Why Being a Good Man is Not a Feminist Issue

Tom Matlack envisions a place where men can share stories of their struggle for goodness man-to-man apart from what women or feminists might say about that story.

 

Here’s the basic axiom: power conceals itself from those who possess it. And the corollary is that privilege is revealed more clearly to those who don’t have it. When a man and a woman are arguing about feminism—and the women involved happen to be feminists and the man happens to be an affluent white dude—the chances that he’s the one from whom the truth is more obscured is very high indeed. That’s as true for me as it is for Tom Matlack.

— “Words are Not Fists” BY HUGO SCHWYZER

 ♦◊♦

“No fucking pictures!” the captain screamed. Soldiers have gotten violent with me when their comrades have been killed. I took a few frames then put the camera down and started helping to bandage the most badly wounded soldier. He had taken a lot of shrapnel, and his face looked like hamburger. We checked his torso for wounds, but there were none. He was pleading, “Doc, you got to give me something. I can’t take this pain. I can’t take it.” His friend was lying dead against his legs, but he didn’t know it. He couldn’t see through the blood in his eyes, and he felt nothing but the stabbing pain.

The scene was eerily quiet, save for a radioman calling for a medevac. A minute later, the soldier’s sobbing began to mix with the birdcalls in the stifling, still air. 

I slowly walked over to the captain and told him that I was going to do my job and that he could take my cameras later if he wanted. He nodded to me, maybe knowing that no one was going to move through a minefield to stop me anyway. I walked among the wounded men, shooting as I went and trying to lend a hand where I could. Platoon members carefully put the wounded onto litters and carried them to a landing zone for the helos. Then four young men lifted the dead soldier’s torso gently into a body bag. One bent down and began to rip the gear off his comrade’s flak vest. Then he thought better of it, reached up, and quietly zipped the bag closed.

— Shooting The Truth BY MICHAEL KAMBER

 ♦◊♦

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

— As Equals and as Friends BY AMANDA MARCOTTE

 ♦◊♦

One day, after I started going to the seminary, I was walking toward the chapel when up ahead of me a guy got stabbed really badly. Everybody just kept walking. “It ain’t none of your business,” someone said. Guys were jumping over the body and the pool of blood. When I got to the man he was bleeding out onto the floor and, I swear to God, I could not walk over that blood. It was like something was pushing me to look at this man, look at what was happening here. Guys were like, “Yo! Yo!” But I could not move. All I could do is say, “This shit has to stop.”

The guys looked at me like I was crazy; at one time I was involved in half the stabbings at the prison. They started swearing at me, saying, “What the hell are you talking about?”

I said it again: “This just has to stop, man. We have to stop killing one another.”

Everything changed for me at that moment. Finances didn’t matter anymore. It didn’t matter if I traveled around the country, or if I could do whatever. It didn’t matter. It was like, how do I not help people? How do I not stop and look at the humanity in each person, man? How do I recognize that these are all God’s children, man? And how do we become part of that human family so that we don’t kill each other?

I got the guy up off the ground and got his blood spattered all over me. The guards came running to us and got me out of the way. They didn’t question me because they saw what I had done. They thought I was crazy for helping this guy.

— Blood Spattered by JULIO MEDINA

♦◊♦

A few months ago I was interviewed by Tom Ashbrook, of NPR’s show “On Point.” I am a frequently listener to Tom’s program and have always admired how he can talk about controversial topics—from abortion to Middle East peace to Presidential politics—and remained inquisitive without bias. That’s what makes his show go. He gets people from both sides of an issue and is great at getting them to explain themselves clearly while letting listeners decide what they think without spoon-feeding them an answer.

I was excited to meet Tom and talk about the Good Men Project at the Boston Book Festival before a live audience that numbered well over 800.

Everything was going fine, I was telling my story and the story of our Project, when something remarkable happened.

I was in the middle of explaining the national context in which GMP sees the need to clarify what is going on with men. I referred Hannah Rosin’s headline grabbing article and book by saying, “And then you have female sociologists saying that men are over. If you think about it, if a male sociologist came out and said women were over we’d all be criticized for it.”

What I thought was a pretty non-controversial point.

Ashbrook cut me off to say, “We did that for like 5,000 years.”

I kept rolling, talking about the importance of feminism and how in a way what we are talking about at GMP is feminism in reverse: women were trying to get out of the house and men are trying to get back in as fathers and husbands.

But inside I was boiling. The guy who I thought never took a stand had just slapped me down. Hard. He’d made clear that any conversation of manhood had to be premised on an acknowledgement of the primacy of feminism in that conversation.

It caught me so off-guard that it was only in watching the video of the interview that I really appreciated the depth of his taking a side, something I so respected him for not doing, on the issue closest to my heart.

Quite honestly it made me want to puke.

♦◊♦

My formative experience as a man came as a recovering alcoholic. In church basements there is a very clear message that men help men and women help women. Falling in love is not going to get your sober. There are plenty of mixed sex meetings but in the end I always found myself gravitating towards all male meetings. And I had a series of male sponsors who saved my life.

On a daily basis I heard men tell a deep and painful truth about themselves that stirred my soul, made me cry, and often laugh at my own lunacy. After a lifetime of hating myself as a man, bit by bit I began to see that I was not alone and that in fact I might be able to live my life in a different way. My first sponsor often told me that the psychic change required to transform a hopeless drunk into a sober and recovering alcoholic starts in the head but ultimately happens in the heart. What happens when one drunk tells another the truth about themselves is that both the teller and the listener are forced to look in the mirror. And drop by drop what they see moves from the head into the heart. It’s an agonizingly slow process for most, but in the end the soul itself is transformed and the man who couldn’t put down a drink or tell the truth about anything becomes a useful member of society.

For years I went to South Boston to sit in a room full of men very far away from my Yale degree and venture capital firm. The guys I met had done hard time. They’d hit bottoms just as painful as mine but often much more tragic. They wore ink and gold and spoke with thick accents often with poor grammar. But what I learned in that classroom (the meetings were held in a school) was that all my book smarts didn’t mean shit when it came to my life. I wasn’t going to think my way out of my problems. I had to listen to what these guys were telling me. And in a fundamental way they have figured out stuff about themselves that I had just begun to examine.

The bond I felt in those rooms was palpable. It wasn’t anything like the way I saw men portrayed on TV or in the media. These were total strangers who had every right to hate me but instead, loved me unconditionally. They taught me how to take responsibility for my actions, how to tell the truth, and how to stay sober. They taught me to aspire to a completely different kind of goodness than I had ever contemplated in my prior shadowy world of immobilizing fear and quick fixes. They taught me the courage to look deep inside for the answers, to help another man no matter what, and feel my emotions.

Could any of that have happened if women had been in the room with us? Absolutely not. Did each man in that room leave with the very direct intention, reinforced by their brothers, to treat women categorically better than they had before entering? Absolutely yes.

***

As the founder of The Good Men Project I’ve spoken about manhood well over a hundred times by now, in places as diverse as a treatment facility for teen prostitutes to a Hollywood premier. Inevitably the question comes up: “Yeah, this is all really interesting but what exactly does it mean to be a good man?”

At the beginning I would bumble around with a long-winded explanation about the importance of personal narrative, moments of truth in every man’s life, and the infinite possible definitions of goodness.

Now I just say that I don’t know.

I can see the disappointment in people’s eyes. They want some magical formula for being a good father, husband, and man.

I usually go on to explain that I am not a particularly good man. I aspire to a personal goodness that I have caught glimpses of through my own path to manhood, including plenty of blood, sweat and flat-out failure.

♦◊♦

My son Seamus goes to a Jesuit High School. I was brought up Quaker, so anything with a direct pipeline to Rome is highly suspicious in my book (not to mention having a close friend who was a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest). Over the last four years I have come to greatly respect my son’s teachers and the Jesuit institution he attends.

The cornerstone of everything that goes on at my son’s school is the simple concept of becoming a man for others. On parents’ night I talked to his biology teacher who made clear that they would indeed learn some biology in his class but the real topic was manhood. On Veteran’s Day the teacher made all the students interview a veteran on videotape and come into class and do an oral report on what they learned. More than once, Seamus’s biology homework the weekend was to do two hours of service work.

This last spring break Seamus and a dozen classmates went to the Dominican Republic on a service trip. They went to the Haitian border to witness men attempting to buy life-saving food to save their families before having their bags of rice slit by border guards. They held deformed children in an orphanage. They sat with kids who spent their life picking metal out a huge trash dump. And they helped plant coffee in a subsistence hill village.

Certainly this idea of compassion for those less fortunate is an appealing one when thinking about male goodness. But even service, as the charismatic woman who led my son’s trip explained so movingly, is about personal connection. It comes from the heart not the head. So you can’t tell someone else how to do it, only try to listen to your own soul.

♦◊♦

My original motivation in founding the Good Men Project had little to do with what I thought men should do and more in realizing what we were lacking. What I saw in myself, and many of my male contemporaries, was a sense of confusion and depression over the male landscape. And I also saw a lack of conversation about what was really going on just under the surface for men in a very wide spectrum of circumstances.

My goal was not to proselytize in any way, shape or form. It was simply to bring individual stories of manhood to the surface in hopes of inspiring others to share their stories and, while doing so, become better men. That, in the end, is how it has always worked for me. An abstract discussion of manhood is boring as dirt to me. Listening to a guy spill his guts is transformational. At least to me.

And when I started The Good Men Project, it happened for me again. I sat with Julio Medina as he told me about being a Sing Sing inmate for years until he picked up a friend who had been stabbed off the prison floor and in that moment changed forever. I traded hundreds of emails with Michael Kamber from the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan and ultimately the day his best friend, Tim Hetherington, was shot and killed taking combat photographs. I met Ron Cowie at an outdoor café and listened to him weep as he retold the story of losing his wife to a rogue virus. As he wiped away his tears, their toddler daughter asked for a bagel.

These stories, and scores of others like them, changed me forever. They made me a better man. They gave me more insight into how to connect man-to-man in ways that are too often shunned by us collectively. I don’t know whether it’s by nature or by training, but men who reveal such personal stories, particularly those including failure and sadness, is, in my view, far less common than it should be.

I may not know what being a good man is but I am quite sure that a key part of any process to figuring it out is a deep level of honesty and self-revelation that we all too often pass on for more superficial pursuits.

♦◊♦

So how does all this relate to women and, more specifically, feminist doctrine? I know I led with that big headline and have made you wait to get to the heart of the matter. But since I know this topic causes a lot of people to lose their minds, I wanted to at least explain the path by which I found myself in this feminist sinkhole.

Going back to being a man for others, the clear implication of that goal is the “other” is generally someone who needs your help and may in fact be less fortunate. That most certainly includes orphans in the DR and teen prostitutes at the Germaine Lawrence School right at home in Boston. And God knows it means, just to me now, looking at the way that race, gender, sexual orientation, and wealth play into systematic discrimination and oppression.

I have often said that the conversation amongst men about what it means to be a good father and husband has obvious benefits for wives and mothers. The aspiration is to figure out how to do and be better men, and that means in relation to the women in our lives.

But here comes the problem. The stories that transformed my life where not told by women. They were told by men. My fundamental view is that there is a male experience that is too often squashed in our society by a culture that perpetuates a deeply flawed view of manhood. What I hope to do is not dictate what replaces that simplistic view of what it means to be a man, but simply create the space for a more nuanced discussion.

♦◊♦

The most disappointing, and in fact dangerous, aspects of the Good Men Project’s success, in my view, has been the extent to which we have been sucked into a debate over gender theory in general and feminism in particular. Whether or not you agree with any of the wide variety of definitions of feminism, the Good Men Project is not about gender theory and it certainly isn’t about feminism. Or at the very least that was never my goal in founding it.

I realize to some that the litmus test of being a good man is being a card-carrying member of a strident form of feminism that puts the burden of proof on every male for the sins of their brothers. But to me that is the most extreme form of the same old nonsense which keeps men from searching their souls for what manhood is really all about, to them. If you define manhood purely from a female perspective most guys are just going to turn off. And in my view, rightly so.

That’s why it saddened me to engage in such non-productive debates with the likes of Hugo Schwyzer, Amanda Marcotte, and Roseanne Barr who all attacked me for saying that being a dude is a good thing.

Perhaps even more significant than my fist fights with feminism over manhood has been the steady stream of highly trafficked pieces on our site about the female view of men, from gas lighting (one of our most popular pieces ever—“Why Women Are Not Crazy”) to the constant drum beat of posts in which manhood is viewed in the context of gender theory. Stuff like, “On Women’s Rights: Yeah, Yeah. Blah, Blah. Whatever.” And “A Rant.” And  “Five Ways Feminism Helps Men.”

None of this is to say that a healthy debate of feminism isn’t a valid enterprise and one that is important. It just saddens me that it has become such a core part of what we are doing at GMP.

To be crystal clear what I wanted most is a nationwide discussion of manhood and god knows we have sparked that. We have over 400 regular contributors and a vibrant community of readers and commenters. In the end I do not decide what gets published nor do I even moderate comments. I am a sometimes contributor and very interested reader. There’s a team of amazing people behind the scenes making the magic happen. And you, the readers, first and foremost decide what you want to talk about. If nothing else the web is a purely democratic vehicle. I can say that I want you to read first person accounts of men at war, in prisons, and recovering from addiction but unless you read those stories we won’t likely do a lot more of them.

I have often said that the demographic which I most want to reach is not the guy at any extreme but the non-famous father, husband, and worker trying to figure out what the heck is important to him whether he is a venture capitalist (like me) or a stay-at-home dad or an inmate or a soldier coming back from Afghanistan.

I just have a really hard time seeing how debates over gender theory advance the ball in that guy’s thinking. Sure pretty much every discussion of manhood involved a discussion of sexuality and men as they relate to women, but a man-to-man discussion of those topics, in my experience, is very different than one set up to be in the context of a woman’s point of view. It may very well be that it ends up coming to conclusions very in line with what feminists believe but the process is a very different one.

I often think of Kent George, one of our originally contributors whose story I read for the first time early one Saturday morning while drinking my first cup of coffee while still in bed. I almost fell out of bed because I was laughing so hard. And that was before I started crying. His story is about being beat up physically by his older lesbian sister and abused verbally by his Irish Catholic mother in working class neighborhood of Boston. The story is funny because of the gender reversal and the way he tells it. But in the end it’s sad because it’s clear how much damage Kent suffered and also how much compassion he has for his mother, who he later found out had a profound mental illness, and his sister.

What’s the feminist moral to that story? I don’t know. But I do know that Kent is a damn good man and his brutal honesty, and humor, inspired me to be a better man and treat the women in my life the best I can no matter what the circumstance.

♦◊♦

I had a female at GMP read an early draft of this piece and her response stopped me cold:

Here’s the thing — and you may not like me very much for this.
—Women shouldn’t be in the conversation about men IF women are viewed by men as sexual objects instead of just people.
—Feminsm’s whole reason for being is to stop women from being viewed as sexual objects.
To me — it’s as simple as that. And so a phrase like — “In church basements there is a very clear message that men help men and women help women. Falling in love is not going to get you sober.” — reduces women to “the other” — someone who cannot be helpful because they are the ones you either fall in love with or have sex with.
And I just don’t get that. 

The reason it stopped me cold is that in my AA example, I did not distinguish by gender. My language was intentionally gender neutral. The reality is that new sober alcoholics of every sexual orientation and gender behave the same way—they’d prefer to take a hostage and have sex than do the real work required to get and stay sober.

But the female reader assumed that I was viewing women in this context as sexual objects even though the words that she quoted quite clearly didn’t say that and in fact that is not the case at all—men and women are both grabbing for anything to fill the hole of addiction.

So even a colleague who has read countless pieces I have written and I think understands what I was getting at slapped me just as hard at Tom Ashbrook. And completely without merit.

The further discussion I had with the reader was around this idea of single sex discussions and whether or not my going into Sing Sing with Julio on the first stop of our book tour to meet with a room full of men sentenced to life would have been different if a woman was present. I tried to explain why I thought an all male conversation was different than a mixed gender one: “It’s about a level of honesty that men wouldn’t reveal with a women there.” She responded:

I’d love to know WHY that is. And I think so many women are interested in GMP because they want to know why also. That’s the crux of everything. Honest discussions about the difficult issues. And … If men can’t be honest with women, and men are the ones in power … I think that is part of what feminism is also. 

It is the crux of the issue indeed. This idea that just because men want to have a discussion about manhood on their own terms that they are lying to women about it. There are plenty of forums for women to talk about men. I have made my way over to Jezebel more than once and gotten my ass handed to me.

What happened in that classroom in South Boston and in the bowels of Sing Sing with those inmates was a kind of man-to-man honesty that benefits women but isn’t going to happen if the frame is feminism or, when men are grappling with the deepest darkest secrets of their lives, if women are present. At least for me, there’s a kind of deep bonding that happens when a guy looks me straight in the eyes that is different than a similar conversation I might have with a woman. The transformation is only possible when I see that I am fundamentally not alone in my struggles to be a good man.

I don’t know but I expect women feel the same way. There are plenty of all women support groups in recovery and out in which I am quite sure men’s presence would disturb the safety of the boundaries established by the group.

All of this isn’t to say that the GMP should be a single sex forum. Far from it. Women are welcome for sure. But to my mind if the topic strays from a discussion of manhood in men’s own words to a feminist critique of manhood, my initial inspiration and hope for the Project is completely lost.

♦◊♦

From a macro perspective The Good Men Project was founded just as The End of Men went to print and the likes of Tiger, Charlie Sheen and John Edwards hit the front pages. In other words just as most men I know, and the thousands I met during the course of working on GMP, were digging deep for real answers to the questions about meaning and importance as a man, our whole gender was getting thrown under the bus.

According to the media we are less employable, less educated, inferior stay-at-home parents, and sexual deviants to boot. We are really good at going to jail, leading our country into meaningless wars, and taking down massive financial institutions.

The stereotype of what it means to be a man actually crystalized into a narrower stick figure as the ground under our collective feet gave way.

I look at the revolution in the work and family life patterns of men as not the end of men but the birth of something new and better. That is what GMP is all about: exploring that potential from every possible angle. And why viewing manhood from the perspective of a feminist wrecking ball, that leaves every one of us men guilty of gender oppression, a death spiral in my view.

In the end I think we all want the same thing: a new kind of macho in which men are allowed to express themselves as fully formed human beings who change diapers, are capable of intimacy, do meaningful work, and aspire to goodness in whatever way they define it.

But I refuse to see the world with a reductionist lens that dismisses the possibility that men can have their own stories of struggle for goodness that can be shared man-to-man in a way that changes the teller and the listener alike quite apart from what a woman or a feminist might say about that story.

 

About Tom Matlack

Thomas Matlack is a venture capitalist.

Comments

  1. @ Julie …. Sorry I didn’t respond to the following sooner. You said “Do you see any correlation between jobs and stagnant rates of pay, credit card culture, laws that allow for interest rates to hike on cards, etc influencing the ability for one person to stay at home? Given the salaries my husband and I both have, and given rents and home costs, food costs and bills, both people need to work. I agree that if men can’t get good employment that causes a piece of the system to move towards both people working, but I think there are more influencers then that. If hope costs are skyrocketing and rates of pay are not…then it takes two salaries to buy the house etc…Or it means that the couple has to make a choice to live at a much lower standard then expected with one car, small house or apartment, no cell phones etc in order to have one person at home. I see this as a complex ball of dynamics of which but feminism may be one piece, not the whole shebang. There have been wildly divisive economic decisions since the 70′s that have changed the playing field for all of us.”

    Before I forget, one of those economic changes was that if there was a daddy in the house, you can forget about getting welfare. Bye bye daddy.
    Yes, there are many dynamics to the situation we’re currently in and I agree that feminism is just one part of it. But I have to wonder what part did it play. Feminism laid a path, some years ago, that business career for women became a focus. But there was little interest in balancing it out with being a mom. There was a feminist that said something that made a lot of sense (yes, Tom B is acknowledging a feminist) and it was that the feminist movement back then was not to force women or better yet, expect women to do everything. It was to allow women who chose a career to have equal footing but it was not intended that women do both. Back then there was a lot of concerns as to how kids would be affected. They would be losing their moms to careers. Guess what? That’s exactly what happen. It was as though the kids were on the back burner.

    So here you are (not you personally but a generic you). Hubby works and is paid well, wifey has a good job that pays well and they have the life style to show for it. But what about the kids? What happens when the two of them want kids or have kids? Give up all that income, the prestige that goes with the “titles” in their career? Pfffft, heck no, send the kids to day care?

    Looking at the different dynamics, can you tell me why men are losing interest in marriage, kids, careers and education? Is there a common thread to all that influenced the situation we’re in?

  2. All these -isms certainly seem to promote fruitful dialog and harmony. Maybe we need more. An ism for everyone! For example, I will be a Ulyssesist.

  3. DeLani:
    Ok, first, if you “reject feminism,” than you are saying you do not believe in gender equality. That’s what feminism means. And I’m not accusing anyone of saying that!
    I can believe you don’t mean to accuse anyone of saying this however….

    How does that follow in the first place? How can it be said that someone that rejects feminism does not believe in gender equality? Did feminism somehow get the corner on the gender equality discourse to the point that if it one does not identify with it then they must be against gender equality?

    This is the type of association that turns people away from it. The presumption that feminism is synonymous to gender equality to the point that leaps of logic like that can be made.

    It is perfectly possible for someone to not embrace feminism (or not ID as feminist) and be all for gender equality.

    This is exactly where the road starts that leads to remarks like “If you’re not a feminist then you’re a bigot.”

    (But then people get their undergarments all in a bunch wondering why people are turned off from it….)

  4. DeLani Bartlette says:

    Boy, the comments are off to the races! I’d just like to comment on the original article, the author’s statement that being a good man is not a feminist issue.
    First, I respect your right to define your motivations for yourself. So, for you, and I’m sure for many men, being a good man is not about gender equality. OK.
    But, from my perspective, as a feminist, a wife, and a mother of a son, the act of being a good man *is* a feminist issue. Too many different interpretations of how we should achieve gender equality have muddied the waters on the topic of what feminism is. At its core, it is simply the belief that *men and women should be treated equally in all aspects of life.* That necessarily means men should be allowed to explore and express all parts of their identities and interests, even those not acceptably “manly” enough for our patriarchal culture. Examples include caring for children, being honest about one’s feelings, showing compassion, etc.
    It helps to keep in mind the straightjacket of “manly” (or “not gay!”) is one half of the equation that is designed to keep men and women separate and unequal. We as human beings must break down both halves, and I commend GMP for working on their end, even if they don’t claim to be doing it for both of us.

    • Mark Neil says:

      “First, I respect your right to define your motivations for yourself. So, for you, and I’m sure for many men, being a good man is not about gender equality. OK.”

      Another example of the feminist monopolization of equality belief. Why is it, being a man and rejecting feminism means, for him, and many other men, being good is NOT about gender equality? Are you saying that he isn’t allowed to see being a good man as including gender equality? Or isn’t capable? Why?

      “designed to keep men and women separate and unequal.”

      Separate I can see. I don’t see where “unequal” comes from, unless you presume that, to be manly is to be oppressive. This is a concept I, and many men (and women), choose to reject. As such, you’re going to need to defend this position better than just claiming it to be true and expecting it to be accepted.

      • DeLani Bartlette says:

        Mark, I don’t think you understood what I was saying. Your words: “Why is it, being a man and rejecting feminism means, for him, and many other men, being good is NOT about gender equality? Are you saying that he isn’t allowed to see being a good man as including gender equality? Or isn’t capable? Why?”
        Ok, first, if you “reject feminism,” than you are saying you do not believe in gender equality. That’s what feminism means. And I’m not accusing anyone of saying that!
        I am NOT saying that “he isn’t allowed to see being a good man as including gender equality.” I have no idea where you would get that from my comment. I was saying the exact opposite: that by being a good man and rejecting all the labels/boxes/etc. that society tries to force on men, that he is advancing gender equality, whether he intends to or not! I don’t know how I could have been clearer.
        RE: “separate and unequal”: See all of Western History.

        • Mark Neil says:

          “Ok, first, if you “reject feminism,” than you are saying you do not believe in gender equality.”

          Wrong. Feminism is an ideology that contains a great many theories and belief structures. One can reject many of these theories and belief structure while still maintaining a belief in equality. To believe feminism maintains a monopoly on egalitarian thought is both arrogant and dangerous, as it sets up a position of moral authority without the ability to question that authority. There are many examples of large feminist organizations working against the idea of equality (generally, NOW vs fathers rights being the easiest to show. Or SFU women’s centre vs the “idea” of a men’s centre). To set these organizations up as the paragons and sole arbiters of equality is to actually deny it. This is why I told Lisa above that this concept of equality and feminism being synonymous is dangerous and harmful to men. Because it forces those who actually want equality, but do not agree with the tenets of feminism (IE patriarchy or male privilege theories, among others), to ether conform to feminist belief or be attacked and/or shamed as in opposition to true equality, as you are doing here. But you do NOT have a monopoly on egalitarian thought, and I do not accept your premise that rejecting feminism equals rejecting equality. They are not synonymous. Make an argument that does not rely upon that belief.

          “That’s what feminism means”

          I doubt Dworkin, McKinnon, Valenti, Kellette and a number of others would agree (privately, though it is convenient for silencing opposition to suggest as much publicly). Feminism is about female empowerment. Nothing more. Nothing less. The opinions of an individual feminist regarding how far to take that empowerment, or whether men are entitled to it as well, varies depending on the feminist. But the ONLY thing that is consistent amongst all feminists is a desire for female empowerment.

          “I am NOT saying that “he isn’t allowed to see being a good man as including gender equality.””

          But in order to do so, he must accept and embrace feminism, correct? You said as much above.

          “RE: “separate and unequal”: See all of Western History.”

          I wasn’t aware we stilled lived in all of western history. That said, even when I do look at human history, I fail to see “manly” as equating to making women unequal, as you asserted. Of course, I don’t look through the gynocentric victim lens of some feminist theoriests, hence why I reject feminism. That isn’t to deny men and women were treated differently, even unqually, but was it due to men being manly? Was it due to anything related to being men? You’ll find a few feminists here who likewise reject this blame game.

          • I’m confused why you admit at the start of your post that there are many kinds of feminisms (” a great many theories and belief structures”), but then slide back into referring to “the tenets of feminism,” singular, and “feminist belief,” singular.

            I’m troubled by atheists who have told me, “I oppose the beliefs of Christians,” because I have no idea what brand of Christianity they’re talking about. What if their qualms are completely removed from how I live my Christian life?

            I agree with you that no two feminisms are alike. And no two feminists, either. But then why reject all of of feminism based on “the gynocentric victim lens of some feminist theorists?” Would you reject Civil Rights based on the militant back-to-Africa lens of some Civil Rights theorists? Would you reject gay rights based on the everybody-is-a-little-bit-gay lens of some sexuality theorists? Even though I believe that most of what Freud has to say is painfully insane, I can see how his research holds merit in the place it was conceived, given the sociological factors which led his concerns while researching, and as it was shaped the actions of his patients and their environments. I don’t “reject” him. I don’t agree with everything he says, but I realize that there are a lot of other psychologists out there, and they’re all interested in the brain.

            It’s true that a lot of blaming goes along with Second Wave feminism. And it’s true that a lot of Second Wave feminists exist in the world. But it’s also true that a lot of us Third Wave feminists, male, female, gay, pan, trans, cis, queer, straight, undecided, are trying to get into the world now and be heard. We’ve been taught that manhood and masculinity *are* feminist issues, gay rights and trans rights *are* feminist issues. But more often than not, we’re the ones insisting on this, and our professors go along with it and learn from us too.

            I recognize that I depend on the hard work of far more brilliant minds that have come before me, many generations back. It’s up to me to sift through their theories and try to find some element of what might be “true” – but this is an ongoing process, and I’m a feminist, and I’m reshaping feminism by pulling apart and re-arranging all the other feminisms. I don’t see any benefit to reading three, four, five people who happen to agree, taking that as my divining rod of truthiness for all of an issue.

            You have no idea how much I’ve learned about Republicans by actually asking my Republican friends what they believe in and why . But if I stuck with Fox News, I’d be “rejecting Republicanism” as fast as a lamp switching off. I hope you don’t take this to be some rallying call to “convert” to feminism. For many women, even, gender equality means rejecting the word feminist, and the long history of man-shaming and in-your-face political activism that comes with it. And that’s fine. But, just like I’d speak up if you called all Christians anti-gay bigots, I’m going to speak up if you define all of feminism solely by the “gynocentric victims.” Thanks for reading this through.

            • Mark Neil says:

              “I’m confused why you admit at the start of your post that there are many kinds of feminisms (” a great many theories and belief structures”), but then slide back into referring to “the tenets of feminism,” singular, and “feminist belief,” singular.”

              Because there are some belief systems and theories that are consistent throughout most/all forms of feminism. I do not accept the patriarchy and male privilege theories as outlined by many feminists. I think kyrarchy theory has its flaws and it’s injections of negative motive onto men/masculinity, but it is far closer than patriarchy. but many feminists still embrace patriarchy. There are many forms of feminisms, but a consistency I find amongst virtually all feminists, and that includes the good one, is the injection of negative motive to explain what is not understood. Men were deemed head of the household… why? well, we could look back throughout the development of society to see if there are biological and sociological reasons, or we could just say men oppressed women in order to exert their need to dominate and control. Why did men give their seats on the life rafts during the titanic disaster? Because men thought women were inferior and needed to be given special treatment.

              “But then why reject all of of feminism”

              Because there are beliefs and theories consistent through many, far too many, that I will not accept. Of the very few that remains, I choose not to identify as because I refuse to give voice to those that I disagree with. So long as I claim to be a feminist, the bigots in NOW can lay claim to that voice and use it against me (if you need to me to elaborate, let me know).

              “Would you reject Civil Rights based on the militant back-to-Africa lens of some Civil Rights theorists?”

              And here you make the very mistake I was addressing with DeLani. The correct analogy is, would I reject the black panther movement based on the militant actions of some members of the black panther movement. Yes, I would. But what your analogy does is, once again, equate feminism and equal rights as synonymous. They are not. I do not need to reject equality just because I reject how many feminisms wishes to attain it and/or define it.

              “Third Wave feminists, male, female, gay, pan, trans, cis, queer, straight, undecided, are trying to get into the world now and be heard.”

              And you’re welcome to do that. I won’t get in your way. But I will not support you ether. When you have ousted the bigots from the movement and reworked many of the theories to be less blaming of males and hold women more accountable, then I may reconsider. I don’t see that happening, except in very few places (I’ve mentioned iFeminism on a number of occasions as a feminism I do encourage, but I still will not join them. Those who wish to identify as feminists, I encourage seeking them out, but I will not become a feminist, until feminism is not a hostile word to me.)

              “We’ve been taught that manhood and masculinity *are* feminist issues”

              Yes. And who taught us that? Feminism. Many of which deem masculinity toxic and dangerous. You don’t see the self-serving tendency of claiming masculinity is a feminist issue, and then defining it in a way that better serves women, not men? Seriously, go to Simon Fraser University’s women center, and look up their male ally’s project. Read their poster and what is important about men that need addressing (hint: it involves how they treat women… ONLY). So long as so many feminisms are attempting to redefine men for women’s benefit, without regard to men themselves, they cannot be trusted. And the difficulty in identifying who is what type of feminist, without some effort, makes masculinity a men’s issue, outside of feminism. iFeminism understands this and so encourages a men’s movement.

              “gay rights and trans rights *are* feminist issues”

              You checked out NOW’s “important issues” page recently? Lesbian issues are of importance, but the rest of the GBT was left to fend for themselves. You should be fully aware of how trans women are rejected.

              “I’m going to speak up if you define all of feminism solely by the “gynocentric victims.”

              My apologies for the misunderstanding. Some of us here have had this discussion before, and I sometimes forget to take it into account. When I (and many others, I think we found this to be often men) say “feminism is like XYZ”, I am talking generalities. As a generalization, there is always room for exception. As such, I never actually mean “ALL”. All is an absolute that should be reserved for specific things, and generally speaking, very few things are so absolute as to require the qualifier “all”. If I meant “ALL”, I would say “all”. (notice the only time I’ve actually used all is 1: during a quote that uses it. 2: in my definition of what applies to all feminists, and in that, I do mean all. I don’t believe that was one of the statements you challenged ether. Just as an indication.).

              As to my specific definition of feminism, I actually believe I didn’t define it based on the gynocentric victims. But I do feel the definition of feminism must include them, and being for “equality” does not do that. Likewise, I do not believe feminism is about man hating, because there are feminists like Hoff Somers, Lisa and Julie (from here) and iFeminism that clearly don’t hate men, and so it again does not apply to all feminists. Being about female empowerment is consistent throughout all feminisms I’ve witnessed (to varying degrees and opinions on that empowerments relation to men). It is neither malevolent nor benevolent and is simply what its follower chooses to make of it. Far too often, it’s something ugly, in my experience, but I do not deny the good, I just reject is as necessary for equality.

              • To clarify: I am not contributing to the discussion on equality. I have nothing to say on whether feminism should or should be equal. But here I’d really like to talk a little more about why the way you’re talking about this makes it impossible for me to feel like we’re having a conversation.

                “Many feminists,” “NOW,” and “Simon Fraser University’s women center” do not my feminism make. And yet because these are the feminisms you’ve encountered, you’ve concluded that it’s all right to use the shorthand “feminism,” (not even “much of feminism,” or even more accurately, “the feminisms that I’ve encountered”) to base all of your examples off of. Maybe this is a product of the fact that we don’t have the same experiences and so we can’t use the same language. But I’m listening to you. I’m agreeing that in many feminisms, trans women aren’t accepted. That femmes aren’t accepted! That men aren’t even acknowledged, or if they’re are, it’s just to blame them. I’m listening and being educated by you about how the painful and often frustrating things that you find in those feminisms have made you think that it’s okay to generalize all of feminism into those things.

                But you’re not doing the same for me. You’re getting defensive about your right to generalize an extremely complicated dialogue into shorthand. “Feminism.” By which you mean NOW, I guess. I take this to mean that you don’t want to see the ground I’m standing on. It’s not NOW’s ground. And there are a lot of other people standing with me.

                I don’t know how to have a conversation with someone who can’t prove they’re listening. I’m not good at soap-box standing. But I can recommend some reading, and maybe the next time we talk we can have some common language. I’ve already started to look into the links you’ve provided, to NOW and the theorists you mentioned a few posts ago. Thank you for that, I’m learning a lot. Hopefully this way I can see where you’re coming from. My suggested reading list would be: Kate Bornstein, Audre Lorde, Chris Beasley, and Talal Asad.

                I don’t know what to say, other than, I hear you saying that it’s helpful for you to generalize. But your generalizations are still as offensive to me as if someone argued to you, “I might be using the word “men” only to refer to manly blokes who can press 500 pounds, but that’s because that’s all manhood has ever meant to me… and I don’t think wrestling is civilized, so I reject the idea of men.” That, exactly that broken logic chain, is what I hear, when I read you throwing NOW in my face, when I’ve been trying to tell you that it is completely legitimate for me, myself, my feminism and thus a feminism that it is lax to ignore in your generalizations of “feminism,” to call feminism a trans issue.

                I’m trying to let you know that your generalization of feminism is not helpful for anybody, and the feminisms you’ve chosen to reduce your shorthand to are even argued vehemently against by many of the feminists who will be leading the politics of tomorrow. Is it un-internet of me to ask: please listen and acknowledge?

                • Mark Neil says:

                  I’ll finish responding to the remainder of your post when you answer these two questions:

                  1: What is feminism. In particular, what is feminism to you.

                  2: Why have you focused on my use of feminism despite the similarly monolithic not-monolithic use by other posters. Why is DeLani’s use of feminism to mean ” At its core, it is simply the belief that *men and women should be treated equally in all aspects of life*”?

              • DeLani Bartlette says:

                Wow. I am stunned that it has gotten to the point where simply stating that, despite all the different forms and schools of thought within feminism, the idea of feminism is that men and women should be treated equally, that this statement has become controversial. I had no idea that the divisiveness around feminism had gotten this bad.
                It’s obvious we can’t have any kind of conversation if we can’t even agree on our terms. Since my opinion isn’t welcome anyway, I’m bowing out.

                • The Blurpo says:

                  I dont think somebody is attacking feminism as a personal philosofy, but most of the attacks are against the political and accademic arm of feminism (witch to me at least they are similar to the “good old” politburo from soviet times). The political branche (NOW Vawa ect) who goes strictly against equality and the breaking gender roles; and the accademic who borders on biggotism (male privilege, scroedinger rapist ect). Personally? I think a internal debate in feminism is necessary. Necessary to figure out how and why’s the movement has lost it course and what to do with the politicans (who rappresent the movement) and the accademics (who rappresent the ideological mind).
                  But it has to come from feminist and feminist alone. it has be a internal debate, MRA’s and everybody else have no role in this.

                  The basic tenets of the movement are one thing, how it is used is another.

                • Mark Neil says:

                  “where simply stating that, despite all the different forms and schools of thought within feminism, the idea of feminism is that men and women should be treated equally, that this statement has become controversial. ”

                  The controversy stems for the significant visible representatives of the feminist movement, and many of the internet variety, do not conform to that idea of feminism, but in fact, work against it. How can a movement “be about” something a great segment of it actually works against?

                  The fact you’d rather claim the victim and leave is disappointing, but not unsurprising..

                • David Byron says:

                  Well it’s not hard to show your opinion is false (or at least it wouldn’t be if you stuck around to read responses). You just have to look at some of the most representative work of the movement (in the US) and there’s a lot of sexism in it. Lobbying for anti-male laws for example. Not by “extremists” alone but broadly across the board.

    • DeLani, do you support financial abortion options for men? Just curious.

    • David Byron says:

      You are conflating feminism and gender equality. I’d say they were opposites. At any rate they are not the same thing.

    • Radically Feminine says:

      “That necessarily means men should be allowed to explore and express all parts of their identities and interests, even those not acceptably “manly” enough for our patriarchal culture. Examples include caring for children, being honest about one’s feelings, showing compassion, etc.”

      I agree. And it also means that men should be allowed to explore and express all parts of their identities and interests, even those not acceptably sensitive enough for our feminist culture.

  5. I’m late to the party and have admittedly only skimmed the comments, but this article brings a possibly contentious Tyler Durden quote to mind. “We are a generation of men raised by women. I’m wondering if another woman is the answer we need.”

    It seems that most of the comment threads at GMP on posts such as this one invariably feature an incarnation of the same flawed paradigm: masculinity is something to be contended with/explained/fixed. That is, prejudice bifurcates men into the enlightened and the unenlightened. Given the inherent flaws with that dichotomy, why must the conversation so often revolve around it?

    For those who grew up with more traditional fathers and grandfathers, were they one-dimensional automatons who ignored women and sought to oppress them? Were they instead complex individuals, just as are modern individuals, who simply just weren’t caught up in constructs and defining masculinity from a female perspective? In other words, they could go to a blue collar job in the morning and then change a diaper and take the kids to the pool in the afternoon without worrying about whether or not they were perpetuating stereotypes. Somewhere along the way, though, we as a society collectively decided, for whatever asinine reason, that men had to be one or the other. It’s all about nurture, nature be damned.

    Maybe both instincts are at play and men and women are different. Maybe the truth is a Venn diagram with its concomitant overlap. Accepting both those differences and the overlap is a healthier way to approach the conversation than to categorize men and women into a homogenous mass separated only by our bits and pieces. Otherwise, shouldn’t it be the Good Human Project rather than the Good Men Project?

  6. I don’t think you understood your feminist friend.

    Were the men in the AA group worried about being sexually attracted to and blindly covering up their emotional pain through sex with the other men in that group? If the sexual attraction has nothing to do with the women’s-only groups and the men’s-only groups, why even put those statements side-by-side if fear of attraction has nothing to do with it? Would a gay man maybe have liked to be in a group with other women? If he needed that for recovery, could he then not become a courageous good man among those women? How is sex not involved if men help men and women help women and falling in love is not going to get you sober and there’s an implicit heterosexuality there that yes, does point to women and men making each other equal sex objects in that scenario.

    Also, I don’t think the word “honest” here meant “lying” as an opposite, more like actually having the conversation at all. To say that the crux of the issue is, “This idea that just because men want to have a discussion about manhood on their own terms that they are lying to women about it. ” is the worst sort of militant feminism – and it’s coming out of your mouth, not hers. Having an honest conversation. Doesn’t that mean, in the colloquial sense, having a deep intellectual thoughtful challenging conversation – honest like honest hard work, not honest like not lying? We want to know what masculinity is, and why it’s like that. Why can only “men” talk about that? What about lesbians, trans people, male feminists, and genderqueers? What about everyone who doesn’t have a “male voice” as easily as a biologically male male-identified inmate at Sing Sing? Like it or not, the definitions of manhood, masculinity, and “man” are confusing for everyone, and everyone is gonna want to talk about it.

  7. @Lisa re the comment “The internet is great because how else could you organize 25,000 people per day (which is what we do now — to talk about important issues. How else? Every day? **snip**”

    I think many of us are trying to figure out and learn what happens, we have claims from both sides and people are still trying to go through the proof to see what the problem is exactly. We need to know what the problem is before it can be fixed, that means posting the proof of how feminists dismiss mra’s or men, and the reverse, so that we can all see how to NOT act.

    I’ve posted tips on what I see could help both work together but its up to the people in those groups to work together, I belong to neither group so I can’t do much apart from offer advice n try calm them both down, translate where I can. One of the most important things that has happened is that quite a few of the feminists here have acknowledged the bad, and acknowledged the experiences of some of us non-feminists, it has helped to restore my faith and hopefully faith in others. I would say the same for the MRA’s except I’m not exactly sure who self-identifies as MRA here, far more women identify as feminist than men identify as MRA here.

    • Lisa Hickey says:

      Archy — I do see you doing a LOT of that — and I’ve seen you defending us on *other* sites. Which is great. But I’d love to see you write more articles. You’re always on here. You have a *great* voice. I read almost everything you write. I’ve seen you change over the past few months — amazingly — in your thoughtfulness, your understanding and your ability to see both sides. In fact I’ve seen *everyone* on this thread learn and grow together.

      So it just pains me when I see arguments where people just try to defend their position at all costs. (That sentence is directed to NO ONE in particular.) I just see it over and over again — the cliched definition of insanity. I just wish someone would say “Hey [INSERT NAME HERE] why don’t we work together to try to solve the real issue. It’s too hard for me to do alone.”

      Just once.

      • Life hit me pretty hard with the cancer recovery, well mainly the tiredness that followed it. My stamina and also my mental focus has been terrible for 2 months but I’ll try write something once I repair fully. Yeah I defend on other sites because I believe in this one and hate seeing people skim comments or see 1 article and assume the entire site is represented by it, I LOVE the fact that there’s so many different views and opinions here and I think on other sites people assume that if you post an article (like the female privilege one) that the site editors/owners/etc truly believe it and that it reflects the site’s mission.

        Part of why I haven’t said “Hey [INSERT NAME HERE] why don’t we work together to try to solve the real issue. It’s too hard for me to do alone.” is because my life atm is too unpredictable for any major work like that, but also I view these comments and discussions as part of that change. If you read the comment by KKZ in how she learned a lot here then you’ll know what I mean, she adapted her way slightly and I believe the discussions she has are less volatile. I myself adapted mine, and try to get others to adapt their’s and I think that’s part of how to bring about that change. A good example would be talking about male abuse without mentioning women get it worse, that stops an entire line of arguing.

        Part of the way I look at life is to try avoid thinking I am right, and to keep an evolving view of the world. My opinions are just that, opinions, my position could be hella wrong, or someone else’s position might be different to mine and we’re both right in our own way. I don’t like seeing others as wrong, I try to view them as having a different experience. The other part of my compassion was help from a counselor who taught me the power of empathy, made me realize it’s not a shameful thing to have but it’s actually quite powerful. And to be a man and let that empathy grow, to realize mine and others emotions and why we feel the way we do is something that is pretty rare in men, especially to do so openly. I just hope more men and women can learn to nurture and grow their empathy.

        So folks, how do we solve these issues?

  8. William says:

    You can be apart of a group but still have different thoughts & idea, and different ways to go about advancing them.
    When a someone tells me what Feminism is about, i see it as THEIR view of Feminism.

    A major problem is the refusal to acknowledge that some thoughts & ideas of Feminist are harming men.

  9. Anthony Zarat, if you are reading, I am curious. Do you self-identify as MRA?

  10. @ Danny from wayyy above

    “Actually this happens at MenRights Reddit. It’s happening right in there with the anti-woman sentiment. But for some odd reason when feminists talk about that reddit only the negative exists.

    No mention about supporting the Brian Banks documentary, or giving props to that single fathers groups in Japan, pointing out true double standards in the realm of gender….no somehow only the negative things can be found.”
    To be fair are the MRA’s talking about the positives feminist brings much? But yeah the focus on negative in both camps is annoying and causes so much heat. But controversy is more fun to read vs good stuff right?

    • To be fair are the MRA’s talking about the positives feminist brings much?
      A fair point.

      But yeah the focus on negative in both camps is annoying and causes so much heat. But controversy is more fun to read vs good stuff right?
      Basically. And not only is it more fun to read but it gets more hits.

      • Mark Neil says:

        My problem regarding these types of arguments are twofold. First: If feminism was doing what it claims to do, there wouldn’t be a men’s rights movement, or at least, nothing worth mentioning. If the equality for all was apparent in mainstream feminist actions, there would be no complaints about feminism from the MRM for their failure to live up to their claims. Second: When I first began discussing men’s issues, I didn’t identify as MRA, I identified as egalitarian, and I wasn’t anti-feminist. But I could not raise a men’s issue in any form without being attacked and/or marginalized by people (men and women) who DID identify as feminists (manboobz included. You know, the source for most feminist (and SPLC) ideas of the MRM). So not only did feminism fail to live up to what they claimed to do, they denied others from doing it themselves. And if a movement attacks and denegrates, while claiming the moral highground, another movement attempting to address social and political wrongs, what is this other movement supposed to do? The answer is, demonstrate that moral highground is misplaced. Feminism brought the negativity onto themselves. Perhaps the MRM in general took to it a bit too easily, perhaps a bit too enthusiastically, but it was required, and still is until mainstream feminism acknowledges their failures and accepts the need for a men’s movement that ISN”T feminist controled (because they’ve proven they can not be trusted with it, through 50 years of failure and outward opposition. This is why I support iFeminism. They are precisely what I describe here).

  11. “I’m just going to comment on the above…first with pointing out that feminists DO critique feminism…all the flipping time. For goodness sake, that’s been going on since first-wave feminists with women’s suffrage. The suffragettes critiqued each other 10 ways till Sunday…and they weren’t even always nice about it.”

    I realize they call them out, but I’m not sure it’s enough. I’ve NEVER seen a feminist critique apart from here of the way they interact with MRA’s or how they marginilize men’s issues on topics like rape, abuse, etc. I’ve seen many comments detailing annoyance of feminists who don’t speak up against some of the stuff the extremists say, the treatment of men or male issues in feminist spaces, feminists calling out other feminists who use “male privilege”, and other terms in a silencing or marginalizing way.

    “And, as I’ve said to others, point me to MRA spaces that aren’t misogynist. So far I’ve got Warren Farrell and Glen Sacks…I haven’t checked either of those out but okay I’ll go on faith that they’re both not anti-women. Any MRA space I’ve seen, however, has actually been anti-women…or at the very very least unknowingly misogynist. ”

    Quite frankly I don’t actually know a single space that specifically calls itself MRA, just spaces where mra’s comment, this site included. I know spaces that are masculist but do you include masculist or even just any advocacy for men as mra? Because NSWATM would be MRA, since they advocate for male rights don’t they? The GMP is another. I consider both to be apart of the male rights movement since they both address male rights, and funnily enough I think you can be feminist and in the MRM just like I see mra’s advocating for female rights.

    Many feminist spaces I’ve seen have been unkowningly misandric, I don’t think I know of any atm that are 100% free from misandry. Do you mean in the articles or the comment sections?

    “Some general statements are actually true…such as that feminism has largely excluded non-white non-middle class women until fairly recently. That’s a general critique of feminism and it’s true. So please, tell me of the MRA spaces out there that prove the general critique that the MRM is largely misogynist untrue. And also, please, while you’re at it show me the places where MRAs critique each other and that critique is met with rational discussion and not name-calling.”

    The MRM still seems to be quite unknown, hard to find a lot of it. The was a recent article that told of organizations that advocated for male rights that I never heard before, the article states much has been left out of history. I think there are 100+ feminist sites for every 1 mra site, and I am unsure of which sites are specifically MRA so I can’t say for sure which is which. I mostly see comments that self-identify spefically as MRA.

    I need some clarification, when people say MRA are they saying anyone involved in the advocacy of male rights, basically mra=masculist? or is it a specific group? And when peopel talk of the male rights movement, is there a specific group or does it include anyone that advocates for male rights/issues? The terminology might have me thinking of people that you are not, n vice versa.

    “Also, there’s this, I have yet to read any critique of feminism from self-identified MRAs that actually understood feminism as it is today. (Perhaps Warren Farrell and Glen Sacks do this, I do not know as I have yet to read them). But that is also what is so frustrating. You want to critique feminism? Fine…but make sure you understand it first.”
    I think much of it is actually criticizing a certain part of feminism, and much of it is criticizing certain feminists who have a loud voice. And then when you see other feminists fail to call out these few feminists with a loud voice, it gives the impression that feminists have read/heard them, and either don’t care or don’t agree.

    I’ll comment further when I get more clarity of what an MRA is, my understanding it’s simply someone who advocates for male rights and uses the label. I think there are actually a lot of people who do stuff for MRA/the MRM but don’t identify specifically as MRA, many of whom are even self-identified feminists, and even many who don’t label themselves but do MRA and feminist stuff. Confusing? You betcha.

  12. @John, you have a site and or blog?

  13. Tom a courageous article and well said. If what you are saying is that male dialogue and sharing a male narrative can happen exclusive of feminism I whole heatedly agree. In fact I believe it is imperative. For men to see the landscape of masculinity as defined by men that experience it, is to survey the potentials for understanding and changing it personally.

    Much like the women’s movement in the sixties and seventies it was about education and self awareness for women. Men for the most part were excluded from that political development. I myself remember often being called a male chauvinist pig for even having an opinion. I believe the same needs to happen for men within male consciousness.

    I’m operating from the perspective that what you refer to as a “good man” also possesses the ability to carry that definition into the social sphere as a recognizable feature. It is difficult for a man who sees himself as “good” to express or enjoy the fulfillment that it may offer when it is socially unrecognizable.

    In my opinion there is two ways to gain parity politically and achieving that will help to define what you refer to as the “good man”. The first is to radicalize men’s issues which seems necessary to gain traction politically. The other is to remove competing ideologies from the discussion of the male narrative. Politicize that narrative once formed and engage in activism collectively as men.

    To radicalize the MRM is to attack the feminine construct of consciousness directly, similiar to the efforts of feminism towards men, (woman-bashing) which I believe is unnecessary and would potentially set us all back 200 years. That’s not to say there is a lack of will to do it. I think most fail to see that a MRM is in fact a response to feminism and feminism alone. I believe the dialogue with feminism is over, every step forward from here will see feminism diminished to the point of extinction in the public sphere.

    It’s all about parity now. Feminism must deliver equality to a male consciousness or fail in very dramatic ways.

    If being a “good man” requires the prefix of “feminism” men simply won’t buy it and the fight will be much longer and much more socially damaging. The gender war has already spilled onto children with profound impact. A new generation of boys fathered by older brothers and outlier males will not make themselves available for political dialogue with feminists.

    We have a fatherless man in the white house, his sympathy towards a feminist narrative only exists by the ability of his mother to influence his understanding of that narrative. Remove that and replace it with a hostility to the narrative and women will lose in ten years every gain they have made in fifty. This man in the white house today had no access to the body of male perception now available on the internet. Tomorrows president will certainly not grow up in a vacuum of the past.

    The narrative of masculinity requires us as men to breach all borders and all barriers. We need to hear from the homeless, the imprisoned, the depressed, the institutionalized, the disenfranchised, the fathers with and without families, the soldiers, the injured on our behalf. We need to know how and we need to know why. Then we need to change it inside so we can change it outside. IMO

    If you or anyone would like to save feminism, best start saving men.

  14. Wow, this thread really proves Tom’s point.

  15. I’m not sure how much longer I can commit to following this thread, but I do want to say that it has been an enriching experience to engage in this discussion. There are definitely several things that came up that I still do not agree with, but contrarily I heard a lot of things that resonated and that will influence my future conversations about equality. Thank you to all who shared your feelings and your stories.

    • It’s a lot to take in Kacey. Most feminists new to this thread assume that anybody opposed to feminism must be an evil brute.

      The story of the male side and the anti-male advocacy of (some) feminists rarely gets talked about in most feminist spheres I have encountered.

      Thanks for keeping an open mind, asking questions and seriously contemplating things from the male point of view.

      • “Thanks for keeping an open mind, asking questions and seriously contemplating things from the male point of view.”

        A male point of view. A male point of view. Or alternatively: male points of view. There is no single male point of view…just as there is no single female point of view.

        “Most feminists new to this thread assume that anybody opposed to feminism must be an evil brute.”

        Also, I’d argue that from what I’ve seen most feminists who are at GMP assume that men who are opposed to feminism just don’t really understand feminism all that well.

        • Well, of course I don’t mean that I singular own the male point of view. However, if I were having a face to face conversation with a woman, I would be the one more uniquely positioned to talk about the issues and benefits of being male. That is all I meant.

          “Also, I’d argue that from what I’ve seen most feminists who are at GMP assume that men who are opposed to feminism just don’t really understand feminism all that well.”

          Once again this goes back to the discussion of how you weigh the merits of feminism. By the theories in academic feminism (that gets advocated in *very* selective fashion by lobbying feminist orgs), by the content of it’s membership (who are private citizens of which we can’t possibly know the 50 million hearts that are involve), or by the advocacy?

          When I say that I am against feminism I mean it. The reason is that very nearly every single law born of feminist advocacy that specifically deals with men is a negative law that actually *entrenches* traditional gender norms. I will not join an organization that (some leaders *unopposed* and even *congratulated* by it’s members) has picked a fight with me for no better reason that I have the wrong genitals.

          I’m sorry, but the movement has to clean itself up, and oust the man-haters from positions of power.

          • My point is that, many of us MRA’s understand feminist *theory* fine. But, when that theory gets applied in a “boots on the ground” sense it is not anything remotely an egalitarian result.

            Communism sounds good too, but when the theory gets applied you have Stalin’s great purge.
            It is not my understanding that is lacking, but the majority of silent feminists who refuse to oust the haters under their banner. Systems may be perfect but they are executed by people who are very fallible. I can understand and forgive that some leaders in feminism might be bad apples.

            What I can’t forgive is the total lack of an outcry about the noble feminism banner being used as a tool of oppression against men for the last 20 years or so. It’s the lack of *response* that is inexcusable. When Germaine Greer can state that she likes looking at pictures of “nude boys–not shaved young men mind you but nude boys” and still remain a heralded figure in feminism, then something is fucked up. Some feminist advocates need to push past their comfort zone and speak the hell up.

    • Mark Neil says:

      Thank you Kacey for participating. I hope you stick around GMP, Sorry if I came off a little strong. As John D stated, you seem very open minded, and I think a place like GMP, where you can hear from both sides, will be of benefit to you.

      Again, I recommend girlWriteWhat on youtube. about a dozen 20-30 minute videos introducing men’s issues and she does so in an informative to newcomers kind of way.

  16. John D., You said:

    “My problem is that the theory of “male privilege” washes out relevant history which is overbriming with tales of male disposability (in other words both sexes were objectified, but at least women were treated as treasured objects that shouldn’t be risked in cavalier ways, while men were treated as blunt hammers that could and should be used until broken. When that man was broken with ptsd, injury, or death f*ck it there was a million more where he came from).”

    I really get this. Thank you.

    • Just so you know:
      My grandfather on my mothers side won two silver stars (he was a medic) for pulling guys out of heavy fire in WWII. He was abused by my grandmother (she once emasculated him in front of a woman who gave him free day old donuts because she felt bad for him because he had 8 kids to feed). She accused the woman of trying to seduce my grandfather and basically totally emasculated him. There is also a time where she pushed him down a flight of stairs.

      My father was drafted into vietnam and came back with severe ptsd. I lost all contact with him as he was unhealthy to be around. I learned 2 years ago that he had been homeless the past 8 years and died (along with another man) when his shanty in the wildlife preserve burned up.

      Quite frankly, I am totally sick of hearing about the myth of “male privilege”.

  17. And THIS is why we need our own space to discuss.

    Imagine women’s problems as apples and men’s problems as oranges. Now, you get apple worms, and that’s cool! Might wanna go talk to some apple farmers about that. I get orange molds, so I should probably talk to the orange farmer.

    The problem is that some people (women AND men) have decided that apples are either the best or the only type of fruit out there.

    I’d try to get into the specifics you’ve brought up, but that’s frankly completely unproductive. There’s no point to suggesting to someone that their views might be incomplete if they’ve already made up their minds. You can act like you’re arguing facts all you like, but really you’re not. You’re arguing the basic principle that mens’ rights issues are less important in in the “social advancement” of our society at this point in time than womens’ are. So long as you’re coming from that basic premise, you probably shouldn’t take part in discussions focusing on unpacking that cultural narrative. You just don’t have the tools (i.e. life experiences) necessary to constructively participate.

    • “There’s no point to suggesting to someone that their views might be incomplete if they’ve already made up their minds.”

      Ah, but…that applies in reverse too then. Would not discussing men’s issues as if they exist in a vacuum outside of women’s issues also end up resulting in an incomplete picture? We aren’t living in separate worlds with separate problems. We all interact with each other all the time…our issues are interconnected. Ozy’s Law: for every crap stereotype about one gender, there’s an equal and opposite crap stereotype about the other gender.

      • @Heather … You said ” We all interact with each other all the time…our issues are interconnected. Ozy’s Law: for every crap stereotype about one gender, there’s an equal and opposite crap stereotype about the other gender.” The difference is that the crap steriotype of males is siocially acceptable in todays society. In addition, main stream feminism adds fuel to the fire through their campaign efforts against men.

        • Your statement is false Tom. It’s absolutely false. Mainstream feminism does NOT add “fuel to the fire” through “campaign efforts against men.” Mainstream feminism doesn’t, actually, campaign against men. FFS, much of they time they’re campaigning FOR men. Hello paternity leave and an attempt to get women as part of selective service!

          • Not sure if they’re mainstream or not but some feminists in Australia are trying to push gendered domestic violence laws “the plan” which I’d say is against men, at least from what I’ve seen of it genderizing it and leaving men up shits creek without a paddle for help.

            I think from what I’ve seen and heard that Feminism mostly just campaigns for women and much the stuff where men are harmed is because they were left out. Is it possible though MSF campaigns both for and against men? Someone talked about NOW campaigning against men getting recovery jobs, shovel ready jobs, even though it benefitted women it still was against men. When were there attempts to get women apart of selective service? EVERY thing I’ve seen on it basically says “we don’t agree with selective service and we wouldn’t advocate to get women put on something like that”.

            • Dunno about Australia enough to comment on that. As for the U.S., I am not saying feminist organizations are stellar at always helping out men. And I’m not even saying they’ve historically been concerned with men’s issues, because they haven’t. I’m saying that now, today, feminist groups have fought for men’s issues, including the draft and paternity leave. They have screwed up when it comes to DV and father’s rights in family courts. But where they’ve screwed up is largely when feminist organizations are unable to recognize where they’re actually adhering to the patriarchy/traditional gender roles. Also, and I can’t emphasize this enough, the people actually making all of these laws aren’t feminists. Yes, feminists have a big lobby…but their influence is still limited.

              “EVERY thing I’ve seen on it basically says “we don’t agree with selective service and we wouldn’t advocate to get women put on something like that”.”

              No. No. Everything from NOW about selective service is like this: we don’t agree with selective service, but since there is selective service, women should be included. Not to mention the constant fight of feminists to include women in combat roles in the military. It’s the Supreme Court that decided that women still weren’t to be included in the draft. There’s not really much left to do after the Supreme Court hears a case and makes a decision.

              http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1356&dat=19810302&id=_mdRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=igYEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3470,684989

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rostker_v._Goldberg

              • But where they’ve screwed up is largely when feminist organizations are unable to recognize where they’re actually adhering to the patriarchy/traditional gender roles.
                Unable to recognize? I’m going to chalk it up to varying mileage but I think an inability to recognize only goes so far. There’s a big dose of active denial, a bigger does than folks are willing to admit.

                Also, and I can’t emphasize this enough, the people actually making all of these laws aren’t feminists. Yes, feminists have a big lobby…but their influence is still limited.
                But at the same time even if those law makers aren’t feminists, feminists still support such actions, when it suits them.

                • Wow that’s just really…cynical and places a lot of negative motivations on people. I mean, “feminist still support such actions, when it suits them,” sounds like there are a bunch of feminists sitting around a table talking about how some law may hurt men and saying, “but it’ll further our cause so we will push for it.” Or talking about how some politician is actually proposing a law that’s really not all that feminist, but saying “oh but women benefit so we’ll support it.”

                  It’s not some conspiracy, or even an active attempt to push their agenda at any cost. For goodness sake.

                  • Mark Neil says:

                    ” I mean, “feminist still support such actions, when it suits them,” sounds like there are a bunch of feminists sitting around a table talking about how some law may hurt men and saying, “but it’ll further our cause so we will push for it.””

                    I’m curious then, how does NOW come to decisions about what and when they send out action alerts, or which politicians and/or policies they wish to openly support, if they aren’t sitting around a table discussing it in terms of how it will and won’t benefit women? I think we have already demonstrated quick clearly they have no problems opposing issues that benefit men, even when those benefits would lead to greater equality in the family sphere.

                    “It’s not some conspiracy, or even an active attempt to push their agenda at any cost. For goodness sake.”

                    No. It’s a business. A business of pushing women’s issues to the forefront of the government trough. You’re welcome to prove me wrong. Something you’ve been demanding of others, but have done little of yourself.

                  • Wow that’s just really…cynical and places a lot of negative motivations on people. I mean, “feminist still support such actions, when it suits them,” sounds like there are a bunch of feminists sitting around a table talking about how some law may hurt men and saying, “but it’ll further our cause so we will push for it.” Or talking about how some politician is actually proposing a law that’s really not all that feminist, but saying “oh but women benefit so we’ll support it.”

                    It’s not some conspiracy, or even an active attempt to push their agenda at any cost. For goodness sake.

                    Actually let me say that a different way.

                    “feminist have no problems with such actions, when it suits them,”

                    Sometimes its active, sometimes it passive. But yes Heather it does happen.

                    And as for placing negative motivations while sometimes I am guilty of that via my cynicism, that cynicism didn’t just come from nowhere. It came from seeing such negative motivations in practice.

              • RE: NOW, Ah ok. Guess they’re unable to do much now?

                “I’m saying that now, today, feminist groups have fought for men’s issues, including the draft and paternity leave.”
                Just to clarify, do you mean some feminist groups or all? Or all the major ones?

                Also has anyone got a list, side by side of all feminist groups and all mra/masculists groups? I have a feeling that the fathers groups could be classified as egal feminist in action, as in they help both genders. Also because feminism has multiple meanings, a list stating if they are gynocentric or egalitarian would be good, as in do they only advocate for women, or both men and women. I’ve heard F&F is egalitarian with a androcentric focus usually? Slutwalk seems to be gynocentric focused but egalitarian at times too. NOW from what I know is gynocentric only?

                • “RE: NOW, Ah ok. Guess they’re unable to do much now?”

                  Unless someone comes up with some new case or argument that the Supreme Court is willing to actually hear, yeah there’s not really anything that can be done. And that’s not likely, particularly because no one is expecting the draft to be reinstated. As for women in combat, I know that feminist organizations (I don’t know which ones exactly) are currently working to make it so women can occupy all the same positions that men do in the military.

                  As for the list…I don’t know of any list, but there’s a problem with what you’re asking. Would you only put self-identified feminist and MRA groups on the list? Would you separate MRA from masculist groups? Who gets to decide whether something is gynocentric or egalitarian? Such a list would be far too subjective. For example, I would argue that NOW has a reputation for being gynocentric, but if you look at it, that isn’t always the case.

                  • Hmm, yeah that could be a problem. The labels are subjective and mean different things to different people. Personally I think there are a lot of MRA’s but not many actually identify as MRA, possibly because they see how quite a few feminists in particular talk about them and don’t want to be thought of like that. Same in reverse too, it’s why I don’t label as an MRA + feminist even though I do MRA and feminist stuff.

                    • MRA/MRM has a very specific meaning, really. Men’s rights have been discussed and examined for quite awhile, but the MRM itself is a largely internet-based group of people that does not include everyone who is actually fighting for men’s issues. The Men’s Movement and masculists (from what I understand of the term) are not necessarily synonymous with the MRM/MRAs. In fact, I’d argue a lot of MRA writing I’ve seen is very much not masculist (insofar as masculism is about removing the traditional gender norms which are detrimental to men). A lot of MRA stuff I’ve seen is actually espousing some pretty gender essentialist ideas about what it means to be a ‘man’ and ‘woman.’

                      So suggesting that a lot of MRAs are out there that don’t identify as MRA is as problematic as suggesting there are a lot of feminists out there who don’t identify as feminist. I am all about self-identification so I say that what someone wants to identify as is more important that what they’re perceived as. However, if you want to argue there may be some people out there who agree with MRM (or masculist) or feminist ideas, and yet don’t identify as such, that can be accurate.

              • For one thing, they are not “fighting” anything about the draft. No campaign but simply a position. The NOW convention ???? For men’s rights? “Hundreds of women’s rights activists and supporters from every corner of the nation will converge in Baltimore, Md., this weekend, June 29 – July 1, at the National Organization for Women annual conference. This year’s conference, entitled “Energize! Organize! Stop the War on Women,” “”Today, more than ever, we are fighting for issues that are critical to the well-being of women and their families,” said NOW President Terry O’Neill. “It’s time to strategize for the 2012 elections, and stress how important it is to elect women (and men) who will champion women’s rights.” ….. Go to the NOW site and see their key issues …. And NOW DOES represent women in this country, NOW does represent what feminism was and IS.

  18. Alberich says:

    As the Good Men Project is not a feminist space, introducing feminism into it can have unwanted effects.
    I have seen the following pattern of discussion:

    – Good man Gunther tells a story from his life
    – Feminist Kriemhild interprets it using a concept like “male privilege”
    – The Grim Hagen challenges claim of the existence of male privilege using some statistics
    – Kriemhild and Hagen argue about male privilege leaving Gunther’s story behind

    As I see it, the problems are.

    1. Kriemhild interpretation presumes the existence of male privilege and not everybody here agrees that male privilege exists. To have a meaningful discussion people should refrain from presuming things that are not generally accepted as true.
    2. The language Kriemhild uses is not common English. The usual understanding of the word privilege is quite from feminist usage. To have a meaningful discussion one should rather use a common language ( like regular English)
    3.Hagen starts arguing about the general case, but the general case usually tells us pretty little about one concrete case, because the general case is studied by statistics and hence exclusion of exceptions. Leaving the topic of the discussion is not helpful.

  19. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    I did have a thought inspired by a conversation on another board. I wonder if part of the issue is that we expect men to become more like women, when the opposite might be more appropriate. Women’s culture, including parts of feminism, can be passive-aggressive, judgemental, and controling. Much of the “scolding” on this site has come from women. It’s probably clear that I personally don’t agree with much of it. I’d say that I’m libertarian on the personal level, but socialist at the corporate level. The libertarian in me would like to end moralizing control of non-harmful behavior of individuals. So, why not promote more autonomy for women, but stop trying to make men sensitive, etc. I don’t think women should be Ayn Rands (scary,) but maybe we’re getting it backward.

    • “I did have a thought inspired by a conversation on another board. I wonder if part of the issue is that we expect men to become more like women, when the opposite might be more appropriate.”

      Um, no. I’d argue there isn’t really “women’s culture” and “men’s culture,” anyway. There are mainstream cultural norms that prescribe behaviour for men and women…and some of the behaviour prescribed for men is objectively positive, and some that is prescribed for women is objectively positive. A lot of the problem is the “prescribed” aspect, so that anyone who doesn’t conform to their gender ends up totally screwed over.

      It’s not that “men should be” more sensitive…it’s that men should be able to be more sensitive without ridicule. There is a difference.

      • Hank Vandenburgh says:

        Actually there are somewhat different biological templates underlying both mens and womens behavior. And it’s demonstrable. I think the mistake the ev-psych people make is believing everything is a reflex of this.

      • The Blurpo says:

        “It’s not that “men should be” more sensitive…it’s that men should be able to be more sensitive without ridicule. There is a difference.”

        thats also the way as I understand it. It’s about having a choice and being able to carrying it out without social stigma.

  20. I don’t think women’s suffereage has any relevence in the debate anymore. There probably aren’t that many white women alive who have never had the ability to vote.

    Besides, Feminist women keep telling me the Draft isn’t particularly relevent, despite the fact the draft is a lot more recent the female sufferage, I still had to fill out a draft card at 18 (and they didn’t) and a draft being reinstated is far more likely then women losing the ability to vote

    • I’d say the draft is relevant in the way it intersects with how women still aren’t able to hold “combat positions.” But yes, I do get what you’re saying about voting…it’s not relevant until someone jumps in and says something about how women shouldn’t have ever been given the vote because…whatever sexist reason they come up with.

      Mind, it’s still important to understand the history of suffrage (all suffrage), I think. So if someone is discussing it inaccurately, it’s worth making sure all the facts are understood.

    • Selective service is still around, and there are a lot of penalties for men not to fill them out when he turns 18.

  21. Making good man is as much feminist issue as supporting vegetarianism be an issue for butcher’s association. Feminism thrives on raising false alarms and demonizing men as oppressors of women. They have no interest in helping any man, good or otherwise. Their usual complaint is that men have oppressed women in the past and so on. But can any unbiased person claim that men have not sweat and bled for their womenfolk. Where is the gratitude?? Feminism is a creation of bored upper class women who had nothing better to do.

  22. Kirsten (in MT) says:

    The bond I felt in those rooms was palpable. It wasn’t anything like the way I saw men portrayed on TV or in the media. These were total strangers who had every right to hate me but instead, loved me unconditionally. They taught me how to take responsibility for my actions, how to tell the truth, and how to stay sober. They taught me to aspire to a completely different kind of goodness than I had ever contemplated in my prior shadowy world of immobilizing fear and quick fixes. They taught me the courage to look deep inside for the answers, to help another man no matter what, and feel my emotions.

    Could any of that have happened if women had been in the room with us? Absolutely not.

    Why couldn’t any of that have happened if women had been in the room?

    • I’ll agree that it’s probably not the case that it “absolutely” couldn’t have happened with women in the room… but why is it so easy for women to believe that women act differently and speak differently when men are around yet apparently it’s unfathomable to believe that men might be the same way when women are around?

      • Well I’ll hop in here and say I think it’s silly either way. Maybe it’s because I’m queer…and a feminist…and a liberal…an archaeologist/anthropologist…and I dunno, some other category of something…but I tend to purposefully be aware of whether I’m treating someone differently based on their gender/ethnicity/whatever, and then cut it the heck out and treat them like individuals. This includes when I’m in a group.

        On second thought, maybe it’s because I understand that gender is a social construct.

        • -On second thought, maybe it’s because I understand that gender is a “social construct”.

          If you only knew the POWER of a Uterus…

        • @Heather …. recognizing a gender, ethnicity or whatever IS recognizing that persons individuality. I’m a guy and I don’t want you to treat me like a women. Your purposely treating me the same is an insult, I’m a guy and what’s wrong with that? After 38 years of marriage, I still have to remind my wife that I’m her husband, not her girlfriend.

          One of the areas clinicians are educated on is the differences in cultures, genders and ages. Specific training is done in these areas so that we can better work with clients. I think that because you try so hard to be “fair,” your actually doing people wrong by not seeing their gender, age, ethnicity or whatever. But then again, you yourself did that which you claim not to do with others. You pointed out that you’re “queer.” So you want to be recognized as who you are, “gay” but feel you should ignore the fact that men are men, women are women and behaviors may be different? You even went further to qualify yourself as a feminist and a liberal? Basically, you contradicted yourself.

          • What does it mean to be “treated like a woman”? What does it mean to be “treated like a man”?

            • Yeah, no offense Tom but you lost me on that one. Ideally, everybody should be treated with respect, unless they’ve given you a reason not to treat them with respect.

              • @John …. that’s okay. Things are kinda crazy in here. I was responding to what Heather was saying …..”Well I’ll hop in here and say I think it’s silly either way. Maybe it’s because I’m queer…and a feminist…and a liberal…an archaeologist/anthropologist…and I dunno, some other category of something…but I tend to purposefully be aware of whether I’m treating someone differently based on their gender/ethnicity/whatever, and then cut it the heck out and treat them like individuals. This includes when I’m in a group.”

                I was simply explaining that all these things makes them individuals and by ignoring them, you in turn are not respecting them as the individual.

            • “What does it mean to be “treated like a woman”? What does it mean to be “treated like a man”?”

              I would imagine ‘being anything’ would deal with fitting into a grouping of culturally expected behaviors.

              What does it mean to be Goth?
              What does it mean to be Emo?

              If being goth is a subculture then being a ‘man’ or a ‘woman’ would be aligning yourself with the traditions and expectation of that (Main)culture.

              Several articles on this site talk about how the cultural narrative of being a man or woman are starting to blur/shift and as a culture America seems to be in a constant cycle of attempting to redefine what it means to be a man or a woman.

              Here is an example (rough) of what I would imagine an aspect of “Man” culture would be.
              If an individual who identifies as a ‘Man’ were to receive a purse from his wife for a birthday gift this could be taken as an insult against the identity that individual has assumed. Ideally, when the wife married that individual she was aware of his identity.

              Example 2 changing Man culture.
              A while back several men of various age groups began shopping more often for their looks, buying earrings and sporting makeup. Because this was not typically “Man” behavior it was given a subculture title of metro-sexual. However, because a large part of the younger male generation joined in this behavior the term metro-sexual is quickly disappearing and it is becoming part of (Main)culture.

              Much of this site is to debate what part of “man”(masculine) culture should remain or be tossed out and I have no problem with objections to an aspect of masculine culture.

              However, ill be honest, I personally would not like to see a culture where no expectations could be made based on any sort of main culture.

              If women at a party were looking for Men to date and I walked in with a purse and that immediately removed me from their list of possibles even though I am heterosexual I would be completely okay with that.

              • @Bobby …. expanding the existing man cuture is different then denying men aspects of their existing culture because it “appears” wrong to the softer male. Metrosexuals were praised where the beer swigging log cutters are still mocked and percieved as idiots.

    • It’s hard to admit weakness, ESPECIALLY in front of the gender you are attracted to, at least I feel that’s the way for men. We want to be seen as strong, stoic, confident, so I guess it’s fear on how women will judge us.

      Sometimes it’s just the fact those men go through a similar experience to ours more so than a woman would, so it may feel awkward with a woman in the room?

    • @Kirsten … because there would be womenin the room. Why is that so hard to accept?

  23. Poester99 says:

    Something else that came to me from a few of the testimonials is that men who hate others tend to have no love for or even hate themselves and their group first. Women, being a subset of “others” would be hated too and thus misogyny.
    That might be why the man up, be a man strategy to “fix” lost men doesn’t work, it’s missing the point.

  24. Tom Matlack is the hero Gotham deserves.

  25. Tom, this article resonates almost TOO much. It will come as a harsh reality to some that consider themselves above the discussion.

    I am actually at a lose for words, as everything was already just said by you.

    Paul

  26. Tom …. as usual you hit the nail on the head. I think people need to read the article a few times over to get the full understanding. There is a lot of take in all at once.

    When I started at the residential treatment center where I now work, we had both guys and gals on the unit. Within the first year of my being there, we turned the facility into an all male facility. Amazing how things changed with the guys we worked with. Nonetheless, even as an all male facility, a lot of guys struggle with being open about their lives. Some of these struggles have to do with the fact that the facilitators (counsleors) are female and guys struggle. It’s simply what it is and has nothing to do with feminism … buit maybe it does? Maybe we’re being forced to have to be comfortable with that which we don’t want to be. But then again we’re looked as wron g or bad because we don’t want to bed.

    Thanks Tom for another great article.

  27. Saying that all feminists are essentially “female supremacists” is akin to saying that all men are rapists and mysoginists — it’s simply not true, and we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. I think discussions on the internet are challenging in the sense that everyone has a voice, and often the loudest and most offensive ideals are the ones that bubble to the top. I label myself as a feminist because I am aware of the challenges of existing in the world as a woman that are not present for men. To suggest that this is supremacy doesn’t make sense — women don’t even have equality, so how on earth could we be pushing for supremacy? The Equal Rights Amendment was never ratified. The Paycheck Fairness Act has been repeatedly voted down. Thousands of bills have been introduced across the country over the last year intended to remove a woman’s control over her own reproduction and moral agency. An all-male panel was convened to talk about female contraception, and one woman who spoke out was publicly “slut-shamed.” Women live every day with sexual harassment and the threat of rape and domestic violence (really, the stats on these are shocking). This is why feminism appears to orbit around women. Alleviating these oppressions does not require taking rights away from men. I’m not aware of any legislation that is anti-men’s rights, and it’s hard to sympathize when I live in a world as described above, and when I repeatedly see anti-feminist rhetoric overriding anyone’s desire to address pay inequity, sexualization, and violence. The thing is, women can’t fix these things on our own because in the majority of cases, men are the predators in perpetuating pay inequity, sexualization, and violence against women. This is not to say that all men are predators, because they aren’t; not any more than all feminists hate men or seek supremacy.

    There’s nothing wrong with men having their own space. There are many, many places women can go to have conversations with each other about these things. But that’s because women have created these communities for themselves. There’s no good reason why men can’t have the same, they just need to create it and cultivate it. And in both forums (female-centric and male-centric) there will be trolls. It’s up to the moderators and users to deal with that; trolling isn’t something that is specific to feminist or MRA forums, it plagues pretty much any type of forum you visit on the internet. Even cat forums. Really.

    I follow this site because I like the idea of it, and I feel that one of the issues hindering equality is that men are consistently portrayed horribly by the media. You never hear about the “good men.” There aren’t a lot of great female role models out there either, but women can go to any number of websites and read intelligent and motivating discourse because there are a ton of supports for women online. Instead, the predominant things we see for men are demeaning editorials with titles like “The Demise of Guys” and “The End of Men.” I feel so strongly that boys need to be taught how to have an identity that is not predicated on subjugating women (as I said in my other comment). And they need good examples of what that looks like in order to emulate it and in order to grow into their own self-identity.

    • The Equal Rights Amendment and it’s derivatives have the problematic notion of putting governmental authority in each and every office of a supervisor contemplating on wither or not to promote his or her employees. I’m sure you wont find a shortage of Democrats or Republicans who would consider this an overreach.

      Also modern women single are out earning modern single men, If those men even find work in this more socialized economy.

      • More women are earning degrees, but they are being paid as much as 77% less than their male counterparts. The 2010 census backs this up.

        • Oh lawd, not this crap again. Don’t believe everything you hear in a gender studies class.

          Do you even know where that stat came from? They took EVERY job, averaged the yearly salaries together with no explainations, and spit out that stat.

          Guess what? Working longer hours and taking less leave means you make more money. Shocking, I know.

          • I would appreciate it if you could use a less condescending tone in this conversation; I am trying to be diplomatic and I feel that everything I have said is not only pro-woman, but pro-man. I’m not the enemy, and it’s disappointing that the overwhelming tone of reactions to this topic suggests that somehow men have to relinquish something in order for women to gain something. If you’re clever, you can come up with a million arguments to debunk just about anything you want to, census stats or whatever else, but that doesn’t mean that these things aren’t real. And, as a man, how do you really know? You don’t walk in my shoes anymore than I walk in yours; I am not claiming to understand the male experience nor am I claiming that all men oppress women; the patriarchy is a system, not a person, not people. But, in my personal experience in life, I find it to be true that women and men are treated differently in the workplace. Just because that hasn’t been your experience or the experience of someone you know doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist and that others aren’t up against it. It’s often the case that women can’t work longer hours because they have to take care of their children — 84% of custodial parents are women. I have had personal experience with pay disparity as well.

            • Mark Neil says:

              “It’s often the case that women can’t work longer hours because they have to take care of their children — 84% of custodial parents are women. I have had personal experience with pay disparity as well.”

              Why are feminist groups opposed to fathers rights groups and equal parenting? You can not blame patriarchy for the actions of feminist groups such as NOW and the women’s bar association. Men are actually trying to get more time with their children, I hardly think it’s fair to pretend that women are being burdened by an activity they refuse to give up. And if that is impacting their incomes, then it can not be deemed a result of discrimination, unless you are willing to acknowledge it is a result of discrimination against MEN.

              • I am a feminist and I am not opposed to fathers’ rights or equal parenting, nor did I ever say that or imply it. The patriarchy is another reason fathers’ rights are marginalized. I’m trying to say that the patriarchy is not just about oppressing women, it also oppresses men and just about everything everyone has said in this discussion supports that, yet it still an argument? I’m not really sure where the disagreement is because I feel we’re all talking the same talk. Going back to the stat that 84% of custodial parents are women, I don’t think it’s fair to say it’s an activity they refuse to give up. Why don’t you blame the court systems that reinforce custodial placement discrimination? Dismissing the stat as “women not wanting to give up parenting” is merely conjecture.

                • YOU. AREN’T. LISTENING!

                  You say “why not just blame the courts?” We do. Here’s what happens though; Father’s Rights Groups attempt to change the law, giving men a better chance at equal custody, Next: Feminist lobby groups (like NOW) come along and say “Nah, we don’t like that because… um… Men might, maybe, hypothetically, use that to abuse their kids! We can’t have that (and we will, conveniently, ignore all the ways some women use the current laws to abuse their children)”

                  Courts go: NOW has more political clout then father’s rights groups, we should listen to them.

                  Abd around, and around it goes.

                  • Disagreeing with you doesn’t mean I’m not listening.

                    • no, you actually weren’t listening because you’re choosing to completely ignore the role that feminist groups have played in keeping men from gaining fair custody hearings. You’re also assuming, despite being told to the contrary, that men are only blaming feminism for these things, but as I’ve told you- we aren’t. We’re just not willing to give them a pass on what they HAVE done.

                      You’ve also given no counter arguments that anybody has said to you wrt the feminist role in blocking equal parenting legislature. Apparently, you expect us to believe that feminists “support equal parenting”… because you say they do?

                    • Here’s what I’m saying: I’m a feminist and I support equal parenting, so don’t lump me in with the ones who don’t, and don’t assume that I am either ignoring or supporting the groups that influence legal custody issues simply because I define myself as feminist. You can’t say that groups like NOW represent all feminists or all women any more than you can say that all Republicans are pro-life. I’m not counter-arguing because I am not a part of the subset you’re referring to with regards to male custodial parenting rights. I can only speak to my own experiences and perspectives.

                    • Mark Neil says:

                      Kacey. You may the assertion that women’s wage gap was discrimination, and that part of that discrimination included women “having” to take care of the children. The having to, as opposed to choosing to, is the part I contest. And I point to strong feminist support for giving women that control and near unilateral choice, as example as to why “having to” take care of children is a dishonest assertion. And instead of acknowledging this rather obvious flaw in your assertion, you pretend like what I said was some kind of accusation against you. It’s not, but it is a fact, feminist groups oppose family court reform that would grant fathers a greater share of time with children. Time women could then use to improve their careers and earnings.

                    • Mark, it feels like an accusation because I am not one of the feminists blocking the progress of fathers’ rights. I see the benefits of improving custodial law, and I disagree with those who inhibit it. But I’m still a feminist in the way that I’ve described through all of my comments in this discussion.

                      To clarify my earlier comment that you touched on, in most cases women do have to take care of the children because they aren’t afforded any other options. There is a human they are partly responsible for the creation of that needs to be cared for and if no one else is stepping up to provide care, then what are they supposed to do? (I acknowledge that this ignores the messy, vindictive pawning of children between estranged couples, but that is not a gender issue, it’s a character issue.) I also think the choice primarily rests in whether or not a woman decides to have a baby to begin with (the value of contraception), because she can’t guarantee what the father will do or how he will contribute but it’s coming out of her body which suggests some sort of tethering. Even if everything is very rational and stable, the world is an unpredictable place and things change, and people end up not being who you thought they are, and so on. It’s risky and messy.

                      Also, many people have the expectation that the mother will be the one who is the primary caregiver; I’ve read countless stories from women that assert this and discuss the stunned reaction of their partners when the idea of going to work after childbirth was addressed. No one talks about the correlative struggles of men, and why not? You can’t blame the feminists for that too. I say to my feminist friends all the time that nothing is going to change until our conversations about men change too. I pointed out somewhere else in this discussion the problems with the media failing to portray positive male role models, and continuously bashing men with commentaries like “The End of Men.”

                      I’d be interested in exploring the suppression of men’s rights in light of the gender imbalance in our government, or even deeper than gender and looking at cumulative demographics including sex, education, race, economic status. It’s curious that our systems are male-dominated yet some fundamental feminists have been able to infiltrate in their lobbying against fathers’ rights. Perhaps because these men don’t think you should be at home either? I don’t know… I’m also interested in hearing more about the oppression of men through blue collar labor. Because it’s true — everyone is encouraging women to be scientists these days, not coal miners. All good topics for future discussion.

                    • Mark Neil says:

                      I feel you are being intentionally obtuse, and here is why:

                      “in most cases women do have to take care of the children because they aren’t afforded any other options.”

                      Ignoring the reproductive options women have before a child is even born, to ensure they don’t have to “go it alone” if they don’t want to, one option would be ALLOW THE FATHER TIME WITH HIS CHILDREN. Whou have avoided answering this very simple question for several posts. And you can’t say “because men don’t want that time”, because the plethora of fathers rights groups says otherwise.

                      ” (I acknowledge that this ignores the messy, vindictive pawning of children between estranged couples, but that is not a gender issue, it’s a character issue.)”

                      Convienent that you choose to ignore an option men WANT in order to claim women don’t have any options. Do you not see how this is stacking the deck?

                      I also find it odd you can claim womens CHOICE to monopolize children, and the consequences of that choice on pay, is a “women’s issue”, but men’s lack of choice when it comes to getting time with their children isn’t. Or put another way, you deem domestic violence, which is perpetrated near equaly by both genders, as a Woman’s issues, but child custody and visitation interference, which largely impacts men (in Canada, 90% of mothers have primary custody). You are trying to pick and choose what is discrimination and what isn’t, and you are doing so by gender, not by the situation.

                      ” it feels like an accusation because I am not one of the feminists blocking the progress of fathers’ rights.”

                      Well, no accusation was made against you. Remember that feeling next time you discuss rape and call men rapists.

                      “because she can’t guarantee what the father will do or how he will contribute but it’s coming out of her body which suggests some sort of tethering. ”

                      If she is unsure, then perhaps she shouldn’t have it? It’s not a man’s responsability to pander to women’s choices, regardless of their own will. If she doesn’t know if he wants children or not, well, it’s a little late to be finding that out, don’t you think? But of course, you seem to frame it, once again, as a man’s irresponsability. As if women have no agency over their own

                      “Even if everything is very rational and stable, the world is an unpredictable place and things change”

                      I presume this unpredictableness, these changes, only apply to women, or else your point has no relevance.

                      Ultimately, you are trying to justify claiming women are burdened by their children, despite fathers fighting for their right to time with those “burdensome” children, so that you can call the wage gap discriminatory, and thus, be the victim. And worst, you are doing so by claiming women can’t trust men to be predictable and responsable (do you not see the misandry in that?). I don’t buy it. Yet you are unwilling to acnkowledge the denial of fathers to their children, and children to their fathers is discriminatory.

                      “It’s curious that our systems are male-dominated”

                      I’ll give you a hint. Michelle Obama is not part of the “male-dominated” system. Does she have no influence on how this country is run? Does she hold any responsability should something go wrong? Is it much easier for women to sit back and dictate, and let men do the heavy lifting and take the responsability.

                    • Mark Neil says:

                      “I’d be interested in exploring the suppression of men’s rights in light of the gender imbalance in our government, ”

                      I thought I’d add, GirlWritesWhat on youtube does some very good video’s on men’s issues. She comes highly recommended in the men’s movement. Her video’s are long though (20-30 minutes), so block out the time before digging in.

                • Mark Neil says:

                  “I am a feminist and I am not opposed to fathers’ rights or equal parenting, nor did I ever say that or imply it. ”

                  Not all feminists are like that. There are plenty that do oppose fathers rights, and they have a LOT of influence (and support from family lawyers who are protecting their cash cow because it’s not pollitically incorect to opose men’s rights). So the question remains, if feminists oppose fathers rights (not all feminists, but those opposing them tend to be feminists), where do you get off blaming the patriarchy (are feminists patriarchal stooges?) and claim women are burdened (rather than privileged) with a controlling share of their childrens time? It wasn’t patriarchy that opposed a 10% increase, from 25% to 35%, in the default presumption in divorce cases (to clarify, this means that, when judges designate alloted time, the non-custodial parent (usuaklly the father) is only assured 25% time. Feminists, including NOW (national Organization for Women) opposed increasing this to 35%. Another example is a recent bill that allowed a biological father to petition for parental rights of his biological child, should that child have been born into a marriage between the mother and another man. Again, NOW opposed this. Why? Is NOW really against cheating mothers being able to cut out biological fathers in preference for the more cappable provider? Do you not see this as feminist promotion of men as provider, as well as the establishment of female privilege and control? Is that what equality looks like to you?). Your choice to put the blame on patriarchy instead of acknowledging the feminist role in this kind of opposition is irresponsable. And it is an example of why so many people, men and women alike, oppose feminism. If you are incappable of being self critical, and acknowledging and calling out the elements within your group that work against your alleged interests, especially when it’s pointed out to you, why should we believe you seek honest discussion?

                  “it also oppresses men”

                  Except, when it comes to family court, it is feminism that is maintaining male oppression. Sure, once upon a time the courts ruled as they did due to the alleged patriarchal norms (I reject patriarchy theory as told by feminism, but I’ll play along for the moment), but it is feminism that prompted no fault divorce. It is feminism that promotes male as abusers and men are dangerous to their own children mindsets. It is feminism that opposes concequences for false alligations. And it is feminism that opposes equal outcomes in custody disputes. Not a single one of these was patriarchies doing. Patriarchy may have set the starting point, but feminism has since controlled the flow.

                  “Going back to the stat that 84% of custodial parents are women, I don’t think it’s fair to say it’s an activity they refuse to give up. Why don’t you blame the court systems that reinforce custodial placement discrimination? Dismissing the stat as “women not wanting to give up parenting” is merely conjecture.”

                  1: I do blame the courts. What makes you think I dont. But there are many fathers rights and childrens rights groups promoting 50/50 shared parenting, and it is feminists who oppose these reforms. Why can’t you acknowledge that instead of trying to deflect to “the patriarchy”?

                  2: the courts grant what parents are willing to agree to. Most custody battles never make it to court, but everyone knows how the courts will rule if it does. If women didn’t want control of the children, 50/50 would be far more common (do you really think there are as many fathers rights groups as there are because men don’t want to spend time with their children, or because they are getting their 50% time or better?).

                  3: The vast majority of divorces are filed by women, because they KNOW they will get the house and kids.

                  4: Isn’t your assertion of childcare being a burden (rather than a privilege) nothing more than conjecture? Are you a mother? Any feminist mothers here want to chime in on this? Do you see being primary caregiver to your children as a burden?

                  5: If being primary caretaker is such a burden on women, and men are just chomping at the bit to be given the opportunity, why are feminists opposed to men as caregiver (if you answer only one question, andswer me this.)? Why are so many mothers choosing to revert back to traditional norms as stay at home mothers. Most mothers would choose only to work part time, if given the choice, so they would be available for their children.

              • Lisa Hickey says:

                Mark, this is a REALLY important point, and one that we need to explore in much greater detail on this site. We advocate a great deal for men spending more time with their kids, having a work/life balance, not being viewed as the “provider”, being seen as someone for whom parenting is just as inherently natural it is for women. I haven’t seen a man here who doesn’t wish they could spend more time with their children.

                If I were the lobbying kind of feminist, I’d be spending all my time lobbying for equal parenting and father’s rights *precisely* because that’s the only way we are going to make up any last bit of disparity in pay between men and women, or solve the problem of women not being in top jobs. It seems so obvious to me, I just don’t get why other people don’t see that.

                Thank you for bringing this up, and if you know anyone who would want to write more about it please email me at lisa@goodmenproject.com

                • Mark Neil says:

                  Karen DeCrow also said as much 3 decades ago. She is a feminist I can respect. It’s a shame she stepped down or was removed (I honestly don’t know which) from the head of NOW in the late 70’s. She could have done both men and women… and feminism in general, a whole lot of good.

                  Unfortunately, I’m not much of a writer (if I don’t have some direct quote to respond to, I ramble) and I don’t know many people who are both concerned with men’s rights, and who write. Glen Sacks (formally from) and Robert Franklin from Fathers and Families have written on the topic. Perhaps you could reach out to them?

            • Anthony Deluca says:

              If you present that 77% statistic as proof you should expect hostility.

        • Poester99 says:

          Women that are recent graduates of STEM programs are generally paid more than their male counterparts. This must be discrimination, discuss.

        • Kacey says:
          “More women are earning degrees, but they are being paid as much as 77% less than their male counterparts. The 2010 census backs this up.”

          As DLZ said, the census numbers are deceiving. This is just an aggregate average for all male earnings divided by the number of male earners and comparing that avg earnings to the female avg earnings. It doesn’t control for choices. It doesn’t even control for number of hours worked.

          Here is some good data on earnings, and women’s choices to forego earnings for time at home:

          ht tp://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2015274,00.ht ml

          women outearning men

          ht tp://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/6622521/Harriet-Harmans-costly-Equality-Bill-wont-do-anything-for-women.ht ml

          UK wage gap also caused by women’s choices

          http://www.consad.com/content/reports/Gender%20Wage%20Gap%20Final%20Report.pdf

          The largest ever analysis of the wage gaps shows that the
          actual gap due to not attributable to women’s choices is at most a few
          percentage points. The analysis also shows that, if a more detailed report were
          done analyzing whether women more often took non-pay compensation (like health
          care or daycare) the portion of the gender gap that cannot be explained by
          women’s choices might well be zero.

          ht tp://www.freakonomics.com/2008/05/01/robert-reich-answers-your-labor-questions/

          Even former sec of labor (under Clinton) Robert Reich states
          that the pay gap attributable to direct gender discrimination is at most 5%.

          ht tp://www.abajournal.com/weekly/many_women_lawyers_with_kids_do_as_well_as_the_men_researcher_says

          This study by the American Bar on University of Michigan law
          school grads find it’s not gender, but an attorney’s willingness to put their
          job first which determines pay.

          ht tp://fairmodel.econ.yale.edu/ec483/katz.pdf

          This study was done on the MBA graduates at the University
          of Chicago. It shows gender does not hold women back. Only the choices of
          individuals does. Women tend to take more career interruptions and work shorter
          hours.

          ht tp://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1983185,00.ht ml

          Here is a Time article which quotes a 2004 Women’s Policy
          Research 15year study of college grads. It shows 52% of women go through at
          least one full calendar year with no earnings compared with 16% of men. Fewer
          than half of women had earnings in all 15 years compared with 84% of men. One
          third of women had no earnings in 4 years compared with 5% of men.

          ht tp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/17/AR2009031702941.ht ml

          Here is an article in which the author nails it in terms of
          describing the way we have ignored men’s issues in the constant call to better
          women’s standing (without any regard to see if men were doing bad too).

          ht tp://www.reuters.com/article/2007/11/07/us-boardroom-women-idUSN0752118220071107?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews&rpc=22&sp=true

          Here is a Reuters story regarding a study of 25,000
          corporate bosses stating female CEO’s out-earn male CEO’s despite being an 8 to
          1 minority. This article was not picked up in any U.S. news organizations.

          ht tp://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101026111731.ht m

          Here is an article which reports on several studies on girls
          and women in STEM fields. These studies show there is no gender discrimination
          of any kind. (Links to the right of the article)

          ht tp://www.reuters.com/article/2010/08/05/us-work-couples-productivity-idUSTRE6744A620100805
          New study blasts theory women do more work for the household.

          ht tp://www.adelaidenow.com.au/ipad/mothers-hanker-for-husbands-of-wealth/story-fn6t2xlc-1225985339082

          This article on twin studies of mothers in UK and Australia
          state that “if finances permitted, most would choose to be full-time mothers”. In other words, what you determine to be a
          forced oppression, many women think being a SAHM to be a treasure.

          Jeremy Adam Smith states in his book “Daddy Shift”””Studies consistently show that 80 percent to 90 percent of
          mothers still expect fathers to serve as primary breadwinners (and very few
          will consider supporting a stay-at-home dad). At work, only 7 percent of
          American men have access to paid parental leave, among other structural
          limitations.”

          ht tp://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=7088747&page=1#.TxRL328S0SI

          IN this story, a mom who becomes breadwinner, feels
          disrespect for her husband taking on the mother’s role. If the caring role is the LARGER sacrifice in families, then why did she lose respect for her husband? Shouldn’t she be PROUD of him?

          ht tp://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3318366/Wealth-is-key-for-marriage-study-claims.ht ml
          According to this study, women place a premium on men’s
          wealth.

          ht tp://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/atus_09202005.pd f
          Here is the 2004 Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time
          Use Survey. When all domestic work and paid work is compared men and women work
          equal hours.

          Broken links at start and end to evade spam blocker. It really is about women’s choices, not about managers hating women.

    • Most common anti-male laws I see discussed are…No financial abortion option for men, so only women get to opt out of parenthood after conception, VAWA being genderized and funding issues for males, although this may or may not be fully revised to support men as I think they updated it in 2006 and 2011? Selective service and stuff to do with getting government loans for school if you aren’t on it and you are a man. Those are in the U.S.A mostly, in Australia where I am I don’t think there is any legislation that is genderized or sexist anymore, except maybe issues with abortion’s legal status and lack of financial abortion for men.

      • Archy, thank you. I see a lot of value in the comments you’ve added to the discussion, but I don’t understand where the anti-feminism is coming from.

        • I think on the previous comment page I did a bit of an indepth comment into where the anti-feminism stems from that I see. A lot of it has to do with how SOME feminists treat many of us men who debate this stuff in online spaces, but there also appears to be some dodgy stuff going on with some feminist groups and their advocacy. So feminism gets the negative press by some of the bad folks in the movement, couple that with some of the experiences we’ve had with online feminists (radfems in particular) a sense of anti-feminism grows.

          ht tp://goodmenproject.com/comment-of-the-day/dear-egalitarian-feminists/
          This is a comment I wrote trying to explain where some anti-feminism comes from, it may help you understand it better. It will fit for some peoples experience, and fits mine to a certain degree. I myself am anti-SOMEfeminism, but I totally love egalitarian feminists. It’s just I’ve had bad experiences with some very negative feminists who have acted like egalitarian feminists, saying feminism was for male and female issues, but then getting shitty if you talk about male issues and backtracking saying feminism was for women’s issues only.

          It is stuff that goes on that may not be very visible, but is highly damaging to the reputation of feminism when it can be so common an experience for some of us. When we get shit on by certain feminists it can be easy to feel that is representative of the entire movement, especially if other feminists don’t call out the bad ones on their behaviour. Quite often I see a feminist feel flabbergasted as to why there is anti-feminism, but their version of feminism is usually one that many anti-feminists I’ve seen are ok with, it’s also usually egalitarian-based. Gynocentric feminism tends to stir up the trouble, it can be so confusing when the 2 types of feminism aren’t clearly labelled and men roll into a feminist space thinking it’s egal, talking about male issues then getting hammered because it was gynocentric. Crudely it’s like putting a unisex toilet sign on the women’s toilet, waiting for men to enter then taking it off, yelling at them for being in a woman’s toilet and kicking them out. Confusing as hell and feels like a joke at times!

          • Thanks for the explanation. I openly admit to having been bullied by other feminists more than once; I can see where you’re coming from. I agree that fundamentalism and bullying hurts the movement; unfortunately, that dynamic is present in so many other places, not just feminism — among men, in politics, in religion, in economy. I see some value in the idea of either losing or changing the language of feminism (it is clearly polarizing) but I also don’t know how to make it clear to others where I stand on these issues without labeling myself a feminist. Until there are no longer such obvious constraints around my gender, I will speak up against it. And men need to continue to do the same. I’m a woman and I have to live every day with the things I noted, and it sucks. But me saying it sucks doesn’t mean that I think men have it easy; I’m just speaking to my personal experiences because I have to look at them every day. I feel like the complaints men have about feminists are the same that feminists have about the patriarchy. As long as we keep fighting about this, both genders will continue to be oppressed. We need to acknowledge each others’ obstacles and work together to get rid of them. I think that could start with men recognizing that sexual discrimination exists against women, and for women to recognize the ways the system works in reverse against men. Arguing about the validity of the evidence behind oppression doesn’t mean the oppression doesn’t exist, and it certainly doesn’t make it go away.

            • Mark Neil says:

              ” I think that could start with men recognizing that sexual discrimination exists against women, and for women to recognize the ways the system works in reverse against men.”

              Reread that quote. Can you tell me why your wording can be interpreted as problematic, even marginalizing? I’m leaving for home now, I’ll reply back in a couple hours with the answer.

            • Egalitarian feminist is a label that usually goes down well, basically to separate yourself from the gynocentrics I think would help in people trusting you more. It’s a shit thing but those pesky bad feminists can really do some mega damage to the movement as a whole because they have sooo much power with their voices and interactions, it colours the movement because I think the better feminists tend to be too busy offline in the real world, doing good things but things that aren’t very visible. I’d say many of the mrm are the same but the most vocal fools get the attention.

            • From my experience, nearly all men also face sexual discrimination.

        • John Anderson says:

          Sorry that you feel under attack. Joanna did get some sympathy from people on a companion thread because she recognized that feminism has a dark side, which many feminists don’t see. That’s understandable. We tend to focus on the good things that the movements we join accomplish. Just be aware that when people assume that women are always disadvantaged in every situation, it will sometimes result in people taking actions to prevent equality or to further disadvantage men.

    • Mark Neil says:

      “it’s simply not true, and we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.”

      Like we do with men? You do it yourself later in your post. You see, you are telling us we should not respond to feminists as if they are man haters because not all feminists are like that, but then, later with:

      “The thing is, women can’t fix these things on our own because in the majority of cases, men are the predators in perpetuating pay inequity, sexualization, and violence against women.”

      So tell me, leaving out the hyperbolic “all”, which only a few extremist MRA’s actually use, just as a few radical feminist use regarding men… where do you get off telling us we can’t identify feminists as man haters but feel justified telling us men are predators, particularly in violence against women (see bellow)? You don’t find this hypocritical? You don’t see how this kind of double standard and villainization of men may not be appealing to men? even offensive?

      “To suggest that this is supremacy doesn’t make sense”

      This is an example of the one sided, victim centric lens that is all too common to feminism. You are looking solely at the negatives of women’s lives, the negatives feminism lays claim to. You don’t examine the negatives men endure in comparison (after all, how can you claim woman are oppressed because you can list a few percieved limitations while subsequently dismissing any negatives men endure as self inflicted?), nor the beefits women enjoy.

      “The Equal Rights Amendment was never ratified. The Paycheck Fairness Act has been repeatedly voted down.”

      Equal pay exists in, I believe, three seperate locations within our laws and constitution. The assertion that any pay gap is the result of discrimination is nothing more than unprovable conjecture, and the injection of hostile motives onto men in order to explain a descrepancy that can be explained by alternative means. The gender gap was explained 30 years ago by Thomas Sowell and his explanations continue to be demonstrated in study after study. Worst yet, Obama has actually resorted to outright lying in order to push his equal pay bills. he uses the 77c figure, which is an agregate of all earnings, averaged by gender. He then claims the pay gap is “for the same job”, but it’s not. The 77c figure he uses compares part time fry cooks with fortune 500 CEOs… how is that “the same job”? It’s not, it’s a lie. Were you aware of that fact? Were you aware harriot Harman got scolded by her own govrnment for misrepresenting the same statistic, and she DIDN’t outright lie (just made implications)?

      “Thousands of bills have been introduced across the country over the last year intended to remove a woman’s control over her own reproduction and moral agency”

      You are aware that is a right men don’t have? A right feminists have ardently opposed, insisting men should remain locked into the provider role for women’s benefit? So I’m curious where your sense of equality and social justice gets off complaining about a woman’s right being challenged that men are outright denied? Especially considering, even if you WERE denied it, you’d still have more reproductive rights in the form of abandonment and adoption. So do you really feel you’re justified in claiming men have it better because a right they don’t even have hasn’t been threatened?

      “An all-male panel was convened to talk about female contraception, and one woman who spoke out was publicly “slut-shamed.””

      Please, a little honesty. The discussion was on who pays for it, not it’s use. And a woman that argues she can afford to pay for law school, but can’t afford birth control, wants the school to be forced to pay for it, regardless of the schools moral and religious foundatios…Is sex so much a priority that she can’t afford the time to get a job to pay for her birth control? The time she spends having sex could be spent earning an income, and if it’s actually fairly rare, then the free condoms at the clinic should do. You expect them to be good enough for men after all.

      “Women live every day with sexual harassment and the threat of rape and domestic violence (really, the stats on these are shocking).”

      What’s shocking is that you can point to the stats on women, but seem blissfully unaware of the stats of male victimization that show to be at parity, particularly for the 12 month figures of the CDC study on intimate violence and sexual assault. Would you say having your victimization ignored, even denied, is a pretty oppressive experience that men endure? And this one can’t be blamed on men… this is all feminist doing. Just ask Erin Pizzey

      ” I’m not aware of any legislation that is anti-men’s rights,”

      Have you even looked? have you asked any men? VAWA was originally writen in extremely gendered terms, based off the Duluth model of violence which says men are perpetrators, women are victims. It took 10 years simply to add a disclaimor say “this can not be used to discriminate against men”, but that doesn’t mean men are given the same opportunities. To this day, to get funding for male victim programs, those programs must also provide services to women. The reverse need not be true, except in california, where a lawsuit sueing the government won and forced revisions… for california only. (worst off, the same thing applies to programs that help children. How gynocentric is that?). The Dear collegue letter sent out by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights litterally stripped men of due process rights, as well as a few others. It uses Title IX to justify this. Title IX is a document written in gender neutral language, but executed in a one sided (woman only) manner to blugeon male dominated arena’s of education, regardless of whether they are male dominated due to discrimination or not. Proportionality is used to destroy male athletics, and now is being used to promote more women into STEM fields (but not more men into teaching, nursing or other female dominated fields), despite women already dominating the education scene in a 3:2 ratio. Family court retains a bias against men as well. While there are no laws that state women should get custody, the outcomes are clearly one sided. Worst is, when attempting to change the laws to ensure a default equal standing as a presumption, You know, like the laws that say women should get paid the same, we get feminist opposition stating there is no law that says women get custody more (likewise, no law exists saying women get paid less ether, in fact, quite the opposite. yet we still don’t hear the end of it.). The we can discuss the draft, but I presume I don’t have to, you’re familiar with it? We can then move on to all the women’s counciles and women’s health councils, of which, men have no equivilent…

      Have I made the point?

      “There’s no good reason why men can’t have the same, they just need to create it and cultivate it.”

      Tell that to the men who stirred international attention for daring to “think” about creating a men’s center, and earmarking a budget from the surplus. Research Simon Fraser University.

      “I feel so strongly that boys need to be taught how to have an identity that is not predicated on subjugating women ”

      Do you likewise feel girls should be taught the same thing regarding subjugation of boys? Such as a theater group teaching the scum manifesto? Do you oppose teaching boys to likewise be servantile to girls, a I am sure you are opposed for girls? Have you ever considered that that is what is happening?

      • The thing is, Mark… there are a lot of really depressing stats to back up what I am saying. I’m not trying to demonize you or men, or to discredit your views or identity, but I don’t know how to communicate about this with you without you taking it personal. It’s not — it’s about the system and the collective apathy and acceptance of traditional ideologies of gender. The “man of the house” notion (i.e., the identity predicated on subjugating women I mentioned) is dissipating and being replaced by something much more flexible that is beneficial to both men and women, but I don’t think it’s going away fast enough for any of us. We need to shift the paradigm that for one to have autonomy means that the other cannot also have autonomy. So, while I think it’s important for men to develop individual identities apart from women and that men need their own spaces to do this, I also don’t think that you can exclude women 100% of the time. We coexist, we must find a way to make that work without the other suffering, and we can’t do that if we aren’t communicating with each other.

        And I’m offended that you consider me “blissfully” unaware of male stats. I don’t know male stats because people don’t talk about them. Why not? Really, there’s nothing blissful about any of this.

        • Mark Neil says:

          “there are a lot of really depressing stats to back up what I am saying.”

          Same here. Are you familiar with the findings of the CDC intimate partner violence and sexual assault study (from 2010-11.)? Are you familiar with the fact the summary didn’t acknowledge male victims of ether abuse or sexual assault, despite the findings of previous year parity in both (so long as you compare forced to penetrate to rape, since men can not legally be raped by a woman, based on the definition used or the FBI’s. Do you not think excluding men from even BEING a victim isn’t an example of the system and the collective apathy and acceptance of traditional ideologies of gender. FYI. Feminists played a significant part in creating the FBI’s new definition of rape.)

          “, the identity predicated on subjugating women I mentioned”

          This is an example of the injection of hostile motives where other motives are not only available, but more likely. Let me know if you actually care for me to elaborate.

          “is dissipating and being replaced by something much more flexible that is beneficial to both men and women”

          Actually, it is being replaced, largely, by single motherhood. Is this the “something” you deem beneficial for men? What about for children?

          “I also don’t think that you can exclude women 100% of the time. ”

          Has anyone even suggested as much (be careful here not to inject motive or project your own emotions onto the assertions of others. Saying we need a space without women is not the same as saying we need to remove women entirely from the conversation.)? short of the valary solonas, gendercide types, of course

          “I don’t know male stats because people don’t talk about them.”

          We (MRA’s) do, a lot. Also, don’t you think the fact “people don’t talk about them”, especially given the near parity that DV and sexual assault are currently at, demonstrates a problem… specifically, the marginalization of male suffering, the promotion of male disposability, the skewing of perceptions, services and funding away from men who need it, because they don’t appear to exist? Did you watch that Erin Pizzey video I linked to? Do you know who she is? Why is it feminism not only doesn’t talk about male victimization, but actively promotes the male as abuser mindset, the Duluth model of intimate violence? Do you not see how your one sided education has allowed you to become ignorant of men’s issues? For a group that claims to be about equality, they sure failed you in teaching about men’s side of the story. How much more of that story did they leave out?

          • Maybe I haven’t articulated this as well as I would have liked, but you can’t solely blame feminists for the marginalization of men (I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, you’ve given evidence that it does). The film Miss Representation provides a lot of stats of how so few women work in media and politics, and even fewer are the top decision-makers. We don’t have the largest stake in government decisions and we don’t have the largest stake in deciding how media content is shaped. Consider that the marginalization of men you speak to is also a byproduct of the patriarchy.

            Men suppress women, women suppress men, men suppress men, women suppress women. The things you are complaining about as a man are the same things I am complaining about as a woman.

            • Mark Neil says:

              “Maybe I haven’t articulated this as well as I would have liked, but you can’t solely blame feminists for the marginalization of men”

              But feminism has played a significant part in the failure to advance beyond the old ways, which is contrary to the claims of feminism, including in these very comments. And if you go back and read from the beginning, I stated it was important for feminists to recognize the damage feminism has caused to men, if they want any kind of honest discussion. Doesn’t mean them personally, but the greater feminist collective.

              “Men suppress women, women suppress men, men suppress men, women suppress women”

              Most gender discussion never gets past the first one. If it does, it skips the second and goes right to third. It’s that focus on the “men suppress…” sections that is offensive and counterproductive. I hope you’ll stick around GMP, get a more balanced perspective

              • You know what’s probably played the biggest role in harming men? You’re not going to like it…patriarchy…or kyrarchy, or traditional gender norms. Whatever you want to call it, that’s what’s hurt men the most. Where feminism (specific brands) and feminists (specific groups) have also caused harm to men is when they’ve failed to fully move beyond/outside of the patriarchy/kyrarchy/whatever-you-want-to-call-it.

                We will take, for example, domestic violence and the large silence of male victims. Why do men keep saying they remained silent for so long? Because it would have been unmanly or weak of them to acknowledge they’d been abused. Because there is so much shame around a man who didn’t manage to fight off his attacker. Because men have often been taught that their emotions don’t matter.

                And who created and reinforced all those ideas? Traditional western society, mate. Feminists went about talking about women who are victims of DV and for awhile failed to see how that conversation was failing to break out of the traditional norms that place men as non-victims. And then through a bunch of conversations and activism and what-not I’m not going into here, that’s been slowly turning around….so VAWA has been rewritten to be largely gender-neutral, so that men’s shelters for DV victims are actually popping up now…so that gender-neutral anti-DV campaigns are popping up.

                And yes, you get RadFemHub types who totally fail to recognize how what they’re saying is actually extremely harmful…but change is happening. And even, EVEN if you want to “blame” some feminists for failing to immediately recognize how male DV victims exist, and EVEN if you want to “blame” some feminists for fighting against the need to recognize male DV victims…the “blame” for that entire paradigm in the first place is the traditional gender norms that feminism is all about breaking down.

                • Mark Neil says:

                  Are you familiar with Erin Pizzey, and the death threats she received for trying to raise awareness for male victims? It isn’t just about feminists failing to include men, it is about active opposition to even acknowledging men’s issues. Please don’t try to pass off bomb threats as simple failure to be inclusive. While that may be an extreme example, the tendency to oppose the acknowledgement of mens issues, and to frame non-gendered issues in gender ways to exclude male victims, that is alive and well, and it is harmful. When you discuss sex trafficking like it’s the only kind of trafficking, and ignore the forced labour market, you intentionally distort the discussion of human trafficking to exclude men (even though boys, too, are sex trafficked)

                  • Look, I pointed out there are nutters out there who use the label of feminism to justify really horrible things. That doesn’t mean that feminism (or even most feminists) are to blame for those actions.

                    Again, I think you are missing the point of what I am saying…which is that you seem to be trying to blame feminism for all of these things you disagree with, when actually a lot of these problems aren’t created by feminism. They aren’t even perpetuated by feminism, except when feminists fail to actually fully endorse feminist ideas.

                    • Mark Neil says:

                      “Look, I pointed out there are nutters out there who use the label of feminism to justify really horrible things

                      And then proceed to minimalize their impact and influence. And this is were our opinions diverge. We’ve gone over this many times and will not be coming to an agreement any time soon, so I’ll simply leave you with this question. If Erin Pizzey, the founder of the DV shelter movement, has been trying to get male victims recognized and helped for 40 years without success, despite her success with women’s shelters, and feminist bomb threats played a pat in that, am I really expected to believe that the bomb threats were the end of, and only opposition she encountered? of course not. And to keep such a woman unheard takes a great deal of effort. Moreso than just a handful of radfems. So how do you explain here failure to raise awareness of men, despite her success with women, for 40 years? (and for bonus points, do it without referring to patriarchy/kyrarchy theory)

                    • The problem though Heather is that they are being perpetuated by feminism in the form of such negativity being actively defended by feminists. No it’s not all of you doing this. And I’m sure that some past feminist literature spoke against these things.

                      But when someone under the banner of feminism can say that it’s okay to assume that all men are either rapists or rapists that just haven’t struck and and it’s not simply going unchallenged but being actively defended, that’s the problem. And when we point these things out we are told that we have to distinguish the “nutters” from “the feminists”….a courtesy that we are being told to extend while at the same time we are being denied that very same courtesy.

                      Feminists went about talking about women who are victims of DV and for awhile failed to see how that conversation was failing to break out of the traditional norms that place men as non-victims.
                      Here’s the thing. When men aren’t doing their part on whatever topic we aren’t told that we are just “failing to see….” no we are told that we are contributing to the problem.

                      On one hand I see how you want to make such distinctions in order to recognize the good from the bad. Just bear in mind that that you telling this to people who have been refused that same courtesy. And no matter how you cut it those threats that came from other feminists at Pizziey were not a failure to recognize, they were active attempts to deny.

                      So does everyone get that courtesy?

                    • Heather wrote:
                      “Look, I pointed out there are nutters out there who use the label of feminism to justify really horrible things. That doesn’t mean that feminism (or even most feminists) are to blame for those actions.”

                      No, when you base what feminism is or isn’t on it’s members you can’t really make any statements. But when you way feminism (as it affects men) by the advocacy it turns into laws, you can state (thanks to zealots always making much better advocates than the content, and anti-male advocates rising to the top of feminism’s lobbying arms) that in the few instances feminism advocacy is directed at men, it is almost always negative.

                      It comes back to the advocacy, not the discussions or what individual members believe. What are member feminists willing to *advocate* for. How many feminists who have joined marches on women’s issues have also joined in email or letter campaigns for fathers and families? 5%, 2%, 1%.

                      It’s not just beliefs, but the beliefs *you’re willing to dig in your heels and fight for* that prove what you really believe.

                    • “No, when you base what feminism is or isn’t on it’s members you can’t really make any statements.”

                      Every political group, heck every academic group even, has a set of ideas that are created by it’s members. And yet, those ideas also stand on their own. If every feminist died today, there would still be a bunch of literature and ideas which could be labelled as feminism, and which could be read to find similar strands between them. A bunch of ideas could still be collected together and pointed to and labelled as basic feminist ideas…even without any feminists around any more. As Jasmine was pointing out elsewhere, there is a balance between a total anarchy of ideas and a rigid catechism.

                      Are there people out there who do crazy shit and call themselves feminists? Yup. But then there are people out there who do crazy shit and call themselves Christians…that doesn’t mean that suddenly we can blame Christianity for their crazy shit. Or Republicans…or whatever other group people attach themselves to in an attempt to justify their actions. Feminism, as an academic field and a political group, has taken a lot of twists and turns…and what I’m saying is that where it’s managed to screw over men is when it’s failed to fully divorce itself from traditional gender norms.

                      Also, you asked about how many feminists have participated in campaigns for father issues? I have no idea, but then you don’t know either. You say a low number because that’s what you assumed; I say a high number because that’s what I assume. But neither of us knows…because those sorts of stats aren’t out there. I can tell you that feminists have actively worked in the U.S. for men to have paternity leave more comparable to much of Western Europe…and that feminists are the ones who have fought for paternity leave in Europe too.

                    • Heather N writes:
                      “Are there people out there who do crazy shit and call themselves feminists? Yup.”

                      Yup, and there are similar nutjobs in the MRA too. The difference being of course in feminism these anti-male persons have drifted to the tops of feminist advocacy groups (like NOW) and blatantly in full public view advocate (and get!) anti-male, anti-father laws. The nutjobs in the MRM are not promoted to the top of purportedly egalitarian orgs.

                      I also see *zero* collective action or outcry against these pivotally placed anti-male advocates, their orgs, or the laws you create *within* feminism. The criticism always comes from outside feminism from the likes of Warren Farrell, Cathy Young, Kathleen Parker or other authors, researchers, or editorialists.

                    • Well that is a completely different world than the one I’m inhabiting, John. I just pointed out how feminist groups have been advocating for men’s issues…like paternity leave, and oh yeah, that oldie but goodie, trying to get women into combat roles and as part of the draft (if there is a draft). Come on.

                      As for finding outcry and criticism against the problems of feminism from within feminism. Part of the reason there are so many different strands of feminism is precisely because there is self-criticism within feminism. That’s why feminism today looks so different to feminism 100 years ago.

                      “The nutjobs in the MRM are not promoted to the top of purportedly egalitarian orgs.” – Right, then point me to these MRM groups that aren’t being run by or at least inundated with people who espouse anti-feminist and anti-women rhetoric. I haven’t found any.

                    • Mark Neil says:

                      ” bunch of ideas could still be collected together and pointed to and labelled as basic feminist ideas”

                      What you are ignoring is what those ideas would say. Are you really so confident that culmination of literature would describe a feminism that promoted true equality? Would that culmination simply suggest the female empowerment model I propose, with to what degree and the opinion of men not being a tenant of feminism, but rather, of the individual feminist writers? Or would that all point to a man hating feminism? Remember, Andrea Dworkins books would be included in that culmination of literature, along with many other man haters. Are you confident there is enough male positive literature to utterly trivialize and invalidate those books? Or even offset it to a point that the ideas of men could not be reflected as consistent?

                    • Heather N writes:
                      “Right, then point me to these MRM groups that aren’t being run by or at least inundated with people who espouse anti-feminist and anti-women rhetoric. I haven’t found any.”

                      How hard have you been looking?

                      Are you discussing bloggers or orgs? Because I’m discussing orgs like Radar, SAVE, National coalition for Men (who was behind the lawsuit to overturn VAWA’s text in California that says VAWA funds can’t be given as grants to DV shelters which house men) and Fathers and Families.

                      F&F is the most egalitarian org I have ever seen. Glenn Sacks stepped down as executive director, replaced by Rita Fuerst Adams.

                      F&F members and board is nearly 50% women. They fight for the right of *both* parents to remain a part of the childs life post divorce.

                      F&F even paid for the legal defense of a soldier mother who’s father tried to use her deployment as an excuse to change the custody arrangement.

                      They have also had joint fundraising with gay rights advocates for their role in spreading the fate of lesbian social mothers who are forced out of their adoptive children’s lives by the birth mothers (typically, but not always when the mothers go straight and want the other woman out of the childs life).

                      F&F is the type of org that adheres to the true tenets of feminism. I feel like they are what feminism promised, but never really delivered on.

                    • Are those organizations that identify as MRM or MRA? Because that’s what I’m talking about…self-identified MRA/MRM sites and individuals. There are many organizations fighting for men’s rights that are awesome and egalitarian. Heck, No, Seriously What About Teh Menz is a site that discusses men’s rights…but it’s certainly not MRM.

                    • Glenn Sacks who joined F&F a few years ago as the executive director was considered one of the eminent MRA’s (although admittedly other MRA’s didn’t like him because they thought he was too polite).

                      On his webpage he had recordings from his radio show in Calif in which he interviewed several semi-famous feminists (if I remember correctly Gloria Allred and either Jessica Valenti or Amanda Marcotte).

                      So, I would assume this would be an MRA org as they hired one of the more popular albeit amiable and mainstream MRA figures.

                    • Okay…so that’s one guy and one organization that is more egalitarian, and a lot of MRAs didn’t like him because he was “too polite.” And there’s Warren something-or-other (I can’t remember his name, though I’ve got it written down somewhere), that I’ve been told is relatively egalitarian, though I haven’t had a chance to read anything of his yet. Anyway, I’m not trying to be all picking on MRAs or anything (I’ve had great conversations with MRAs here)…I’m just trying to point out that, as a movement, the MRM has got a lot of really anti-feminist and anti-women people in charge saying a lot of really horrible things.

                      And a lot of internet feminist spaces have a similar problem, no doubt. RadFemHub, for example, is full of anti-male, and anti-trans nutters. It’s horrible. But, and I’ve had this conversation with a couple other people, I think the MRM is perhaps suffering from being a mostly online-driven movement. And whereas feminism has a very long history of self-critique, I haven’t seen the same of prominent MRAs. Although, perhaps again part of the problem is that it’s so much internet-driven…so that any critiques of the MRM are getting lost amongst everything else online. Though at the same time, those that I have seen criticize the MRM are not met with understanding or acknowledgement of the problem.

                    • Mark Neil says:

                      “the MRM has got a lot of really anti-feminist and anti-women people”

                      Heather. Don’t go lumping anti-feminism in with anti-woman and anti-male feminism. A lot of MRA sites are very anti-feminist, but not anti-woman. Of course, many people, like Futrelle equate the two as the same thing and spread the idea they are against equality. It would be like me asking for a list of feminist spaces that weren’t anti-male and anti-MRA. Good luck with that. You;ll have a hard enough time finding a feminists space that does’t contain some anti-male, let alone also doesn’t contain anti-MRA.

                    • Two things…I didn’t lump them together. I distinctly treated them as two separate things, which is why I named them each separately. I see them together a lot though, which is why I mentioned both.

                      Second, you can find many feminist spaces that are not anti-male. Not so many that aren’t anti-MRA…but let’s be fucking honest about this. Most spaces that are anti-MRA are that way because so many MRA spaces are anti-feminist. Feminist spaces aren’t going to be embracing a movement that is loudly talking about how feminism is destroying civilization, and what-not.

                    • Heather,
                      You seemed to make a statement that there *are* MRA leaders who are suffused in misogyny. Can you show me the reverse? Can you point out leaders of MRA orgs that you can demonstrably prove are bad guys? It seems kind of one sided to say: “Okay…so that’s one guy and one organization that is more egalitarian” with the default conclusion that all the rest must be bad, considering you haven’t offered up one example.

                      I’ve repeatedly offered up many examples of the bad advocacy from feminism’s lobbying arms and leaders over and over. If you’re going to make the claim that MRA leaders are bad, I’d like some examples since I have supplied so many that detail my frustration with feminist advocacy.

                    • Paul Elam, W.F. Price…if they’re not MRA, well then apparently no one’s told them that. Most of the stuff on the Men’s Rights Reddit.

                      That’s just off the top of my head.

                    • Just to throw more fuel on the fire.
                      “Second, you can find many feminist spaces that are not anti-male. Not so many that aren’t anti-MRA…but let’s be fucking honest about this. Most spaces that are anti-MRA are that way because so many MRA spaces are anti-feminist. Feminist spaces aren’t going to be embracing a movement that is loudly talking about how feminism is destroying civilization, and what-not.”
                      But this is partly due to feminism itself not calling out the troubling parts of feminism enough, if feminism did more critique and called out the misandric extremists then I doubt there would be so many anti-feminists. MRA spaces aren’t going to be embracing a movement that is loudly talking about how MRA’s are misogynist/hate women, and they generalize freely I might add. It’s perfectly acceptable in feminist spaces I’ve seen to generalize heavily and even have bigoted views about the MRA’s, and same probably for the reverse.

                      So basically it’s one giant clusterfuck of round-robin bitterness n bigotry against each other, thing is I actually expect most feminists in particular to notice this bigotry and I’ve called a few out on it even. My god you should see the excuses and cries of them (the few I called out) not being bigoted for their actual hatred of MRA’s. I also expect the MRA’s to behave better as well, both are doing stupid shit quite frankly and really need to define which feminists/MRA’s they take issue with more.

                      Thing is many feminist spaces are acting from a place of moral supremacy, acting as if they are above bigotry and are fighting to end it yet so many actually engage actively in it and no one seems to bat n eye at it. The level of negative generalization that goes on freely even here is astounding, even recently one of our egal-feminists let one slip which I called her out on (though I hope it was me misreading it). It saddens me that these negative generalizations seem so acceptable in many places, by both camps, I really do feel many in both camps believe the other is full of sexist and bigoted people but how many I am still trying to figure out.

                      I work hard to remove my bigotry of feminism, a few years ago it reached a pinnacle as I was sick of seeing male issues insulted as if they don’t exist, it pisses me off to see feminists who act like men are in power and thus have no major issues that even compare to issues women face, as if men’s issues take a backburner to the more important stuff. This was a common experience I saw in the feminists in the spaces I was looking at but luckily I expanded my view, took me a while but I found the GMP which is the most egalitarian place I’ve ever seen and both men n women’s issues are actually given airtime and cared about. That did a lot to undo my bigotry of feminism, turned me from anti-feminist to anti-some feminists (I’m also anti-someMRA’s btw).

                      Quite frankly I wanna force them both into a big room and have 4 walls, 2 for each gender of the good and bad each faces (maybe more based on country). FORCE each to see how much men and women suffer, FORCE each to see where they benefit and the other gender doesn’t get that benefit (I’d try avoid feminist theory words to try avoid triggers, I’d make new ones that neither camp own to neutralize those triggers so they can listen). I guaranfuckingtee both sides would come out with a shitload more empathy for the other, but when you’re stuck looking at the bad that one gender faces alone then you can really feel like the other gets it so much better that they suffer nothing compared to you.

                      We can already see a lot of mainstream media talk of how women suffer but little on what men suffer, I think when that increases we might see less anti-feminism because there will be less uninformed feminists spouting 99% of rapists are men for example when they realize the majority of male sexual abuse isn’t classifed as rape. 2-3 years ago I thought women had it far far far worse than men, 2-3 years or so ago was when I started to truly look at how good and bad men get it and how good and bad women get it. I saw things like in Afghanistan women were treated like shit, but then I also saw men there were wearing beards without wanting to just so they weren’t harassed/beaten/etc by the taliban. NEVER heard that in most mainstream media, the focus was mostly on how bad the women get it. If you talk about only how bad one gender gets it, and how good the other gets it then you end up colouring the world to suit a viewpoint of male = powerful, women = vulnerable, and I think that is the basis of so much hostility between mra and feminists because some feminists don’t realize female’s power or men’s vulnerability, and some mra’s probably overestimate female power or men’s vulnerability (I feel like I left something out, feel free to fill in the gaps).

                      Do feminists/MRA’s realize that continuing to generalize will just cause more fights? A simple change of “SOME feminists/MRA’s
                      do X” instead of “feminists/MRA’s do X” would actually be far more truthful and reach a larger audience. No one can deny some mra’s/feminists do bad stuff, but everyone can deny all feminists/mra’s act the same way. It’s why I try to qualify my statements soo much, I’m sure I’ve missed doing it at times and hope people correct me on it because neither camp can accurately state the entire group is bad OR good.

                    • “But this is partly due to feminism itself not calling out the troubling parts of feminism enough, if feminism did more critique and called out the misandric extremists then I doubt there would be so many anti-feminists. MRA spaces aren’t going to be embracing a movement that is loudly talking about how MRA’s are misogynist/hate women, and they generalize freely I might add. It’s perfectly acceptable in feminist spaces I’ve seen to generalize heavily and even have bigoted views about the MRA’s, and same probably for the reverse.”

                      I’m just going to comment on the above…first with pointing out that feminists DO critique feminism…all the flipping time. For goodness sake, that’s been going on since first-wave feminists with women’s suffrage. The suffragettes critiqued each other 10 ways till Sunday…and they weren’t even always nice about it.

                      And, as I’ve said to others, point me to MRA spaces that aren’t misogynist. So far I’ve got Warren Farrell and Glen Sacks…I haven’t checked either of those out but okay I’ll go on faith that they’re both not anti-women. Any MRA space I’ve seen, however, has actually been anti-women…or at the very very least unknowingly misogynist.

                      Some general statements are actually true…such as that feminism has largely excluded non-white non-middle class women until fairly recently. That’s a general critique of feminism and it’s true. So please, tell me of the MRA spaces out there that prove the general critique that the MRM is largely misogynist untrue. And also, please, while you’re at it show me the places where MRAs critique each other and that critique is met with rational discussion and not name-calling.

                    • Also, there’s this, I have yet to read any critique of feminism from self-identified MRAs that actually understood feminism as it is today. (Perhaps Warren Farrell and Glen Sacks do this, I do not know as I have yet to read them). But that is also what is so frustrating. You want to critique feminism? Fine…but make sure you understand it first.

                    • I’m gonna make a new comment tree to reply to since it’s easier. I’ll quote your last few statements so you can find it.

                    • And also, please, while you’re at it show me the places where MRAs critique each other and that critique is met with rational discussion and not name-calling.
                      Actually this happens at MenRights Reddit. It’s happening right in there with the anti-woman sentiment. But for some odd reason when feminists talk about that reddit only the negative exists.

                      No mention about supporting the Brian Banks documentary, or giving props to that single fathers groups in Japan, pointing out true double standards in the realm of gender….no somehow only the negative things can be found.

                    • That single father’s group in Japan identifies as MRA? I don’t know what Brian Banks documentary you’re referring to…he identify as MRA too? Just as feminists can’t just pick up groups that are working for equality and label them feminist when they aren’t…MRAs can’t either.

                      “Actually this happens at MenRights Reddit.”

                      That’s good. I don’t ever see it, but okay I admit I don’t visit the reddit every day or anything…so okay cool. I’m glad to hear that’s happening there.

                    • No they don’t ID as such but what I was trying to do was point out examples of respectful conversation that happens between MRAs on something other than hating on feminists.

                      I wouldn’t imagine trying to call them MRAs when they don’t ID as such. I’ve had to put up with way to many feminists doing it to me (usually along the line of claiming me as a feminists when I say something they like and condemning me as an MRA when I say something they don’t like).

                    • Right okay, as I said, I am totally in agreement that conversations about men’s rights happen between people that doesn’t resort to hating on feminists or women. Dude, I’ve had a bunch of such conversations myself…among feminists, among non-feminists, etc. You and I, for example, have had such conversations. I get that those happen, and I even totally get that those happen in the larger real world.

                      What I am saying is that the groups and “leaders” that are identifying themselves as MRM are largely anti-feminist. It may sound like I’m being all “they-started-it,” and I suppose in a sense I am. And, as you know, I’m definitely of the opinion that everyone’s got to take off their boxing gloves and like, actually talk to each other, for anything to get sorted out. But that being said…the self-proclaimed leaders of the MRM are too busy demonizing feminism to do that. Not just demonizing feminism, but demonizing the goals of feminism.

                      And while probably most feminists would demonize the MRM, I’d argue that most feminists do not demonize men’s issues (they do exist, yes. Hello RadFemHub). But therein lies the difference, I think. I see feminists saying that men’s issues are important but that the MRM is just too problematic and full of misogynists to be really useful (such as Ozy at NSWATM). But when I see MRAs talking about how “evil” feminists are, they aren’t saying that their goals are worthwhile…they’re saying making gender essentialist arguments and whatnot. (Note that I’m talking about MRAs not masculists here).

                    • Alright, let’s take, for example, my Feminism, Manning Up and the Zero Sum Game article…it was blogged about on an MRA site talking about how stupid and horrible I was. I got quite a few anti-feminist comments, and even many comments that weren’t completely anti-feminist were not exactly neutral on the subject.

                      Keep in mind that I was actually critiquing the zero-sum approach that both feminists and non-feminists often have to this subject. I was critiquing feminism and examining how a cultural norm harms men…and how many feminists came and commented on my piece to tell me how wrong I was? None. Now, I’m sure a big part of that is because not everyone actually has read my article. But, of the however-many-people that have, the only ones who felt the need to reblog it and comment negatively on it were MRAs…and that, I think, is telling.

                    • Oh I’m all for everyone taking off the boxing gloves. But to it seems that people are still trying to keep their own boxing gloves on while telling everyone else they have to take theirs off.

                      And while probably most feminists would demonize the MRM, I’d argue that most feminists do not demonize men’s issues (they do exist, yes. Hello RadFemHub).
                      I think that demonization is not limited to the corners of rad fem sites. You can see that stuff right on your more accepted close to mainstream spaces as well.

                      I see feminists saying that men’s issues are important but that the MRM is just too problematic and full of misogynists to be really useful (such as Ozy at NSWATM).
                      They say they are important as long as they are determining the scope of the issues and frame them in terms of how they relate to women (as if they don’t relate to women they are not important). If their worry was that there are too many misogynists among MRAs to be effective they wouldn’t use it as an insult whenever someone simply says or does something they don’t like. In effect they are contributing to the very misogyny they claim to be against.

                      Alright, let’s take, for example, my Feminism, Manning Up and the Zero Sum Game article…it was blogged about on an MRA site talking about how stupid and horrible I was. I got quite a few anti-feminist comments, and even many comments that weren’t completely anti-feminist were not exactly neutral on the subject.

                      Keep in mind that I was actually critiquing the zero-sum approach that both feminists and non-feminists often have to this subject. I was critiquing feminism and examining how a cultural norm harms men…and how many feminists came and commented on my piece to tell me how wrong I was? None. Now, I’m sure a big part of that is because not everyone actually has read my article. But, of the however-many-people that have, the only ones who felt the need to reblog it and comment negatively on it were MRAs…and that, I think, is telling.
                      I had that exact thing happen a few months ago when I put up a post at Womanist Musings. The post was about how teaching boys a sexuality that promotes being forceful with girls was harmful to boys. You would think that I was trying to say that girls weren’t harmed at all or that I was trying to say that boys were harms equally as girls. The comments got so out of hand that Renee (who by the way is not feminist herself, however her site is a hang out spot for a lot of feminists) had lay down an ultimatum to stop attacking my person and keep to the subject at hand.

                      People even went digging through my tumblr to try to find some sort of evidence that I hate women. And of course there were the usual accusations that I’m an MRA.

                      So at the end of the day it’s pretty clear. Apparently when boys are taught harmful sexuality that includes being forceful with girls it doesn’t harm boys at all in anyway whatsoever. Oh and I messed around and used the word misandry and was told that that word is an attempt at trying to make a false equivalent with misogyny. Yeah trying to point out how things are harmful to boys is in and of itself an attempt at saying the harms that affect boys is equal to the harms that affect girls. And we all know that “girls/women have it worse” right? Can’t mess with that “fact” I guess.

                      Even for as nice as that fire fight was it did leave me wondering. Whenever I say something to the effect of agreeing with feminists magically no one is around to hear it. Over the years I’ve talked about being against the idea that a woman should be obedient to her husband (on a post about a group that started up in the Middle East on how to train wives), more birth control options for men (because if men have more options that has to be a good thing for women too right?), talked about why the attitude of “he can beat me anytime” in regards to Chris Brown attacking Rihanna is wrong, and all sorts of other things that are of concern for women……all to deaf ears.

                      But of course those deaf ears can hear loud and clear when they find something to complain about.

                    • So I wonder, why is it that any of us are using the internet at all if it causes us so much problem. If people are willing to go stalking folks, writing shite about you, seeking out your tumblrs. What’s the point? I mean…I had an actual nightmare last night involving the GMP and feminists. A nightmare.
                      Over the GD internet and how we communicate and how TERRIBLY people act.
                      I don’t get it. I realize that LIsa thinks social media is amazing, and it is I guess, but I never see people acting as horribly in real space as how you’ve mentioned people on the internet act.
                      Like that Sarkeesian person. That would never happen in the real space, people harassing her like that, or if they did, they’d be arrested.
                      I don’t get it.

                    • Lisa Hickey says:

                      The internet is great because how else could you organize 25,000 people per day (which is what we do now — to talk about important issues. How else? Every day?

                      It’s also the reason why some people don’t like it — because things can happen quickly and very publicly. I don’t actually believe good or bad behavior is any more or less likely to happen online or off — I just think it happens faster. Online people get called names, offline they get, for example, gay-bashed or beat up in bar fights or sprayed with pepper spray at demonstrations. Are those real-life things really better? I don’t think so.

                      The problem right here on this thread is everyone is trying to convince everyone else of their position, but nobody is trying to solve the f*cking problem. One person will yell “This is GOOD” and the other will yell “This is BAD” and the other will yell “No, THIS is good!” and someone else yells “THIS is bad!”

                      It’s incredibly difficult to watch and NOTHING HAPPENS.

                      Why don’t you’all just say to each other “Ok, obviously there’s a problem here. What can we DO?” Stop arguing about it. Stop trying to convince the other person that you are right. Just stop. It’s what you say Julie — if you don’t like the internet, why are you using it? I belive that people who don’t like it don’t like it because they see it only as a soapbox and not as a tool for good.

                      If you don’t know what to DO — ask someone like me. I have plenty of ideas. Get some feminist leaders you admire and ask them to write about MEN. Not about feminism, but about men. Start a speaker’s bureau. Two people on this thread could together write an article on ways to actually solve the problem they see.

                      None of those would actually take any more time than arguing forever over who is right and who is wrong.

                      The biggest problem I see happening — on this thread and others — actually proves Tom’s point exactly. What happens is men are saying “this is my experience” and feminists are saying “no, that can’t be. you must be wrong.” On the biggest, most societal, most dangerous levels, when that happens it’s about things like “male rape doesn’t happen” — which, clearly at GMP we take great pains to tell people how wrong that blindness is. But it goes all the way down to “my experience on feminist sites is this…” and instead of someone jumping in and saying “OK, what was the issue you were trying to talk about. Let’s find a way to write an article that *together* that people will listen to about that issue.” Why is nobody — nobody! — suggesting that you all who are arguing just get together and try to solve the problem constructively. It simply baffles me that people would use a discussion merely to try to hold onto their view. It can’t be that people don’t have time when they spend hours or even days arguing about the same point.

                      I think you are right Julie — that people who just use the internet to complain about the internet should probably not be on the internet.

                    • @Julie
                      “So I wonder, why is it that any of us are using the internet at all if it causes us so much problem. If people are willing to go stalking folks, writing shite about you, seeking out your tumblrs. What’s the point? I mean…I had an actual nightmare last night involving the GMP and feminists. A nightmare.
                      Over the GD internet and how we communicate and how TERRIBLY people act.
                      I don’t get it. I realize that LIsa thinks social media is amazing, and it is I guess, but I never see people acting as horribly in real space as how you’ve mentioned people on the internet act.
                      Like that Sarkeesian person. That would never happen in the real space, people harassing her like that, or if they did, they’d be arrested.
                      I don’t get it.”

                      There is no way in hell any of you would know even 1/10th of the stuff you do about me offline. I only feel comfy opening up anonymously, and I live far away so it’d be near impossible without lots of cash or tv time for you to hear my story without the internet. That’s why people go online because the benefits outweigh the negatives in most cases. There is bad on the net, but there is A LOT of good, infact without the net and social media I wouldn’t have learned anywhere near this amount on gender issues especially since gender issues are nearly always about women and rarely men, this site probably wouldn’t have an offline equiv.

                    • Archy I know why people use the Internet, I was merely frustrated at the ongoing argument that highlighted bad behavior at Danny and heather. The Internet is important and it’s new. So fundamentally new that in many ways we don’t really know how to use it. More importantly, it’s not going anywhere and we’d he’searne how to maximize its good qualities while learnin how to treat each other better.

                    • Heather writes:
                      (In response to my question about MRA’s which are problematic):
                      “Paul Elam, W.F. Price…if they’re not MRA, well then apparently no one’s told them that. Most of the stuff on the Men’s Rights Reddit.

                      That’s just off the top of my head.”

                      Great, now can you tell me which orgs they are head of? Because if I remember correctly, my original statement was that MRA leaders and orgs did not seem to have the same haters at key positions the way feminist lobbying orgs do.

                      Once again my point remains the same. When you look at politically active orgs mra’s and feminists are horses of a different color.

                      It seems you want to be able to make your point stick that mra orgs are hateful too, without actually doing any research on them.

                      As far as Paul Elam is concerned, I know he is coarse and crude, but I don’t remember anything he has vid’d or written that was anti-woman. However, I will acknowledge that I don’t follow Elam’s work and have only tripped across maybe a half-dozen of his vids and articles combined.

                    • Heather N writes:
                      “So please, tell me of the MRA spaces out there that prove the general critique that the MRM is largely misogynist untrue. And also, please, while you’re at it show me the places where MRAs critique each other and that critique is met with rational discussion and not name-calling.”

                      And what advocacy and/or laws have these nutjobs passed with their views? Reddit isn’t an org, it’s part of the blogosphere and it dehumanizes everybody. I remember an article talked about on tgmp in which a man was tied to a chair gagged and rapped with a dildo by women as a fraternity pledge prank and all on reddit were mocking him.

                      Again, when I leave the bloggosphere and examine feminist political lobbying orgs, I can point to evidence of the orgs themselves, the leaders, and the laws they passed as evidence of their hatred. Feminism seems to critique itself (as you say about marginalizing the voices of black women or gay women and other issues) except when it comes to the haters at the top who pass anti-male and anti-father laws. Not only can I point to evidence of hatred (at the top) of feminist lobbying orgs, but there is a dearth of silence from other feminists on the topic.

                      I’m not necessarily saying the mra org *movement* is superior, but the mra advocating orgs definitely are. This could be due to many things. It could be due to feminism running as an unopposed force for so long it is suffused with corruption. It could be that since mrm is a fledgeling movement that it needs to be more egalitarian to draw new members, it could be that it needs to be more egalitarian because it has feminism to contend with as a braking force (not to mention the blanket smears and leaps to conclusions that any1 who opposes feminism is anti-woman or anti-equality). It could be all this and more. But, from what I have examined so far, mrm orgs do *not* have haters at the top. Maybe they would someday if they were to grow for 50 years with no opposing movement (and parallel feminism’s decline into zealotry), but that is not the status today.

                • @heather

                  What’s the point of even having the discussion then? You’ve essentially turned feminism into a religion. It’s completely above reproach because anything that isn’t “good” even if done by feminists, in the name of feminism, through feminist organizations, automatically isn’t “really” feminism. Christianity does the exact same thing, you’ll notice. (probably other religions too, I’d wager)

                  because… apparently feminism can be any damn thing you want it to be. Except wrong. Feminism can never be wrong, because the second it is, it isn’t “really” feminism. I had an LDS buddy who used to say to me “The Church is perfect, people are not.” apparently the same thing holds true for feminism then? What time do you guys hold services?

                  Oh and by the way, a lot of men weren’t coming forward about their abuse from women not just because they were afraid of looking “unmanly” they were also not coming forward because they were afraid of being accused of being the abuser- by feminists.

                  • Heather is a perfect example of what I’ve been saying about feminism and feminists. Although they have some views that appear to rub against the grain of even modern feminism, the reality is that feminism as it stands in todays society hasn’t really changed. The so called “progressive” feminist isn’t the main stream feminist who has lobby representatives in the political arena. The reality is the 50+ recognized feminist organization IS feminism in 2012. The unwillingness to give up the label is confusing to me.

                    The GMP feminists often times throw data into many of these discussions and each and every time, a man will present more accurate data that disclaims the original. Why is it that these progressive feminists are so unaware of the accurate information when it’s presented? Because they rely on main stream media and/or feminist slanted sites.

                    The other thing I want to touch on is “You know what’s probably played the biggest role in harming men? You’re not going to like it…patriarchy…or kyrarchy, or traditional gender norms. Whatever you want to call it, that’s what’s hurt men the most. Where feminism (specific brands) and feminists (specific groups) have also caused harm to men is when they’ve failed to fully move beyond/outside of the patriarchy/kyrarchy/whatever-you-want-to-call-it.” …. You’re absolutely right, I’m not going to like it for several reasons. One is that I’m tired of being told about “gender norms.” Quit telling me what my gender should be, what I should be thinking and what will make me happy. The new feminism is that which dictates what men should feel and do. And no, it’s NOT what hurts men the most. It’s what modern feminists want people to believe and again, it shows that feminists are not listening to men. I have asked this before, name three areas where feminists have overtly, openly addressed, that have helped men. Show me ONE feminist campaign that was geared toward the betterment of men?

                    Feminism did not open the door for stay at home dads. Men opened that door. I hope to hell that feminists really don’t think they can take any credit for that. We have made these inroads DISPITE feminism.

                    In so far as DV and abuse against males, I think that was accurately addressed already.

                • John Anderson says:

                  @ HeatherN

                  I think you’re mostly correct and appreciate your efforts in limiting inflammatory words and phrases. I sincerely hope that you are correct in your assessment that feminists in general are becoming more aware of injustices toward men. I remain skeptical that this has resulted in significant tangible services for men such as the creation of DV shelters for men, but I’m hopeful.

                  I quibble a little about your assertion that when feminists hurt men, it is because they haven’t fully embraced feminism. I think part of the problem is feminism hasn’t been fully defined. The only tenet that I see that spans all the types of feminism out there is advocacy for women in the form of providing women choices, opportunities and improving their overall lives.

                  Maybe someone at GMP can tell us what the tenets of feminism are so when we see a feminist failing to fully embrace feminism we would recognize it and maybe even point it out.

                  • “I quibble a little about your assertion that when feminists hurt men, it is because they haven’t fully embraced feminism.”

                    I actually didn’t say that…I said that when feminists (and feminism) has hurt men it’s because feminists (and feminism) failed to fully remove itself from the aspects of traditional gender norms that hurt men.

          • Mark — what inspired you to become so committed to MRA?

            • Mark Neil says:
              • Judge should be instantly disbarred. How do people like that get so much power? Accusations are enough to level hatred to the father??

            • @Kacey … I know the question was asked of Mark but I want to throw my 2 cents in here about MRM or being an MRA. In my case, in part, it was my daughter. A long time ago I could see that my daughters chances of being a stay at home mom was disappearing. He mom, my wife was a stay at home mom and loved it but I saw things changing. I saw that feminism was unaccapting of that role and all indicators was that she would be swayed to be the proverbial “career women.” Just as my wife was shunned through the years for choosing to be the stay at home mom, I expected my daughter would suffer the same. At the same time I looked at my sons life and thought to myself, he too has a long road in frongt of him. He’s be considerred a jerk if he even thought of wanting a wife to be a stay at home mom. It slowly became unrealistic for these two kids to hope for that which they experienced as kids. My daughter is 28, a stay at home mom and my son who is finishing college and currenly isn’t interested in any committed relationship at this time.

              • Tom, thanks for sharing your perspective with me. I think the decision of staying home to raise children in a personal once that both men and women should be able to make without persecution.

                But what if your daughter wants to be the “proverbial career woman”?

                With regard to your son, when he finds a partner, the stay-at-home parenting decision is one that he will ultimately have to make with input from his partner. I think a lot of women take issue with the line in the sand that has historically been drawn between domestic roles (and men should take issue with that too). The personal stories I’ve read from women on this topic tell me that often, no one asked them if they wanted to stay at home when the children were born, it was just assumed that they would. The ability to have one parent at home during the most formative years is valid desire, but it’s a personal decision that couples need to make for themselves, not one that is assumed because of their gender and how things were for previous generations.

                No one has asked me, but I’m a feminist because I’ve been marginalized as a woman. As a teen, I was denied a job because of my feminine appearance. I worked for a public institution which was required to publish our salaries every year, and I saw the pay disparity among men and women in my specific workplace. I live every day with sexual harassment. I regularly get dismissed when expressing emotion as hormonal or having PMS. And our government is continuously trying to implement laws that take away my ability to control my own reproduction. I didn’t learn these things in a women’s studies class (I’ve never taken one). I learned them from my life experiences.

                • Kacey, I think the issue of personal choice (and negotiated choices between family members) is important. If one is raised with an expectation of anything (career choice, stay at home, musical ability, religion) and then doesn’t meet that spoken or unspoken expectation there is often a feeling of outcastness or shunning. Or the person doesn’t feel they can be honest about what they really want for fear of it.

                  Men, should they wish to be a caretaker of kids and the home, should feel good about it and women too. Or if both choose careers, or only the woman. I know lots of stay at home moms, half time career people, some dads that stay home and homeschool and I don’t see any of them shunned. My husband spent much more time at home with the kids because he was in school and I made more money. Neither of us really had an issue with it after the babies were bigger (I was nursing when they were small). Course, Austin is a liberal burg, so that might have something to do with it. It doesn’t much stick with the traditional.

                  I know in my own family, I felt particular pressures to be a certain way, and when it was clear I wasn’t that way, I didn’t feel like they accepted it. I wanted to stay home with my boys for the first year, and my mother was really worried about it but then, that’s because she wasn’t able to work when I was little and she’d always worked and then couldn’t. So, it’s often hard to tell what’s about politics and what’s about family issues and baggage. My mother’s family was less traditional, my husband’s moreso in certain ways, but

                  If my sons wanted to be stay at home dads, I’d not have any problem with it. If they wanted a wife to stay at home, and she was totally into that? Why would I object? If they didn’t want kids at all? It’s their choice, isn’t it?

                  • It is a personal choice but some choices are made based upon external circumstances that are beyond their control. A women who wants to be that stay at home mom will more then likely not be afforded that opportunity because the husband is unemployed or underemployed. The husband no longer has as many opportunities as he once had. More then likely, that “guy” will not have the education needed so as to have the higher paying job. Choices are great when the environment accommodates those choices.

                    Open the newspaper and look the section where they list events. How many times do you see conventions and seminars for the development of women in business? How many do you see for the development of men? The best opportunity for funding is for a minority women and the opportunities go down from there …. Opportunities for men, because they are men aren’t there.

                    Choices are great if there truly available.

                    • Do you see any correlation between jobs and stagnant rates of pay, credit card culture, laws that allow for interest rates to hike on cards, etc influencing the ability for one person to stay at home?
                      Given the salaries my husband and I both have, and given rents and home costs, food costs and bills, both people need to work.
                      I agree that if men can’t get good employment that causes a piece of the system to move towards both people working, but I think there are more influencers then that.

                      If hope costs are skyrocketing and rates of pay are not…then it takes two salaries to buy the house etc…

                      Or it means that the couple has to make a choice to live at a much lower standard then expected with one car, small house or apartment, no cell phones etc in order to have one person at home.

                      I see this as a complex ball of dynamics of which but feminism may be one piece, not the whole shebang. There have been wildly divisive economic decisions since the 70’s that have changed the playing field for all of us.

            • John Anderson says:

              @ Kacey

              For me it was when I was researching sexual harassment for an ethics class project. I visited many sites to gather resources including many feminist sites. If course, I my mind feminists were at the forefront of the equality movement. My research showed that men could be abused as well and were protected under the law. It made me consider other injustices that men faced. I saw little support on feminist web sites for victimized men. I realized that even the laws to protect men were not evenly applied. That’s why you have a reasonable man and reasonable woman standard. I found some feminist either minimizing or looking at male victimization as a good thing. It brought back memories long suppressed and I couldn’t associate myself with a group that would trivialize male victimization so I started considering myself MRA.

          • poester99 says:

            Committed MRA’s are about as rare as and worth their weight in Iridium. Men simply don’t work for other men because they are men, it’s usually for another group bond, if at all.
            but it’s painfully obvious they are badly needed to keep the rich “official” feminists, honest .

            • poester99 says:

              lol… would I ruin your street cred if I called you an “MRA” Tom?

            • @Poester … as sad as it is to admit, you’re right. The term MRA’s is thrown around here like it’s as common as toilet paper where as in reality, it’s barely embryonic in its development.

      • Criminology has always turned away from the subject of female violence. Take a look at a sample of cases, totally forgotten, by googling “Acid Queens: Women Who Throw Acid.” I imagine what you find will surprise you to no end. It is only a tiny sample of ignored female violence. This whole marxist “subjugation of women” (as a class by men as a class) and “gender is a social construct” (which is a Franz Boas construct) business depends upon the previous lack of study of many areas of interest (such as female violence) combined with the top-down agenda propagated out of universities and NGOs (such as Unesco) with a mission to recreate human behavior according to their ideal of “human resources” management. Fact is, there is a mountain of historical documentation that would radically change the relation between the sexes debate, just waiting to be exploited.

    • John Anderson says:

      “The Equal Rights Amendment was never ratified.”

      That doesn’t necessarily disadvantage women. In California they have an anti-discrimination law that opened the doors of women’s fitness centers to men. Several states actually passed laws to exempt single sex health clubs from anti-discrimination laws because of pressure from women’s groups. I’m unaware of feminist opposition to any of the laws exempting single sex fitness clubs from anti-discrimination laws. The EEOC sued a women’s health club for not hiring men and on GMP there was an article talking about eliminating prison rape. It suggested that female prisoners be supervised by only female guards, but male prisoners would not be afforded the same protections.

      “Alleviating these oppressions does not require taking rights away from men. I’m not aware of any legislation that is anti-men’s rights,”

      The feminist lobby hasn’t introduced legislation that is directly anti-male as far as I know, however, that doesn’t mean that legal changes that they introduced doesn’t have severe negative consequences for men. The change in the FBI rape definition specifically exempts (the overwhelming majority) of female rapists from the count creating the illusion that only men commit rape. They probably want to ensure that all rape prevention and support services remain controlled by women. I can only view this as a means to deny men vital support services as men raped by women may be reluctant to visit female counselors. The CDC reports that about half of all intimate partner violence is perpetrated by women against men. Feminists obscure this fact to prevent men from getting necessary support services and to keep them trapped in abusive relationships.
      The feminist lobby also opposes many pieces of legislation to help men, specifically fathers. They fought criminalizing visitation interference in Illinois. In Michigan they fought against allowing fathers to establish paternity for children they fathered with another man’s wife. In Germany they opposed banning male genital cutting, not for religious reasons, but because someone might think that it is as bad as female genital cutting. Why does the law still allow women to place a man’s child for adoption without his expressed consent? Why isn’t DNA established paternity mandatory in adoption cases?

  28. Andy Schulkind says:

    Hi Tom,

    I perceive that “we”, the “we” being men, are stuck in this riptide. Men who came before us are responsible for how we got here. Regardless, we are here. I once spent three months working on a project where I was the only man in a project team of 14 people.

    The team was led by a woman; I was just one of the other 13 team members. While all the women would consider themselves enlightened on the subject of gender equity, it wasn’t the case. As group normed it became the good old girls club. This was not a conscious effort on the part of any the women. Quite the contrary.

    It was subtle. It was unintentional. Yet the behaviors were there. I was unnerved at being treated as an outsider, and not a member of the club.

    After the project was finished, I sat down and shared my experience with this leader, who was someone I admired and respected. When I pointed out the the specific and explicit examples, she listened. To her credit, she agreed that all had taken place. It had never occurred to her that this was happening. She said that she thought that the had the self awareness not to ever behave or enable this type of behavior in a professional business setting. She was mortified, shocked, humbled and disappointed. Disappointed in herself, and the other women on the team. She said, “I consider myself a feminist. This never should have happened.” She apologized. I felt and believed it was sincere.

    I learned a lot from that experience, particularly when I was working in groups with people where only one member of the group was a different gender or was culturally or racially different. I had to be more inclusive and ensure that the other members of the group made this person feel like they were a valued member of the team.

    So back to your piece, I think that men could and should have a conversation about men, without feminism getting injected into the conversation. I just don’t think it’s likely to happen, not in our lifetime. Any more that we can say that African-Americans have achieved equality.

    As for the Good Men Project, it is indeed a project. A work in progress. That’s what I am as a man and a member of humanity. A work in progress. That work progress might not be completed in my lifetime, either..

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Thanks Andy. It is indeed a project and I take this conversation as progress. A lot more civilized than the one we had on this topic last Christmas. Anyhow, lovely to see your bride today…

  29. “Here’s the basic axiom: power conceals itself from those who possess it. And the corollary is that privilege is revealed more clearly to those who don’t have it.”

    So every-time I see a man say women are more privileged in our society, the quoted logic can actually prove it?

    “I realize to some that the litmus test of being a good man is being a card-carrying member of a strident form of feminism that puts the burden of proof on every male for the sins of their brothers. But to me that is the most extreme form of the same old nonsense which keeps men from searching their souls for what manhood is really all about, to them. If you define manhood purely from a female perspective most guys are just going to turn off. And in my view, rightly so.”

    Amen, and this is the trouble I see with some groups talking about toxic masculinity, they’re redefining it in a feminist way but one which seems to teach male original sin. Women cannot define men, just as men cannot define women. They can say what they like the other to be but they have to accept the other gender for what they are to some degree. Speaking out against abuse is ok, but it seems to go so far that some men are brought up being ashamed to be a man and that is a huge crime I think. It’s like teaching women to be ashamed because some cheat n are gold diggers, some abuse, etc, the group gets shamed over the actions of a few.

    We shouldn’t hate men because some men rape women, etc. And that is a message being lost.

  30. I honestly feel a little scolded now, and as though if I am to continue to participate in the comments, I now have to word-check myself to make sure nothing I say comes out as too feminist or could be taken politically. Even if that happens to be part of my truth and my experience.

    Like maybe we get another She Said He Said about pubic hair – I’d better not comment that I think the trends in pubic hair support/rejection are influenced by porn, because that could be a gender theory debate waiting to hatch.

    Sorry to be snarky but are you asking the more debate-inclined among us, those interested in gender theory as it applies to being a man and examining masculinity, to kindly take our bats and go home? Or to just bite our tongues? That’s sort of what this feels like.

    • Mark Neil says:

      How about you simply not rely on theory as gospel. Given the tendency to scold men on their “privilege”, as is in evidence through this articles comments alone, I would wonder if you are actually projecting here. Because it always seems when we have our say, all of a sudden we become a bad guy who is oppressing the poor poor woman. I’m curious, if you are so debate inclined, how is it you take so personally a differing opinion?

      Now, if this comment was in reply to another comment that “actually” scolded you and just got misplaced in the thread, perhaps my reply is a little out of line. But if your comment is in response to Tom’s article, then I stand by my words.

    • “I honestly feel a little scolded now, and as though if I am to continue to participate in the comments, I now have to word-check myself to make sure nothing I say comes out as too feminist or could be taken politically. Even if that happens to be part of my truth and my experience. ”

      to be blunt? You now have an idea of what many men feel like in feminist spaces.

      • KKZ, I”d agree here. I’d say you have an idea of how the outlier feels in a dominant space on the internet. I’ve witnessed many a feminist space takedown of men asking questions or making comments, from silencing to tone arguments to being called trolls.
        Of course I’ve seen it hear too with women (and with men) and I”ve seen it pretty much on any space that there is a political or potentially political discussion happening.

        Thing about trolling or dealing with people that hold different views, the owners of sites (and moderators) have an extremely difficult job determining between the two, dealing with derailers who enjoy messing up threads vs people with actual honest questions, and I’m not surprised that when topics are contentious and threads are filled with people the mods of any site either moderate hard or don’t moderate at all.

        But the fellows here are right about you experiencing what they’ve experienced.

        I think it’s good to think about what we write, though I don’t opt to censor myself in terms of beliefs.

    • “I honestly feel a little scolded now, and as though if I am to continue to participate in the comments, I now have to word-check myself to make sure nothing I say comes out as too feminist or could be taken politically. Even if that happens to be part of my truth and my experience. ”
      That’s exactly how I felt in reverse, in feminist spaces. That I had to word-check myself constantly so I didn’t piss some random radfem off and cop a world of “Iknowmorethanyou + I’mrightbecauseIamafeminist” abuse. Welcome to the club though :D, I think at times you just have to say fuckit and say what is on your mind. I constantly check what I say hoping I won’t offend, but sometimes I say it because I believe it needs to be said, even if it steps on toes. Usually I do that when someone is stating something as fact based on their experience, vs stating it simply as what they believe to be true based on their experience.

    • Call me crazy but..

      What if women were the existential reward for being a “Good Man”, would we hate them for not validating us? Wouldn’t we lie cheat and steel to earn that validation? 

      What if female validation was an addiction that we need to kick ourselves from? Wouldn’t that justify the need for Male Safe Spaces…

      Being a good man (to me) is finding that undefinable spiritual food that lets us go from being mindless Protectors & Providers to the of Protectors what we love, Providers for those we love & doers of what we love to do, irrespective of female input.

      Lastly Feminism doesn’t understand men in any terms other then a monolithic oppressor class. We are not seen as individuals. We are an amalgam of collectivized Privileges, collectivized guilt & collectivized prosperity.

       Feminism robes me of my individualism So I DON’T NEED IT. 
      [full stop]

      • Budmin,
        What if women don’t want to be an existential reward or an addiction? What if they too just want to be individuals, people.
        Cause I know personally, that’s true for me.
        I have no issue with male only spaces, or women only spaces or anything only spaces really. This was never, so far as I know a male only space, and it’s certainly been open to the public so I’m not sure it could ever be ___-only anything.
        Viewing others as rewards or addictions takes away their individuality just as much as theory that casts people as an “other.”
        Neither are good for humaninzing things, neither seem healthy to me.

        • That’s his point Julie (assuming I understand him correctly) Men cannot see women as fully human until we stop both demonizing and pedestalizing them. Feminism has done a good job (as much as one can, anyway) with the former but, frankly, has done a pretty crappy one with the latter.

          Feminism hasn’t done much of anything to take women out of their “arbitrators of male morality” role, and in many ways has enhanced it.

          • Thank you 8ball. I couldn’t have said it better.

            I’d also like to stress that L.G.B.T voices would probably be more therapeutic in so far as we would be recognizing the humanity of others while not competing for the attentions of women.

    • Thank you all for pointing out the irony that I was clearly blind to when I made my post. (That might sound sarcastic. It’s not.) It was a reaction to Tom’s piece, to clarify; it did not get misplaced.

      I was not really thinking long and hard about the double-standard or how this is what men feel when they’re pushed out of female-oriented spaces. At its core, my comment was about the sense of loss I felt at being asked not to participate in something I’ve been enjoying, and it was tinged with the shame Tom’s piece made me feel – for coming here to have a conversation but ‘doing it wrong’ because the conversation gets political and, yes, sometimes involves feminism or feminist perspectives. Of course the first reaction to shame is self-defense, the feeling that I should not *have* to feel ashamed here… but I suppose from another view, if the kinds of conversations I’ve occasionally participated in are contrary to the mission of the GMP, perhaps I SHOULD feel ashamed for contributing to the derailing.

      What I’d like to add is that I feel I’ve personally grown significantly from being here, reading the articles, and participating in the conversation. When I first came around these parts of the Web I admit I was a much more gynocentric feminist, influenced by the one (1!) women’s studies class I took in my last quarter of college several years ago, and influenced by my rather mainstream understanding of feminism & gender issues at the time. My conversations with other commenters (Archy and Eric M. come to mind) in those early days went a LONG way in opening my eyes to how certain applications of feminism have hurt and continue to hurt men, to the realities of female-on-male sexual abuse and the unfairness of custody court, and to how men feel when feminists stand on our soapboxes spouting the same rhetoric and stats time and again. I argued a bit in the beginning but found myself argued into a corner, forced to admit that I was wrong, or at the very least, ignorant. Not an easy admission for anyone when you’re talking about belief systems and values. Since then, my attitudes towards men and even MRAs have morphed quite a bit, as has my personal definition of feminism. And it’s happened again here, with so many of you quick to point out the blindness in my original comment.

      So the ‘political’ conversations lamented in Tom’s piece had personal significance for me – and I admit, they affected me more, or in a deeper way, than reading the stories of men alone would have. And that is a large part of why I felt hurt and scolded.

      • There are places for both and forums for both. I find Intellectual discourse valuable and I find Inperson stories valuable and for me it’s sides of coins.

      • My lens is foggy atm ( extra tiredness due to lack of a thyroid and waiting for first dose adjustment of the replacement hormone!) but can you point out where you felt like you weren’t welcome here? I have no doubt you felt that way from the article, just I may have missed something. What I gathered from his piece is that he just doesn’t want feminism to dominate the discussion of men, and he wants articles by men about men in a positive way to be the most popular ones vs a feminist written article about how men do bad to women. Kinda sucks seeing the most traffic goes to how we men hurt women, I would have hoped more traffic would goto the ones on stay at home fathers, stories of growth, etc.

        I’m glad your view is expanding, it’s been a great experience here in the comment sections especially as I have learned so much about feminism, the MRM, I think mixing up the experience like that is a good thing as we can start to see both sides vs being gynocentric or androcentric. It’s the base reason I try to keep male and female friends, I want a mix of experiences, not just the same ol shit.

        I learned a huge amount of how bad men actually get it from this site, especially statistics that are super duper important but buried deep in tables vs on the front page, the CDC stats blew my mind, I was literally speechless for a bit when I saw the 12 month category in particular. It’s an eye opening experience to realize men aren’t just these invincible, confident and stoic men, but that we actually cry, feel pain, get oppressed, suffer all kinds of bullshit. I think when more people realize that we will have less “womengetitworse” arguments, and more unity, since it’s in everyones best interests to tackle both genders problems. People can be selfish and not help the other gender but when you have proof your own gender is at risk too it’s a bit of an eye opener, increases the importance quite a bit.

        I have to admit it has made me realize men are FAR FAR FAR more vulnerable than I thought, I had previously thought men weren’t harmed very often by women mostly due to size difference but then I learned size matters not when you need the mind to use that size to defend yourself. I am HUGE, 6’6, 300lbs, I probably intimidate people, but in the last fight I’ve had I locked up and couldn’t act, I could easily have killed the guy but my mind was scared. I feel fear with women too, I’ve been slapped, punched, groped etc by them and had no idea what to do, my size didn’t mean shit when I was thinking if I tell people, I’ll cop so much shit overit, and if I fight back I’ll be seen as primary aggressor due to size and cop legal backlash, and also being taught not to hit women even in self-defense.

        But what does society portray about guys my size? That we can crush people, we’re so strong that many men feel intimidated and that women have no chance to hurt us, but it’s just not true. Where would you hear a story like mine? I can’t think of anywhere else really. And what is especially great is that I’ve seen women also tell of their vulnerability and that is one reason I love having women talk on the GMP, how else would I truly try understand them especially when they reply to a topic I am already discussing. It adds to the debate and helps me learn a lot.

        • Putting on my web content manager’s hat again…

          The “most popular” label is a little misleading. “Most popular” articles are that way because of the number of pageviews, not because the content, or the point of view, is popular. Pageviews increase exponentially when people get involved in the comments, especially when things get heated and you get a group of people who return and return again to the same page to follow the conversation. Add in the pageview-boost of people being directed here from other sites like Jezebel or HuffPo, and yeah, those stories are gonna stay at the top of the list.

          When I worked at the newspaper, our most “popular” pageview getters were the galleries of local jail inmates’ mugshots. Hardly the best reflection of our city, or its population, or the mission of the newspaper. But we continued to plug the mugshots – every single day, they were featured in one way or another on the homepage – because, and here’s the second important part of the equation, pageviews = ad dollars. And with the newspaper industry on life support anyway, we’d take anything we can get.

          I remember writing to Lisa Hickey way early on in my relationship with GMP about the auto-refresh feature and how annoying it could be. The answer I got had to do with GMP needing the pageviews (which, in addition to boosting ad revenue, help with Search Engine Optimization and other boring marketing stuff). Obviously the editors, and I’m assuming Tom the Venture Capitalist, are not blind to this aspect – as just one example, article headlines written to generate clicks are pretty obvious to someone who used to do just that for a living. From a business standpoint, heated conversations are GOOD for GMP, regardless of the content of said conversations.

          Now, to address your first question, I admit I read things backwards – I read Joanna’s response before I read Tom’s piece. And her response dealt a bit more with the personal/political issue than Tom’s did, but they bled together a bit in my mind a bit when I wrote my comment. That’s unfair to both authors so I apologize. But I still get the overall feeling that Tom’s message is “If you’re going to say something feminist/gender-theorist/political about these stories, I’d rather you not say anything at all.” I don’t comment often on the personal stories because they don’t leave me with anything to say. I suppose I could say “thanks for sharing” every time (and I would mean it) but I don’t feel AS compelled to say that as I do with topics that are naturally disposed to debate and discussion. That’s something of an internet truism – people are far more likely to speak up when they disagree than when they agree, and FAR FAR more likely to be uncensored about it.

          I’ve never felt unwelcomed by the comment community. Archy, you in particular always strike me as a cool voice of reason; your personal stories touched me, and your input on the more “political” ones is typically not inflammatory or likely to create/encourage conflict. But nearly everyone I’ve talked to here has been respectful and civil towards me – perhaps because I myself try not to start arguments or inject myself into the middle of those already going. Tom’s piece in particular did initially make me feel … not singled out, but at least guilty by association, just because I do happen to be interested in gender theory as a whole as well as masculinity by itself.

          Put as simply as possible, I come here to learn about what it’s like to be man. If I’m discouraged from chiming in and engaging in conversation which may or may not draw from my experience with feminism (and at least for me, more often my comments don’t have much to do with feminism unless someone else has already brought it up), I may still come here, but I will definitely feel the loss of that part of the site experience.

          • “But I still get the overall feeling that Tom’s message is “If you’re going to say something feminist/gender-theorist/political about these stories, I’d rather you not say anything at all.” I don’t comment often on the personal stories because they don’t leave me with anything to say. I suppose I could say “thanks for sharing” every time (and I would mean it) but I don’t feel AS compelled to say that as I do with topics that are naturally disposed to debate and discussion. That’s something of an internet truism – people are far more likely to speak up when they disagree than when they agree, and FAR FAR more likely to be uncensored about it.”

            This, the bit about the personal stories and people not commenting (and thus not driving page views) is what I’d see as part of the frustration Tom feels. I don’t know this for sure, but I’m guessing. He sees amazing stories getting no traffic and posts filled with theory and arguments getting massive views. I’d say it isn’t the message but the medium.

            If you have a successful show like The Moth or This American Life (which are story/documentary based) you listen either in a group or alone and react/feel/internalize it. When you read text you are usually alone and when provided a space for reaction, people react. They vent their spleen, argue, derail, fight, agree, defend etc. In a theater….you experience.

            And I think that’s a big piece of the puzzle. Tom has had, if I’m reading him correctly, amazing in person experiences that have changed him. He’s face to face listened to men and their stories. I don’t know if he can replicate that experience here or at least replicate it and get the page views that most online mags need to survive.

            Maybe if it was a podcast/videocast kind of deal, but still the comment stream (in lieu of a group talk, or discussions after a show) would possibly run the same way as when dealing with text articles.

            If the show I work on did an online version would it be as successful? I think ours is successful because it involves a real life real time element of risk and exposure. A) the readers telling their stories. B) the audience members being willing to be seen at a show revolving around sex. Though our podcasts are well listened to.

            I know I’ve written many pieces here that haven’t gotten many comments or page views, but I do know that the people who have read them enjoyed them. There simply wasn’t anything provocative enough to argue on.

            • Lisa Hickey says:

              Julie, this was really helpful, thanks.

              I agree that when Tom talks about the parts of Good Men Project that have had such a profound impact on him it HAS been the in-person experiences. The time in Sing Sing. Speaking at Belmont Hill school with Andre Tippet. Interviewing Michael Kamber about his experiences in the war. Being a panelist at the Boston Book club.

              I wonder about ways we can make more in person experiences around the Good Men Project brand. The weekly calls we have on Friday’s are amazing, I think, they are one of my favorite parts of the week. We have talked of a Speaker’s Bureau. We try to do radio interviews when we can — maybe we can do more, or even figure out a way to have our own internet radio show. We are working on a theatrical play. I think when television truly turns social it will be interesting to see how we might leverage that.

              There are a lot of posts here that “only” get a few thousand views, and not that many comments. But still, when you think about it, for one person to have a story they can tell to thousands of people at one time — that is still powerful.

              • Things to keep working on!

              • I think podcasts of people reading their stories (not the blog posts but more of the personal stories) could be really cool. Just to be able to listen to the story and move with it would be very cool.

              • There are a lot of posts here that “only” get a few thousand views, and not that many comments. But still, when you think about it, for one person to have a story they can tell to thousands of people at one time — that is still powerful.

                Very much agreed. That’s the huge benefit of using the internet as a platform. And a reason to not let the metrics bog you down.

            • Very well put – and I hope Tom sees this bit, or knows it himself already. I’m inclined to agree that Tom’s intense personal experiences don’t translate well to the internet as a medium. Traffic metrics can be useful for site managers but they also have this way of getting into people’s heads and giving them the wrong idea about the content – same way that a person struggling to lose weight can get obsessed with the number on the scale and lose perspective on the whole picture of their health. (Can you tell by now that I love metaphors?)

              The only challenge behind different formats like podcasts is getting people to adapt the new medium. Just speaking personally, I know of dozens of podcasts that I would probably be interested in listening to, but I don’t listen to any, because I find I don’t have the time – or rather, I can’t really fit them in with my lifestyle. Even now when I click on an article and find it to be an embedded video with a little blurb of commentary, I’m likely to just click away – ESPECIALLY if the video is more than 2-3 minutes long. I’m not saying all readers, or even most readers, are like this, but you would likely run into this issue to some scale.

            • Eagle34 says:

              Julie: “I know I’ve written many pieces here that haven’t gotten many comments or page views, but I do know that the people who have read them enjoyed them. There simply wasn’t anything provocative enough to argue on.”

              But there’s no way of knowing if people have read them or enjoyed them either way.

              My last article, “My Brush With Suicide” did generate comments. Fine. But when the scales of page views, likes, and more stayed straight at zero I was crushed. Yeah, it’s great to contribute stories like mine. But at the end of the day, what good is it when you lack any knowledge on whether or not people read it? If you rely on the page views and likes, how does it make you feel better when they stay at zero and haven’t generated anything?

              Sorry if I sound bitter but the stories I tell take a lot out of me and I earn nothing in terms of monetary value. I’m still the same low-income louse with bills to pay. Yet, it doesn’t get me down. Until I read the page views and likes. The fact that writing is such a draining task with the content provided, seeing page views and likes either low or at zero reduce of self-esteem.

              Pardon me for ranting, Julie.

              • Lisa Hickey says:

                Eagle, what would you do to get stories like yours out to a wider audience? I agree those stories are important, and we would like them to be heard.

                • Eagle34 says:

                  To be honest Lisa, I have no clue at all.

                  Writing is my forte. Marketing and exposure…sorry but it’s the biggest flaw of mine. Aside from publishing here, I lack the know-how of pushing ones ‘self out there in the mainstream.

                  I do have a radio show though. That’s a comfort. It’s mostly for performance though. Even then, my ratings aren’t tipping the scales. Decent following but nothing else.

                • Here’s an idea…Perhaps those good stories, the personal and impactful stories that GMP would like to get heard, should be positioned better on the site, and promoted better through social media, so as to give them Top Billing over the other content.

                  By this I mean, give them the most space on the homepage, the best headlines, the best images. Let these links be the ones that go out to social media, more often than the latest reply to something Jezebel wrote. In other words, force us gender-debatists to have to look harder for the gender-debate-worthy pieces instead of spoon-feeding them to us every day. Don’t get rid of them altogether, they do have value, but they shouldn’t be the Face of the site. (Which I think touches back to Tom’s thesis about where/how feminism belongs here.)

                  I know that GMP has also recently brought a few other blogs under its wings, like No Seriously What About Teh Menz? I enjoy Ozy’s posts very much (in fact, if they stopped being published here I’d probably follow zie back to zer own blog to read and comment there) but maybe giving them so much real estate on a site that’s supposed to be about men telling their stories is having a detrimental effect on the atmosphere. Maybe focus less on those, and more on Todd McCann’s trucker stories, etc.

                  • Eagle34 says:

                    The problem is my last article wasn’t even on the front page long enough before dissappearing into obscurity.

                    I think it deserved at least more exposure. But that’s my opinion.

              • Eagle do you mean pieces you’ve published here or on your own blog? Because on my own blog, no I don’t get massive pageviews. Here, Lisa can tell me what the views have been and I have gotten some personal feedback. I’m not a paid writer either, though. Part of the PV thing is….how wide is the audience. The people that know about my home blog are fewer than would ever know about GMP.

                • Eagle34 says:

                  I mean pieces here, Julie. Particularly the last one, “My Brush With Suicide”.

                  It’s frustrating when you know your writing is good, it deserves to be heard, yet aren’t pulling in the numbers.

              • Maybe my perspective can help…

                My relationship with GMP sort of exists in a bubble, a bubble that doesn’t really come into contact with the rest of my world. Out of all the articles I read on here, and even the ones I comment on, I “Share” or “Like” very few, because I feel they’re not an appropriate match for my Facebook audience. (I’m not on Twitter.) This gender/masculinity thing is an interest I don’t share with very many in my personal circle. That’s part of the reason, too, that I comment. I want to talk to SOMEONE about these topics and stories and articles, but I’m not going to find that conversation on Facebook with my friends and family. And that’s perfectly fine by me – I don’t view it as my mission to convert them or make them interested. Just like different friendships satisfy different needs (your work friends, your party friends, your friends-of-the-family, your closest most intimate friends), GMP fills a need for me that I don’t take with me elsewhere into the world.

                The worst thing you can do with site metrics is take them personally. They are numbers, automatically tabulated by software and left open to interpretation. They can be great *indicators* of the audience’s interests and attitudes, but are not 100% representative.

                • When I posted some stuff about the abuse of men by women on my facebook I was accused of hating women.
                  Much of what I talk about, read, etc, seems to not be very important to many people I know sadly. I write anonymously partly for that reason too, there are quite a few people here that think advocating for male issues or rights somehow means you hate women and that men have so much power that they don’t have issues to deal with. I’m actually afraid to put my name on male rights n issues awareness because of the negativity surrounding anything MRA/MRM. Feminism has a long history with a fair bit of positivity but the MRM is largely unknown and to identify with it could be a problem. Newspapers here talk very negatively about male rights people which is basically “white middle class men have problems, ha ha ha don’t make me laugh” but feminism gets mostly praise and support.

                  It’s sad really, I hope it changes so both are seen as positive.

          • I try to comment more often even if it’s a thanks for the article, but I always feel like I don’t know what to say to make it not sound like someone giving an obligatory fluff to someone else.

            I am quite curious what feminism thinks of men, the criticisms and compliments, the view of men, I think it’s important to have some of that on this site even if it just stirs up debate. Hell I learned so much just from the feminist vs antifeminist arguments, then you get the rape culture articles which give the female side which is terrible, then you see these men opening up n describing how they are now quite nervous in approaching women, this stuff is gold I tell you, you just don’t hear this much if at all in real life or on other sites (many other sites tend to moderate too heavily I’m guessing). I think one of the comments I made in relation to rape culture and the fear women have walking around was important, that if we focused purely on statistics to be fearful of someone then children would be afraid to be alone with their mothers due to the abuse stats. This is important to remember so the stats can give warning, but don’t make them rule your life.

            Thank-you for the compliment as well, I try to remain level headed, I do get angry but I try my best not to comment when I am too angry, I try go away n play a game, calm down, otherwise anger can ruin my message as many will not truly read an angry message and understand it fully I think. I’ve always valued your input too 😀

  31. Naive1000 says:

    I wonder how it’s not when you allow them to censor comments here from people they disagree with. If you don’t allowing dissenting voices, especially reasonable ones, then you are letting them set what a good man is. They define it with their editing and close minded view projected here. I don’t usually read this site because anything critical or against the set view of the pieces presented are removed. Nothing good comes from censorship. That you only allow feminist views and opinions that agree with it you have culled a large population of men from coming here and hearing those voices that need to be heard.

  32. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    One of the things I’ve found very heartening about this site is that the earlier radical feminist default has been replaced by more balanced and nuanced approaches (which may be more radical in the last analysis.) GMP used to feature some writers/commenters who either scolded men,writhed with male guilt, or reacted against the critique of men by claiming that women oppressed men too.

    I’m also heartened by the reasoned critique of stances based on gender or male privilege. It’s not that these privileges don’t ever exist, but that they are “crosscut” by other systems of privilege, some of them accruing to women. The most significant system of privilege, of course, is the rich and powerful against most other people. Emphasizing gender or male privilege in this way individualizes and psychologizes social advantage because it’s usually presented as “I don’t want you to feel guilty (really?), but you need to look at this.” Well, one might feel virtuous after considering this, and adopting more PC speech, but chances are really good that the counselees won’t change in essence. This is the discourse that produces Cambridge, MA liberals, or the sections of the Democratic party that are preoccupied with race and gender tokenism, but will never, ever consider class or profound economic change that might end the zero-sum game that Andrea implies above. The union movement is at a hundred year profound low, and it’s partly because we didn’t stop the deindustrialization of America, which was the basis for resistance to capital. Modern token Democrats are preoccupied with race and gender because they are feel bad/good topics, and do nothing to change economic relations.

    Evidence of the individualization and psychologization of the site during the radical feminist and “privilege” periods is shown by previous overemphases on social mores and parsing actual or potential behavior in excessively detailed ways. For example, people paid much attention to age differentials between sexual partners, probably not really an issue a humanistic society would worry much about. Frequently, people with whom moralizers disagreed were told they were in “denial,” as an unfair discussion tactic.

    As a veteran of the 60s, when we last tried profound social change, I’m convinced that the type of change we want must be infused with the erotic. (And I don’t necessarily mean more sex alone. But a sense of experimentatiion, creativity.) If we are trying to bring in more laws, rules, and social control, I’m not interested. But I love this site.

    • Jameseq says:

      Top post Hank, good to see you posting again.
      I agree, Advantage was and still is, determined predominantly by a person’s social rank in their society

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Thanks for the perspective Hank. Appreciate your checking in.

  33. This is definitely a conversation-worthy essay, and the perspectives in the comments are fascinating as well. I can see the value in Tom’s suggestion that men need a space where they can cultivate their emotions and feel empowered to share them rather than perpetuating the “strong silent type” myth. Values, opinions, ideas are easily crafted around our experiences as a man, woman, transgender, etc. Everything we say and hear is filtered through our own personal biases, and our own personal biases are shaped to varying degrees by our gendered experiences in the world. I think that creating spaces where men feel comfortable sharing their feelings without the fear of having their masculinity questioned or criticized (and where they can identify with others like them) will bring us closer to a world where the male identity is not predicated on subjugating women.

    That being said, segregation is dangerous because part of what perpetuates the patriarchy is the lack of shared understanding and mutual responsibility for the roles of both women and men in both their individual lives and the world at large, and it fails to acknowledge the very difficult circumstances under which women have been forced to exist since the beginning of time. Part of what feminism tries to rise against is this generic notion that women are more nurturing, more in touch with their emotions, and that men are the providers and protectors who do not engage in “silly emotional stuff.” Freedom for women to exist without the expectation of motherhood, without being taught to look pretty and be accommodating (among other things women have been socialized to perpetuate) also creates the freedom for men to escape gendered expectations, to become empowered by their emotions and to validate the influence of that on simply existing in the world as a human being. Gender is fundamentally irrelevant in almost everything we do today, but we are still confined by it. All of us. Let’s tear it down.

    What we want, how we craft our self-identities, and how we live have been influenced by thousands of years of sex-specific expectations and rules placed upon both men and women. Feminists can’t liberate women with out men, and men cannot liberate themselves without women; we are intertwined. Tearing down expectations and stereotypes of women inevitably means tearing them down for men because one cannot exist without the other. So while men need to be given space and tools to value their emotions and put words to them, it’s not going to help the male cause to exclude women from the conversations all together.

    It’s also really annoying when people point out “female privilege.” What exactly is that? Because I can hold my own door open, pay for my own dinner, and lift my own sack of groceries. Is it a privilege that I can’t walk down the street without some stranger critiquing my appearance like it’s public property? Really, I just don’t understand this notion of “female privilege” because I don’t want these things. I don’t consider it a privilege that I have the “option” of not working in order to raise children because that is based on the sexist assumption that women are the natural caregivers and that is their unmovable role. These assumptions are why, in 2012, we’re all still spinning out and fighting about sexism.

    Also, it always perplexes me when people comment that they don’t agree with feminist values. The basic tenet of feminism is equality among sexes. Do these people who disagree with feminism also agree with racism?

    • Mark Neil says:

      Lisa. Here is a prime example of what I was talking about when I said the presumption of claiming equality as a feminist monopolized attribute leads to hostile and problematic views.

      “Do these people who disagree with feminism also agree with racism?”

      Does this not make clear the idea that if you oppose feminism, you can not be for equality. that the two are one? Notice too that Kacey moved on to equality of race (“also agree with racism”. as if disagreeing with feminism = disagreeing with gender equality), as if opposition to equality of gender was already a non-option.

      “Also, it always perplexes me when people comment that they don’t agree with feminist values”

      Which feminist values would those be, the ones that said “women can not be free until the nuclear family is destroyed”? Perhaps the ones that claim “women are the greatest victims of war”? Or perhaps you just mean the ones that lump the blame and shame upon men with patriarchy and privilege theories, while ignoring women’s role and privilege?

      Just for the record, feminism includes people like Dworkin, mcKinnon, Solonas, Valenti as prominante members of the movement, whether you like that fact or not. These women did/do not believe in equality, but rather, female supremacy. If feminism was about equality, it would directly conflict with these women’s agenda and they could not be deemed feminists, let alone feminist leaders and front women. Likewise, feminist organizations like NOW and the women’s bar actively oppose equality, even going so far as to oppose a bill that would allow a biological father of a child born in wedlock to a dupped man to gain some semblance of parental rights. This too is not about equality. And there are no examples of feminists acting to address men’s issues, except as a side effect to helping women. Feminism is about female empowerment. Nothing more, nothing less. To what degree, and what their opinion of men are, are speific to the individual feminist, not the movement as a whole.

    • ” I don’t consider it a privilege that I have the “option” of not working in order to raise children because that is based on the sexist assumption that women are the natural caregivers and that is their unmovable role. ”
      So is it alright if I don’t consider companies thinking i’m possibly a better employee b/c i cant get pregnant a non-privledge on the same logic base?
      ” Is it a privilege that I can’t walk down the street without some stranger critiquing my appearance like it’s public property? ”
      Do women not critique men? I hear comments about men from women all the time.
      ” “female privilege.” What exactly is that?”
      What is feminism defined, what is “the patriarchy”, what is male privilege? I personally have seen hundreds if not thousands of definitions and takes on these words. This is possibly why some people shut down when they hear those words. Either provide your definition to add to the list or leave the implied meaning out.
      Finally, “That being said, segregation is dangerous because part of what perpetuates the patriarchy is the lack of shared understanding and mutual responsibility for the roles of both women and men in both their individual lives and the world at large”
      This cuts both ways, a group of like minded women gazing only at the benefits of the men above them and the wrongs of a certain few would exacerbate the belief in the prevalence of this “patriarchy.”

      • If there weren’t a patriarchy, men and women would be counted equally by the US census bureau with respect to caring for children. (Remember this? http://goodmenproject.com/children/census-bureau-fathers-pretty-much-just-babysitters/) If there weren’t a patriarchy, men would be able to talk about their feelings without having their masculinity questioned. If there weren’t a patriarchy, women would earn equal pay and have control over their own reproduction and moral autonomy. If there weren’t a patriarchy, there would be no such thing as rape culture. If there weren’t a patriarchy, we wouldn’t even be having this debate.

        • Eagle34 says:

          Do you blame Partiarchy for everything?

        • Remember this?
          http://goodmenproject.com/men-and-feminism/i-have-female-privilege/

          It’s interesting how irate a lot of people get when the idea that women face gender oppression and men have male privilege gets challenged.

          The perspective that is much closer to the truth is that both men and women are horribly oppressed (as men and as women, not only as gay men, or only as black women with specific qualifiers).

          I wholesale reject the ideas of patriarchy and male privilege as set out by most feminists that assigns men some kind of original sin or male guilt that needs to be exonerated.

          The simple truth is that women also have had (and used) the power to shape the culture. And they have had just as large a hand in shaping certain things to their benefit as men have had in shaping certain things to our benefit.

          To refuse to accept this is just adopting a revisionist view on history, male pain and disposability.

    • “It’s also really annoying when people point out “female privilege.” What exactly is that? Because I can hold my own door open, pay for my own dinner, and lift my own sack of groceries. Is it a privilege that I can’t walk down the street without some stranger critiquing my appearance like it’s public property? Really, I just don’t understand this notion of “female privilege” because I don’t want these things. I don’t consider it a privilege that I have the “option” of not working in order to raise children because that is based on the sexist assumption that women are the natural caregivers and that is their unmovable role. ”
      I see similar arguments against male privilege, how interesting…Wonder how many people consider that men don’t feel certain male privileges, are in fact privileges based on the negatives they come with.

  34. Anthony Deluca says:

    I am very opposed to the modern (not hiostorical) feminist movement. Still I would like to say that I think you should not try to control the GMP too tightly. Its a “project” and I think it needs room to grow and change. In fact it has gone through many phases of being more mainstream feminist and more MRA. I think this is healthy.

  35. The Bad Man says:

    When a man and a woman are arguing about feminism—and the women involved happen to be feminists and the man happens to be a blue collar dude with no privilege—the chances that she’s the one from whom the truth is more obscured is very high indeed.

    Fixed that for you.

    • Blue collar dude is still a dude and still has “dude privilege” if you want to put it that way. Men are by and large fairly unaware of how smoothly paved the world is for them compared to women. Men can imagine what it’s like, but have not experienced it, which is the nature of the whole issue.

      I don’t look down on people because of their jobs; so maybe I’m just not sure what to make of your comment. “Blue collar dude” can still be a feminist himself, and can still be a participant in a good conversation with a woman, even one who is a feminist.

      • I, for one, have a very easy time accepting the idea that those in a privileged position have a very difficult time understanding what it is like to be underprivileged. The idea I don’t really accept is that those in an underprivileged position can easily understand what it is like to be privileged.

        Male privilege exists, and it’s true that it is often difficult for men to see its effects. Class privilege also exists, as does privilege based on race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and so on. I think what The Bad Man is saying is that when we are discussing one form of privilege, we tend to assume that those people who possess that specific form of privilege are each individually more privileged. I think he is also saying that privilege is not something equally distributed amongst the members of its associated group – for example a male friend of mine certainly misses out on employment-related aspects of male privilege as he is a nurse.

        Privilege is a messy, uneven thing in the real world and so we must always be careful when changing reference frame from the group to the individual – some aspects of the group’s privilege may not apply to the individual, and other aspects of the group’s privilege may apply but may be interpreted differently. As an example of this last one I, as a man, have the privilege that people are more likely to assume I am assertive, and to treat assertiveness as a positive characteristic; unfortunately I very much dislike being assertive or being perceived as such, though it is something which comes naturally to me, so the assumed assertiveness which may be a privilege in general may not be a privilege in my case.

        Basically I guess what I’m trying to say is we should remember that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

      • You just can’t see your own female privilege.

      • In the men’s literature I read, blue-collar guys actually have a kind of reverse privilege. They work with their bodies and hands, they accept physical danger, they are not tainted by over-education, and they’re more likely to hold to traditional masculinity and traditional views of women.

        Admittedly, it doesn’t have to be that way regarding gender and its performance, but blue-collarhood is coming to stand for a kind of uniquely male authenticity, and I don’t think a lot of men (or women) are ready to question that assumption.

        • “Blue collar dude is still a dude and still has “dude privilege” if you want to put it that way. Men are by and large fairly unaware of how smoothly paved the world is for them compared to women. Men can imagine what it’s like, but have not experienced it, which is the nature of the whole issue.” …. I’m amazed at how few didn’t jump on this! Smoothly paved? Are you kidding me? This is what really bugged me about the feminist movement as it developed in the 60’s. Someone somewhere came up with the bull shit that men had it so great for so many years and it was a crock of crap. Even today, the mortality rate for men is still far worse then women.

          Back in the old days, we were an industrial nation and who worked those labor jobs? Men. Even today, who do you see in the coal mines? Men. MOST of the men were not in high paying white collar jobs, they were the laborers, the guys in the factories working long hours for lousy pay. Smoothly paved? Are you frigging kidding me? What’s worse then someone saying this is the many men in here that haven’t jumped on it. My dad, as well as most of his male friends barely made it past the first couple years of retirement. Their spouses, like my mom … those oppressed women that feminists fought for? They outlived their husbands by a good 10 years.

          Maybe it’s because of my age that I have the benefit (misfortune) of seeing the so called evolution and it’s not pretty. Nothing has changed for men in society …. Look at the suicide rate, the employment numbers, the % of fatherless kids, the family court system, the prison system….. “smoothly paved?” Hog wash.

          • There were quite a lot of women in industrial jobs in England in the 19th century I believe, even kids of both genders. I can’t remember the name but there was a chemical that ate the jawbones of the workers, they had pictures of men, women, boys and girls, it was horrific and to me it looked like everyone in that day had a shitty time except the wealthy/elite.

            Good point though on how it isn’t smooth sailing for men, we still makeup most workplace deaths and are in the riskiest jobs usually. 1st,Alaskan Crab Fisherman, 2nd,Loggers, 3rd,Truck drivers, 4th,Miners, and 5th,Firefighters are the most risky jobs afaik and they are mostly male.

      • Men are by and large fairly unaware of how smoothly paved the world is for them compared to women.
        The funny part is even as this is pointed out, there are those that still vehemently argue that women somehow know how easy men have it to the point of knowing men’s experiences better than even men themselves. It would be nice if women recognized the smoothness of their own paved world in comparison to men.

        But that’s the thing isn’t it? Let’s take that road analogy that so often pops up when trying to say how much easier men have it than women.

        Usually the analogy goes something to the effect of men not recognizing that they are running on a smoothly paved highway while women are stuck on a dirt road, full of holes, nails, alligators, angry squirrels, Lakitus (that little guy in Super Mario Bros. that drops spiked turtles on your head), trap holes, and lord knows what else. Pretty one sided right?

        But the thing is, is gender really that one sided?

        That’s something that bugs me. Supposedly the people that chirp off these analogies know how the lives of men so well that they don’t even need us to speak up about them but the things that harm us seem to never make it into those pretty little analogies and checklists.

        • Mark Neil says:

          Exactly. The idea that women are immune to being blinded to their own privilege, and perfectly able to discern the experiences of men, despite men being unable to discern the experiences of women, is a joke. I’m sure Affirmative action and all those educational programs to get women into post secondary make women’s road oh so hazardous. VAWA , family court bias and reproductive rights have been doing a good job of cluster bombing our road as well. But all that seems invisible to some

      • “Men are by and large fairly unaware of how smoothly paved the world is for them compared to women”
        Only in SOME cases, in other cases women are by n large fairly unaware of how smoothly paved the world is for them compared to men. The most evident example of this happens during war, women have a position of privilege in the way they are often protected far more often from the fighting, weren’t conscripted, weren’t pushed into the frontline fighting. This chivalrous act put men in harms way far more often than women (at least until the fighting hit urban streets, then everyone is in harms way), I’ve seen people try to explain this away by stating it’s because society sees women as weaker, so it’s not a privilege, but society also sees men far more often as disposable objects for utility, and that their life is worth less than that of a woman (otherwise people would be sending women into war anyway if their life was valued the same or less). Now this is changing slowly with women ability to join many military’s of the world, I think Israel conscripts women and men too, but it’s not worldwide yet and men still are put in harms way far more often.

        I honestly think there may be a case of many feminist researchers taking the bad that women get, and comparing it to the good that men get. I may be wrong and hope I am wrong in this but many of the reports from studies I see tend to study the female gender only, and someone ends up comparing it to men without actually stating the evidence. Prove me wrong please, I’d rather know I am wrong in this case.

        • Archy writes:
          “I may be wrong and hope I am wrong in this but many of the reports from studies I see tend to study the female gender only, and someone ends up comparing it to men without actually stating the evidence.”

          Or they compare the worst that a (worse-off) subset of women get it, compared to a (better off) subset of men breeze through life.

    • Nice. Good forbid women have to look at how they oppress and enjoy privilege too! It is so much complicated and complex than many give it credit. Confession: I used to be one of those guys in academia who swallowed all of the kool-aid and walked around with my own feminist hairshirt. No more.

  36. Usually women do “need their own space” to discuss/experience things because all to often when we share “space” with men, the men take over entirely (in my own field, see any open outdoors-related Internet forum for examples). Men “needing their own space” seems a bit of a stretch because, as your television host pointed out, men have had the entire world as their own “space” for millenia.

    I am afraid the underlying message of this piece is, unintentionally, that women’s POV should be disregarded in a discussion about men; that women shouldn’t comment on men’s issues because it degrades the conversation. Can you please clarify, Tom?

    One last comment: if you want equal rights for both sexes, you are a feminist. That’s what feminism IS.

    • Men may tend to “take over” mixed-gender discussions more often, but there are also examples of women “taking over” mixed-gender discussions, often by pointing out the fact that men have historically dominated public discourse. The need for greater gender balance and recognition in mixed-gender discussions does not, however, negate the value of having gender-exclusive discussions.

      I’m constantly confused that some people just don’t seem to consider that maybe some discussions actually should be focused on men, when they have no difficulty accepting the women’s equivalent. Maybe having some discussions men can legitimately control will mitigate the emotional need some men feel to illegitimately control others.

      I saw no suggestion in the article that women shouldn’t comment on men’s issues, or that women’s perspectives should be disregarded. What I saw was the idea that women’s perspectives should not be the only ones considered, and should not necessarily hold a central or defining role in the discussion.

      Wanting equal rights for both sexes is what feminism is to many people. Unfortunately the political, financial, and social structures which comprise feminism in the world (rather than as an ideal form or abstract concept) have a history of neglecting areas in which men are the disadvantaged parties.

      • “I’m constantly confused that some people just don’t seem to consider that maybe some discussions actually should be focused on men, when they have no difficulty accepting the women’s equivalent. ”

        Well I sorry to say that some people see the male brain as inherently evil.

    • Men “needing their own space” seems a bit of a stretch because, as your television host pointed out, men have had the entire world as their own “space” for millenia.
      If that’s the case then why are the men’s spaces that are cropping up these days being attacked over their mere existence.

      This “the whole world is a men’s space” line argument has begun to confuse me lately.

      On one hand men have the freedom to make their own space at their leisure and pretty much do whatever they want. On the other when a space for men opens up it is instantly attacked because “every space is a men’s space”.

      If the whole world were a men’s space then why do people get so antsy when a small men’s space is cut out?

      Personally I think it’s a matter of men being lumped together in a single monolith. That way when any portion of men, regardless of what unifying force/cause/idea binds those men together, start to carve out their bit of space they are found guilty by gender association and thus declared to have the entire world as their space.

      Either we are one monolithic entity and we all share this supposed freedom of having the entire world as our space or we are not said monolithic entity and are several subgroups and subsets and we are making our little spaces as we can. Can’t have it both ways.

    • Mark Neil says:

      “One last comment: if you want equal rights for both sexes, you are a feminist. That’s what feminism IS.”

      I’m curious if you realize the irony of making this claim in the very same post where you say women deserve to have women only spaces but men should be denied them or else they are misogynists. Is that what you call equal?

      Just for the record, feminism includes people like Dworkin, mcKinnon, Solonas, Valenti as prominante members of the movement, whether you like that fact or not. These women did/do not believe in equality, but rather, female supremacy. If feminism was about equality, it would directly conflict with these women’s agenda and they could not be deemed feminists, let alone feminist leaders and front women. Likewise, feminist organizations like NOW and the women’s bar actively oppose equality, even going so far as to oppose a bill that would allow a biological father of a child born in wedlock to a dupped man to gain some semblance of parental rights. This too is not about equality. And there are no examples of feminists acting to address men’s issues, except as a side effect to helping women. Feminism is about female empowerment. Nothing more, nothing less. To what degree, and what their opinion of men are, are speific to the individual feminist, not the movement as a whole.

      THAT is what feminism IS.

      PS, I am strongly opposed to patriarchy and male privilege theories, which are fundamental beliefs of feminism. This makes me anti-feminist. Does that mean I am incappable of believing in equality? But in fact I do believe in equality, so does that suddenly mean I HAVE to accept those feminist theories? Your feminist claim to equality is problematic, and I reject it as offensive.

    • Men “needing their own space” seems a bit of a stretch because, as your television host pointed out, men have had the entire world as their own “space” for millenia.

      One last comment: if you want equal rights for both sexes, you are a feminist. That’s what feminism IS.”
      No no no no no. It makes them an equalist/egalitarian in nature, but you cannot put the feminist label of people that don’t use it themselves. You say feminism is that, but other feminists clearly show through their speech n actions that feminism is equal rights FOR WOMEN ONLY, there is too much conflict to label someone as feminist. I actually find it insulting to be referred to as feminist, I don’t like labels, the only label I might accept is egalitarian. Feminism, the very word indicates feminine, female, the actions of so many in the movement that aren’t actually bettering equal rights for men indicate to me that feminism itself is not equal rights for all, but equal rights for women in the hopes that they become equal to men.

      But hey, there are so many variants of feminism it seems that people are so willing to latch on and apply it to positive generalizations, but when it comes to negative generalizations it’s far less common to see. Who gets to define feminism? Is there a group somewhere that can say feminism = X? Because I so often see feminism is not a monolith, so how can someone say feminism is equal rights for both sexes? I have no problem with people saying their version of feminism is equal rights for both sexes, but to me it seems odd to say feminism itself always is about equal rights for both genders when there are so many gynocentric feminists whos words n actions do not add up to this finding.

      Fact is feminism often neglects male rights and male issues in favour of female rights n issues, hell show me one feminist actively advocating and making a group to bring in financial abortion for men to give them equal rights with women in the ability to opt out of parenthood? Show me feminists who realize genderizing the anti-abuse campaigns marginalizes men from getting support, hell there is no equal level of support for male victims of abuse even though new stats show the levels of men n women suffer in domestic and sexual violence is becoming very close to parity. I see a few in comments and the odd article here n there that support them, but more often I see feminists who focus completely on women or when they do talk about men it comes with disclaimers in the article that women suffer more and the focus of the article goes back to how bad women get it. Some feminist authors derail their own aricle!

      “Men “needing their own space” seems a bit of a stretch because, as your television host pointed out, men have had the entire world as their own “space” for millenia.”

      Something that has bothered me is seemingly intelligent people refering to this lil tripe. Did it ever occur to them that many issues are quite often attacked, insulted, belittled even in male dominant spaces in the outside world? It smacks of men have had it good for so long, it’s time for women to have it good and men can just deal with it whilst they can’t have a space to themselves, to define certain things. The SFU mens center was a clear example of this, the hostility towards it and justifications for that hostility of men having the entire world is flawed at best. Where in this male world could I go to talk about being a victim of violence in safety? With loving and caring people of the same gender, that have similar experiences or can add a certain point of view? This is especially true of most domestic violence resources I see, it’s so often gendered by wording of male = abuser, female = victim that I wonder how male victims of female abusers feel when they try to find a safe space.

    • “Usually women do “need their own space” to discuss/experience things because all to often when we share “space” with men, the men take over entirely (in my own field, see any open outdoors-related Internet forum for examples).”

      Oh yeah, gender discourse is a total boys club. You are SO right about that. Did it ever occur to you that maybe you don’t notice when women are dominating a conversation because you yourself are a woman?

      Trust me, women are just as capable of dominating a discussion as men are. Perhaps more so.

  37. scott mclelland says:

    I have to say i find it ironic reading this article since the u turn and the place becoming as feminist as it has , in many ways its again hostile to men , id love to get on board with this one Matt , but im worried that this is another article like the firefight that had feminists baying for your blood and hugo leaving and the place becoming open to men discussing mens issues and feelings before it moved back to its feminist framing again .

    This smacks too much like a fale dawn .

    • Yes, I’m a bit skeptical too.

      Tom is a bit like an abused spouse – he walks out on feminism after being beaten one too many times, but he keeps on returning to the abuser.

      Doing the same thing and expecting different results? Doesn’t work.

  38. Maybe the real issue is that men are dishonest when women are present. Rather than take it as a given that being honest with women is a non-starter, men might consider that women deserve their honesty as much as other “dudes” do….and just cut the crap.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      BJASD not sure how a generalization about men being dishonest to women advances the ball whatsoever.

    • Maybe the real issue is that men are dishonest when women are present. Rather than take it as a given that being honest with women is a non-starter, men might consider that women deserve their honesty as much as other “dudes” do….and just cut the crap.
      Then let’s look at why they are dishonest when women are around.

      I know it would be nice and neat and all open and shut case to just declare that men are dishonest around women all because men have no respect or regard for women but it’s not that easy.

      It could be that they have experiences of women not responding quite so civilly when they were honest (and no those uncivil responses are not always justified). Or it might be that they are just being crappy.

      So maybe if women would earn men’s honestly as well as what you say about cutting the crap (two way streets and all) we’d all be better off.

      • This doesn’t really give anyone any credit, though, Danny.

      • Let’s not assume that behaving differently equates to dishonesty.

        Unfortunately I can’t find the study, but I recall reading that men are more energetic/enthusiastic about playing with children when they know women are watching. IIRC, this did not depend on the men having any romantic or sexual intent towards the watching women, and it was not a conscious difference.
        Self-awareness is a funny thing, and it is necessarily and always incomplete. Ideas, memories, or modes of expression may come to mind in one context that may not in another, even though a person is trying to be open and honest in both. Since our culture conditions everyone to treat men differently from women (and obviously vice-verse), it is reasonable to expect that people will see “single-gender” and “mixed-gender” as different contexts, and so their thoughts and behaviours may differ between those contexts even if their intents do not.

        This is not to say that dishonesty isn’t occurring, I’m merely trying to point out that one can appear inconsistent without being dishonest.

        • Let’s not assume that behaving differently equates to dishonesty.
          A valid remark. Since BJASD went right to being dishonest I started from there on the motives for said dishonesty. But yes you’re right behaving differently does not inherently equal dishonesty.

  39. I like the, “If no women participate it must be sexist.” Personally i could swear women also through up fronts when they engage men, similar to what you pointed out men do. To be less hetero normative i see this trend happen more when there is attraction to the gender of the opposite party. As a man i have been able to be more open and have been opened up to by a couple lesbian friend i had in college. People just need a place to shed the nagging feeling that they should fill the specific role they think other people expect them to fill. Personally when someone tells me they are feminist i always expect them to view me as a more confident, more resilient, stronger being who is always in control of their life. This may be mainly due to my feminist mother who had no idea what to do with a small effeminate boy in a family of 6+ ft 200lb men, and couldn’t understand why i wasn’t like them.

  40. Jameseq says:

    why delete sara’s ‘contributions’, they were funny

    • Lisa Hickey says:

      I did that. They did pretty much prove Tom’s point, hence the ironic humor. It just got too distracting from the real issues and I saw them as derailing.

  41. Jameseq says:

    And why viewing manhood from the perspective of a feminist wrecking ball, that leaves every one of us men guilty of gender oppression, a death spiral in my view.

    And Tom, notice how the feminist wrecking ball is already in force upon yr article lolol.

  42. Lisa Hickey says:

    Tom, thanks for this. I’ve said to so many people that as far as your actions go – you are among the most feminist man I’ve ever worked with. Fairness? Equality? Helping others succeed no matter what, based on their own merits? Check and check and check and check. I agree with you that being a good man doesn’t have to include discussions about feminism. That men should have their own space to talk about issues if that is what is needed to get them to talk about them. I think it’s important to realize that any discussion, if it seems like you are attacked for saying something wrong, when really, all you are trying to do is articulate what you are thinking, then that discussion will shut down, and everyone loses.

    And I wish there was a way to be inclusive of all the different ways to talk about men and goodness, and let the conversations unfold the way they may, without there being the judgmentalism that drives people away. A conversation is a difficult thing to direct even at its smallest, simplest level. And a conversation with 5 million people – the number of individuals who have come to the site since it started — is virtually impossible to control.

    What we agree on the most is the transformational power of storytelling. There is a power there. I have not seen a man here tell his story that is not rooted in some form of goodness. And yes, that’s where the magic lies.

    • Mark Neil says:

      I don’t want you to take my post as an attack or being argumentative, just trying to point out a problem I have with feminism in general, and one you may not even be aware of:

      “you are among the most feminist man I’ve ever worked with. Fairness? Equality? Helping others succeed no matter what, based on their own merits? Check and check and check and check.”

      Does having those qualities automatically make one a feminist? Does feminism have a monopoly on those attributes? If I do not agree with many of the feminist beliefs, am I unable to be fair, equal or generous, helpful and supportive? I far to often see the assertion that, when someone demonstrates themselves to be a good and egalitarian person, they are labeled feminist by feminists. This establishes a claim to those attributes that is not warrented, and it inflicts upon the person labeled as such all the negatives they may or may not feel for feminism.

      This mindset often results in a similar result, where someone who is clearly anti-feminist is presumed, even denied any claim to those attributes for themselves. Because I am anti-feminist, I must want women and blacks enslaved, and I am selfish and greedy. I experience this almost daily in the various gender discussions I participate.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Thanks Lisa for the kinds words. I do agree with Mark that it’s a little odd to be called a feminist in an article about why feminism isn’t relavent in the conversation I want to have. I agree with you on the issue of being judgmental. I think the issue here is really about listening to someone else’s deeply told story without judgement. What I get from all the attacks is that my story, and every man’s, is only valid when judged by male privilege. I just refuse to accept that.

      • Tom, I agree to a degree – reducing men’s healing to having to look at privilege is absurd. I would also say that if a man does not look at how privilege and entitlement affect him and his relationships he will be missing something important in his personal journey. That certainly has been the case for me.

      • Being honest and fair is a sign of good human character: identical for male and female. Nothing feminist or masculist about it. Many current debates seem to me to be locked into a narrow band of understanding (of marxist origin) – defined by university professors and promoted by pop journalism. Many of the assumptions we men and women share about the past are dead wrong, yet very easy to disprove. Here is an amusing little piece of writing from 1905 on men’s rights, from a woman’s point of view, which I find germane:

        “As society is made, it is almost impossible for a man to go the right way about his relations with woman. The system prescribes a certain attitude. It is the attitude of crawl, salaam, obsequiousness and second fiddle. If you depart from it by a hair’s breadth your woman become suspicious of you. If you advise other men to depart from it you get a bad name. Women stand up for women’s rights and are made the subject of applause, bouquets and illuminated addresses. The man who dares come out strong for men’s rights does not breathe. Men do not want him. They are like canaries in cages, afraid to go out lest the cat get them. Peace at any price is man’s rule of life. Abroad he will swagger and bluster, and bully. ‘Nemo me impune lacessit!’ he roars. At home his watchword is ‘‘Blessed are the meek.” Abroad he frowns and breathes fire; at home he is plain, unvarnished “him.” Abroad he struts, at home he slinks. Abroad he is very wise, at home he is a little child.— Gentlewoman.” [“Poor, Abused Man! What Male Is There Who Will Stand Up for Man’s Rights?” Boston Globe (Ma.), May 1, 1904, p. 32]

  43. The Blurpo says:

    good article tom 🙂

  44. Oh is it now?

    Maybe, just maybe, feminism isn’t the only wrecking ball working on this Gender Construction Site.

    I’m betting you aren’t projecting it with your comment but there seems to be a sentiment that if you’re having a gender conversation where the idea that women and feminism are the true way isn’t the center of it then it must be a bad gender conversation.

  45. Excellent article, Tom. I enjoyed it. These two points stuck out to me as particularly important:

    “the Good Men Project is not about gender theory and it certainly isn’t about feminism.”
    “to my mind if the topic strays from a discussion of manhood in men’s own words to a feminist critique of manhood, my initial inspiration and hope for the Project is completely lost.

    The tough part for a lot of gender-issue debaters, I think, is realizing that on this forum, the topic really ISN’T going to revolve around women’s experiences and women’s problems like it does on so many others. It’s just not. I’m sorry if you think gender discussions should always proceed from that one viewpoint, but they don’t have to. Sometimes, some people are going to talk about what’s best for men. That isn’t ‘protecting privilege,’ it’s discussing a different topic than the one you want to talk about. And it’s not a crime.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      agree Copyleft

    • Bingo, copyleft! It may just have to be – as I say in my piece connected to this discussion – that there needs to be another site created where that mission can really be honored and practiced even if that means it is exclusionary.

  46. A dismissive tone is a loss for anyone who employs it and anyone who hears it. Because it requires extra energy on the listeners part to let the tone pass and parse the speakers words for the points they are making. I don’t agree with all of what Tom says, either. Hell, I don’t agree with myself 100% of the time. But I respect Tom and his journey in the world.

    Bottom line, I assume you are here to share your point of view and effect change. Alienating people like me by striking a tone very similar to that of a pissed off MRA, is narrowing the number of people who might otherwise like to hear your critique of Tom’s ideas.

  47. Is feminism about rejecting male-dominance? Does it only exist as the objection to a long history of discrimination and marginalization? Or is feminism simply the manifestation of what humans in our culture have gradually grown to understand as necessary and just?
    Womens’ rights and feminism to me is about the collective recognition that what has been prevalent in culture for centuries is no longer valid, it no longer applies. It is not because one day women decided that male dominance had to stop. It grew out of a greater sense of fighting for what we believe is fair and for justice.
    So for what it means to be a “Good man” can be defined any number of ways, but the essence of that is the same sense behind feminism, that we should fight for what is fair. That men need not be type-cast any more than women are. We need not be called “horn dogs” for our sexual desires any more than women be called “sluts”. It’s about fighting agains being marginalized, being sterotyped and largely lumped into this collective gender role that is rigid and uncomfortable for many.
    It’s not a feminist issue, it is a matter of fairness and acceptance and we all deserve the chance at that in our pursuits towards what we believe is good.

  48. “And why viewing manhood from the perspective of a feminist wrecking ball, that leaves every one of us men guilty of gender oppression, a death spiral in my view.”

    This is problematic. Men ARE guilty of gender oppression and there can never be gender equality until the average man can acknowledge his privilege. Men can’t learn to be good partners, fathers, and human beings if they are in denial about their (often unconscious) capacity to marginalize “others.” A huge part of self-work, of learning intimacy and understanding one’s identity, necessitates an evaluation of male privilege and it’s relationship to women because that hegemonic masculinity shapes boys and men more than any other force in this culture.

    • “Men ARE guilty of gender oppression”

      I partially disagree. “Men” is a group which is guilty of gender oppression. Many individual men are guilty of gender oppression. But not all men are guilty of gender oppression.

    • This is problematic. Men ARE guilty of gender oppression and there can never be gender equality until the average man can acknowledge his privilege.
      Oh are we now? I’ve been told that men as a class aren’t responsible/guilty for gender oppression and I’ve also been told that we are. Which is it? It seems to me that the answer to that question is usually based on whether or not all men can be lumped together as a single entity and then all declared guilty based on nothing more than sharing gender identity. In short guilty by gender association.

      Men can’t learn to be good partners, fathers, and human beings if they are in denial about their (often unconscious) capacity to marginalize “others.” A huge part of self-work, of learning intimacy and understanding one’s identity, necessitates an evaluation of male privilege and it’s relationship to women because that hegemonic masculinity shapes boys and men more than any other force in this culture.
      Based on the presumption that we are male, therefore we must have this privilege, therefore we must either be acknowledging it or denying it, therefore we have to do something about it right?

    • The Blurpo says:

      I disagree, men are no more guilty of gender oppression than modern Germans are guilty of nazism.
      The actual social structure is hold by both men and women and therefore its a societal problem, not only merely a mens problem. Sorry but the myth of ‘ guilty by gender association ‘ its just a big pile of feces. Pardon if I sound rude. Patriarchy is also hold and practiced by women to, you know?

      I think its time to throw the gender bias in the can, and focus on the real problem society faces; and this include again men and women (not only men or only women) Men are privileged, but also women. Whoever conform to societal rules are included under the umbrella of privilege. Who breaks from it are threated as a outcast (gays, progressive men, feminists, mra ect) : read about the confusion guys experience when they meet women who mobs them for not bein a real man, or see the general dislike when a women confess she is a feminist. Its a collective problem, not just from the ones who happens to be born with a penis.

      Its not men vs women; and there is nothing wrong with men or women. But its about breaking the binary gendernorms. Gender norms that enslaves us all. Thats whats all about.

    • Mark Neil says:

      ” Men ARE guilty of gender oppression and there can never be gender equality until the average man can acknowledge his privilege”

      Only men? are you suggesting women have no privilege? or are you suggesting women are allowed to have privilege, but men are not? The problem with feminist theories such as privilege and patriarchy is, they are a one sided, women as victim centric examination of all the rights and privileges of men in comparisons to the responsibilities and limitations on women, without ever examining the responsibilities and limitations on men or the rights and privileges of women. And your post is another example of the same, demanding us men examine our privilege (but not the responsibilities that come with them) and acknowledge the “oppression” women endure (as if it continues to this day).

      And to demonstrate my point, feel free to list 5 privileges men have (and to be clear, I’m talking men, not just elites) and 5 women have, then list 5 ways men and women are oppressed. I’m confident you will have a hard time listing the 5 things oppressive to men and privileges of women, simply because feminism doesn’t examine ether.

      “Men can’t learn to be good partners, fathers, and human beings if they are in denial about their (often unconscious) capacity to marginalize “others.””

      Examples would be nice, or are these just talking points with no substance? Does this self discovery need to be filtered through the feminist lens, or are other alternatives acceptable?

      Lastly, do you not see how the denial of a balance between privilege and responsibility does precisly what you claim men do to “others”? You are marginalizing men, their experiences, their struggles, their oppression at the hands of family courts, through the use of these feminist theories that deny men can be harmed, or at best, acknowledges men can be harmed, but then subsiquently dismiss it as men doing it to men.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      “A huge part of self-work, of learning intimacy and understanding one’s identity, necessitates an evaluation of male privilege.” Sean I just don’t agree with that. I am all for equal rights and as a policy for social justice. But my experience of self work really has very little to do with male privilege. That doesn’t mean I don’t accept feminism’s importance, just that I think it is possible and even important to allow men to talk about their own journey without forcing male privilege, in your words, to be the sum total of what that means.

    • “This is problematic. Men ARE guilty of gender oppression and there can never be gender equality until the average man can acknowledge his privilege. Men can’t learn to be good partners, fathers, and human beings if they are in denial about their (often unconscious) capacity to marginalize “others.” A huge part of self-work, of learning intimacy and understanding one’s identity, necessitates an evaluation of male privilege and it’s relationship to women because that hegemonic masculinity shapes boys and men more than any other force in this culture.”
      People are guilty of gender oppression, women contribute to the oppression of women and men. Women can’t learn to be good partners, mothers, and human beings in they are in denial about their (often unconscious) capacity to marginalize “others.” A huge part of self-work, of learning intimacy and understanding one’s identity, necessitates an evaluation of female privilege and it’s relationship to men because that hegemonic femininity shapes girls and women more than any other force in this culture.
      Does that work too or does female privilege not exist?

    • Greg Allan says:

      This is problematic. Men ARE guilty of gender oppression and there can never be gender equality until the average man can acknowledge his privilege. Men can’t learn to be good partners, fathers, and human beings if they are in denial about their (often unconscious) capacity to marginalize “others.” A huge part of self-work, of learning intimacy and understanding one’s identity, necessitates an evaluation of male privilege and it’s relationship to women because that hegemonic masculinity shapes boys and men more than any other force in this culture.

      Privilege baloney.

      This is a kafka trap. There is no right answer. It is not an argument in good faith and never has been. It should be rejected outright and NOT engaged with.

  49. It’s cool.

  50. OK. So here are a bunch of important prominent women’s voices from the first half of the 20th century. But these women’s voices have been left out of the dialogue by the cultural marxists (“gender” feminists). Marxism, broadly speaking, is about theories of social control, social engineering with the notion that at the end of the road there is utopia. Most women reject these authoritarian philosophies and many women have made great sacrifices to fight against democidal utopian regimes.
    “A Woman’s Voice”: http://unknownmisandry.blogspot.com/2012/06/womans-voice.html

  51. @Robert … thank you for posting the link …. wow

  52. Feminist Historians would prefer we not know about all the great, independent and empowered women that existed while Patriarchy reigned supreme and kept women “bare foot and pregnant in the kitchen.” Most of these women rejected feminism wholesale because they saw no need for “women’s rights”. They were too busy being innovative and productive members of society to complain about “male oppression”. Historical facts of the day defies the Feminist Narrative that women were nothing more than “slaves” to men.

    There have always been great women free to do whatever they pleased, and no one tried to hold them back. On the contrary they were encouraged to succeed. The Feminist accounts of female oppression and discrimination from the past is nothing more than propaganda/talking points.

  53. David Byron says:

    Um.. communism is the exact opposite of authoritarian. Communism is branded as bad by capitalist governments because of the threat of a bad example. It’s kind of like the word “terrorist”. It’s just used to mean “people we disagree with” by capitalist governments. Authoritarianism is associated with the right, not the left.

  54. Agreed. I’m absolutely shocked by the number of people who seem to think that women were forbidden to read, couldn’t have a job, have money, or own anything until around 1930 or so.

    It’s rather scary actually.

  55. When people defer to the oppression of women of the past, they are frequently talking about expectations and roles. This is an example that’s hard not to laugh at now: http://www.retronaut.co/2011/10/tips-for-single-women-1938/

    Prior to Title IX, it was acceptable to exclude women from school sports. Prior to the 1920s, we were not legally allowed to vote, meaning we were excluded from participating in decision making about the country we live in. I agree that some of the things people say about the way things were are not true, you’re right about that, but some of it was really the way things were.

  56. On the other hand, I *have* seen people discussing gender issues online say everything was so much better “before feminism”, when men were real men and women didn’t work (!) Yes, it’s scary.

  57. poester99 says:

    When were all men allowed to vote?
    Wasn’t it only about 5-10 years before? and due to an overwhelming tide of suffrage demands by millions of veterans returning home after ww1?

  58. Kacey,
    While women were fighting for the right to vote, men too young to vote were having their guts shot out in a war they didn’t understand, but were socialized to perform to protect the freedom of total strangers.

    In WWI a general in UK thought up the white feather campaign in which women were instructed to present a white feather to men in civilian clothes as a sign of shame for not fighting. This campaign was very successful. Many thousands of men thought the opinion of a stranger women was so important that they were willing to risk death and injury. The fact of the matter women had power to shape the culture whether they had the vote or not.

    My problem is that the theory of “male privilege” washes out relevant history which is overbriming with tales of male disposability (in other words both sexes were objectified, but at least women were treated as treasured objects that shouldn’t be risked in cavalier ways, while men were treated as blunt hammers that could and should be used until broken. When that man was broken with ptsd, injury, or death f*ck it there was a million more where he came from).

    Didn’t women win the right to vote without utilizing the right to vote? Quite frankly I think this voting thing is over-rated. Additionally, if you look back to the first society to vote which was the roman, only the citizens got to vote (mostly rich merchants). And it has been that way (that only a pre-selected group got to vote) until the mid to late 1800’s.

    In other words *all men* did not get the right to vote not very much before *all women* got the right. If you track back from the Roman empire (let’s say 1000 bc) to today and put those years on a 24 hour period (12:01 am to 11:59 pm) *all men* would have received the right to vote at 11:31pm, and women would have received it at 11:45pm.

  59. Here’s the interesting thing about suffrage…from all perspectives…there was never a point in U.S. history where a man wasn’t allowed to vote because he was a man. There was never a time where someone wasn’t allowed to vote because was “white.” Were there periods in our history where white men couldn’t vote? Yup…heck there are white men who are not allowed to vote even today…but the reasons they can’t vote have nothing to do with their gender or ethnicity. That, right there, is the difference.

  60. The interesting thing is though that the majority of the men were not able to vote from what I can understand since they didn’t have enough money/land/whatever. But often people say how women didn’t have the right to vote as IF all men had the right to vote, when there was a time from what I understand that only a few men with power had the right to vote? Is this accurate? If memory serves the right to vote for men as a group came in 10-50years before women?

  61. Heather,
    It’s not much of a gender difference if 80% of men were in the same boat as 100% of women. That’s sort of gender discrimination, but it’s mostly elitism and classism in the same way you keep pointing out to me that 95% of on-the-job deaths being male is more about corporations using people as commodities.

    It works the *other* way to. Since 80% of men could not vote, this is about classism and elitism more than gender. After all, each of the select few men that could vote stacked things towards their family which included many generations of women.

  62. Soullite says:

    No, that, right there, is your excuse for thinking that it’s different. Because you refuse to acknowledge that anything but gender actually matters. Because if you did that, you’d have to admit that gender isn’t nearly the the dividing line of ‘power’ that you like to pretend it is.

  63. Property qualifications disappeared in 1860, or there about, and women got the right to vote in 1920…so more like 60 years between the two.

    But again, that is missing the point. Property qualifications were class-based discrimination. There were also a bunch of laws put into place for the purposes of race-based discrimination.

    Here’s an interesting one: it’s only since 1986 that the law required that overseas military personal be allowed to vote. So were men being discriminated against in that? No, the issue was probably one of technology at first (imagine having someone overseas trying to vote in the 1940s). That same act allowed Puerto Ricans to vote in Presidential elections. So were men in Puerto Rico being discriminated against because they were men up until 1986? No, the issue was how Puerto Rico was viewed (not quite a state) by the U.S. government. That’s an issue of nationality.

    When women weren’t allowed to vote, it was because they were women. Back when you had to own property to vote, well women weren’t owning property anyway…but let’s pretend they did…wouldn’t have mattered, because they couldn’t vote because they were women. Didn’t matter what their ethnicity, nationality, or economic status was. They could not vote because they were women.

  64. poester99 says:

    There were property owning women that had the right to vote in the US *before* all men had the vote.

  65. Heather N:
    “When women weren’t allowed to vote, it was because they were women.”
    Agreed, but the men who were allowed to vote most likely voted in ways that advocated for the women attached to them. This is as much about elitism as anything else.

    I get the sentiment sometimes (not from you but others) that since women didn’t have the right to vote this is like some kind of original sin against men that we should all feel guilty about. But the plain facts is that 80% of men (or more) were in the same boat for the last 3000 years wrt voting.

  66. Can you and heather post a link to info when those property owning women had the right to vote before all men, or the info to show they couldn’t vote anyway? Having trouble finding the info, seems there are hundreds of answers…

  67. “But the plain facts is that 80% of men (or more) were in the same boat for the last 3000 years wrt voting.”

    Um…the U.S. is just a bit over 230 years old…so no, you can’t talk about voting over the past 3000 years. Did you mean 300?

    And again, no…not in the same boat. If you’re only looking at the results and not the causes and reasons for different social problems, you’re only getting part of the picture.

  68. I was referring to all the way back to the first civ that (as far as I know) started voting: the Romans.

  69. “Agreed, but the men who were allowed to vote most likely voted in ways that advocated for the women attached to them. This is as much about elitism as anything else.”

    Right, even if that were the case, being treated like a child who needs a man to look after her is NOT elitism. For crying out loud!

    Secondly, that isn’t even true. That was part of the problem. Men weren’t voting for women’s issues…they were voting for what they thought was best for the women in their lives. It was like “oh hey honey, I know you can’t vote, but please tell me what policies I should advocate for.” It was “hey honey, I know that you’re an intellectually inferior person because you can’t help that being a woman makes you emotional, so here I’ll vote for things that I think you need.”

    That is elitism…on the part of the men assuming they knew what’s best for the women in their lives.

  70. That’d be the Greeks…and I don’t know exactly when the Greeks first started voting. (Well, I say the Greeks…as far as I know it was only Athens that did it). And technically that’s only the first recorded democracy we’ve got. Theoretically some prehistoric cultures could have worked on more of a consensus-based system rather than a purely hierarchical-based system.

    But anyway…you can’t draw those sorts of lines through history.

  71. The Blurpo says:

    “That’d be the Greeks”

    I hearth it started in china, between sheppards (spelling?) but I dont have a sourche I can share, but I will see if I can find one. I know its OT but I dont think it will be a problem since it is only a small innocent sidestep, before going back IT.

    Anyways Athenian democracy and roman republican culture were two different things. The athenian was a direct democracy, that means the citicens voted directly the matter after it was pubblicy debated.
    The roman democracy, was based on class (the patricians) who elected a rappresentative to the senate. Later the plebs were also granted seats in the senate. But not before the romes major strike ever (perhaps the first recorded in history.

    Ok back in topik now 🙂

  72. Mark Neil says:

    ” I know that you’re an intellectually inferior person because you can’t help that being a woman makes you emotional,”

    Injection of motive onto men, a motive you can not be certain of, a hostile motive towards women, in order to justify your position.

  73. Heather,
    “That is elitism…on the part of the men assuming they knew what’s best for the women in their lives.”
    Again elitist men might have had privileges handed to them, but the average man *purchased* his greater role in the household with much less systemic expectation of protection outside of it.

    Lyaing all the blame on men is where we part ways (I think). The difference is that women were also at fault for creating the environment that existed.

    You assume that women wanted the same rights as men to risk life and limb. The situation advantaged women in *different*, but equally enormous ways. Which would you rather have: a life of (possible) distinction and high regard if you make it through the 1% versus 99% crap shoot (or a life of misery and great likelihood of injury or death if you fail) of the role number 1, or the life that says you will be the first to be protected and last to die of role number 2, but with much less say *in public* (as if women didn’t have any ability to persuade men on what to do)?

    Women had a prominent (if not equal) role in the culture and the laws. And if the laws said women had less say so, the culture gave them much greater systemic levels of protection from all human harm.

    My argument is this: to summarily say women’s roles were *worse* or to say that women were summarily subjugated by a culture *only* created by men is simply not true and ignores an equally hellish existence of the vast majority of men.

  74. No. That’s an assessment of the cultural narrative at the time. It was “common sense” that women were emotional and men were intellectual. It was “common sense” that women needed to be protected from public life and politics. I don’t think men were being mean or hostile…I think that anyone who accepted that narrative (men and women) were just following the “common sense” of the time.

    But that doesn’t make that “common sense” any less discriminatory.

  75. “common sense” changes with the culture. It used to be believed, wasn’t it in the middle ages? that women were insatiable lustbeasts and men weren’t. Believing that women were childlike was of the time. The men weren’t being mean, in fact, “protecting” them was part of the kindliness of the common sense at the time.

  76. John, I did not say that it’s all men’s fault. I said that the cultural narrative of the time…the “common sense” of the time, suggested that men were rational and that women weren’t. Women bought into this narrative too….heck there are still men and women out there who buy into this narrative. That narrative also said that men needed to protect women from public life & politics…men and women BOTH bought into and created this narrative.

    But just because women also bought into this narrative, doesn’t mean that it isn’t a form of elitism and discrimination. It was a cultural narrative and a political system that discriminated against women and forced them to stay on the fringes of that political system all because of their gender.

    Women did have an important role in western culture during the late 1800s, and early 1900s (when women’s suffrage was kicking off). But that role was less valued than men’s roles, and it was restricted to what was considered the “private” sphere in many ways. Women did not have a prominent role in creating laws. Women had no role in creating laws until they started to vote and run for public office.

    As for the idea that women were better protected from human harm prior to gaining the right to vote (and other feminist advances)…well that’s inaccurate too. Anti-abortion laws actually do not protect women…they make women who seek abortions more likely to die from complications (as their abortions aren’t necessarily performed by actual doctors in sanitary conditions). Women were unable to be in control of their finances or even have custody of their children if there was a divorce. For a woman to get a divorce back in the day was to risk being unable to see her children at all and possibly end up destitute. Which brings us to domestic violence…in which silence on the issue was considered better than bringing it up. For one thing, bringing it up could result in divorce and financial ruin. For another, there was something of a cultural narrative that suggested men could hit their wives. How about the narrative that women should cover up because not doing so was inviting sexual assault (that’s still an issue we’re dealing with today).

    No, treating women like emotional, children that need protection actually doesn’t make women safer.

  77. Women weren’t sent to war or mines, no. But they had no real control over reproduction, abuse, or gaining an education. There is an intersection of gender and class that meant many people were treated badly (men and women alike).

    Being treated like a child isn’t any better morally than being disposed of in wars or mines for the rich, and some could question physically. It places value on the elite overall and takes away agency from both.

    I’d rather both genders have access to education, work, bodily autonomy, and a basic ability to have a voice in the political sphere. I’d say the biggest issue we face today has less to do with gender and more with class and a corporate culture that turns most of us into drones.

  78. Heather N writes:
    “For another, there was something of a cultural narrative that suggested men could hit their wives.”

    I’ve heard this before, and I don’t think that is accurate at all.

    There is a *presumption* that this was so because wives didn’t have special protections. The absence of anti-wifebeating laws is *not* proof of wide-spread wifebeating anymore than the lack of instant notification of missing children laws proves that millions of mothers are refraining from reporting missing children 30 or 60days later (aka the Casey Anthony case).

    I think it is unlikely that this was the view. Lack of laws is not substantiation of that claim. I mean after all, if women were treated like children, people get real pissed when you strike a child. You’re talking about a time period where men dueled with pistols to defend a dishonored woman, and women had reserved seating on lifeboats.

    It is entirely a more logical conclusion that wives didn’t have special protections because wife beating was so *rare* (as in my analogy to the Casey Anthony case. Missing Child reporting laws are *not* necessary because women like Casey Anthony who waited 60 days to report a missing child are extremely rare).

    If you look to countries still mired in very patriarchal cultures, you will see that harm of women is seen as cowardly and deserving of being beaten.

    Look at the video from India on youtube titled “how can she slap”.

    Lastly, the wife could always seek help or justice in the form of common assault laws.

  79. Well, many women of wealthy classes were taught, and in the late 1800’s coeducational education at higher levels was more common. That’s the intersection of class again.

  80. Julie,
    I agree 100%. You state everything in lock-step with what I am trying to say. My point is that a lot of feminists don’t seem to (excluding most feminists here) want to flip the “gender issues” cassette over and play side B that talks about male disposability and lack of agency.

    I’m not arguing that men’s oppression was any worse, I’m just saying I hate it when it’s minimized or dismissed (which it seems is a societal drive).

    It happens nearly in every forum I go into from every1 from every political perspective on youtube, usatoday and quite often when I visit feminist pages too.

    Once again, thank you for not minimizing male pain and advocating for equality. Thanks to you Heather for the same. I know I probably say that far too little.

  81. Mark Neil says:

    “Being treated like a child isn’t any better morally than being disposed of in wars or mines for the rich, and some could question physically. It places value on the elite overall and takes away agency from both.”

    And how much feminist theory acknowledges that? You know, as opposed to telling us how bad women had it and how privileged men were? The point is, the truth is more balanced (not fully, but much much closer to it) than feminist theory acknowledges. And the one sidedness of that theory has been damaging to men, and continues to be, both in the marginalization of men’s historical disposability, as well as the continued one sidedness of modern gender discussion and modern men’s issues. Nobody is trying to marginalize the inequalities of the past, but the gap was not nearly as wide as any feminists theories would have us believe. That is the argument being made here.

  82. Yes, good point.

  83. Yes, Mark. Yes. I understand that. I can’t do anything about theory I didn’t write, decades ago. Perhaps you weren’t noticing but I was allying with you and offering understanding. It’s often impossible to have discussions on the internet covering lots of territory like this without it looking like justification.
    I’m outside of these poles for the most part and looking at corporate influence on how we all behave.

  84. Mark Neil says:

    ” Perhaps you weren’t noticing but I was allying with you and offering understanding.”

    My apologies. I didn’t notice. Perhaps it’s because these latest comments don’t appear to be threaded together, but just individual comments at the end. perhaps I just knee jerked.

    That said, I do feel my point still stands for those that do follow those feminist theories. Those that still point to patriarchy theory as gospel and fail to realize it is only a one-sided view of history, set up to make women into a victim class.

    ” I can’t do anything about theory I didn’t write, decades ago.”

    Actually, you can. You can speak up to correct it, to fill in the missing pieces.

  85. I’ll rephrase:
    I can’t do anything about theory, I didn’t write, decades ago, that will have the global effect I believe you, and men similar to you, are hoping for.

    I can indeed speak up in my day to day life, comport myself as a person with agency that doesn’t buy into the tropes and trends I find problematic, raise my children in a way that respects their maleness etc. I am not an academic, book author, touring speaker or someone sought for magazine interviews. I don’t go head to head on shows with Amanda Marcotte for example. So, what I do, isn’t anything that you and your peers would probably ever see, unless I post it here, and even then, I have gotten ignored or less than supportive remarks, probably due to knee jerking as is part and parcel of the process. I understand that and accept it to some degree, though I have often needed to step back and just do the work in real time.

  86. I am getting frustrated, so I apologize if my comment is going to sound frustrated. And I totally get that this article isn’t even about voting…but oh my goodness I am the type of person who always needs to reply to stuff (sorry).

    It isn’t about classism more than gender. It isn’t about gender more than classism…or racism, or whatever else-ism. Intersectionality: it was about all of these things, and they were addressed at different times. Even after women got the right to vote, there were still all sorts of laws in the south preventing African-Americans to vote. Does that mean that suffrage was more about racism than it was gender? No…it just means that different discriminations were discussed and examined at different times.

    It is “much of a gender difference,” regardless of how many men were prohibited from voting for reasons besides their gender…because the reason women couldn’t vote was because of their gender. That makes it a gender issue (at the time, and still in places today where women can’t vote). It didn’t matter if a woman was born in the U.S. to parents who were born in the U.S. It didn’t matter if she was one of the wealthiest people in the U.S. and owned acres and acres of land. It didn’t matter if she were considered whiter than the driven snow. She could not vote…because she was a woman. That is discrimination based on gender…that makes it a gender issue. The reason for the limit is what makes it discrimination.

    Take a step back, and when men couldn’t vote unless they owned property…well you could write the same sort of thing that I just did above but focus on the class issue. It didn’t matter if they were white, or natural born citizens, etc…they couldn’t vote because they weren’t landed. That is discrimination based on class…and that’s what made it a class issue.

    And then we can do the same thing for race. You get what I’m saying…intersectionality. It’s not a competition…it’s not about one group being more discriminated against than the other, or something. It’s about how the system (in this case voting system) created artificial barriers that prevented entire social identities and social groups from using that system (in this case voting).

  87. bell hooks’ theory of intersectionality is exactly what the writer is describing in this article. I’m so glad you brought that up. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could also check out Erving Goffman (I believe is his name) and Audre Lorde’s works on social constructionism. Goffman’s the classical social constructionist, Lorde’s the revolutionary.

    In any case, the theory of intersectionality came from hooks’ experience as a black lesbian woman. Because she was black, she had difficulty connecting with and fundamentally being understood by non-blacks. Because she was a woman, she didn’t share the same social and cultural frame of reference as men, and her ability to deeply and meaningfully communicate with them was somewhat limited. Finally, because she was a lesbian, there was an extra wall placed between her and other men. It had nothing to do with physiological differences or sexual preferences: bell hooks simply experienced the world through a very different frame of reference than all but a very small group of the people around her did. Each single disadvantaged status in and of itself was not extremely important, but she was the “intersection” of all of these combined social positions, and the sum effect of those three labels was more powerful than each one individually.

    That’s what we’re talking about here, but in much broader terms. We’re men. We experience the world differently from women. When we watch tv, we notice different things than our significant others, even though they’re sitting right next to us. When we go to the bars, we hold ourselves differently, speak differently, and act differently than women (that’s a really fun one to watch, by the way.) And when we talk about things like feminism and the history of womens’ rights, the connotations of the events are based on our experiences as men. In everything we do there are different cultural scripts and cues for men than women.

    Now, are we more open and honest with other men relating to issues specific to men because we share that space in the hierarchy and therefore innately understand the scripts? Do we do it because we fear the consequences of having these discussions with someone who will almost certainly misunderstand what we are saying and label us as pigs because they don’t share that script? Or do we just not want to spend the time explaining the scripts unique to our separate paths in life because we’re lazy? I don’t know. Ask a psychologist. I’m a sociologist – I don’t get paid enough to deal with that crap.

    All I can tell you is that there are basic differences in how we see and perceive the world based on identity factors we have no control over, like race, gender, sexual preference, body type, etc, and these basic differences hamper quality communication. Sure we might talk about feminist issues or even use feminist perspectives to discuss our own issues from time to time, but it’s in our language, and sorry, but I don’t think Barnes and Nobles carries a translator.

  88. I guess I am just curious after hearing that some female landowners could vote before the majority of men who were not landowners? If elite men and women could vote, but poor men and women couldn’t vote then it wouldn’t be about gender, but I haven’t seen any proof of this.

  89. And then we can do the same thing for race. You get what I’m saying…intersectionality. It’s not a competition…it’s not about one group being more discriminated against than the other, or something. It’s about how the system (in this case voting system) created artificial barriers that prevented entire social identities and social groups from using that system (in this case voting).
    I think the feeling of competition comes in when people see how folks will simultaneously preach about intersectionality but then want to surgically separate characteristics and isolate them from an issue when it suits them.

    Like when I’ve been told that the fat shaming I’ve faced in my day had nothing to do with my gender. Yeah apparently being a man has nothing to do with the fat shaming and body image issues that come with it. Nope when it happens to men it’s all about the fat but when it happens to women THEN it’s about fat and gender.

  90. Couple of things…first, I am familiar with bell hooks. Second, I pointed out that my discussion was focused on the ways in which what was being said about suffrage was just inaccurate. It wasn’t about perceiving it somewhat differently based on different social identities…it was about getting the information wrong.

    Also, the way you’re treating intersectionality is as if the different perspectives people have means that their discussion of issues is so totally separate that they can’t cross-over. I am white, and therefore my perception of ethnicity issues will be different than someone who is African-American, certainly. But that doesn’t mean that my discussions of ethnicity use a different language than an African-American’s discussions of ethnicity.

    And the way you’re treating gender is as if there is a single male perspective…or a single way that men will speak about men’s issues. (At least that’s how I read your final paragraph)…and that’s just not the case. Straight European men may talk about men’s issues differently than gay Asian men, or whatever. Again…intersectionality. 🙂

    You’re talking about gender differences and how social identities separate people into groups and thus colour their perceptions and perspectives as if that’s just the way it is and that’s the paradigm we’ve got to work with. I take it a step further, and suggest that perhaps a lot of those social divisions are part of the problem. Instead of creating separate spaces for men and women (which ends up reinforcing the idea that men and women are separate in the first place), if we create much more unifying spaces then perhaps we can stop thinking of men and women as such distinct and separate groups.

  91. Yeah, I wasn’t even going to touch the voting thing. I don’t remember how that even got started, since it’s kind of irrelevant for this discussion. I mean, congrats! You can vote for one of two corporate handpuppets now, same as us! In any case, my interest is in today, not in the injustices of generations ago, and I’m pretty sure that women’s suffrage isn’t a major concern in our society today.

    I understand that there are multiple male perspectives, which is why I frequently have difficulty relating as closely to some of the people who post on this website who are black. One article in specific sticks out in my mind… Something to do with getting screwed by the courts. Can’t remember what it’s called. In any case, I agree that there are different takes on the same issues. My point isn’t that there’s a single male perspective, only that male perspective(s) exist separately from female ones, and especially separately from modern feminist ones.

    I believe that that unified space you’re describing is pretty much the utopian dream of almost every social theorist. The problem is how to get there. For instance, I was discussing this very issue (the effects of feminist scholarship) with my girlfriend two weeks ago, and try as we both might we just couldn’t agree. We weren’t speaking the same language. I mean, we’re both all for equality of the sexes and bringing new perspectives into approaches to gaining and processing information, so it shouldn’t have been a big deal, right? Well, yes and no. We both agreed to the same basic principles, but we communicated our points so differently and focused on such different things that by the end of the night each thought the other was crazy.

    So. I guess you’re right. In my experience anyway, there is frequently a lot of common ground that we share just as humans, but the way we walk through life as men compared to women is just SO different. I’d love to see a perfect, universally understood language with indisputable meanings. I’d love to see a level of empathy in humanity that would allow everyone to simply envision themselves in whoever they’re talking to’s shoes and understand how life has influenced them. I’d love to see those cultural boundaries and social scripts dismantled. But I don’t think it’s possible. And, until then, I personally at least feel a lot more comfortable discussing stuff that’s close to my heart with the people who won’t have to stretch quite so far to understand where I’m coming from. Otherwise, that unified space just becomes a lot of loud noises and hot air (again, in my experience).

  92. Good try, but you’re never going to convince some guys that men are not a. radically, essentially different from women and b. pretty much all alike. Maintaining otherwise just fatally undermines their concept of “men.”

  93. “My point isn’t that there’s a single male perspective, only that male perspective(s) exist separately from female ones, and especially separately from modern feminist ones.”

    Ah but…what of male feminists? Male feminist perspectives are still male perspectives…and often male perspectives about what it means to be a man.

    As for the rest of your comment, I get what you’re saying. I do. But I’m a stubborn goat and someone who generally refuses to take society at face value. I would rather strain to understand other people’s perspectives than surround myself with people who come from the same place I do (which is partly why I’m here in the first place). And I’d rather strain to have other people understand my perspective who might not otherwise, rather than just tell people my story who already agree with me.

    And for the times that I do want to talk to people who don’t have to stretch to understand my perspective…well that’s when I talk to my personal friends about things. I’ve friends who challenge me and my ideas too, don’t get me wrong. But part of the point of my personal friends is that even when we come from different places, if I were to talk about something that I just need support on, we set aside our different perspectives and just provide support for each other.

  94. Soullite says:

    The biochemistry is different, therefore they are different intrinsically. Add to that the differences in experiences, and you are dealing with a group who’s thoughts and opinions are outside of your own. The male experience is beyond the female to truly understand. You can only know it through the words, thoughts and opinions of men. The moment you pretend that your experiences are the same – that’s the moment you start pretending that your views on their experiences are more valid than those of the people who actually experienced it.

    If you can’t accept that men and women have fundamentally different experiences in and of this society, then you will never be able to take the things men and women say about their experiences for granted. If you cannot take those experiences for granted – not giving them greater weight, but acknowledging that they are valid – then you will always attempt to substitute your opinions and views for their own.

  95. “The biochemistry is different, therefore they are different intrinsically.”

    There is a lot of contentiousness over that particular point. I personally hope it isn’t true, because if it is, it doesn’t define masculinity, it limits masculinity.

    I don’t know whether the bio position is supposed to explain male socialization or to put it off limits for debate.

  96. Soullite says:

    Then you will never accept that a man’s thoughts and opinions are valid when they differ from your own, because you won’t be able to accept that men have a different perspective than you do. I can’t help but thing that that’s the point – you want to deny the opinions and perspectives of men, and to do that, you pretend that those opinions are not grounded in different circumstances, but are instead simply invalid.

    And no, you’re just dipping into new-agey bunk here. There is no contentiousness – men have a different balance of hormones than women do. Their biochemistry is different. There are no credible bio-chemists or doctors in this or any country that would disagree with that. We don’t have all of the same organs, either. Pretending that there are no biological differences between sexes is pure fantasy.

    And no, it isn’t supposed to put things ‘off limits’ – but by what right do you have to debate this at all? By what right do you think you can decide for men what being a man means? By what right do you think you have can dictate our behavior, or our opinions, or anything else? Because from here – the male perspective – it looks like you want the right to harp on men endlessly without any social repercussions, and I seriously doubt you would afford men that same right when it comes to women.

  97. “By what right do you think you can decide for men what being a man means? By what right do you think you have can dictate our behavior, or our opinions, or anything else?”

    No more than the rest of men think they can dictate what being a man means to me. And that’s a right they have long arrogated to themselves.

  98. Um, no. Women couldn’t vote in the U.S. until 1920. Owning property for men to vote stopped being a requirement around 1810-1860 (I think different states sorted it out at different times). 1870 is when, technically, non-white men were given the right to vote (except that of course some states created ways around this, thus continuing to discriminate against “non-whites”). Some states allowed women to vote starting in the late 1800s, but it was limited and on a state-by-state basis.

    And again the difference is WHY people were being discriminated against in the first place.

  99. abyssobenthonic says:

    From Wikipedia:

    New Jersey in 1776 placed only one restriction on the general suffrage, which was the possession of at least £50 in cash or property (about $7,800 adjusted for inflation), with the election laws referring to the voters as “he or she.” In 1790, the law was revised to specifically include women, but in 1807 the law was again revised to exclude them, an unconstitutional act since the state constitution specifically made any such change dependent on the general suffrage.

  100. Right well you brought up fat and gender, so let’s take a look at this in a bit more nuanced way. Saying it has nothing to do with gender would be wrong…but wrong in that it’s too simple. For a very long time our culture has stressed the importance on the way women look. Women are often brought up with the assumption that their value in life is based, if not solely, then primarily, on their appearance. We tell little girls they are “beautiful,” as a compliment, etc. Women are also supposed to take up very little physical space, and so a woman who takes up a lot of physical space is viewed as somehow doing something wrong. Women who aren’t actually overweight get perceived as ‘fat,’ and are basically told by society that they have no value…or very little value.

    Right with men, the social context for being perceived as ‘fat’ is different. Yeah, appearance and what-not is becoming more important for men (again), but the beauty industry is largely targeted at women. Diet programs are largely targeted at women. Men’s value in society does not rest on their appearance. There is a difference and fatness is more tied up in women’s gender roles than men’s.

    And while we’re on the subject…if we were to enter ethnicity into this, then that’d add another element of how fatness is perceived. Mainstream “white” U.S. culture has created a different narrative around fat women than African-American cultures have. Heck, they’ve even got different perceptions of what ‘fat’ even is.

  101. Were fat men were seen more as fat cats, tyrants, greedy, rich, etc in the past? I got a distinct feeling that fat men were seen in a gendered way relating to greed, and personality traits of tyrants.

    As a fat young adult there was very much a stereotype alive of fat women could get laid, but fat men were the worst off in trying to find intimacy, sex, or even a relationship. Amongst the youth I saw more fat women get a partner than the fat men, including myself. Whether this was widespread or just local to my area, not sure. Could possibly be that fat men had lower confidence and also less likely to ask out a woman, which is largely my case, and as men do most of the asking out/approaching the fat women had an advantage in that respect.

    I would have said that fat women were judged more harshly on their appearance and thus their attractiveness to men suffered more than men, however my experience as a fat man leads me to think differently. I was told of my lower attractiveness and shown it in behavior, as a few of my fat male friends also tell me and it’s similar to what my fat female friends tell me, seems fat men and women both have reduced beauty and attractiveness with the opposite sex.

    (Nothing scientific here, just my observations of interactions between people here in my town, it could very well be my area was fairly unique or at least very different to the U.S)

  102. But that nuance you offer isn’t what I’m talking about. Not “fat and men intersects in a way different from fat and women” (which I am fully aware of), but “fat and men do not intersect”. I appreciate you hearing me out on this but frankly, what you’re saying isn’t what I’m talking about. Saying that when men are fat shamed it has nothing to do with their gender isn’t just “too simple” it’s straight up wrong. Saying that the intersections are different is no where near as dismissive and incorrect as saying they do not intersect.

    Men’s value in society does not rest on their appearance.
    Even at that there are still ways in which that intersection is used in a harmful manner against men. From being assumed to being an unintelligent athlete, to dumb muscle, to being assumed to be a threat, to assumed to be a protector…. So while it may not be the biggest factor on a man’s value (which of course I didn’t say) it does have an effect on a man’s value. (If anything the biggest determining factor for a man’s value would be in regards to what he can do for other people, especially women).

    Of course adding race would be another element to the equation. Intersectionality is a useful tool when looking at these different crossings between different characteristics.

    But it won’t do much good when people are going out of their way to deny certain intersections just because they are scared it might take spotlight away from their own pet causes. (Unless talking about the intersection of men and fat actually does take away from talking about the intersection of women and fat somehow?)

    You just explained how they are different, that’s not what I was dealing with. But thanks for chiming in.

  103. “Were fat men were seen more as fat cats, tyrants, greedy, rich, etc in the past? I got a distinct feeling that fat men were seen in a gendered way relating to greed, and personality traits of tyrants.”

    Well if you want to go back far enough, fat women were seen as healthier, actually, as they had better access to food. And then there’s the whole jolly-fat person trope that gives us figures like Santa Clause. But those are rather irrelevant when talking about today’s tropes, as hey are no longer applicable. There aren’t remnants of the “greedy rich fat man,” hanging around in western culture, at least not that I’m aware of.

  104. Okay, well then someone who says that they don’t intersect at all just doesn’t understand intersectionality and normativity. All identities intersect, even the normative ones. For example, a straight white person is as affected by their identities as straight and white, as a gay African-American person is affected by their identities as gay and African-American. One of the first big ideas I had a bit of trouble figuring out in my gender studies 101 class was the concept that straight, white, men, etc. were all social identities same as gay, women, African-American, etc. Being straight actually intersects with the identity of being fat differently than being gay and fat, for example…even though being straight is the “normative” identity.

    (Yes, I am aware that gender issues are different to sexual orientation issues, as I’ve mentioned. However in the case of physical appearance, I would say that women’s appearance & physical attractiveness is still largely treated as more important than men’s. This is closing, though not in a good way…)

    Anyway, when you come across people who are misusing and misunderstanding a term or concept, the only thing to do is either try to explain it to them, or ignore them.

  105. Oh I’m aware that they don’t understand. But it can get pretty hard to try to explain when you have people piling on you over it. It’s things like that that lead me to wonder if it’s a failure to recognize or a refusal to acknowledge.

    However in the case of physical appearance, I would say that women’s appearance & physical attractiveness is still largely treated as more important than men’s. This is closing, though not in a good way…
    Agreed. My problem isn’t this, its over the fact that regardless of how important is it treated in regards to women this in no way means that it has zero importance in regards to men. In fact I think this may be the competition you mentioned above. Pointing out how the intersection of men and fat harms men in no way takes away from the conversation on the intersection of women and fat, yet that is exactly how it is treated. Zero sum game indeed.

  106. “Oh I’m aware that they don’t understand. But it can get pretty hard to try to explain when you have people piling on you over it. It’s things like that that lead me to wonder if it’s a failure to recognize or a refusal to acknowledge.”

    I’ve similar frustrations explaining feminism to people, frankly. And I too wonder whether people are just being purposefully obtuse in not understanding. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But I think it’s important (all around) to realize that if someone is misusing a term against you in a certain way, that doesn’t mean that everyone who will use that term will also be misusing it. There are actually quite a few gender studies terms which I have seen people vehemently disagree with (when they hear/read the term), and then totally agree with the concept when the term isn’t used. That suggests to me that there’s a problem of people misunderstanding and misusing the terms…and I’m going to go ahead and blame the internet for that.

    Anyway, I’ve been talking about my experience with MRAs and the MRM at the minute, but I am trying to make distinctions between that and masculists, or other people who may be working for men’s rights but not identify as MRM. Why? Because I want to emphasize that I don’t think everyone who is working for men’s rights is all misogynist or anti-feminist…I see this specifically as a problem with a lot of self-identified MRM spaces. I’m trying to use the terms accurately (as I understand them) and go from there. If we’re going to use terminology (and we must to keep our conversations relatively short), then we must first make sure we understand those terms.

  107. One thing I found in some articles is that they had a negative undertone of the MRM and mra, but also the way they talked was that of there were no legitimate rights or social issues for men to complain about. So I do believe quite a few people call the MRA/MRM as the entire men’s movement, whereas you are saying it is a separate movement.

    To be maculism is the MRM, and feminism is the FRM, but it looks like anything to do with male rights is so unorganized that it’s like anyone can call it what they want, that might explain why the MRA lack decent articles from what I understand of what you say.

    Articles like this would cover me
    ht tp://www.shakesville.com/2007/10/explainer-whats-mra.html
    Apparently I am an MRA as I advocate for male rights, male social issues, financial abortion, etc, unless they mean MRA’s themselves hold views I also hold.

    “With the novel idea that men and women should be able to map out their own destinies, free from being directed on what they’re “supposed to do.” It’s a political ideology called “feminism.” The MRAs with legitimate gripes would be well-served to embrace feminism. But given the overall hatred of women woven into the fabric of the movement, I won’t hold my breath.” (from that article)
    You see I tried this and got kicked out for “whataboutthemenz”, talking with my male privilege on new comment threads, accused of derailing when replying to a discussion on domestic violence (not dv against women) and talking of how men suffer and showing stats.

    So apparently I am an MRA according to them, Danny would be labeled as such, and other males here. I’ve heard the GMP was said to be an MRA site by some feminists too. So now the definition of an MRA seems to be very diverse (similar to feminism, hah), and I’m still unsure of what an MRA truly is.

    Just found this
    http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/comments/vqu9n/feminists_gloat_over_obamacare_victory_mock_the/
    From my quick read over it most of the comments are actually decent and not misogynist, seem level headed and calm. A bit of generalizing going on, but to me it looks like a bunch of men worried that they’re left out in some parts of an act that is meant to help everyone? In fact the non-mras are the feministe site are acting quite snarky, but I’m glad some are actually debating and answering the questions. The MRA’s are concerned but I haven’t seen misogyny in that thread yet, if I was in the U.S I’d be worried too. It seems both sides though are taking an adversarial approach to each other a bit, in this case I’m seeing it mostly in the non-mra’s on the feministe comments.

    It is my impression that anyone commenting on a feminist site will usually get the MRA labelled applied TO them, I saw this very often and I even got it applied to me. I’m glad you are asking for self-identified MRA’s though, but I’m not sure the entire men’s rights section on reddit actually self-identifies and if so then I hope people show restraint in labelling them as such. It probably means many of the articles of how mra’s are so misogynist could be disputed because I’d guess not all of them self-identify as MRA.

    Now you make sure to use the self-identify MRA but I don’t think the majority of other feminists do, wouldn’t that muddy up the waters of what an MRA really acts like? Their logic means I am an MRA, do I speak with misogyny? Just because someone comments on the mensrights reddit it doesn’t mean they are MRA, hell quite a few feminists comment there probably, and I’d guess most don’t self-identify so keep that in mind. In fact by this logic, when I hear of how the majority of MRA’s are misogynistic then I wonder how many are actually talking about self-identified MRA’s and how many non-mra’s they catch in their net?

  108. Actually, thank-you for this. You’ve just proven to me that the majority of articles I’ve read by feminists of how MRA’s are negative, it actually invalidates ALL that self-identify as MRA. I’m getting the feeling a lot of people are just calling men who happen to have an interest in male rights an MRA, I’ve seen this time n time again with the accusations of someone being an MRA when they don’t identify as such, even myself. So basically we have a bunch of people guessing who is an MRA and who isn’t and using them to justify their view of that group, isn’t that just a bit dishonest? It broadly paints male commentators who support male rights as MRA as I’ve seen.

    Either your definition is wrong in the self-identify part, or a hell of a lot of feminists are unfairly labeling people as MRA’s when they don’t self-identify, and thus their view of what MRA’s is flawed and dishonest. Quite frankly, after this I’m not sure I really believe people who talk about MRA’s as misogynist unless they are ONLY talking about those who specifically self-identify as MRA. You would be the first I would believe if that is how you define it. Basically every article on MRA’s would need to include proof that person self-identifies as MRA, otherwise it’s really just someone guessing the belief of that poster. MRA-like views are not applicable, only stuff like them saying “I am an MRA” would qualify them to be included. Basically it’s a case of just because I went to a feminist rally, doesn’t mean I am a feminist. These men/women who are in MRA spaces aren’t necessarily MRA. But if no self-identified MRA is calling out the unidentified misogynists then yeah that issue still remains. Same goes in feminist spaces as well.

  109. I’ve been called a MRA and a misogynist often, for simply wanting true equality, services for all victims and caring about men at all.

    I’ve never identified as an MRA.

    Some feel a little bit bad about calling me a MRA as a trans woman, but then explain I have false consciousness or some such things, so it’s not all trans women that are bad like me (though men really are mostly bad according to their logic, so a male misogynist is not the exception but the rule).

Trackbacks

  1. […] Matlack wrote in a piece for the Good Men […]

  2. […] A few months ago, I read an essay online that changed the way I view men and their interaction with feminism. The Good Men Project, mentioned above, is an online blog that focuses on providing a full and nuanced picture of masculinity. They take on pretty much any issue that touches men’s lives; sex, family, work, war, and politics are all fair game. This June, one of the original founders of The Good Men Project, Tom Matlack, wrote an article entitled “Why Being a Good Man is Not a Feminist Issue.” […]

  3. […] Tom Matlack envisions a place where men can share stories of their struggle for goodness man …goodmenproject.com/…/why-being-a-good-man-is-not-a-femi… […]

  4. […] Matlack’s post, Why Being a Good Man is Not a Feminist Issue, has garnered hundreds of comments covering all sides of the debate. But in one small corner of the […]

  5. […] Why Being a Good Man is Not a Feminist Issue […]

  6. […] -I usually avoid “The Good Men Project” because that shit is far too earnest for me-also, I’m not a man. But I had to read their article titled “Why Being a Good Man is a Feminist Issue”. News flash: it really is! This bit sums it up for me:  feminism began as a movement to liberate women from their stupid, limiting gender roles, but…….there’s no separating women’s horrible gender roles from men’s horrible gender roles. Every dumb cliché about how women are overemotional carries with it the connotation that men can’t have or express emotions. Every joke about men being lazy slobs implies that women are destined to do all the cleaning. The idea that women are helpless objects to be protected from everything is tied right in with the idea that men are disposable cannon fodder, whether in combat or civilian life. Men’s issues and women’s issues simply are not two separate problems, and the illusion that they are is just another outdated notion we need to outgrow.  Word. Sadly, it seems that a lot of fellas aren’t responding well in the comments to the piece. Anyway. Read more here http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/why-being-a-good-man-is-not-a-feminist-issue/ […]

  7. […] By Jack Donovan On June 28, 2012 · Add Comment At the Good Men Project, founder Tom Matlack vented his frustration with the way the feminist gender theory seems to overwhelm almost every discussion on the site. The […]

  8. […] Matlack published a powerful article about his goals for the Good Men Project titled Why Being a Good Man Is Not a Feminist Issue. Tom speaks in very moving ways about the healing dialogues that happen when men speak to men from […]

  9. […] men and feminism. We’re all responding to this piece by the site’s founder, Tom Matlack: Why Being a Good Man is Not a Feminist Issue. My response: Men’s Goodness Hinges on Hearing Women’s Voices. […]

  10. […] Matlack, in his piece Why Being a Good Man is Not a Feminist Issue, suggests that feminism isn’t an integral part of the discussion about what it means to be a […]

  11. […] article is a response to “Why Being a Good Man is Not a Feminist Issue” by Tom […]

  12. […] article is a response to “Why Being a Good Man is Not a Feminist Issue” by Tom Matlack. “It’s time to stop fooling ourselves, says a woman who left a position […]

  13. […] article is a response to “Why Being a Good Man is Not a Feminist Issue” by Tom […]

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