This Much I Know To Be True

  

Talking about the most difficult parts of manhood—like race, rape, addiction, parenting, porn, divorce, depression, guns, prison, war and suicide—have a way of stirring up great waves of controversy no matter how open-minded your approach.

I started the Good Men Project with the simple premise that I had a story to tell about my own failures (and successes) as a father, husband, worker and man. So did every man I came in contact with. My hypothesis was that too often men don’t speak, don’t emote, and don’t express the deepest, darkest truth of their heart for fear of reprisal as not being tough, macho, or manly enough.

What I found is that when I told my story with as must brutal honesty as I could muster, I was changed and so too were the men who heard me speak. More often than not I was on the receiving end of this healing process, listening to men tell of their pain, their miracles, and their gratitude.

Race, sexual preference, age, family situation, wealth, profession, even political views only became important as part of one man telling his story. A remarkable friend who inspired me greatly happened to be an African-American, gay painter and professor. On the outside he could not possibly look more different than me. But his story moved me to tears and his friendship motivated me to become a better man.

Rape wasn’t a gender issue, it was something that happened to a friend of mine at the hands of a priest. Men’s Rights didn’t have anything to do with the MRA (I only learned what that even meant well after starting GMP when I wrote a piece that caused my name to be forever connected with the term “Mangina” in some people’s mind) but the circle of divorced dads like me trying to sort out visitation with their kids and equitable financial arrangements with their ex-wives.

In the beginning, my sample size was always one. I’d tell you my story and listen to yours. The one-on-one identification was where I believed then, and I still believe now, miracles happened and my manhood slowly began to come out of the shadows of failure and shame.

I realize that personal narrative works well in books, before a live audience, and even in film, but not so much for an issue-focused website about manhood. So my focus has had to change. And with that came a lot of pointed fingers in my direction.

My seeming ability to hit the third rail of manhood even when I am really trying my best to keep my nose clean has been in part the growing pains of moving from personal narrative to more global issues, in part the extent to which manhood has hit the headlines with a complete lack of thought and context, and probably most of all simply because at heart I am a trouble-maker.

My instinct is to fight, to push, to stick to what I believe in even when it costs me dearly. My manhood is often expressed by pitched battle even with those I am closest to. I’m n0t sure that is good or bad.  It’s simply who I am.

♦◊♦

This holiday season 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 random readers who come onto the site, or my twitter feed, and take offense at something I have said.

One thing I have learned the hard way is that I don’t speak for all men. And I sure as hell don’t speak for any woman. When talking about a difficult issue all I can report is my own view, and that of the handful of men who I personally know. So my sample has gone from one to maybe a couple hundred, on a good day. In the process of the GMP, I have talked to more men about more things than your average guy. But that doesn’t mean I know for sure more what you think or feel any more than the next idiot. And I am not a sociologist by any means. I’m a guy. A Dad. A Husband. And a meddling writer.

But I do have strong points of view about a lot of core manhood issues. I don’t like guys getting misrepresented in the media, fathers getting screwed as parents, and sexual abuse in any form (to name a few of many of my h0t buttons). I have realized my beliefs are deeply held because I have witnessed the result of my good intentioned expression of passion. Others get stirred up and, when I am really outspoken, even begin to organize boycotts of GMP as some kind of evil empire. The number of pieces about what GMP is doing wrong taking up space on major media websites include an impressive list of publications. Far from our mission of goodness we seem to inspire a belief that an open dialogue is proactively bad.

The interesting thing is that each time one of those take-down pieces goes up they link back to the piece which is supposedly completely beyond the pale of human dignity (when, in fact, it is generally our attempt to allow all points of view to express themselves in our discussion of manhood).

Like any other website, we track all the data about our visitors and their patterns of behavior very carefully. So we can see isolate the readers coming to GMP from a piece which is highly critical of us. The remarkable thing is those visitors stay much longer than the average. A recent Slate piece spawned a large number of folks coming over and hanging around for an average of ten page views and nearly an hour reading time each. We see a ton of comments that say something like, “I came to your site ready to hate your guts, but when I got here I realized that you are having a far more nuanced conversation than anyone is giving you credit.”

So the question I pondered this vacation, and batted around at great length with my partners in arms here at GMP, was whether it is more productive to try to make friends with those who on the surface seem to dislike us or whether we should stand our ground and fight on principal. They didn’t frame it quite this way but I will: is it more manly to fight or to compromise when it comes to the hardest, most intractable issues we are attempting to discuss?

♦◊♦

I happened to see a play called 1776 last week that was a three-hour examination of John Adam’s role in getting the Declaration of Independence signed. A couple days later, I saw the film Lincoln.

I don’t mean to take you on too long a historical detour here but in light of my own tiny (in comparison) dilemmas here at GMP, I did find it interesting to reflect on what was necessary to start our country and then free the slaves. Both were dirty tasks, requiring bloody war, and amazing leaders who were courageous at times of crisis. Even their friends disliked them for their stubbornness. Each could have sacrificed their principles and delivered themselves from great hardship. But they didn’t. And that made all the difference in the world.

How does this possibly apply to the conversation we are attempting to have at GMP, and the controversy we continually kick up as a result?

To me it’s pretty straightforward. There is, for lack of a better term, “politically correct” ways to talk about manhood whether that is fatherhood, suicide, or sexual abuse. We refuse to be bound by this limited view of manhood, or this limited ability to talk about the most troubling issues involving men. We don’t seek out controversy just for controversy sake, but nor do we shy away from it.

Our tent is, and has always been, infinitely big. You want to disagree with something we have written, or even posted from some third party?  We will publish your critique as long as you stick to the issue at hand and don’t degenerate into personal attack. We want to build bridges, to foster as robust a conversation as we possibly can. But we also aren’t going to play by some pre-defined rules set out by interest group who can’t seem to see beyond the bounds of their own narrow view of manhood. You can try to interpret that statement as coming down on one side or the other of any number of issues where we have caused controversy in the past. But it’s not. We are simply not for shutting down conversation. Period. We think it’s important to talk, and talk some more. Even fight, always with a focus on first person narratives to ground the discussion in real people’s experiences.

♦◊♦

I don’t expect GMP to become less controversial. As long as manhood is stuck in the box of what Madison Avenue, sociologists, headline writers and gender theorists on all sides seem to want to prescribe about us men intend to prove them wrong one man and one story at a time. And they probably aren’t going to like it.

But I am well beyond taking the harsh criticism personally. When someone punches you in the face, the mistake is to punch back, not that you stuck your neck out in the first place.

Some of my most ardent critics have now become good friends. They still don’t agree with me on much but we can fight without making it personal in a way that damages us both. When your aspiration is noble–and I truly believe all of those involved in GMP are doing something purely good–those who would call you out as evil to the core simply can’t chip away at your resolve.

We must take seriously those who criticize specific actions, learning from our mistakes and listening to those who are willing to engage in a sincere way.

But none of that changes one iota the import of what we are about here. We hear day in and day out men who feel less alone by reading a story that touches their heart. And we hear from women who want desperately to understand the men in their lives, and moms who want to understand their sons, in ways that are impossible inside the box of popular culture. We hear from husbands who are reassured in their commitment to their partners, dads who feel we provide a place to share the challenges and beauty of being a father, and from men of all races, sexual preference, economic background, age and nationality that what we are doing is changing their manhood for the better.

So, yes, we will continue to make mistakes. We will continue to stir controversy. But, no, we will not back down or go away.

We welcome you to join us in this noble adventure.

###

The images above are from my two favorite artists on the face of the planet:  Stephen Sheffield and Steve Locke

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Tom Matlack

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

Comments

  1. From one of those “women who want desperately to understand the men in their lives,” — THANK YOU. This site is incredibly valuable. Thank you for supporting your fellow men.

  2. Lori Ann Lothian says:

    HI Tom:

    Yes, manhood outside the pop culture box, and outside the politically correct (feminist) discourse is risky but ultimately, rewarding. The muck raking stirs up attention, and even notoriety can be of benefit, especially when (as you point out) the strident critics bring new traffic to GMP that are often sticky — they stay to read…..

    I’m a new writer at GMP, and a couple of my pieces have stirred up controversy (and character attack) but I look at it with that old adage: If everyone agrees with what you are saying, you are’t saying anything important.

    As love and relationships editor at elephant journal, I am continually encountering opposition from some readers to the sexuality content, especially if the readers who come to elephant imagine that we cover yoga only. The umbrella is “a mindful life” and that, surprise surprise, includes sex.

    Keep up the amazing work. As a mother of a grown son, as a wife, and as a woman I value the scope and the daring dialogue that GMP is willing to engage.

    Lori Ann Lothian

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Thanks for joining us Lori both in writing and in stirring it up. I too have come to the POV that I don’t want to upset people for no reason but I also am not afraid to take on powerful folks when I think they are wrong. And also listen hard when the finger is pointed back at me.

  3. Hey Tom,

    Well said.
    GMP is by far the most intelligent online conversation related to men’s issues. As a hands-on working father – although there are times I find GMP content leans slightly towards the sensational – it is refreshing to be able to rely on one address where I can be entertained and informed by thoughtful, male-centric literature. GMP is also one of the few “men’s” sites not trying to sell me the latest gadget, review a daddy product, or telling me how to get those dream abs.
    Thank you for making me a more well-rounded reader; as well as a more challenged writer:)

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Thanks Kenny. I take your point about sensationalism. We try to steer clear but perhaps we have more work to do. But what we do try to do is dig deep in terms of mens stories. All men. So appreciate your seeing that.

  4. Tom, I know from my own work with boys how hard it is to thread the needle. But you’re doing a terrific job. Keep it up. Dennis

  5. Thanks for creating a space where important groundbreaking conversations are taking place. I’m sorry that some people insist on thinking they are the gatekeepers for what conversations are to be allowed. But the GMP staff’s commitment to talking about the tough issues is what makes this site such a force for healing and growth.

  6. I appreciate this place becuase it’s not your typical “men’s site” and it does a fairly good job of not just becoming yet another space for feminists/women to go on about how wrong men are and how male oppression of women is the root of all things wrong from violence to why it’s so hard to get the last few bits of peanut butter from the bottom of the jar.

    Keep it going.

  7. Peter Houlihan says:

    Well said.

    Completely off topic, is it just me or does that cloud look like the Enterprise D?

    • Peter,
      I can’t believe where this conversation is going, but: yes! Annnnddd, since this site encourages confessing facts one would otherwise not share: As a birthday gift from my brother, I today received Mr. Spock oven mitts, and an Enterprise (A) bottle opener.
      We may be men, but we all started off as boys. Only now, we’re boys who enjoy cooking.

  8. Your sentiments describe exactly what I was thinking and feeling when I felt driven to start my own blog earlier this year. I’m glad that I found you guys.

  9. John Weeast says:

    Tom,
    You recently followed me on twitter, even though I don’t post often. I’ve commented before and my own writing has been more internal than actually put on paper.

    Don’t worry about those that choose to disagree. Disagreement is what makes this country what it is. The difference we see in a lot of online commentators is that they aren’t disagreeing and giving their own side, they are disagreeing and spewing hate. That kind of discourse will never be productive. And there’s nothing we can do about it, except filter it out.

    Those that disagree and can give valid reasons to do so without attacking the messenger will always have my respect. I’ve posted on some of the gun threads in the past about a lot of myths and misconceptions about gun laws and statistics that get thrown around and I’m always up for a fruitful discourse, where even if both sides still disagree, both have learned something out of the conversation.

    No matter what the subject, a conversation about it is a good thing. Ignoring a problem has never resulted in a solution. Even the evil things no one wants to think about need to have a light shed on them or they’d forever languish in the dark.

    Thank you.

  10. I believe there is almost always more truth in stories than in dogma.

    The web is a cesspool of trolling and destructive criticism, but there’s been some productive debate surrounding GMP, among those who are willing to question and let their opinions evolve.

    Thanks for staying in and keeping it interesting, despite it all.

  11. Matlack, I truely feel that what you’ve accomplished here is ( for the internet anyway) nothing short of extraordinary. First of all, the way you left the ‘comfort zone’ that most of us live in. Usually it consists of like minded friends (socially, hobbies’ work etc.) and ventured out to meet people so different, lifestyle wise, and share life stories with. It’s a simple concept, but truely amazing! You write about stuff ‘first hand’ and NOT some ‘cherry picked’ acadamic study coclusions to support a pre-concieved dogmatic opinion. In fact, most of the sites I’ve seen that knock the GMP, everyone marches lockstep to one beat. I’ve read articles and responses here that have totally ticked me off. However, I’ve also read some that have enlightened me. So, keep it going, what you and the staff put out is without a doubt the most diverse site out there.

  12. I discovered GMP about six months ago and feel so grateful. I have an 18 month old son and while I am raising him with an amazing father (we are together), I also want guidance as to how to usher him into boyhood and then manhood. Thank you for being here.

    I wrote the following as part of an invocation for my son: [...] I hope to bring this to my son: a baby on the cusp of being a boy. I hope to hold his hand in the dark times of boyhood, dry his tears, have him know his heart is soaked in love and he can do anything – anything in this world. I hope I will be there to usher him into manhood, have him step fully into his own life, his own sex, his own radiant purpose and being in this world. As much as I want to protect him from the vacuous messages of sexuality, self-expression as a man, materialism of this world, I know I can only be a guide through some of it and he’ll necessarily find his own way, stumbling, falling, triumphing at times.

    I want my son to be a man of honor, a man of his word, and hope that he’ll have a sense somewhere deep, of when he was a baby and his heart was so filled with love that he’ll never doubt his presence in this world. He’ll never doubt how amazing he is – without needing to say it, his bones and blood will be built with it. He’ll just know that at his core, he is solid, full of fire and light, softness and dark, all matter of being, and this will carry him through the hard times.

    • Thats beautiful Paget. I really hope more parents would think and act like you. I’m 22 years old guy and until know I have never heard my parents said “I love you” to me even once. My family is very conservative and we never talk about sex. Back in high school I suffer from social anxiety and depression and I have even thought about suicide. I felt really lonely and have no one to talked to. And I never felt close to my parents. I do think if more parents think like you, most of problems created by men in this world ( rape, violence, corruption, affairs ) would vanished. Many of us men are really lonely, bitter, and angry. And I do think how parents raise their son really matter more than anything else in this world.

  13. The more I read the simpler it gets for me. It’s that word “Project” mixed in a net cocktail, with 2 shots of opinion, 3 shots of entitlement, a good squeeze of bitter presumption and a cherry of censure of top with an extra sharp cocktail stick! … Shaken and Stirred!

    It says Project – but so many have been at their self mixed cocktails they read it as “The Good Man Projection” and then role into the gutter and try and drag everyone else there with them.

    It’s not the Good Rescue Ship Project (You should never attempt to rescue people who are drowning in their own excrement) and it’s not the Good Door Mat Project either, for people to stamp over and throw their shoes around like some Hollywood Brat.

    GMP has one Great Big Negative Issue which is also just about it’s greatest asset – it’s called Tom Matlack! Now this meat popsical says of himself that he is no great writer – he’s a guy without guile – he’s simple and straight forward and he likes people. Brilliant. Tell me your story – It can change the World. It’s simple it’s a brand and it comes in every colour as long as it’s Matlack.

    On the other hand that means a great many people think they can walk all over, abuse, bad mouth and generally show they they are Machiavellian Back stabbing Politicly motivated gob-shites of the highest order … who would happily trade in their own parents for a grain of dust to add to their own personal hells of supposed advantage at any cost.

    You see, if you’re a nice guy it’s hard to say that about some people.

    I don’t care about being seen as nice, so I look people full in the face and call them for what they are. And there are some very damaged people out there – be them men, women, feminist, masculist or just plain self serving sociopath/psychopath … and they are the Sandusky’s of the gender debate.

    It’s amazing how the world looked on and saw a Psycopath play with it all, and then they forget that such people exist and fail to recognise the people they deal with daily. I’m tired of watching certain Psychos dance around and attempt to cause damage with GMP. Personally I’d love to just have a shot gun and take them off Twitter for good. … and if anyone is telling you about this and thinking wanting to shot a cyber bird makes me bad look at the person closely and wonder why they are taking a none reality from the net and attempting to capitalise upon it as if it was physical reality.

    So I’d like to see some people to F### Off and go away. Not because they have views I disagree with, or because I dislike their Rhetorical Style. I would like them banished because they are dangerosue to everyone, and they take a certain glee in seeing their power games played out.

    And worst of all – they down those Projection Cocktails and get more and more drunk of power, and as anyone who has dealt with addicts knows, you don’t support, you don’t cover for them and you don’t allow yourself to be made Co-dependent. So F### Um and get back to business.

    GMP is a great place because all who arrive are treated as guests. I just wish there was a slight change to the house rules – the house owner reserves the right to ask people to leave. That’s not leave when the badly behaved guest is ready – it’s as requested and promptly. GMP is not a last chance saloon for some desperate types who’s blogging careers really have not panned out. That’s not the people writing for GMP – it’s for the ones who are too afraid to write for GMP because they would receive no special privilege – no special attention – and most frighting of all for them, they would not have control of the comments that would come back. They present as such big I am’s but they just aint got the Balls to put their Blogging abilities on the line and out of their control!

    So The squatters who believe they own and control all of the web should be shown the door – Good Bye Jeeeeeezabel and the bile thrown by some there… good riddance to the good ship Feministe and all who sail on her…. and do watch out for the chilly waters and some lumps of reality, Berg Size!

    Good riddance to all those who keep throwing teddies out of their prams and who lack the whit to realise that when they see that their blog has been hit a number of times – it just means the Goggle robot and quite a few other search engines have passed by and filed you under Irrelevant. You have no friends in cyber land other than your own projection… and it’s time to sober up.

    So -please could we have 2013 as the year when GMP gets down to some real business. It’s not possible for GMP to be all things to all people, so it needs to stop trying. Presently the Alexa Demographic is 18-35 female, mothers … at home. I would like to see that shifted a few percentage points to some Guys at work.

    If some think that a few pieces of rape have been controversial they are mad – that was storm in a tea cup and the bitching over people not liking the Cup Handle is comical. Time to really get controversial, becasue one thing that some have tried to do is make asking hard questions uncomfortable.

    Great! When they fight to make you uncomfortable it’s becasue they lack the ability to present proper argument and have an adult conversation. They are Adult Brats that need to be treated as such and sent away until they grow up. For many it will never happen, it’s their choice.

    So please can we have the GMP that was promised – and can we please leave the Brats and the Psychopaths very firmly out in the cold where they should, have been all along. .. and can we please have adult content which just confuses the brats and drives them away.

    .. and that Tom Matlack, could someone tell him to learn to say F### You! can someone just take him aside and have a quite word. It’s hard to break the habit of a life time in being polite, but sometimes the politest thing to all concerned is to drop kick some off the field and leave them to find their own way home.

    • Mediahound, you nailed it! Hey Matlack, listen to him! The one thing that bothers me with you is your too damn polite! Now I understand you want to allow ‘all voices’, sort of a ‘Big Tent’ if you will, but if someone is s**ting on you, PLEASE, tell them to ‘Go pound salt up your ass’ or something of that nature?

      • It has been something to see some twofaced people badmouthing and running down GMP (note, which is different from disagreeing the decision to print those controversial articles) in twitter and blogs. Then turning up here all innocentlike.

        Hysterical. well Im sure Im not the only one who noted it

        • Are you referring to me here? I did disagree initially with those articles, but I didn’t say anything on Twitter that I didn’t mention in the comments section on the relevant articles. I certainly didn’t badmouth the GMP, a website I owe a lot to. I did engage in discussion with the writers of the articles, and some who wrote negative blogs about the articles/GMP, but I certainly haven’t been two-faced about it. Both Alyssa and Joanne engaged me in conversation, and helped me to understand their viewpoints; as did Tom on Twitter.

          I wasn’t comfortable with certain aspects of the articles, that’s true. But ultimately, it has led to open and frank discussions re: the subject of rape. That is a good thing from any perspective.

          Of course, you may not have been referring to me, in which case I may look like an over-defensive fool. But I certainly haven’t turned up all innocent-like, and I would be gutted if it was me you were referring to.

        • Yeah, I hear that Twitter can be pretty brutal. Never been on it myself,but I saw some exerpt from the time Marcotte and her pals tried to ‘gang bang’ Matlack. All for daring to ask if he could ‘Be a dude!

  14. The GMP site is to say, the least, provocative, controversial, and weirdly inspiring at times…thanks for always taking on the most awful and tough subjects that no one else dares to mention…

    Thank you for the better moderation…. things have improved from the food fights that used to occur here into more nuanced and intelligent discussion….Not that mean, snipey comments don’t slip in here and there…but much better overall…

    Some of the essays have such depth and insight that I have been left breathless at times…Thank you for Andrew Lawes, Rick Belden, and Gint Aras… and for you, too, Tom….Thank you for creating a community that allows for deeper discussion….

  15. I have had no problem with the blogs I’ve read here at GMP — they often present difficult and complicated issues, and I am of the opinion it is better to speak openly about the uglier sides of life than pretend they don’t exist. That said, one must be either armored or choosy about reading the comments sections because some of the commenters are simply enraged people. They seem to be seeking someone to blame for their miserable lives; I feel bad for them but the only person who can help them is themselves and they would rather spend their time and energy blaming women, feminists, whomever. I’ve known plenty of these sorts of people in real life, both men and women, and they’re sad but they’re also tiresome.

    • Agree, although I do get the same feeling from some bitter feminists who always blame men and their manhood. They are also very tiresome. Lets stop the blaming game and talk about men issues. I think this is the purpose of why GMP is created . We need our space to talk about manhood because usually ( not always ) , when a group of women and feminists talk about men, its all about our privileged and our faults, never about our feelings and our difficulties. This is why we need GMP, the only place we could talk about manhood without guilt and shame. I dont think we men dont have faults ( and I dont think women and feminist dont have faults either ). But we men wont talk if we feel we dont have space. And if you woman really care and want to know about our feelings, deep down our hearts, you would let us have this space where we could talk about us. Of course, we welcome you women also in this space, because we really love and care about women, and our lives wouldnt complete without women.

    • Mr Supertypo says:

      “That said, one must be either armored or choosy about reading the comments sections because some of the commenters are simply enraged people. They seem to be seeking someone to blame for their miserable lives; I feel bad for them but the only person who can help them is themselves and they would rather spend their time and energy blaming women, feminists, whomever.”

      Actually I find the commentary section in a website (any website not just GMP) the most important part. Because there you can see the quality of the website. If all the commentaries generally in agreement with the blogger. To me that indicate the site to be low value. A nod club or a church like place. Useless to me. If the commenters argue and discuss between them. Then it is (to me a high quality site) because often the debates (disagreement is the key to a good debate, to any debate for that matter) overshadow the article. And from the debates itself you can learn so many things even more, than just reading the article. So a place with lot of supporters and angry opposer is super to me :-D

      If I stumble on a place without a commentary section, im out of there faster than you can say hello ;-)

  16. John Anderson says:

    “To me it’s pretty straightforward. There is, for lack of a better term, “politically correct” ways to talk about manhood whether that is fatherhood, suicide, or sexual abuse.”

    This is one of the problems that I’ve found with many feminist websites and specifically with much of the criticism leveled at GMP. Not only do people (mainly men) have to agree with the end points that feminism proscribes, but that have to get there in the feminist approved way.

  17. I have been meeting with a group of men since 1988. We meet every other Thursday. The group formed at a time when the Mens Movement was just kicking up and going mainstream. The group has demystified men to all of us and shown us how to care for and fight with one another in a supportive environment. We have had a few marriages, a few divorces, the death of one of our men, and many other life experiences that by virtue of our presence and support of one another we weathered together and became stronger and closer.

    As Group, as we call it, has matured, I have had the privilege of seeing me age, change and mature. I have seen their battles and triumphs. In short I have been witness to the lives of a group of men that are truly my brothers and that I love.

    So comes my point; earlier this year I started to wonder what ever became of the original Mens Movement of the 80’s and 90’s? I began trolling the internet looking for signs of life and found a few sites. Some were strictly testosterone laden e-rags glorifying the good old boy stereotype, some were men bashing sites, and some were sincerely fighting for men to be heard and were great resources to that end. There were very few sites all told. It was while watching a video online that I heard about GMP. I found your site then read your compilation book of mens stories and realized that I had found a vestige of the original movement. While GMP is not a true movement in the sense of a mobilized force, it is a very needed place to discuss all issues that concern men. I daily scan your leads on my FB page and read the articles that I find interesting and angering to me. I have responded to a few pieces and am very pleased with the intent of your undertaking. You come from a good place and have created a good space for men. I thank you for seeing this need and I support you sticking to your vision and fighting the good fight. Keep it up.

  18. The way I see it, I don’t just want to read pieces that I agree with. I want to read essays which challenge my perception of the world, articles which get me thinking, and pieces of writing that try to make a positive difference. The Good Men Project does all that and so much more.

    Of course, there are articles which make me feel uncomfortable sometimes, but they get me thinking, often about hard issues that people don’t like to think about. The recent controversy over the articles relating to rape was understandable, to some degree. Yet, it has provoked more conversation and debate about rape than I have ever known in such a forum. That’s why this website is so important, because it gets people talking and thinking about issues that, too often, are swept under the carpet.

    I’m immensely proud to write for this website, incredibly grateful for the opportunity to present my writing to a wider audience, and extremely thankful that it continues to provoke serious conversations about things that need to be discussed.

  19. @Tom:Well,I ain’t gonna blow smoke up your ass and tell it’s fog.The work done here on GMP is good,but is sometimes overrated because of what it is compared to.Shit?! Can we raise the standards of expectation just a little? Thirty-five fucking years after the start of the men’s movement and men feel fortunate just to a have a cyber man cave. Not much of an accomplishment. I get that GMP isn’t an arm of that movement nor do I wish it to be. Nonetheless,there is a responsibility of GMP to advance the profile of the “new” male narrative. I think the name,the Goodmen Project is counterproductive and for me is suffocating. Since ideas about manhood are and need to be fluid in order to deal with rapid and oftentimes unexpected changes in life,GMP’s obsession with manhood is annoying. It’s about being a goodperson who is skilled and flexible and can thrive in a variety of circumstances, not being a goodman or a goodwoman.It has always been thus.

  20. Having randomly stumbled on this site I consider it a gift from the fates. I think this project blows the stereotype of “women are the talkers, sharers and emoters” out of the water. I’m glad there are men out there who want to share – even in the face of controversy. By sharing, discussing the hard and controversial topics we open a dialogue instead of hiding subjects in the closet.

    I love too that this project seems to not just be about the hard stuff, but the sweet, ponderous, learning thoughts and deeds that make a person who they are.

    Thanks for being generous with your thoughts and time.
    Best,
    Eileen

  21. Have I always agreed with specific articles on GMP? No…but that doesn’t come from the perspective of a staunch feminist, which I consider myself to be, but from my personal experiences. I love the GMP and have tweeted quite a few of the articles I found to be especially profound. I am neither bitter or angry and I think men are great and have wonderful examples of good men in my own life. I believe in an open dialogue and listening to many points of view in a safe forum, which GMP has proven to be. I feel you do great work and hope to see many provocative articles in the future. I do find it interesting how the term feminist has become associated with just one particular kind of feminist…bitter, angry and man-hating. A feminist is someone who thinks women should have equal rights to men, not that women are superior to men. There are lots of men who consider themselves feminists…when using that term properly. I can state from personal experience the barriers I have faced in my career from BOTH men and women who chose to think men could do the job better. I was working in retail management at one point and had a regional manager tell me to my face that women shouldn’t be store managers. Men AND women both face unfair judgement and I love that GMP talks about the issues men face. Thank you for educating me and giving me thought-provoking subjects to ponder. Keep up the good work!

    • I do find it interesting how the term feminist has become associated with just one particular kind of feminist…bitter, angry and man-hating.
      Well considering that there are feminists who have no problem altering labels and relabeling people at their own leisure it doesn’t surprise me that this happens back to them as well.

      A feminist is someone who thinks women should have equal rights to men, not that women are superior to men.
      I could get down with this definition. If this were the definition of a feminist that most of them subscribed to I’d probably have less problems with them.

  22. @ Lynette:It troubles me that the more enlightened 3rd wave feminists don’t seem to understand the powerful negative impact previous editions of feminism has had and continues to have on culture.So often, the 3rd wave answer to frustration and anger from men is to say,…”but not all feminists are like that.” Maybe not but mainstream feminism is like that. Besides,good lord,there isn’t enough time in the day to track and understand the differences between the seemingly endless variety of feminism in the world.It ain’t the in your face man-hating feminists that concern me anyway,it’s the Melissa Harris Perry’s,the Hillary Clinton’s,the Arianna Huffington’s and the Sandra Fluke’s that make me nervous.I fully support ALL right’s of all people,all the time. And these people,in my opinion,don’t.They are cold calculating politicians and technocrats who play the game of who gets equality next according to a hierarchy that always puts women first.Which is precisely what we saw during this election season.

  23. Continue your ‘controversy'; continue telling your story and the story of so many men who are willing to share their vulnerability, no matter what they deem as their weakness, fear, shame, or ‘demon’. It’s a great story that needs to be told, and as woman, I welcome the opportunity to read and learn what is contrary to what is considered society’s description and depiction of what it means to be a man. Too many men are trying to maintain this facade and are ruining their lives, and relationships, in the process.

  24. @Cookie: I agree with you Cookie and for me swimming in the mainstream masculinity bubble is simply not an option. However,change,especially this kind of change doesn’t happen in a gender vaccum.We are in this mess at least partially because one side of the equation decided that they would make unilateral changes to the relationship.My question is when are those women gonna get on board with the idea? it takes an uncommon strength to walk this path and there are too few inns along the way where honest weary travelers can gain a brief respite from the stressors of the road.

  25. I’ll echo others’ appreciation for this site and reiterate what I’ve said recently, that reading this site makes me want to be a better woman. I can’t recall exactly but I’m pretty sure I discovered this site through female-centric site The Frisky, and in the two years or so since I’ve been reading this, my views on men, masculinity, and gender issues have morphed, grown, and dare I say matured.

    My experience here has been pretty insular – I read the content here, and the comments, and participate in the community (and hope my voice is welcomed), but I’m not on Twitter and so don’t follow the battles there (unless reported here), and I generally don’t click over to sites that lambaste this one or employ the writers Tom has argued with. Call it a weird sort of brand loyalty. Today in the interest of fair play I clicked over to one of the opponents, interested to see if they had a reasonable and sound argument against this site, how they presented that argument and how the community conducted itself. I tried to read it with an open mind but in the end, retreated back to this space and felt my gratitude for this Project even more deeply, having now seen what the alternative looks like.

    • …and in the two years or so since I’ve been reading this, my views on men, masculinity, and gender issues have morphed, grown, and dare I say matured.

      But that can’t be allowed! P^) It will make the natives restless!

  26. Tom,

    I read this article the first time around, but read it again today and 2 things jumped out at me – 2 things that don’t really ahve much to do with the point you are making, but they are important to the discussion of manhood.

    Point 1: You make a comment that: “My instinct is to fight, to push, to stick to what I believe in even when it costs me dearly. My manhood is often expressed by pitched battle even with those I am closest to. I’m n0t sure that is good or bad. It’s simply who I am.”

    Comment 1: That’s a cop out. You know that, right? We are who we choose to be. We are not victims of our upbringing, or our wiring, or our DNA. Those things have a powerful force to shape us, but we always have the right, opportunity and responsibility to change what we do not like about ourselves.

    Point 2: At another point you hold up “fight” vs. “compromise” as if they are mutually exclusive; and by doing so there is inference that “fight” = “strength” and “compromise” = “weakness”. Not your intent, I am sure, but the inference is there. I know some very strong men who have used compromise to great effect. Lincoln is one of them.

    One of the things I value about this website is that it is shaped by a motivation to invite dialogue, not just agreement; and that it does not shy away from a fight, but neither does it insist on it.

    Those are things that I have found to be true of the guys I would call “good men”.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] This comment was by John Weeast, on Tom Matlack’s post This Much I Know To Be True [...]

  2. [...] embattled founder of the Good Men Project remains on the defensive, and appears to be willing to take a stand against all comers. Tom is having his Tiananmen Moment, [...]

  3. [...] This is a comment by Michael Philp on the post “Raising Teenagers For Dummies (Like Me)“. [...]

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