sort.

        You don’t need to be a feminist to see that. All you need to do is be able to read.

        • The word “MRA” is itself a slur. The feminists use that word to smear virtually ANYBODY who dares to speak out too sharply against feminism. Including people (e.g. myself) who don’t even use words like “mangina” or “feminazi”.

          • Fingelbogen – even I have been called MRA – but that is mainly because I’m a “Medaling Rational Archivist” who checks facts and sources.

            I take it as a compliment! P^)

    • DavidByron says:

      Those feminists weren’t even radical. Those were the so-called nice feminists. And he was begging and pleading during the twitter fight but I think with this article he grew a spine.

      I’m actually amazed this hasn’t happened before now. I think it shows personal growth by Tom.

      Something changed anyway….

  38. What is with all these posts which seem to all say “oh feminism is good it seems ridiculous and crazy that these people suggest something bad is associated with feminism”.

    I don’t understand why it is that the idea that women could be hateful is so foreign to people who advocate equality. Its like they are in a state of denial. YES WOMEN AND FEMINISTS CAN DO BAD THINGS. It doesn’t mean you are evil it doesn’t mean that feminism is entirely crap. It means women and feminists aren’t perfect. It means women are flawed just like men are. Pretending that your in group is righteous and infallible and only those terrible “menz and mras” are bad is just silly.


    Just because you don’t know a feminist who you would describe as a misandrist doesn’t mean they don’t exist. They do. You may not even notice them because you don’t notice misandry as easily as misogyny. Just because you don’t notice it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. I have shown many feminists things which are VERY misandrist but at first they didn’t see it. When you explain why it is suddenly they understand.
    Are there feminists who are directly in SCUM?
    Does that mean that there are no radical and misandrist feminists that adovated hatred?
    No there are actually quite a few. Many have teaching positions at universities. Many of there views trickle down to the less radical without anybody questioning it. Its why Hugo is so wrong so consistently. There are many highly educated people that agree with this position the patronising denials aren’t helping.

    Does this mean feminists are going to launch an attack on men? no
    Does this mean that no feminists are huge obstacles in tackling equality? no.

  39. What you’re experiencing is a type of social phenomenon. You have been raised in an environment surrounded by a feminist culture. Feminism today isn’t a single consistent set of beliefs laid out on top of a first principle. That would be projecting male oriented layout on a female oriented philosophy. It doesn’t fit. Feminists have many different worldviews and backgrounds.

    A more feminine version of morality focuses on individual people, rather than universal rules. You could say the most important tenet of feminism is the maintenance of relationship with other feminists. Think of the women who are raped, abused, or otherwise hurting. How can such women be sympathetic to the sufferings of people who they see would abuse them? To them, there is no personal connection.

    Many individual feminists see your focus on men to be unjustified because it is perceived as pandering to the problem.

    • Michael Rowe says:

      “Personal connection” as a requirement for empathy is very, very, very dangerous criteria. Is that really where you want to go with that point? Into the “logic” of sociopathy?

  40. The idea that it’s not okay to treat all men as rapists, despite the preponderance of rape committed by individual men, is wrong. And, when I say that I believe treating every black man as a criminal just because there are one million of them behind bars is just as abhorrent as treating all men as rapists – it brings strangers to my door to call me not only a sexist but racist and deeply offensive.
    That’s because the people that do that have reserved the right to make parallels between gender and race. As in its only okay when they do it.

    I wish we had a woman for President (see Germany). I tend to think Hilary would have done a better job than Obama has, though I am still going to vote for him over whatever the Republican circus produces.
    So you’re saying the Clinton would have done a better job because she’s a woman? That’s no better than thinking Clinton would not do a better job because she’s a woman (but I can understand how that gets lost in translation because to a lot of folks as long as you’re not downplaying a woman because of her gender its okay to uplift her because of her gender).

  41. feminism, by definition of the word itself, the existence of the word itself, subscribes to gender structure. There is no freedom in denying gender, which usually means erasing anything stereotypically feminine for a male appearance (why is pants, short hair, a lack of makeup, and basically a butch lesbian look considered “gender neutral”?).

    Whether it is cultural or biological (at least) two genders exist. I think it’s incredibly insulting to trans persons to deny the existence of gender, for one thing. Otherwise why wouldn’t they just declare themselves their preferred gender and do away with hormones and medical treatments to alter their bodies?

    Look, people can call it victim disempowerment all they want but there is NOTHING women can do to stop rape and other forms of gender directed violence. Men who would perpetuate gender directed violence (which is an entirely different animal than woman on woman violence or man on man violence, I am speaking of violence that happens because one is a woman –and yes I am aware violence against men due to being men happens as well but we’re not speaking of that here) don’t give a shit what women think about it. What will stop it is men standing up, being good men, showing what good men do, and calling out guys who are not good men. And it can go farther than violence. It can go to respect in business, in politics, in relationships. How anyone can think this is a bad thing is beyond me and is an example of someone who needs to get out of an ivory tower and live a little.

    I say this as a mom of three boys who love trucks and construction and sports, and as a board member of a gender advocacy centre.

  42. Tom…my problem is that unsupported generalities end the discussion before it begins. If you could be more specific in your frustrations…it would go a long way towards dialogue.

  43. Tom Matlack says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Tom, this is THE most coherent, intelligent, and moving comment I have read on any article during this whole gender-bashing fiasco. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have my support always. My God. We MUST get beyond this.

    • Julie Gillis says:

      Thank you.

    • From The Heart!

      The best place to come from!

      With Respect!

    • To be honest, Tom, I think part of the reason this happens is that you invite people to write on this website who voice an opinion that is purely misandrist. If you are completely honest, you know that the vast majority of Hugo’s writing is incredibly misandrist. He’s a grenade thrower if ever I’ve seen one. His very presence cheapens the message that you claim you want to put forward on this site. He doesn’t write anything about good men or what makes good men. He writes about how men are to blame for everything in the world, and discrimination against men is not only acceptable but good, and how we all bear collective guilt for things we have not done. Hugo is not the only one, but he is the most glaring example.

      Sure it gets a lot of page views — just compare the number of comments he got to the number of comments my story about my father dying got — but you said yourself you’re not in it for the page views resulting from drama. Hugo is essentially Rush Limbaugh.

      • Tom, masculists vary wildly from MRA/MRAsshole to simply feminist and masculinist, and equalist. is probably the most free from misogyny I’ve found of the various masculist places, reddits /r/mensrights however seems to be full of the haters.

        Another reason as said before why this article gets so much hate is probably you have writers who are quite misandrist and this will attract the haters, some of the articles I’ve read have made me sad that these people are either living in warped reality, are ignorant or simply just hate men as a whole based on a few. I won’t name names because I’m sure by now we know who they are but I will say there have been writers who’s said some things I’ve felt to be misandrous and have later been educated by the commentators and have opened their minds to a different and probably more productive thought.

        That said, even when faced with misandry we can’t allow misogyny to go on unchecked, both need to be called out on if we want equality. I think it’s probably a good idea to also try avoid saying who gets it worse especially in cases of rape and abuse, I’ve said some stats of men getting it worse in some areas only to get people to see men can be victims and hopefully people know by now I don’t care which side wins the pissing contest, I only care that everyone gets help.

        It’s unproductive to go saying men are the majority of rapists, and word an article to make that female rape and abuse is so rare that it’s not significant, a more productive way is simply to ignore the mention of who gets it worse and say rape and abuse affects both men and women badly and both need our help and support. Especially in the light of the new CDC stats, we’re getting closer and closer to parity and that is a scary prospect and suggests that portraying one side as getting it worse is simply leaving the abuse of the other side ignored. I dunno why but people have this fetish for choosing the bigger “victim” as if only focusing on them is the best way to spread our resources, it’s like ignoring breast and prostate cancer, or all cancer, for the focus on heart disease which is a bigger killer.

        We have 7billion people, I am sure we can afford to spread our focus between the genders and help both. We can support feminism and masculism simultaneously, as it’s mentioned it is not a zero-sum game. We can change the rape laws to include all victimizations of male and female “rape” eg forced penetration and if the stats show in the last 12 months it’s equal, it doesn’t mean rape of females is less important it just means rape is a horrible crime and needs more education and study to weed out.

        It’s in the BEST interests of feminists and masculists to work together, especially on abuse. When abusers have a past commonly being the victim of abuse themselves, the stereotype of the male abusing the female could mean the male himself was abused badly and even possibly by his mother for instance. Preventing abuse in the first place prevents there being people who have been abused, going on to abuse. Getting help for the abused prevents them further abusing. Btw, I’m not saying all abused go on to abuse themselves, I’m not saying it’s the majority or minority as I don’t have the stats on it but I know personally from witnessing and hearing many stories about abuse that there was a significant enough amount that had been abused before. If you beat a dog, don’t be surprised if it bites anyone and lashes out, and in humans this too can happen.

        So basically women’s issues, are women’s and men’s issues. And men’s issues are women’s and men’s issues too. We shouldn’t have violence against women campaigns and nothing for men, if anything we should be having violence against ANYONE campaigns of awareness. Ignoring violence against men whilst having a lot of awareness over violence against women is silly, and doesn’t really help us as humans to end it.

        Women have issues in the workplace, they aren’t trusted as much men to be good and hard working employees or trusted that they can put in as much as a man. Men have issues in the home where they aren’t trusted in childcare roles, they aren’t trusted as much as women in being capable parents or even safe parents to be around at times. Both sides have issues that link together and require all of our efforts to stop.

        We need to broaden our view to see the suffering everyone faces, we can’t work alone in our separate male and female groups as if we’re from mars and venus, We’re from EARTH and we need to work together.

  44. Miiiiike

    I would like to point out a few matters.

    You make comment about:

    “Being a feminist guy isn’t easy. It means having to always check yourself, be mindful of the myriad operations of privilege in day-to-day life, and acknowledge that you have more social power than women do.”

    I have to point out that you are talking about one form of feminism and Tom another.

    You seem to have slipped into that Gender Polarity area which makes it all man vs women and vice versa. Tom has spoken of his family roots and said “social justice was (and continues to be) the highest and most important calling in life”.

    You and so many others reduce that social justice to gender. That may be your world and view but It aint Tom’s.

    You make an error when you miss out disability, sexuality age race and so many other issues that come very much under the Umbrella of the Good Men Project and “Social Justice”..

    You say “I respect the Good Men Project in that it’s trying to be something positive.”

    How I Hate Three Letter Words. Use Four letter words and you are anti-social, use three letter words such as “try” and people are so self justified. I hate that word “Try” it has the inbuilt excuse for failure – I Tried!

    I don’t see Tom “try”ing to do anything – he Is Doing!

    I don’t believe for one second he set out with a an inbuilt excuse so if it didn’t work out he could at “Well I tried!

    It is very revealing how that Try word gets used as a shaming tactic – and even how it gets used in an attempt to control people and even others views of people.

    But it’s clear that some believe they can do better. Well they may try, but until the “do” include all areas of social justice they will only be trying to deal with “Social Justice” and that is not good enough for a great many people who DO!

    • You’re right I looked over race, ability, gender identity, nationality, and etc. I considered it but I didn’t know if it would distract the conversation, and I wanted to address Tom’s gender-based remarks. As for the rest of your comment, I have to admit I’m not sure what you’re trying to say.

      • You prove my point perfectly – I did not “Try” to say it – I “Did” say it!

        Please take 100% responsibility for your own lack of understanding.

        I did not TRY ( so 99%) I did at 100%.

        Maybe you need to look for your own internal Resistance to getting the message?

    • Michael Rowe says:

      Well said, MediaHound.

  45. Tom, I checked out about when you equated women authors talking about “the end of men” with the feminists who were criticizing you. The problem is you appear to be treating women as one big group with a collective perspective and set of beliefs rather than a cadre of individuals.

    This whole thing started because you got defensive. Rather than being a good ally and, say, thinking about what the people you chose to ally yourself with were saying in response to your words, you lashed out at everyone and began this persecution train that is apparently still continuing, pulling into another station of public self-flagellation and passive aggression. This whole thing would not have happened if you had thoughtfully accepted the criticism and entertained at some length the thought that, maybe, you were still operating with privilege.

    Being a feminist guy isn’t easy. It means having to always check yourself, be mindful of the myriad operations of privilege in day-to-day life, and acknowledge that you have more social power than women do. This also means not flipping out whenever women comment on your takes on gender. For someone who wrote so much about empathy in this piece, I’m seeing a dearth of it in your response to the feminists who’ve criticized you. You seem to think that ‘the feminists’ are kicking you out of some special, elite club for daring to defend men, when it reality it’s because you don’t seem to want to listen. You’d rather play some victim being trodden upon by feminists, who obviously can never let a guy have opinions on men.

    I respect the Good Men Project in that it’s trying to be something positive. Yet I feel like a lot of this site is trying to act like a counter-movement to feminism, like women’s rights and the actualization of men outside of gender confines are not two aspects of the same movement. Things like this need to work in dialogue with feminism, and working in dialogue means listening and holding back anger, or frustration, while also understanding the rights to those feelings and why somebody, in their criticism, may seem angry of frustrated. The Good Men Project would not exist if it wasn’t for feminism, because feminism pioneered the radical notion that gender norms and the nature of men and women are neither divine or explicitly natural, but rather subjective and based in-part on culture. Without feminism, why would men ever question the expectations of our manliness?

    You are allowed to disagree, but making sweeping judgments on feminism and how “the feminists” are treating you is a regrettably faux-sapient method of ignoring the agency of women to explain for themselves their issues with your recent pieces and behavior, and rather decreeing that all of them just don’t like you ’cause you’re just trying to be real with being a guy. Well, you don’t speak for me.

    • Michael Rowe says:

      Miiiike, there certainly was a great deal of “not listening” going on here, but it wasn’t coming from Tom. I don’t think any of you understood one word of what he was trying to say, and when he tried to explain it, you didn’t listen to what he was saying, you just blasted in and told him what he was saying. I also didn’t see a great deal of “holding back anger or frustration” coming from your side either. Apparently Tom was the only one who was expected to hold back and shut up and listen during the course of this so-called “dialogue.”

      The pomposity of your statement that “the Good Men Project would not exist if it was wasn’t for feminism is so preposterous it’s barely worth challenging, but its arrogance is entirely eclipsed by the phrase “You are allowed to disagree.” Wow, thanks a lot. Just one thing? This “issues” being discussed by Tom were men’s issues, not women’s issues, and it would have been nice to allow him the “agency to explain for [himself.]” This site was designed as a men’s forum, a safe place for men to share their first-person stories. It was never intended to be a low-residency gender-corrective reform school where men could do penance for having stories to tell about their actual, not theoretical, experiences, without being lectured with “sweeping judgements” on their privilege.

      Tom doesn’t always speak for me, either, but I’m OK with that. Listening, remember? It’s amazing. You ought to try it once or twice. You may like it. Or, failing that, you may at least learn something about someone else’s experience by looking up from your own navel and listening instead of lecturing.

      One good thing came out of this, though: my complete and utter loathing for hysterics and fanatics of ANY stripe, be they religious, political, radfem, or MRA, has been reconfirmed, as has my deeply-held belief that obdurate, dogmatic, shrill polemicists will be the absolute death of civilized dialogue between ANYONE, let alone “the genders.”

      • I read this and let out a deep breath and felt, phew, that is IT. Man, you said it. Well done.

      • Yeah, clearly Tom has just been trying so hard to stave off the hordes of feminists, uncritically out for his blood for no other reason than him being a man and dropping TRUTH. Why can’t feminists just be reasonable, and listen respectfully when men talk?

        • Michael Rowe says:

          You’re right, of course, Miiiiike. Tom should just shut up on his own website–a men’s forum at that, designed for first person men’s stories. He’s the one who should shut up so that he can have his first-person experience mocked and derided, and his life explained to him by people who can explain his life to him better than he ever could. His job is just to put his head down and say, “Please, may I have another?”

          That’s why God invented men’s forums, isn’t it? So that men like Tom, who can’t possibly have anything of value to add to the dialogue because of their “privileged white male” status can just….shut…up…and….LISTEN for once. Just like women do on women’s forums when men try to lecture and silence them. Oh, wait…scratch that…..

  46. I see GMP as a way to confront the boring stasis of masculinity as femininity has evolved. It’s up to men to respond to feminism, and that is the kind of emotional work that men tend to leave up to women. Apparently, it’s up to women to do all of this invisibly, otherwise feminism is a morally-bankrupt failure. Women have not done a good job of filling in the blanks of what men feel about x and y, and without men’s input, the blanks remain just that: blank.

    • It is true that due to the way the gender roles play out men have left emotional work to women. But at the same time I’ve noticed that now that there are men that are working on putting in the emotional work themselves, some of the toughest opponents on this front are women that don’t want to give up that emotional work. In other words they don’t want men to start working on our emotions. They would rather we leave them in the hands of women. Not too different from men that don’t want women to go out into the workplace. Its about control and influence.

  47. Next, let’s talk about abortion.

    What you’ve discovered is a lot of heat. You have succeeded wildly in getting people to talk about something that affects them, whether for good or ill. Are people therefore going to insult your credentials, your methods and your own person? Yes. This is the Interwebs. People get excited. Some feel free to insult you rather than cool down and answer honestly or rationally.

    Consider the alternative; what if you wrote a blog and no one replied?

  48. [This comment was also accidentally posted on “Being a Dude Is a Good Thing.” Sorry for the double post, but it really belongs here.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Julie Gillis says:

      I love this comment.

    • I agree with your criticism but I would say it is true of all feminists, not just Tom.

      Feminists are gender essentialists in the sense that they think men and women are fundamentally different from each other on a moral basis. Men are fundamentally evil “rapists” who ceaselessly attack women and have a “Patriarchy” and “male privileges” they use to subjugate and oppress innocent angelic like women. This distinction is so large that it leads to real issues with the transgendered because of course if your whole philosophy of life says men and women are fundamentally as different as light and darkness, how do you deal with someone who has a foot in both worlds?

      As a result you get all the anti- m-t-f stuff from feminists who say that mtf are basically nothing but evil men invading women’s spaces. They have to be categorized as either one thing or another and the general view was that they are “male” because they have “male privilege” from birth.

      • People will take the power that’s available. That’s why people become abusers. Women’s violence is mostly directed at the people over whom they have the most power: their children. Power differentials are always dangerous.

      • I don’t agree with whoever told you any of this and they do not fit in my feminist philosophy. Privilege is applied to a number of different groups in social justice, white privilege, cis privilege (Being the gender you were born), straight privilege (getting the right to marry and have your relationships be accepted.)

        The concept of privilege is not about subjugating at all. It is about the invisible benefits acquired (Through no fault of ones own) based on ones social standing. It’s like being born rich, it isn’t your fault you were born rich, and you could be an amazing philanthropist with all of your wealth. However you will only know what it is like to be poor by listening to poor people, and you will only be able to help them by listening to their needs and understanding their situation. It is your choice what to do with the wealth you were born into, you can use it to do good for yourself and others who are less fortunate, or you can use it to get away with things and slack off.

      • You’re responding to some garbled ideas constructed by a very specific group of second-wave feminists who were writing during a time where there was, in the US, no law against marital rape and in which it was nearly impossible for women to buy cars in their own name. (The early 1970s). The feminist stance on rape today is that rape is a cultural practice that some people are enabled to do to some other people because of a specific context and history. Many men will insist that rape is a natural part of reproduction. Are those men therefore feminists? Gee willikers, we have some strange – cough – bedfellows if that is true.

        If it were true – as these specific evo psych on the internet type guys state – that all men are constantly tormented by the irrepressible urge to violently assault the ladyfolk, then yeah, it would honestly make the most sense to castrate most men at puberty, much like if all people with brown hair had a constant urge to smash babies against trees it would make sense to keep all brown-haired people in straitjackets for their own and everyone else’s good. I can’t believe that that’s true because it requires reducing either men or women to the status of animals in order to be supportable. I would like for “men will have the urge to rape you if you wear that skirt” to be as nonsensical a statement – from everyone – as “don’t take your baby outside, I saw a brunette,” because as a feminist with brown hair I don’t believe there’s any inherent biological basis for either.

        The only place I’ve ever seen anything as gross as the SCUM manifesto was on MRA blogs. Even given all the crimes committed between partners of the opposite sex over the course of human history, I will never understand that loathing that seems to come up sometimes in people.

        • Julie Gillis says:

          I love this comment. Brunettes!

          • “You’re responding to some garbled ideas constructed by a very specific group of second-wave feminists who were writing during a time where there was, in the US, no law against marital rape and in which it was nearly impossible for women to buy cars in their own name. (The early 1970s). The feminist stance on rape today is that rape is a cultural practice that some people are enabled to do to some other people because of a specific context and history. Many men will insist that rape is a natural part of reproduction. Are those men therefore feminists? Gee willikers, we have some strange – cough – bedfellows if that is true.”

            Those feminists still exist can’t you just say that is indeed part of feminism but not all of it? Many femists have also shared platforms with religious right because they were both anti-porn. It is still feminists stop pretending feminism is always innocent.

            “The only place I’ve ever seen anything as gross as the SCUM manifesto was on MRA blogs. Even given all the crimes committed between partners of the opposite sex over the course of human history, I will never understand that loathing that seems to come up sometimes in people.”

            Radical hub private forums there are still feminists now that see scum manifesto as a legitimate text. I have seen julie bindel with her anti trans hate. I have seen gail dines say the most ridiculous crap. Stop pretending feminism isn’t a big tent just because someone decided to criticise it. There are hateful elements in it. Its silly to pretend otherwise. Its okay you know feminism doesn’t have to be perfect. Pretending the only people who commit hate are men or those awful mras etc just make women seem infantile. Women and by extention feminists are capable of hate. Why?

            Because women are people too.

            Its true for the good stuff and the bad stuff.

            • Oh absolutely. I am as familiar with Aunt Twisty as you are. The Second Wave is baby boomer feminists; they are notably still alive and saying things, many of them fucking ridiculous but also steeped in the culture of their upbringing. Please note that I said “1970s”, not “1950s”.

              However, our glorious leader up there is citing feminism as having fallen from its righteous heights in his 1970s childhood. 1970s feminism also spawned these whackaloons, who, again, were adolescents or coming of age in a world where it was still touch-and-go whether they could get a checking account without a male co-signer. The internet has just made it easier to find a whackaloon to suit your every need.

              • And that justifies applying a hateful stance towards the whole half of the male population, including those with traumas and struggles of their own?

              • If i really wanted to i could find some quotes from amanda marcotte and several so called “third wave” feminism which are also quite hateful. Feminism isn’t perfect. Its okay. Pretending it is just makes the whole larger.

    • Well said!

    • Rarely is it helpful to generalize

      That comment is itself a generalization.

      Generalizations are in fact incredibly useful and important and we couldn’t get anything done without them. I ought to know because as a mathematician I come from a world that seeks to do as much as possible without any generalizing whatsoever and I know just how limiting that is.

      Why are people always down on generalization? It’s like its just not cool or something. Well it might not be cool young man, but it is what kills the rabbit. You use them all the time whether you choose to recognise that or not.

      Instead of disdaining the word itself realise there are good and there are bad generalizations. Learn to tell the difference and you’re on solid ground. Pretend they are all bad and you are in cloud cuckoo land.

      Now you kids, get off my lawn!

      • David, I like a critical and well structured mind.

        Love is Good and so is Respect – but they are too general for some! P^)

      • YOUR lawn? But I thought you were a communist… 🙂

      • David: Perhaps I should have said “Rarely is it helpful to generalize about people.” And I stand by that assertion. I very deliberately included the word “rarely,” in order not to make an absolute statement. “Men want…,” “Women are…” and “Feminists think…” are generalizations that I find unhelpful and unsupportable.

        It’s funny — I mean genuinely amusing — to me that you said, ” Pretend [generalizations] are all bad and you are in cloud cuckoo land.” I never said that generalizations are all bad. THAT would be an inexcusable generalization, wouldn’t it? I said that they’re rarely helpful. Yet apparently you read it as some extreme statement that one should never generalize. Which is not at all what I said.

        You’re defending the right to generalize against a generalization that I never made.

  49. Roseaane Barr’s comment is the first time I’ve seen a feminist try to link feminism to Marxism (btw I am a communist). I’ve mostly seen the link applied by people trying to insult feminism.

    Obviously feminism predates communism by a few years so from that point of view the statement can’t be literally true….

    But my view would be that feminism undermines communism and the left in general, by attacking the simple concept of class warfare and trying to replace it with something much more to the liking of the imperialist elites. The 1% are always trying to divide the working class against itself. Whether that is by using race, or using religion or using the two corporate parties, or by using tribalist identity issues such as abortion.

    Feminism works great for that. it says to women that they shouldn’t worry about inequality and poverty but instead they should worry about their co-worker being a man. They shouldn’t worry about the fact that most poor women can’t get an abortion because of lack of means, and the lack of universal healthcare in the US, but should instead worry about some entirely theoretical “war on women” and it’s legal attack which never materialises. Instead of being concerned with the pay of millionaires and CEOs women are taught to only worry that their male co-worker might be getting 10% more than they are. Feminism divides the working class along gender lines.

    Feminism in recent years has often acted to provide cover for imperialist wars too. Mostly by enabling the 1% to present those wars as in part all about rescuing women in third world countries. This helps demonize those countries and the subsequent wars of course kill hundreds of thousands of women (and even more men).

    If feminism is a “criticism” of Marx then it’s the same criticism that Goldmann Sachs would have.

  50. “My point is that men and women are different, thankfully.”

    I’ve heard this my whole life and I’ve never understood it. In all my experiences, I’ve never felt that we really were all that different except in the most superficial and culturally-policed ways. Men and women are, like you said, as different as there are men and women in the world. They are united in name only.

    • I agree with this. So many women absolutely mystify me – I have no commonalities with them outside of biology. Many men make perfect sense to me. I do not consider myself masculine; I just understand some people and not others. Gender doesn’t seem to have much of an impact.

  51. Nice piece, Tom.

    Re: “No, I say this because the feminists I am interacting with today seem to have so little in common with the feminists with whom I sat at the dining room table as a kid.”

    Emily Nussbaum wrote an article for NY Mag about the new, old feminism, in which today’s feminists exhibit qualities of some of the old waves: In your face, uncompromising, crude, fiery, etc. It’s a way to get people watching and listening. Unfortunately, it can alienate a lot of people as well.

  52. Peter Houlihan says:

    Oh wow, I haven’t read the rest of the article yet (let along the comments). But I went to that link in the spearhead and right to the left there was an ad for “mutually beneficial arrangements.” A term I wasn’t familiar with and would have been happy to go without knowing.

    (for those too lazy to google, it means sleeping with someone for room and board)

  53. “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.”

    “But somehow my attempt to look at how manhood has played out in those people and places I know–particularly as related to our relationship to women–has caused those who call themselves modern feminists great discomfort as they see my points as somehow trying to identify a binary or “essential” gender structure. That’s not what I believe or aspire to. Quite the opposite”

    Please explain to me how the first quote and the second quote were written by the same person? You don’t think there is an essential gender binary structure? But Men are inherently different than women?

    Look, I understand you are feeling attacked, but, from my perspective I want nothing but for your project to be successful. I want men to be able to talk about their experiences of being male. But it would be nice if you could talk about being men, without also trying to define and limit the experiences of women and silence the voices of feminists.

    And truth is, feminists fight with each other over stupid stuff we post all the time, so it is not as if you’re being voted off some feminist island. Some articles just don’t go over, and the best thing you can do in a situation like that is NOT to double down and tell all the feminists to STFU. It’s to listen, and take what learning you can for future posts. You certainly don’t have to agree with everything we say, but winning the argument is never as important as what you can learn from the discussion. It seems to me you are trying desperately to not be wrong here, but ultimately that isn’t what matters. What matters is listening and learning from each other.

    • Shinobi,

      I think it would help if feminists could learn to listen to the experiences of others, and, God help them, maybe even mainstream social science.

      Feminists do not actually want men to talk about their experiences openly and honestly: they only want to hear those experiences which match the existing feminist narrative (and let’s be clear: theories that are not backed by empirical evidence are nothing more than narratives). When there is a story on the GMP that does not match the feminist narrative, it gets attacked pretty quickly by rabid feminists.

      On the rare occasions when something that does not match the narrative is posted on a site like Jezebel, well, let’s just say there’s a reason I hit the “back” button every time I get a link there.

      Feminists need to accept that there are experiences that do not match their narrative. Until that happens, it’s very difficult to accept the feminist narrative. They are literally covering their ears, screwing shut their eyes (for how else can they fail to see statistics?) and shouting at the top of their lungs. And I’m supposed to take that seriously? It is impossible to “listen and learn” from a party that fails to do so themselves.

  54. Tom

    You attach far too much importance to what women that identity as feminists say and think. Can you not see that their arguments and bogus stats and claims are refuted and debunked again and again here?

    We are the authority on us,

    • Agreed, Heath. I congratulate Tom on being openminded enough to even address feminism, but it really has no place here on the Project site–a site devoted to MEN discussing MEN’s issues. Feminism simply doesn’t have a place here, except perhaps on the list of problems men have to deal with.

      Men discussing with other men what they experience, the problems they face, how to ensure equal rights and equal treatment in society–these are all worthy goals. And as you note, feminism USED to share some of that interest in equality. That it doesn’t any more is a shame, but it’s also not our problem. Feminists will have to fix their broken movement themselves.

      Men, meanwhile, have more important things to do.

  55. I applaud you for sharing this article. I have never posted a comment on GMP, and I’m a regular reader of your articles. I read GMP because I believe in your mission, enjoy reading different perspectives, and most of all – I value the authenticity and humanness that you and your writers share with us. It takes courage to tackle uncomfortable issues like the one you’ve written about here. More specifically, I think it takes vulnerability — you took a risk, put your ideas out there, and received destructive reactions from some (on Twitter, no less). Please don’t let it get the best of you. Keep sharing and encouraging others to share. When Good Men allow their full range of true feelings to be seen, compassion grows.
    Keep up the good work!

  56. Tom, I really like this piece. I think it’s remarkable how close you and I actually are to one another in both of our pieces tonight.

    I think this really sums it up:
    One comment on twitter noted that “feminism isn’t static, it’s constantly changing.” Which I suppose is a good thing. And perhaps it’s like “God” in that it is a concept both so broad and so personal that it almost escape a single definition.

    A commenter on my piece from last week People, Let’s Stop Hating Each Other said something along the lines that Feminism was being damaged for people like me (and you, perhaps) by the sort of wackadoodles (my word) that we “let” under our umbrella. It’s hard to know what Feminism should be. Is there a “should”? If so, who defines it? Kay Hymowitz? Rosanne Barr? I mean, I love to hear her voice so loud and proud, but neither of them speak for me (and *That’s why I speak for me*).

    Should we be pushing the extremist voices out from under our umbrella? No, because even the most extreme voices make a point. Each of those women confronting you the other night had something important to say, and if we were all sitting down together I would do my best to form a bridge between what they say (in a way that is hard to open your heart to) and what it means to you when not phrased as an attack.

    The animosity has to go. Now. On both sides. Growth through anger is just so much harder, like climbing up a sand dune, we put in so much effort but keep slipping back back back as we try to move forward.

    • Joanna, you sound like a lovely person and thanked me for raising a valid issue during the twitter debate. Can you please ask Tom to read what I have written above. It is very much a constructive convo and his response tells me that he is summarily dismissing me w/o actually reading it. The fact that I’m now having to beg Tom directly and other people indirectly to get him to read my point (which isn’t what he thinks it is and was originally made and continues to be made, despite my frustration, in faith) is just terrible.

    • DavidByron says:

      If feminism is an equality movement why does it tolerate the voices of hate, even of violence?

      Should we be pushing the extremist voices out from under our umbrella? No, because even the most extreme voices make a point.

      So it is a legitimate feminist voice that says men are all rapists or that says men should all be exterminated for example? Do you see how that attitude might make a man think perhaps feminism is not really concerned about equality?

      • Michael Rowe says:

        Really? “Men should all be exterminated?” Where did you find that, David? I’ve never seen that, and I sure have read a lot. Can you share?

        • S.C.U.M manifesto

          • Thats a tad unfair you should of mentioned a recent one. Like that private forum on radfem hub.

          • Michael Rowe says:

            Just for the sake of honesty and clarity, gentlemen, can we add that there SCUM had no members besides Solanas herself, and it was a mimeographed “book” first self-“published” in 1967, and often considered a satire? Or that, just today, on Twitter, I saw one MRA lunatic posting violent atrocities about the GMP and its writers that would make the “SCUM Manifesto” look like a copy of Twilight?

            Are you seriously suggesting that today’s feminists want to “cut men up,” literally? Because if so, I’ll wait until the next serious discussion comes up here and join it instead of wasting my time on this one.

            • A sane voice–thank you. This boggles the mind, doesn’t it?? And it cheapens the position–and dashes the credibility–of anyone seriously trying to use it.

            • Julie Gillis says:

              I’ve been following the “eugenics” argument since last night. It’s entirely depressing. The time of eugenics in the early 20’th century was a dark, dark period for America and Europe. It’s also a dark dark thing that there are countries currently aborting girl babies in favor of males. It’s also a dark dark thing that we’d think we can play with science to the point of determining any genetic characteristic with confidence.

              In my opinion.

              Solanas was mentally ill. I’ve actually never read Mary Daly (mostly because I wasn’t a gender studies major) but I’d say each side of this particularly fraught debate has it’s embarrassing outliers. I mean, on ManBoobz there is a commenter who believes men should date (and apparently stroke off to) actual DOLLS because lady dolls are more feminine than live women. He’s also got an amazing libertarian scheme to change the world, place slutty women in houses of entertainment and has interesting issues on race.

              Spearhead has some charming commentary on women as well.

              Do I think all MRAs and men who focus on masculinity are just like those men? Nope. Cause I’m critical in how I think, yo. Sooooooo. If all MRAs are not represented by a few outliers… stands to follow that the same (gasp) might be for feminism. That a woman born in a time and culture that was undergoing some radical social change might have had some poor choices in political bedfellows, that a mentally ill woman was deranged enough to shoot an art figure, and that we’ve got seriously radical voices making all kinds of statements that the majority doesn’t believe.

              Most of the feminists I have known wanted access to birth control, reproductive services, access to good jobs and not to get groped at the water cooler. Radical in deed.

              • Exactly. Clapping. This is an easy concept. We are all smart enough to grasp it, no?

              • And I just wrote essentially the same thing on my own post about Godwin’s Law, where the same bogus tactic is taking place.

              • Can you post any feminist critiques on the problems of the scum manifesto?

                The trouble with any group is that they have some seriously deranged people, MRA’s have it, feminists have it, christians, islam, etc have extremists. But judging all of that group on the actions of the few is just wrong, as wrong as assuming black men are violent criminals because of the few, or all men are rapists, all females are childkillers etc. The few are not the many, but sadly the few make for very sensationalist headlines which grab our attention.

                • Julie Gillis says:

                  Well, given that I am not a women’s and gender study academic, not at the moment. It does get headlines doesn’t it.

                  • Yep, that’s the sad thing about sensationalist headlines. It’s partly why we live in a climate of fear. After 9/11, the muslims were in the bullseye and the actions of the few would cause a real panic in the population, the rape stats and prejudice against men is another. We hear about the bad but the good are glossed over, even though generally the good are the majority.

                    I really wish people could work together but atm I don’t feel they are truly ready, more education is needed (especially in showing male victimizaton and female aggression to remove bias there) and then maybe when we drop the oppression olympics and omgigetitworse, we’ll actually just help everyone regardless of race, gender, creed. The sad thing is that feminism and masculism require each other to exist to become true equalism (along with black rights groups, etc) but so many of the members seem so keen on fighting.

                    • Julie Gillis says:

                      I think many of us do work together, but we also live in a culture where showing collaboration and peace isn’t the dominant narrative. No drama ;). I’m keen on trying anyway.

                    • Julie Gillis says:

                      ooh and @mediahound will hate that comment. Revision. I’m keen on doing!

                • This attempt to paint Solanas as a lone nut fails because the wider movement embraced her teachings. This point has been made repeatedly and yet no feminist has responded to it. No feminist has responded to the very deep problem of violence in the movement.

                  Feminist apologists lose credibility because they cannot answer their critics.

              • Sooooooo. If all MRAs are not represented by a few outliers… stands to follow that the same (gasp) might be for feminism

                I have never said that Valerie Solanas represents feminism. I have always said that what represents feminism is how the movement reacted to Solanas. The movement could have reacted by saying, we condemn all violence against men like that. It could have responded by saying geeze that was one crazy bitch huh? What actually happened is that they embraced Solanas as a part of their movement, helped her at trial and made her “book” a popular item and recommended reading.

                Look at the evidence and you can tell the difference between a lone nutcase and someone who became influential. Solanas was both.

                Below I challenged people to come up with someone similar to Solanas in the MRA or in any other movement.

            • Michael,
              There is a difference between the power this one lone lunatic wields and organizations like NOW (which has a very anti-man anti-father stance) wields.

              The problem is
              1) the radicals in feminism (unlike MRA’s) are not the radical fringe, but rather it’s radical core. Let’s not forget that NOW paid for the legal defense of Lorenna Bobbit. If you think that’s not indicative of anything, then how do you think fathers& or other fathers rights groups would stand if they paid for the legal defense of a man who mutilated his wife’s sex organs?
              2) there is a total difference in the power that NOW and other feminist organizations (that more & more take a radical stance) and these lone male nut-jobs that you claim are MRA’s, but really aren’t even part of the movement.

              If you don’t think there is a connection between this

              ht tp://

              A feminist webpage in which the author says manhating is a noble practice
              and this:

              ht tp://

              Dozens of different feminists organizations creating a mass org called WEAVE which specifically wanted to reform the $800 billion stimulus for shovel ready jobs (and succeeded in re-directing 42% of it to female-friendly job sectors). This despite male unemployment nearly double that for female.
              This despite the fact that manufacturing and construction were the most heavily hit during the recession (god forbid Obama actually try to assist the industries that were hit).

              In this feminists went from actions to help women, to actions that HARM men, and their stated reason was being that they were AGAINST HELPING MEN for no greater reason than that they are men (even when the need was obviously great).

              There can be NO defensible reason for assisting men who have lost their jobs (and assisting their wives and children) and instead giving the money to female-friendly sectors that had already ADDED 500,000 jobs in 1 year.

              Time and time again I see feminists using their influence to deny, delay, or minimize men’s equal rights in parenting (see Feminism and Fathers, Finding common ground for my comments displaying proof of such if you are interested), education (denying the boy crisis), health (men are 80% of all suicides and live 7 years left) and other areas.

              I have no idea why feminist organizations have this reputation as equalist groups. They don’t even have any interest acknowledging or measuring ways men are oppressed.

              Having no interest in the status of men, then how can they say when women have become “equal”. They can’t, which is why they keep pushing for female entitlements which means they push for superiority, not equality.

              Organizations like NOW are nothing more than female advocacy groups. Just like big pharma pushes for perks/privileges, just like big tobacco pushes for perks/privileges, so too does NOW and AAUW and dozens of other organizations.

              • At best they are just sexist female advocacy groups.
                That’s the most generous reading.

                I guess my own reading is the least generous 🙂

              • Whoa, thank-you for that comment. It’s truly scary what some will do under the guise of equality. The gender war is alive n well and sadly it’s going to continue until we have decent men and women campaigning against it. If what you said is true, then doesn’t that prove that in some cases it IS a zero sum game and is directly harming men to put women ahead?

            • The SCUM Manifesto remains to this day one of the most popular feminist tracts and is on feminist recommended reading lists.

              I would not mention this if it was just one woman. Do you know that the feminist movement rallied around Solanas at her trial (much like Lorena Bobbit). Her lawyer was Florence Kennedy for goodness sake.

              Add to this the very real history of tolerance of violence against men in eg the feminist domestic violence movement.

              or the tradition of feminist utopias featuring men all dead.

              or the segregationist movement within feminism

              or the contempt for male-to-female transexuals (men invading women’s spaces)

              There’s a LOT of streams of violence in the feminist movement.

              Now you compare all that with a traditionally recognised female hate movement like the WKKK (Women’s Ku Klux Klan) of the 1920s and you can see the tolerance of violence is matched there. Generally women’s violence is more subtle than men’s. Women usually get men to do their violence for them. The WKKK worked mainly through innuendo and poison pen campaigns and projecting a moral image. Feminism supports a lot of state violence against men in the form of criminalizing and working for lower thresholds of evidence at trial leading to more innocent men being convicted too.

            • “often considered a satire”

              Really? SCUM was a satire? You know she shot Andy Warhol, right? You feminists must have a very odd sense of humour.

              Try to imagine the equivalent for the MRA.

              Let’s say that O.J.Simpson identified with MRA. Let’s say he writes a little book about who you should rape and torture your woman to keep her in line and then he murders his wife.

              How do MRAs react? They don’t react by condemning the murder. They react by loving the book and helping to defend O.J. Years and decades later they still love the little book — which is basically just insane shit and poorly written insane shit at that.

              If asked about it they say oh well it’s just satire.

              Can anyone point out to me this sort of thing happening in any other movement? if all this SCUM manifesto stuff is just “normal” for any movement – and that appears to be the defence by feminists here — then please point to similar stuff happening in the MRAs or any other political movement.

              I am 100% serious here. maybe my calibration of what constitutes something significant is way off here. Maybe the world is full of incidents just like this. maybe nutcases write violent tirades all the time and those tirades become wonderfully popular and well rread as a “joke” years after the nut case really tries to kill.

              Is the Unibomber a best seller and I just missed it? Maybe he’s selling well under “ironic humour” somewhere?

              I dunno. Maybe that does happen. But as far as I can see it doesn’t. As far as i can see this stuff is significant and makes a significant contribution to what we know about the character of the feminist movement. How else am I to understand the character of the movement except by things like this? How else do you make a determination about whether or not feminism is now a hate movement other than observations like this?

              • You realize Valerie Solanas had a series of severe mental issues, right? Saying that her shooting Andy Warhol because she was a feminist would be like saying that a kid shot up a school because he liked metal music. Your prejudice is showing.

                • DavidByron says:

                  You’re missing the point. Solanas was a fruitcake. I don’t care about her. I don’t think anything SHE did has anything to say about feminism. Any loony can call themselves a feminist and shoot someone.

                  My point is look at what the greater movement of the day and through to the modern day did. Look at how all those many sane feminists reacted. Sure they didn’t go round shooting people but they applauded the nutcase who did.

            • I am always surprised the way anybody suggests that women or feminists could be evil or wrong or murderous it is always denied. If someone said that there were murderers who are in the police the clergy etc i would believe them it isn’t all of them and all men aren’t like that. But suggest that there could be rapists murderers or dangerous people in feminism is flat out denied. I think this is more about chivalry and pretending women don’t have evil thoughts or aren’t capable of evil instead of saying actually you are right. People like that exist in all places of society. To suggest that feminism itself doesn’t have those qualities at least somewhere is more naive than true. Admitting that feminists are capable of wrong just like everyone says more about equality and agency than this bizarre pretence that feminists are infallible

            • For a nice expose on SCUM and how it has been embraced and still is by feminist since its first appearance read this

              and Mikey ” I’ll wait until the next serious discussion comes up here and join it instead of wasting my time on this one” Rowe, YOU should really read this one! You could do with opening your mind.

          • Don’t forget Mary Daly… but she too, was nice enough to want to leave 10% of men still alive.

        • Wait a sec.
          Why did you act like you’d never heard of any feminist voice of hate or violence at first?

          From your subsequent replies it is evident you were well aware of those strands of feminism. That rhetorical trick makes you look dishonest. Do you understand why that makes you look worse?

          • Michael Rowe says:

            David, I wasn’t actually concerned about looking worse. Perhaps it was the hour, but it didn’t occur to me that you considered the SCUM manifesto a mainstream feminist text, nor that you considered radfem lunatics as representative of the mainstream feminist movement. Whatever issues I may have with some of the points raised by the feminist men and women on this thread, they’re all sane and intelligent, and I’m more inclined to think common ground could be reached at some point than not.

            One of the reasons that didn’t occur to me is that I didn’t t associate you with the radical elements of the MRA movement either. I don’t generally using fringe elements of either category as the standard, because it makes reality-based discussion about issues very difficult. Your tone, likewise, has been rational, whether I agree with all of your points or not.

            I do find it humorous, though, that trying to take this reality-based position is getting me hammered as a feminist one one thread of the GMP while simultaneously being hammered as a male privilege monger on another thread. Which, to me, sort of makes my point about fringe lunacy at the expense of rationality very well.

            • DavidByron says:

              Taking the middle position on moral issues is actually not a safe place. What was the middle position on slavery?

              I have the most extreme position on the board. If you felt I was being rational then either (1) hahahaha! fooled ya! or (2) your assumption that extreme position implies irrational thinking is false.

              I’m not dogmatic about my position though. I figure I have about a 50-50 chance of being right. I think it is important that someone represent this view point.

              • Michael Rowe says:

                I’m not interested in “a safe place,” I’m interested in a reality-based discussion. I don’t like radicals of any stripe–not religious radicals, not political radicals, not gender radicals. I could be wrong, but didn’t you make a point about how most MRAs are politically very right wing? If so, thanks: point proved. If not, my apologies. And comparing the reality of slavery to a discussion about the definition is almost too disgusting to process, but I’ll give you credit for trying to make a point, however clumsily and offensively, let alone wrongly.

                And yes, I assumed you were rational, so you’re right–what a fool I am. I’ll use keep this new information about your lack of rationality that you’ve provided me with when I read the rest of your comments, and will use that to put them in perspective.

                • Julie Gillis says:

                  Man, this is one of those moments where I really wish we all were in a bar with bourbon, peanuts and lots of time to talk. Sometimes I love the internet and sometimes it just doesn’t do life justice. Kind of digging you both right now, Michael and David.

                  • Really? To me it just sounds like he’s reached the end of his fuse and he’s babbling and about to just fly into 100% insult mode.

                    Oh well. I just thought it was funny your comment there. Just at the exact moment my radar is saying “the discussion just ended” you seemed to think it was just starting.

                    • Michael Rowe says:

                      Oh Dave, no offence, but you don’t even register on my fuse. Seriously, it would take more than your posts on this thread to reach the end of my fuse. By your own admission (that means your words, not mine) you are irrational, which means your posts are irrational as well. I enjoy the brief bursts of clarity when you hit a thought that makes sense, before you swoop off into more irrational rambling. But I do enjoy reading you.

        • It is not my place to tell feminists how to cover up their own garbage but…

          Standard political doctrine on scandals is to get ahead of it not cover it up, because the cover-up smells worse. Next time someone complains about violence in feminism don’t act cute and pretend you’ve never heard about it. Cop to it. And when they say SCUM manifesto don’t pretend it’s nothing when you know it’s a lot more. All that hiding and covering up makes you look sneaky and dishonest. Cop to it. You know you’re on a losing streak so get ahead of the bad smell.

          IMO your best defence — really there isn’t any — is to say that yes there’s a lot of stuff about hurting men in the feminist movement but then say, but look our society is always joking about killing and hurting men. In our society it is simply acceptable to make jokes about killing or hurting or raping or exterminating men which would never be acceptable about any other group, and especially not women.

          So you should say well yes there’s a lot of joking about violence within the feminist movement but that only reflects society as a whole and maybe some added frustration by women which is natural enough given that movement is basically run by angry pissed off women. Eeeeeh, what you gonna do? Women joke about killing men whether they’re feminists or not, right? It’s just the way things are. No big deal.

          There are two problems with this defence (which I still think is by far your best defence).

          (1) You have to admit that our society loves violence against men which undercuts the entire feminist ideology that “women are universal victims and it’s all men’s fault” (from my definition of feminism). You’d have to admit that its men and not women who are the victims. And feminist can never do that.

          (2) Feminists have spent a huge amount of time trying to build an image of being against violence and parading around saying “no means no” and “there’s NEVER an excuse for violence against women” and just generally going on and on about violence. Now you are going to admit that your views on violence against men are (at best) no better than the views of the violently anti-male society out there? Smacks of utter hypocrisy especially for a so-called “equality” movement.

          • Michael Rowe says:

            Was this for me? I can’t tell.

            • DavidByron says:

              Directed at feminists… so it depends if you consider yourself one or not.

              • Michael Rowe says:

                I consider myself a feminist, but I don’t share your black and white worldview, so I have to say that if you’re talking about “feminists” here, you’re not talking about me. I don’t see myself, or my definition of feminism, anywhere here. I’m really surprised to read this sort of thing from you, David, because your comments are usually intelligent, nuanced, and thoughtful. There are things in the above post of yours I agree with, and some which I reject utterly. That’s the problem with being a rational, balanced, thinking person, I guess. You’re always running afoul of someone else’s black and white diorama view of life.

                • DavidByron says:

                  I’m probably the least dogmatic person here.

                  Would you like to say how likely it is that your position about feminism is wrong? I just suggested 50-50 for me….

                  Maybe you can explain what your problem is with what I wrote?

    • Joanna: “Should we be pushing the extremist voices out from under our umbrella? No, because even the most extreme voices make a point.”

      Okay, well then I’m certainly feeling better not calling myself a feminist since you’re fine with letting these extremists share space. The very people who think my pain doesn’t matter since I’m some priveledge white male at the top of the heap (yeah, telling that to someone who’s been through some major trauma with the opposite sex. Wonderfully uplifting *sarcasm*)

      I don’t want that invalidation. So there you go.

  57. This is not about you.

    A very kind radical woman of color tried to hammer those five words into me in a series of emails in 2007, after I’d tangled with some fellow feminists on the blogosphere, and I didn’t get it at the time. It took me a couple of years.

    You’re going “look at my history before you accuse me of [x].” Here’s the thing: you could be an absolute saint, from a feminist point of view, and still fall into the same old gender oppression dynamic. I do it on the regular. This is like a twelve-step program. Being a feminist, of any gender, means that you’re in recovery. It does not mean that you’ve recovered and no longer need to be called on your BS. It means that you have made a conscious decision to allow others to call you on your BS in order to reduce its power over your life. That’s the way I see it, anyway.

    The article that got you flamed was irrational, poorly-written, vaguely hostile to women, and generally repugnant. The resulting conversation didn’t reflect well on you, either. You should never apologize unless you actually believe you’ve done something wrong—but since you’re usually a pretty intelligent guy, I feel like you’re being intentionally obtuse about why people are criticizing you, and I think your MRA readers love it because they see you potentially falling off the wagon, so to speak, and doing what so many male feminist allies have done: abandon the movement because it’s too hard on them.

    Courage has no gender, but if there is anything essential to being a good man, it’s courage—because none of the other virtues survive under fire without it. As Churchill put it: “Without courage, all other virtues lose their meaning.” Have the courage to listen to your critics or, if you honestly don’t understand where they’re coming from, to shut up and listen for a while until you do. Because whatever else you may think of the people criticizing you, you know they’re not stupid.

    • Tom Head: Have you ever considered many male feminist allies abandon the movement not because it’s “too hard,” but because they have some severe reservations about how the movement is presented by its more radical members?

      And furthermore, the feminists in the Twitter debate made a big deal (and rightly so) about the fact that not every feminist is the same and each group has different members. Yet you talk of the MRA folks as if they’re all one huge, evil machine. I’ve had many discussions (aka I’ve been mostly attacked) by MRA folks, yet I’ve also talked to more moderate MRA members who bring up some pretty valid points. So while feminists rail about not prejudging an entire group or movement, they’re often guilty of doing the exact same thing to others.

    • This is not about you.

      Yes, it is. Every time some feminist directs her comment at a man she makes it about that man because she treats him as representative of every male in the world. Some people fall for that hook, line, and sinker. Others waver back and forth. Many more call the sexist nonsense for what it is.

      Feminists have a difficult time realizing this: you are dealing with real people. Not some fantasy boogeyman, but real, living men and boys. It is very easy to come up with the sexist trite Roseanne wrote and pat each other on the back for being so “insightful.” But when you say that nonsense to real people, it has a tangible, emotional affect on them.

      Granted, I think hurting men is the intent of those comments. It is abusive and bullying, and I cannot imagine anyone would do it by accident. It is intentional, and the goal is to pound someone into submission until they beg for forgiveness, kind of like what Matlack is doing.

      A very kind radical woman of color tried to hammer those five words into me in a series of emails in 2007, after I’d tangled with some fellow feminists on the blogosphere, and I didn’t get it at the time. It took me a couple of years.

      That is actually the problem. No matter what Matlack wrote, feminists would find something wrong with it, even if he agreed with everything they told him. Far too many feminists start from the “you’re a man so you’re guilty no matter what” position, and then act shocked when men object to that. It is unfair to treat anyone as forever untrustworthy and then demand they try to earn your trust, yet that is what feminists do.

      and I think your MRA readers love it because they see you potentially falling off the wagon, so to speak, and doing what so many male feminist allies have done: abandon the movement because it’s too hard on them.

      No, I think men’s rights activists will simply say, “There they go again” because this kind of thing happens a lot. Some male feminist makes the mistake of talking about things from a male perspective, a bunch of feminists pile on him for doing that, and then the male feminist spends the next few weeks apologizing for speaking up by trying prove his feminist credentials. It is the equivalent of apologizing for being shot in the face.

      Have the courage to listen to your critics or, if you honestly don’t understand where they’re coming from, to shut up and listen for a while until you do.

      Feminists need to have the courage to listen to their critics, and if they honestly do not understand where they are coming, to shut up and listen for a while until they do. But it does not just take courage to do that; it takes humility, and that is something few, if any, feminists have.

  58. Tom, whether you see it or not I am very much like the feminists you once knew. But even if I, or others are not, we have that right. Feminists are a diverse group. I, like you, believe every human being deserves empathy and as I stated several times during the twitter debate I respect and admire the goals of GMP. I was included in the so-titled post and treated by you as a “wrathful feminist” despite the fact that the concern I raised was not about your comments on gender but your comments on race and came not from my identification as a feminist but as an African American, anti-racist activist, and someone with an academic career in studying…you guessed it, racial inequality. I am a feminist and agree with much of what the feminists involved in the debate said AND I understood your frustration with Hugo’s piece. My comments were outside of either of these things however, and were simply an attempt to point out to you that equating Hugo saying that woman are justified in viewing men warily because some men rape was the same as viewing all black people as criminals. That is what you said and you said it several times. The record (which can be viewed in “The Wrath of the Feminists” post) shows that. I attempted to point out to you that the analogy was inaccurate and insensitive, which it is given that the stereotype of African Americans as criminals is hundreds of years old and has been and is used systemically to disenfranchise, oppress, and kill (yes kill, look at death penalty and police shooting statistics) African American men and women. While it might offend you that some people think it is okay to stereotype all men as rapists that is simply not the same as the real and institutional impact that stereotypes of African Americans as criminals has had on the black community (I won’t cite the 100s of academic and government studies that demonstrate the various racial inequalities in the criminal and juvenile justice systems nor the ones that address their historical and systemic roots here…but you can easily find them if you so desire).

    You say here that you seek empathy. Well I asked you to be empathetic. I asked you to understand that your analogy was not accurate and not backed up by demonstrable fact and that even if you believed otherwise your introduction of the analogy could be off-putting to people of color (like myself) wanting to ally themselves with GMP. In turn you accused me off calling you a racist (which I didn’t) and continued to contend that the analogy was accurate (again the record shows all this). Above you obfuscate the comments of other people on twitter who were angered by the way you responded to me and your use of the analogy by not acknowledging the statements you made in that specific convo. It was these statements, and your refusal to acknowledge the concern expressed about them, that prompted some people (again, not me) to call you a racist.

    I feel that in this post you are asking people like me to not criticize you just because you mean well and self-identify as liberal on gender and race issues but that is not how it works. Everyone is subject to criticism, when they offend others with their words. People of color (who have long been shut out of conversations on gender) and women have the right to criticize you if they disagree with you. It doesn’t mean we are “wrathful”, it doesn’t mean we are incapable of empathy, it doesn’t men we hate men or white people or anything else. It means we want to be heard Tom. You know that I have written about race and talking about race for GMP before, I made my comments to you in good faith and I was hurt that you refused to hear the concerns I was expressing and assumed my intentions were to attack you. My intentions were to include a valid concern that was not being included in the convo.

    I know I’ve failed completely on the brevity at this point, but look; it’s great you consider yourself a feminist; it’s great you consider yourself racially liberal; it’s great that you try to speak to these issues. It’s great that you want men to be better husbands and fathers and to feel good about and trust themselves. But that doesn’t make you untouchable. The fact that in this post you have seemingly intentionally continued to obfuscate the nature of the racial convo I initiated by touting all the racially progressive things you have done (which is great!) but not acknowledging the context of the racial language that was used in the specific debate in question is…well…what it is I guess.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Before you call me a racially insensitive again Sarah please look at our race section:

      Honestly my point about assuming a black man is a criminal wasn’t to say that was RIGHT it was to point out just how wrong it is in so many ways.

      I’m not looking not to be criticized, I am actually just looking for a constructive conversation.

      • Tom did you read what I wrote? Please read it. I’ve written for the GMP race section Tom, come on. I’m trying and have been trying to have a real convo with you and you are dismissing me without even reading? I know you did not say the stereotype was right, you’ve clearly not heard me at any point. Please, please read it instead of silencing me by saying things I said that I didn’t.

        • And by the way, the fact that the GMP has a race section and you have written for it and have racially liberal politics does not absolve you from all possible constructive criticism or mean that you can’t say problematic things. That’s like saying “I have a black friend…” Please read what I have written. Be empathetic like you have asked.

        • For whatever it’s worth, I think you’ve brought up a fantastic point and I appreciate that you brought this new perspective into the conversation. I saw when you posted on this topic on Twitter, and I was kind of shocked that Tom came back and used the same analogy again, even though it had been pointed out to him how deeply problematic it was.

          Not to make light of the serious racial insensitivity of the analogy, but even on the surface it is a poor analogy, just from a rhetorical perspective. Non-black people commit plenty of crimes, but non-men do not commit many rapes.

          • “Not to make light of the serious racial insensitivity of the analogy, but even on the surface it is a poor analogy, just from a rhetorical perspective. Non-black people commit plenty of crimes, but non-men do not commit many rapes”

            No non-men aren’t prosecuted as many times.They are often not convicted due to a patriarchal society which suggests women don’t have agency. The same reason they are also not likely to become president. Thank you for continuing the ideal that women are obviously more moral than men and should be used a civilising factor. Not patronising at all. But you are a feminist so of course you are incapable of being sexist……

          • We have stats basically saying in the last 12 months, 40% of rapists were female and you’re trying to suggest “non-men” don’t commit many rapes? It’s not a poor analogy, because like black people, men are profiled more as criminals and most likely have a higher chance of being caught in crime. Doesn’t necessarily mean that men, or black people commit more crimes since the stats only count those who’ve been caught.

        • Sarah

          I have to say that having read your response It is a little in fact very confusing to grasp your meaning and your intent. I can see the words and I get the content, but when it comes to stitching it all together to apprehend the meaning and intent – sorry it’s just not clear to me, and I’m a bit of a sharp one! You are evidently dealing with core value and issues that are close to your heart, if not your heart, and are your work – but they are obfuscated in a cloud of words.

          I find it fascinating that so many people are able to take such a poor medium for communication “Twitter” and make so much of so few words. Then, in apparently clarifying all matters with a medium such as WordPress or other blogging facilities, we then have so many words that there is even less clarity.

          It’s almost comical – words just get in the way of communication. I also love the levels of presumption by so many parties who use the term dialogue via Blogging media. It is not a dialogue – it’s a monologue with later comments. In fact most of the time it’s not even a monologue and we have to start considering diatribe, polemic and even biblical metaphors such as preaching and sermon.

          Dialogue is seen to be the same as a conversation, face to face communication – people having turns in speaking. If necessary being interrupted and ask to clarify. There is so much thinking around language and communication that so many have foolish fallen into the trap that Services such as Twitter and Blogging are in fact the same as hearing the human voice.

          Nuance, tone, even body language and facial expression are missing – yet they are not considered for the communication value they have. I find it ever so interesting to watch a person writing for twitter and other text based system. When you analyze the body language it is not about communication, but thought. You even see people revealing internal dialogues and they gesture as if in a real dialogue. You even see people talking to themselves and rehearsing how the another person will “Hear” what has been “Written”. They are imagining the other side of that dynamic and what the other person is saying – it’s filling gaps and literally putting words in the other person’s mouth.

          I love the battle of analogies – and the multiple meanings that the word analogy has. It is not just one word – it is a word with multiple meanings. It addresses Analogues – Similarities – The Obverse – even the Inverse – It has general uses in language and even specif uses in Logic and Philosophy. So when someone is saying that an analogy is wrong which one are they objecting to?

          More to the point, when someone is using and analogy you have to consider which of the multiple forms they are using before being able to say that the usage is wrong. That is not some snide or underhand jibe at you – it’s simple statement of language reality. Throw in the use of an analogy as ironic and the mix just gets more fascinating.

          I’m used to analogies – they get used in science all the time and so many other areas including literature. You use the motion of a pendulum to explain the action of an electronic circuit – one is mechanical the other electrical yet they hold similarities which can explain each other. In Language you even have the issue of translation where it is often impossible to translate one word between languages because there is no direct or equal meaning. If you don’t believe me just look at the Italian Word “Sympatico” and don’t be fooled by the outputs of things like Google Translate. There is no direct translation. “Sympatico” is a unique word and has a unique meaning in the Italian language, so when you are translating you have to find an analog to replace it – you have to consider meaning – context and so much more – including not translating it as a “false friend” because it sounds like Sympathy or Sympathetic.

          I was involved in an interesting experiment some years ago with people who have special needs and learning disabilities. In a certain group home the residents were seen as incapable and had to have things done for them. The residents were simply not given a chance. A chance observation brought about the experiment. One of the residents did not like mirrors – we did not know why. Oddly he saw himself on TV via Camera and started to adjust his hair and his clothing. He could relate to himself via the Camera/TV.

          Now a mirror is seen as having a reflection but actually it is an analog of what it reflects – left and right get changed. The same is true of a camera/tv loop but there left stays left and right stays right. Neither is a reality but they provide analogs that we grasp and use without a problem – well most of the time. For some people that shifting of left and right is disabling – and removing it is empowering.

          The experiment was simple – replace mirrors with camera/tv and see what happened. It was a revelation. These residents who had real world functioning issues were able to see themselves as they functioned and it empowered them to do things for themselves. We were not able to figure out the mechanism, if it was biological or psychological or some combination of factors. That did not matter. The improvement in the people’s quality of life, independence and ability to assert their own humanity was all that mattered.

          I used the same loop some years later with a person who was having issues with The Net. They were not in any way impaired or seen as disabled. They simply had real issues with remote communication and web technologies. They always seemed to say the wrong thing – or rather write the wrong thing. I had been aware of the issue for some time and keeping an eye out. I then spotted the tell tale signs of that Dialogue issue where they were filling in gaps for the other person.

          I set up a web cam and had it relaying the writer back onto their own screen – so they could see themselves as they typed – as they looked at the screen figuring out which word to use, as they read the words back to themselves. They could see the play of emotions they had when that dialogue was playing in their head . Voilà! Suddenly they were having fewer problems and actually communicating. I’ve seen the same thing happen time and time again.

          When I read net content I’m careful not to project onto other people, it’s far too easy and very dangerous. So I read and look – I look for words and meanings, I look at content and how ideas are presented, I look at how ideas and even images, metaphors, analogies and even stock phrases are balanced one against the other. I keep wondering what is this person saying and communicating and if there is an evident communication breakdown how would that occur?

          I look at what you have written and as I said there is a cloud of words that for me at least obfuscate meaning. I’m not going to tell you that you are confused, but it seems that what has been, is and will no doubt go on around the whole twitter issue is causing you to feel something which is blocking communication.

          I read Tom’s originating entry here – the one that Twits have been tweeting about so much – and when I read it I looked at words, meanings I linked the ideas together and I was confused. The issue for me was That it just wasn’t Tom.

          I went and looked at other things and blog entries. I could see Tom and his ideas in so many words and the ways he used words – and then I noted a change. I considered it and to me it read as Stress. Not stress as in work, but stress as in confusion – challenge – fighting internally. Tom himself said “he had been Soul Searching” – Oh Boy!

          I reached out with a jokey comment about men having “Short Arm Syndrome” – it’s when someone looses the ability to pat themselves on the back. It does happen often and can be linked to others Blaming and Shaming which is hard to deal with.

          You can read it here

          I even recommended that Tom needed to explode to clear his head. I did not recommend it be on twitter.

          I wrote at 5:43 pm and I see from Twitter that Tom did explode with some Irony at 7:08 PM.

          What I find most fascinating is the words, and even the shear number t of them, that are now being used by so many, and yet it appears that what was is and no doubt will be behind those words just is not considered.

          I see a great deal written by so many using the words empathy, communication and all going in just one direction with one person being Told they have to have or develop these qualities.

          I regret to say I’m not seeing it in the other direction on the Super Highway of language called the INTERNET. It seems odd but suddenly it only has traffic in one direction and some seem to be driving Convoys with very large vehicles and horns blaring. You can even hear the crackle of CB radio with “Breaker Breaker” and “eyball” as so many join in!

          I’m just wondering when some are even going to write a simple phrase and see if there is a response?

          “Hey Dude. You OK?”.

          It is not a lot of words – there is not much content to analyze – there are very few meanings behind it – and it’s even quick to type. It does not contain subliminal meanings ( unless used with Great Sarcastic Irony ), It has little theory and little of politics behind it, and it is not even allowing much to comment upon.

          It’s not even a group of words that are likely to get re-tweeted, blogged over, discussed, analyzed, dissected, regurgitated and filtered for meaning through abstract models of sociological meaning and even attributed to have meanings that come from other’s perceptions and iterative narratives of other iterative narratives.

          I do find it odd – and would even say comical, but it’s not it’s sad – that so many words are being written and so many meanings obscured – when actually a very few words would have been far more meaningful and those words just have not featured at all!

          I wonder if I shouldn’t seek a patent on that camera loop to see if it improves both reading and writing – and even induces a little humanity.

          • Andrew D. S. James says:


            I love that you criticize Sarah for obfuscation under her apparent “cloud of words” in a post longer than Tolstoy. “Be the change you wish to see in the world” comes to mind. Also, it’s demeaning to say her words obfuscate simply because you don’t understand them. I’ve learned a new term: “micro-aggression” and I think it applies here.

            • Well If you believe my words to be insincere, that is your choice.

              Let me assure you that when I have stated;

              “I have to say that having read your response It is a little in fact very confusing to grasp your meaning and your intent. I can see the words and I get the content, but when it comes to stitching it all together to apprehend the meaning and intent – sorry it’s just not clear to me, and I’m a bit of a sharp one! ”

              I meant every word.

              If you wish to see as you put it “micro-aggression”, that is a very kind offering, but I have to say no thank you. If you should consider that “micro-aggression” – you may wish to consider Buddhist teachings about the angry Brahman! P^)

              It’s odd how I wrote about people reading, writing and projecting – and missing the message and other content even on a human level! C’est la vie.

    • DavidByron says:

      What do you think an analogy is?

    • Sarah, black man here. If anyone is feared for no reason and stereotyped as being dangerous criminals, it’s black men, not black women. And, I have no problem with Tom’s analogy because it is accurate. A woman (or any person) needs to consider more than one fact about a person and situation. It’s an offensive generalization to suspect a person may be a danger simply because they are black OR simply because they are male. It is the very same thing and both should therefore be offensive.

      • Exactly,

        I think it’s funny that Tom was essentially saying:
        If you’re saying it’s okay to be suspicious of men because they’re statistically slightly more dangerous, you’ve also okayed bigots being suspicious of blacks for the same reasons.

        They keyed in on Tom’s racial comment (which is VERY debatable since he is correct that statistically blacks do initiate more crimes), but ignore his point trying to display their sexist attitude from men harkens from the same crappy realm of human behavior.

        Talk about not getting a point!

      • Agreed with Eric

      • Eric M., thank you for sharing your perspective. I have read it a couple times and while I feel I know plenty of black men who would disagree with the use of Tim’s analogy, rolling out individual black people to agree or disagree is not the point. I’ve been trying since Friday to get Tom to acknowledge that my concerns, while I certainly don’t speak for all people of color, are meant constructively and deserve to be treated as just as valid (agree or disagree) as his and yours. Clearly there are folks who agree with me or it would not have become such an issue at this point. I’m saddened by the original exchange and this one because rather than empathetically considering my concerns as he asks me (and others) to do for him, my honestly good faith attempt, as someone who has long supported and multiply contributed to GMP on issues of race became Tom thinking I called him racist (which I didnt) and spending the next several days including my comments in belittling posts while thumping his own love for all things racially liberal. Perhaps this is not an issue to be taken up online anymore but one Tom and I should address personally. He is well aware of how to contact me if and when he decides that it is okay to listen to and try to understand the perspective of someone who (again w/ good will) criticized his language. When a person different from me tells me they are offended by my language I do not jump to silence or belittle them, I consider that even if I did not intend to offend their perspective might offer some value. That is all I have asked of Tom. *Apologies for typos, writing on my phone.

      • Eric

        I know quite a few disabled people who are really offended.

        They are fed up of being excluded and having their lives and experiences NOT used for analogies.

        It seems that some insist on ring fencing certain characteristics and say they may not enter Analogy Land. Some are not included as Analogy Land is still not accessible.

      • Agreed. The analogy is perfect. Putting all men responsible for rape is like saying we should make all black men responsible for the crime rate. No one would dare bat an eyelash at the former but scream racism at the latter. It’s a perfect analogy.

    • SallyStrange says:

      I really hate that analogy.

      I always tell people who use it that the more appropriate analogy would be of an African American person during Jim Crow treating all whites as potential perpetrators of a lynching.

      • DavidByron says:

        Do you know more white men got lynched than all others combined?

        • MorgainePendragon says:

          “Do you know more white men got lynched than all others combined?”

          IF this is true– and although you’ve posted it several times, I’ve not seen one single link to evidence that supports this claim– white men weren’t lynched for the crime of being white.

          Sarah makes an excellent point in that women presuming men to be potential rapists (which is NOT unjustified) is not the same as buying into a SOCIETAL (not gender specific) stereotype of black people being criminals.

          The fact remains that the vast majority of sexual assaults on women (and on men and boys for that matter) are by men.

          As opposed to the stereotype that the majority of crimes committed against “white” people or society are committed by black people– it’s simply not true. Whether you’re looking at individual crimes or societal crimes, in Western culture, the vast majority of crimes are committed by white men, be they individuals or members of a group (ie, war crimes,, fraud, and the whole host of economic crimes that have resulted in the global financial crises).

          It may well be true that white men are just as likely to be victimised by these crimes– but that is the fault of neither African Americans (or any other POC) OR feminists.

          Michael Moore had it right in Stupid White Men, when he pointed out that the people who have most affected his (and all of our) life negatively, who are most likely to hurt us, are white men.

          • And the cdc stats show up to 40% of the abusers were female, for male victimization. So when does it get to a point that we can drop the misandry and fear everyone? 50%? And the reason people use the black analogy would be percent of that group in jail, not total number.

            It’s a lost cause, women truly want to remain afraid of men and cannot see it any other way it seems. They fight so hard to keep this female victim, male perp stereotype going and any indication that times are changing and abuse is becoming much closer to parity seems to put them into shock. We have so much focus on fixing female issues, male issues are getting ignored, misandry gets justified and a hyperfear get’s to continue. Why bother dating men if stats show them as so dangerous to be around? You’re safer with strangers, not well known people or partners…And people wonder why there are so many peopl angry at what seems to be a popular opinion in feminism? Demonize the men as less safe, profile them negatively whilst crying for equality? Let’s take kids away from women, they’re most likely to abuse and murder the child afterall. Our kids should be very afraid of their mothers, in fact everyone should teach kids to be afraid of their mothers and stay with the fathers as it’s playing the odds, right?

  59. Julie Gillis says:

    Tom, I think this is one of your best pieces and one that seems particularly clear and to the point. I appreciate your discussion of your past and childhood. I’m just a little bit younger than you (but not by much) and that was my mother’s feminism as well. Well, actually, she was almost old enough to be my grandmother when I was born so she had an even more pragmatic approach to the topics of equality. She was an FDR style democrat, and was intensely focused on education for all, and had a remarkable liberalness about sexuality. I never grew up with a lot of shame about that.
    Things seem different now, and I’m not always sure why or how, but I do know that the tensions mean something important. The tensions between older and younger women (and also older gen/younger gen femisists), tension between men and women (some, not all) and tensions too in the idea of binary’s being blown into multiverses (trans, pansexuality, poly).
    I imagine there is a lot of tension.
    One of the reasons I wanted to write here was to learn. And I’m doing that. Lots and lots of other folks are as well and I think that’s a sign of progress.
    Thanks for the piece. Thanks for sharing information about your mother, about power and about why you are doing what you do.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Yeah Julie obviously there is tension but like you I see empathy and focus on individual first person story telling as the answer.

  60. Kirsten (in MT) says:

    My point is that men and women are different, thankfully.

    ALL people are different. There is not prototype male or female. There is no average man or woman. There are very few things that can be done or experience only by men or only by women, and most of those are related to reproduction. There isn’t a man way to be good and a different woman way to be good. There aren’t good qualities reserved specifically to men or to women.

    For me, feminism is about stripping away the pretense that there is some great gender divide-that men as a class are dramatically different from women as a class. The truth is that variation of a given trait within in each gender FAR exceeds the difference between the averages of each gender in almost every non-reproductive category.

    • Then you would be against the premise of this website?

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Kirsten that’s a valid POV, obviously. I just tend to think that gender is important, despite there being as many kinds of men as there are men and women as there are women. I don’t think gender is purely about sexual interaction.

    • DavidByron says:

      To me feminists insist that there is a vast gulf between men and women. Men are all rapists and women are the people they rape. Men and women are as different as black and white, day and night, god and the devil. How can anyone go around saying that men are inherently evil and then pretend they think there’s equality of the sexes? Those views are total opposites.

  61. But I don’t understand being angry at men at-large, or to criticize those of us who are trying to get really honest in hopes of building a stronger foundation for intimacy and relationships and goodness in the realm of fatherhood and husbandhood.

    It’s easy to understand. It’s just hard to accept.

  62. It appears that the term “Feminist” has been co-opted to refer to a small, select group of Amazon-resembling, knuckle-dragging females camouflaged and lying in wait for unsuspecting men to pass them by so they can gobble them whole like chocolate covered bon bons.

    The fortunate part of this story is that those who support women’s rights – such as in contract law, property, and voting – and those who advocate for bodily integrity, autonomy and reproductive rights, gender neutrality in language, protection for women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault, and workplace rights, including maternity leave, are so commonplace as to be unequivocably unlabelable.

    Perhaps old-style feminism is the baseline and as such, the term feminism itself has evolved to take on an entirely new meaning? Or have I gotten it wrong and in fact, all of the feminist-hating, misogynistic rhetoric on this website really is a perpetuation of the gender wars: “Beware as the disempowered male strikes back!”

    Actually, as far as male empowerment goes does it better. They have somehow managed to figure out a way to celebrate the art and science of being a man without feeling the need to throw the women who love them under the bus. You might consider taking a lesson…

  63. A little OT but mentioned in passing…. the whole thing about a woman for president. I used to see a lot of feminists complaining that in those polls some people said “Will not vote for a woman”. Maybe it’s 5% by now or something like that. But they never bothered to ask who would vote for a man. I’ve met so many people who tell me they would never vote for a male candidate or would always vote for a woman if possible. I bet these days you’d get more people saying “Will not vote for a man”, but the question is never asked …. rather like not bothering to ask men if they were raped in violence surveys…. our societies assumptions reinforce themselves, and the assumptions are too often feminist.

  64. Mr. Matlock,

    -time to get rid of Hugo and Marcotte-they’ve shown their true colors….

    There was an article that what do men need?-More Feminism….

    But when men try to engage in discussions-sometimes even ones about masculinity, their words are shut out with condescending comments like “mansplainin’.” They are told to sit down and shut up, because they are “privileged.” And when a certain author here of a “feminist” persuasion doesn’t want to debate in good faith, she can always call a male commenter a “creep.” You’ve gotten a taste of this first hand and if that isn’t enough-go through the comment threads, you will see I am not exagerating. This breed of Feminism is ready to sweep males under the bus….

    It’s not worth the energy…

    Maybe a better direction is to talk about male health issues such as prostate cancer or why males are so successful at suicide….

    None of this privilege/patriarchy stuff-we are here telling you we feel powerless in our lives despite what the bigots say. We can show you the statistics to bare this out-though it really does hurt that we aren’t taken at our word. We are used to our words being dismissed as “mansplaining” and whining. Why is their word sooooo much better? Because they are in academia, because they were a famous blogger who got fired from John Edwards campaign?

  65. Lisa Hickey says:

    Tom — I remember you once said that the stories of men you heard “changed the teller and changed the listener”. I love to think that it is the stories themselves that will lead towards only the most positive change. It’s been a revelation to me — I do feel as if my sense of empathy has evolved, become more nuanced, more “real”. My worldview has changed. And certainly my ideas about men have gone from stereotypical fearful and over-generalized to understanding men as the complex, multi-faceted people they always were but I had never seen.

    I will also say that throughout all this you’ve kept as clearly focused on the mission as anyone I know. If the mission doesn’t seem clear, it’s only because we’ve grown fast – and other groups who are doing “similar but not quite the same” things as us (yes, like MRA’s and feminists) see the value of our large and ever-growing platform. It’s funny, it’s like we welcome all – regardless of socioeconomic class, education level, race, age – or Group Gender Affiliation. Really, I hope that anyone who wants to have a thoughtful discussion of manhood in this day and age feels comfortable here – and you’ve done an amazing amount to make that happen.

  66. Maybe part of the problem is the Internet which tends to discourage civil discourse.

  67. Why does feminism have to be confrontational or devisive? I witnessed your exchange on twitter with the Tigerbeatdown bully. I just don’t understand how the 4 women I live (wife and 3 kids) along with the 7 women I’m around (mother in law, mom, sister, sister in law, niece, and two close female friends) can be so happy with their lost in life but others cannot.

    If women want to scream from the mountaintops about inequality, indifference and inhumanity to their sex, how about doing so with style, grace, and compassion for the men who don’t rape, murder, and sexually harass. How about stop supporting a President who hates women – Bill Clinton, and start supporting women who run for offfice regardless of their politics, when they are attacked for their sex – Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann.

    My 15 year old daughter said something to me the other day when I asked her why she didn’t want to play baseball in the local rec league. They only offer co-ed teams, nit women only teams. Her response, “i love baseball, but I like having some female friends ,more. You do something to look not totally normal, and the mean girls come after you.”Not the guys, Thomas, the girls. Where’s MIss Tigerbeatdown and Gloria Steinhem on that issue?

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Lance you are a good man surrounded by what sound like darn good women. Obviously my hope is that this post can reframe the discussion in a more productive way to allow empathy in all directions.

    • Michael Rowe says:

      Where did the Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin reference come from? Bizarre.

      • I think Lance was referring to the way they were treated by the “Mainstream Media”( I’m sure Jimmy Fallons’ band would not play “Lying Ass Bitch” if it was Nancy Pelosi or Hillary walking out on the stage). And how about the way they went after Palins KIDS!!. It got so putrid that Obama himself had to tell the attack dogs to cool it.(He showed himself to be a Real Man there).

        • By the way. That last statement wasn”t sarcastic. Even though I don”t agree with most of his politics,I thought him to be a Good Man for standing up for someone being personally attacked.

    • Liz McLellan says:

      I can’t support Palin or Bachmann because their politics are 180 degrees opposite of mine. To do otherwise would be to cave to identity politics. I also believe both would encourage polices bad for all women as evidenced by their rhetoric. I find the right tries to deploy identity politics rather awkwardly, as when McCain grabbed Palin out of Wasilla in an attempt to sway Hilary supporters. It was ham-fisted and silly and imagines progressive women are playing one dimensional checkers when in fact we are playing three dimensional chess.

      And yes “mean girls” are a horrifying development… I lay that at the feet of incredibly retrograde sexist representations of women and power in pop culture. Bullying is at a horrific high online and off and it affects all of our kids.

      I hope we – all of us- model something else, and admit like Tom – I don’t always succeed.

  68. That video is amazing. I found myself thinking “That’s a man.” and I wasn’t even quite sure why. You’re right, Tom, about feeling empathy for him. I’d think it would be impossible not to.

    I’ve been following this drama a bit and have just found myself horrified by it. If those are the definitions of feminism (of those tweeted at you), it’s no wonder no self-respecting woman under 30 will identify as a feminist. Wherever this term “rape culture” came from, can we please send it back? It’s disgusting. It’s fear-mongering, and hate-mongering. I do not live in a rape culture. And this idea that being privileged means a person is not eligible for empathy is ridiculous, that all who are part of the privileged group are enjoying it is complete bullshit. Life has suffering no matter where you fit into society, society imposes shackles on us all and it’s not the fault of white man – never has been and never will be.

    Thanks for everything you do, keep up this amazing work.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Kristin THANK YOU.

      Yes Kent is an amazing guy, even more so in person. I am honored to be his friend. He is also damn funny, though you can’t tell that from this video.

  69. DavidByron says:

    I was amazed by the first part of the video because I had thought that pretty much 100% of men had been beaten up at some time. The speaker claims he has not. …. and then by about 1/4 through the video he admits he has been in fights and beaten by his sister.

    I always think it is funny when feminists go on about how 80% of women have been hit or whatever the silly statistic is. I think. “Is that ALL? Just 80% ?”

  70. Liz McLellan says:

    I too, generally get where you are coming from and even some of your dismay.
    That said… I still really wish you had a more specific response to what I was saying about misapplying gender in relationship dynamic conflicts as residing in differences between the genders. I didn’t intend to “blow up the concept of gender” entirely – but to offer you some exploratory space because you seemed to be describing people who were very painfully stuck or at a loss.

    Of course the convo went wildly in many directions…

    Anyway – I love the GMP. I don’t agree with all I read here…but that’s true of any publication. I trust your intentions as stated and wish you and all involved the best both in your journey and in getting to a more fruitful place in this current discussion.

    • Lisa Hickey says:

      Hey Liz — Tom and I actually talked about gender and relationship dynamics while he was writing the piece. I am going to write a post on it and you are welcome to do that same — we can each post something, and Tom could jump in as well if he wants. But it just really seemed to warrant a complete post or a series of posts on just that. email me at lisa at goodmenproject dot com if you’re interested in discussing further.

      • Liz McLellan says:

        Thanks Lisa – I will think about evolving that into a post which protects the innocent. (It’s always a bit odd discussing relationship failure publicly)…

        • Lisa Hickey says:

          Oh, we have lot’s of “protecting the innocent” around here. I know how that goes! Thanks — it should be great.

  71. Tom, I’d actually like to apologize to you. Someone whose opinion I respect felt that my first comment came across as focused on women, and I am really sorry. Upon re-reading it, that may be so. It was not my intention. I know how hard it is to write publicly and put your feelings out there. I was thinking about how I could express the need to come together after a really painful week, but it may have come across to you as not appropriately responding to YOU. So I’ll do that now. I loved the post. It was very honest and came from a place of deep care for all humans, and for the mission of the site you founded. I am sorry if in any way my comment did not come out as intended. My bad. People should own up when they are insensitive, and I was.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      No sweat Lori. I don’t feel any animosity towards women at-large. As I talk about here (and have other places about the love of my life and my 17 year old daughter), I thank God for women.

      • I know you don’t! I meant some of the commenters, and occasionally other writers. But the point is I should not have even brought it up on this particular post and wish I hadn’t.

      • Although I haven’t seen it here, some MRAs (I’m not MRA btw) do distrust women. But they also have a great love of the women who support them such as the “second wives club” or really any woman who supports their views. Often those women can very quickly be raised to the status of heroines for the MRAs as I have seen. So it is a mixed bag, but it always struck me as terrible that there was this aspect of their movement who distrusted many women.

        It really doesn’t help that so many people regularly confuse “feminist” with “woman” in these discussions.

        I see feminists doing that a lot because they need to present themselves as representing all women in order to claim legitimacy as a movement. In reality they represent only themselves, although they could in theory claim to be working FOR other women. Rather like the National Organization for Women often gets called the National Organization OF Women.

        It’s an easy mistake to make. I’ve been guilty myself. But I do think it’s worth trying to get it right.

        Feminism =/= Women

  72. I don’t really feel like the term “feminism” is that meaningful overall. I mean, the concepts are — but the word is so broad and means so many different things to different people, it’s best to stay away from. I mean, there are women who call themselves feminists who genuinely love men; who can emphasize with us; who might be aggrieved by specific injustices but are not going to blame nearly every difference between men and women on an oppressive “patriarchy”; who would judge accusations leveled against dudes fairly and with an open mind, without taking someone’s side just because they have a vagina; etc.

    And then there are the women who you can read on sites like Jezebel — some of whom openly profess to hating men and say they’d get an abortion if they were ever pregnant with a male fetus….

  73. Agree with you, Lori…Please, for the future men and women we are raising…I try to not raise my voice in my home…kids will model what you do and say…please keep the tone civil and calm and fair-minded….My 11 year old son is listening and he needs to see the adults acting like adults….We can agree to disagree…and take a time out when things get too frenzied….My son is a sweetheart and he loves his daddy…and it would break my heart if he had to hear how all men are painted one color…as if that was inevitable or his destiny….We are all in this together….I get mad, too, when I read the newspapers and study old history….but from this point on…let’s move forward…constructively….without vitriol and hatred…and yelling…

    Love this column BTW!!! Great stuff! Keep debating (but points off if it gets uncivil and rude!)

  74. DavidByron says:

    My definition of feminism:

    Feminism is the belief that women are universal victims and everything is men’s fault.

    But I like the idea (as an atheist) that feminism is like God. And like the famous “God of the gaps” feminism is shrinking as feminists find fewer and fewer topics where they can present women as their universal victims. Case in point from the article above:

    The feminism around our kitchen table was about equal rights

    But there are no rights men have that women lack — only the reverse is true. So there’s a big gap there because feminists used to pretend that women lacked rights. The ERA was a big deal. It was defeated by women who complained that it would reduce women’s rights to the status of mere men. Feminists tried to assure voters that was not true and women would keep their special privileges under ERA. They said ERA was a cheat but voters didn’t believe them. So now the NOW has dropped ERA in favour of an explicitly discriminator amendment called the CEA. It’s the god of the gaps. Rights are no longer an issue. And so Tom’s feminism is different than the even more content free version of young women today.

    the preponderance of rape committed by individual men

    What would a feminist article be without mentioning rape? But now we have the NISVS saying more men are raped than women, and that likely more women are rapists than men too, although we just don’t know yet — after all nobody bothered to ask men if they were raped until now. i have no doubt feminists will continue to talk about rape for a while but this “gap” just got filled in too, and so the god of the gaps shrinks again.

    I realize that there are issues that impact women much more heavily than men. Issues like sex trafficking, porn, and the glass ceiling

    Porn and prostitution (here melodramatically called “sex trafficking”) of course these days is a split issue even among feminists with many being “sex positive”. Is this another example of the gaps being filled in? And who these days believes in that old glass ceiling myth? Gone decades ago while the “glass basement” that holds so many men in the lowest positions in society (prison, homelessness, mentally ill etc — all very largely male groups) is never addressed unless under the guise perhaps of racism or some other issue. You can talk about how terrible it is that so many black men are in prison but don’t you dare say they are there more because they are men than because they are black. You can go on about homelessness in veterans but don’t mention the obvious point that most veterans are men. So another “gap” here? What are feminists these days left to talk about at all?

    It’s not your mother’s feminism any more Tom. It’s a movement that can no longer keep up the pretense. It’s more and more under attack as the masquerade becomes clearer and the critics louder. That leads to a combination of pettiness and desperation which you just got hit with.

    Feminism is the belief that women are universal victims and everything is men’s fault.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      I just don’t agree with you David.

      • I know, and I’m fine with that answer.
        I was replying to where you asked people what their definition of feminism was. It’s something I’ve thought about a lot.

      • I think David is right in describing the “Modern Feminist Movement”. You yourself have stated that N.O.W. seems to have changed their goals. Surely the Vicious personal attacks on you should prove this. If you’re going to go by standards from ,say 1968 or so, just about all women today,as well as most men,are “Feminist”(with the possible exception of those “Sister Wives sects). My point is, “The Movement” is being taken over by a new, more agressive set of people who claim to speak for feminism. As you have seen, say anything that even slightly disagrees with their dogma , and suffer their”Rath” of personal attacks. Their idea of an “open discussion” is they give opinions and you nod your head in agreement.

    • Kudo’s to you for defining your version of Feminism. You made tons of valid points. Perhaps the argument then and now, is that gender is and continues to be a determining factor for the provision of rights and responsibilities, thereby creating inequality between the sexes within certain civil, social and professional constructs.

      To what degree and in what capacity that these privileges impact members of each gender is really where the discussion needs to begin, I think.

  75. Tom, I sympathise.

    But there’s a quote from P.T. Barnum that’s ripe for the occassion:

    “You can’t please everyone all the time.”

    In my opinion, Tom, maybe you shouldn’t be trying to please feminists like Amanda Marcotte or Hugo. They’re not discussing things, rather just spouting talking points. Their minds are made up.

    You shouldn’t try pleasing Mens Rights either.

    You should focus more on people like me. I remember the praise your editor, Lisa, bestowed upon the “My Guilt” article.

    When she said in particular: “I like the way you take your experience and make it honest, accessible, and human.” it made me think of all the backlash you’ve been receiving.

    Wouldn’t someone that takes an experience and makes it honest, accessible, and human be a better ally, and even friend, in the long run compared to someone who calls you a magina or obtuse or other sexist slurs? From both sides?

    Think about it, Tom. You’ve got a good project going here. You’ve also welcomed people like me who have lost faith in society at certain points, wondering if their lives meant much in the long run when there’s nothing for them to help the healing process.

    Perhaps, and forgive me for being too direct, but maybe what this project needs is to move in a new direction of some sort? You’ve already done that with The Presumption Of Male Guilt column. There’s your example of what you can do here and the people you can learn from. Just as I have learned from them over the years online.

    Tom: “I wish we had a woman for President (see Germany). I tend to think Hilary would have done a better job than Obama has, though I am still going to vote for him over whatever the Republican circus produces.”

    You haven’t forgotten what Hillary said one time, right? About how women are the primary victims of war? I wouldn’t vote for someone who would exclude the other half of the population.

    Tom: “And the world would be a better place, in my view, if women had more power rather than less.”

    I wouldn’t. You know why?

    Because when you say women, you mean ALL women. That includes the women and girls who hurt and abused me as a child. Who also hurt and abuse men (they exist).

    I shudder to think what would happen if we granted them power.

    Then I would have to commit suicide, because with those kinds of women in power, they’d waste no time stamping me out of existence. Better to do the dirty deed myself then have an abuser pull the trigger for me.

    Sorry for the melodrama, Tom, but what you said scared me out of my shoes as a survivor of serious abuse from women and girls in addition to boys and men, you know?

    • I agree, except for the “focus more on people like me” part.

      Tom, forget about building bridges with these people — most of whom (on both extremes) are ideologues whose minds are made up. Don’t try to justify yourself to anyone. Or try to please anyone. Just stand up and say your thing. Reasonable people will see you are a reasonable guy — and the ones that don’t, forget them. I’m not saying don’t listen to reasoned criticism, but I kinda feel like you are interested a little too much in being liked…

      • I’m not an idealogue, Derek. Just someone who’s sick and tired of hearing accusations about men like me having power over women.

        It’s disgusting and I’m pointing it out. That’s not ideology.

        • Sorry if that came out wrong. My point is that Tom shouldn’t focus on anyone, really. I know when I first started blogging, I was really worried if I was going to offend anyone or whatever. But now I feel like, just f*** ’em. Some people are going to agree and some are going to disagree. It’s silly IMHO to get involved in pointless Women’s Studies 101 arguments like whether women are “justified” in seeing all men as rapists until proven otherwise. You have to pick your battles. But just pick ’em and don’t worry about focusing on other people.

  76. PursuitAce says:

    Thank you, Tom. Because of people like you on the GMP site I can now say that I am a feminist. It’s time to take back that word. Feminism is not forever changing. It’s about equal rights for women. The combined effort to reach that goal is constant. It is happening. It’s just a matter of time.

  77. Tom

    You can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

    And, as my Granddaddy told me “A good scapegoat is nearly as welcome as a solution to the problem.”

    I always wondered why goats were seen as the problem? They were penned in!

  78. “But I don’t understand being angry at men at-large, or to criticize those of us who are trying to get really honest in hopes of building a stronger foundation for intimacy and relationships and goodness in the realm of fatherhood and husbandhood.”

    Tom, I get this, I really do. I hope it’s not off-base for me to say that I also don’t get some of the anger directed at women at-large on GMP at times. There is frankly just too much anger. I believe so strongly in your mission. I am happy to have a reminder of it, and hope others are as well. We can all disagree with each other at times, but what bothers me is when there is lack of civility and respect from either gender towards the other as a monolithic whole. I hope soon things can settle down and we can try harder to find way to work things out together productively. Thank you for this post.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Empathy has always been the goal Lori. That’s where this whole thing started. Watch Kent’s video and try not to feel his pain. And be moved by it. And changed by it. He’s a real man to me. Not because I am at all like him. But because I see how honest he is being. That’s all.

      • Tom, I watched the Good Men Project documentary for the first time about a month ago. Kent’s video was honestly my favorite part, and my husband’s too. I remember talking a lot about what he said afterwards. Empathy was so easy to feel…is so easy to feel…we so need to get to that place together, men and women.

    • I see men attacked by feminists of course but I don’t see anyone attacking women. I see people attacking feminists. Where have women been attacked???

    • As DavidByron said, I have seen very few generalizations about women (where I have seen them I have tried to correct such). The comments are typically directed at the feminist movement.

      Lori, what you seem to be blind to is that the anger is a reaction to being attacked, accused, and diminished on a daily basis by the arguments and accusations of feminist writers and commenters.

  79. How do I escape from this mess? If I wanted this much vitriol in my life over male/female issues, I could just call up one of my old bad boyfriends. ZZZZZZEEEEEZh not one new idea, perspective or attitude. Save the planet, save the wales, get water to those poor thirsty bastards in Africa but don’t even bother to make a conscious effort to get along with your natural partners in life…the other gender.
    PLEASE, how do I get OUT OF THIS LOOP? I don’t want this stuff blowing up my inbox over Christmas…

  80. Take yourself out of it. It’s not worth it. Save your sanity and your faith in the world. Stop reading the comments here. I’m done, I’m gone. There is so much hate and so much insanity. I found myself in despair reading all of this stuff. Seriously, Maureen, realize you can’t make a difference to a lot of these men. You have two X chromosomes. Unless you spout for them exactly the dogma they unilaterally believe in, they attack you. There is nothing but disgusting gender-bashing here. It used to be a place for intelligent dialogue. It’s been hijacked by the fringe, and everyone else stays out of the fray, leaving a decaying dialogue. Look me up. Email me. Get out of the loop. I just officially did so. They won. They chased me away. There was nothing worth fighting for when all that was left was the fighting. It’s the same boring propaganda. Just take yourself out. You can do it. I was never going to post again, but I will post if I get an email notification of a comment like yours and say, get out. Leave them to slit *each other’s* throats.

  81. Not trying to antagonize here, But I think you’ve just experienced the very thing many men feel when they visit feminist blogs/sites.

    I as a man truly wish they’d not attack feminism as a monolith, I agree there have been some terrible things some feminists have done but most of the failures I’ve seen about feminism have been due to either lack of futuresight or unintended consequences. Eg, with DV and the laws the studies were biased and set out to identify female victims as opposed to all victims, society had believed only women were abused so they had to bring in laws to try prevent this but sadly did it in a genderspecific nature (rape laws are like this too). So either male dv was insignificantly small, or just totally unknown, and being as feminism is for female equal rights and not just broad equalism it wasn’t really setup to cater for both men and women. Not the fault of feminism, but the fault of all of society as a whole.

    The other problem is assuming the radfems = all feminists, it’s the very same thing I see on feminist-spheres where they assume the hateful and angry MRA’s = all masculists. I prefer to be in an equalism-sphere, I want likeminded individuals that can identify the negatives both women AND men face and figure out how best to go forward, I’ve seen a few posters on the GMP that have this view and I’ve seen even the changes some who believed in harmful attitudes towards men or women would try and change for the better. It’s just a pity this article is a major drawcard for everyone that has a hatred for feminism, I can understand the dislike of it after sensing quite a lack of empathy by many feminists but I also remind myself that there are some great and very awesome feminists who I’ve seen do major attempts to wipe out misandry (such as a few people on slutwalk who rallied against the tv show “The Talk” for it’s male mutilation laughter).

    I suggest reading the other articles, ones that aren’t specific about feminism, as this one is a battlefield of people who are angry at each other. It’s tempting to make a battlefield 3 server, Radfems vs MRA’s (feminist-negative version, not the good masculists) so they can duke it out and the rest of us can try debate peacefully.

  82. The problem with not talking feminism on as a monolith is that it is really a monolith.

    Take anything that’s problematic about feminism, you mentioned lying about abuse data, take that as an example, and you will find nearly universal support for it among feminists.

    Another example see Hugo, despite the fact that he is a denier, minimizer and apologist for female abusers, pedophiles and rapists and sees all men as collectively guilty, he is being treated like a hero by feminism over on his blog …

  83. It is kinda scary how many followers he has, and I don’t think I’ve seen many call him out on the bias either.


  1. […] I have had time to reflect on how and why I (and the team who now runs GMP) get myself into these fights with certain feminists, with certain kinds of men’s advocates, with mommy bloggers of a certain ilk, and even just […]

  2. […] but it ran afoul of many feminists late last year after founder Tom Matlack wrote several pieces criticizing contemporary feminism and arguing that men “feel blamed for being simply […]

  3. […] with the author of the original piece, Frida. Now I hate scars all over my body from the Christmas massacre which occurred when I got into a twitter fight with Hugo Schwyzer which spilled over to Slate […]

  4. […] Tom Matlack replies to commenters on his own post, “The Feminist I Used to Know“ […]

  5. […] FAIL by radical feminists the other day. They’ve been feasting at his blog for months, but they didn’t hesitate to devour the hand that feeds them …I imagine that by now Matlack looks like he submerged his arms in a tank […]

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