Why Our Boys Need The Good Men Project

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About Tom Matlack

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


  1. I’ve been saying for so long, where is the Diversity Of Voices? The middle age spread round here is getting to be – sorry – It is an issue!

    Androphobia – an irrational phobia of the male and males in groups. I thought this place was about fighting Androphobia not promoting it?

    Julio Medina realised that it was not just fear of others but fear of being an engaged male that was the issue. He does not promote fear of men and he also rejects fear of men themselves. Not teaching kids to live in fear of who they are or may become could be a start.

  2. I don’t have sons but I had a father and a husband, I have a brother, male friends and a male relationship. I have three grown daughters who are and will be tremendously influenced by the men in their lives. As a woman I have tremendous respect for what Tom is doing. I’ve learned so much by following and being privvy to the honest discourse. Not only are is the writing illuminating but the comments/discussion afterward is, for the most part, inspiring.
    I think however that there is a misconstrued concept that as women, because we tend to talk and share more, that we have things a little more figured out. What I suspect however, is that there is as much need among women for a real communication venue like GMP because we are so good at hiding behind as many veils as men. We share, more often than not, what we feel will be peer supported and/or applauded. We keep silent about our career vs stay at home Mom choices in life, despite how strongly we may be conflicted. We dance around the topic of intimacy and if often takes us decades and struggle and painful choices to finally embrace our own need and love of deep and fun physical intimacy. In doing so we rob ourselves of an opportunity to not only connect with each other but to connect better with the boys and men in our lives.
    You see, what I suspect is that we would find that while there are obvious gender differences, there would be way more similarities. Shedding the specifics (which are indeed often mysterious, amusing and even delightful) we would discover the core of the connection we crave as human beings. It’s why I find, as one reader said once before, GMP is a sacred place.

  3. Sorry to say but I don’t think this forum will ever be welcoming to men who feel cast aside by society only to be taught incomprehensible drivel about their privilege.

  4. wellokaythen says:

    Important ideas here, and a lot of important truths to share with young men. Just one request, though, and I know it sounds like nitpicking:

    Please try not to assume that all the young men in your audience will be husbands and fathers. They can grow up to be good men without getting married and without having children. Neither of those things will automatically make them grow up into good men, and many of them should become good men BEFORE getting married and/or having children. I think there are far too many people who don’t really grow up before having children and then assume that having children will force them to grow up. Frequently, that doesn’t work.

    Basically, responsible adults should contribute to society whether they are married or not, and whether they have children or not. Be careful not to equate male goodness with marriage and parenting.

  5. As the mother of an 18 month old son, I have been asking myself these questions. How do I support and love my son to be the best boy – and then man- he can be? How to do that amongst the commercial sexuality, violence, superficial superlative trappings of masculinity that our boys are exposed to is a huge question for me. At the very least, I know I am blessed with a husband who has done men’s work with a group of men who accept him for who he is and at the same time hold him accountable for his actions as a father, husband, and friend.

  6. I enjoy GMP so much and like Carla, I have a tremendous amount of respect for what Tom is doing. I welcome the diverse viewpoints and oftentimes raw reality that is brought to light via this forum, as well as the way that it challenges the perceived ideas and stereotypes promoted by society as to who men are and how they should behave. The honest, thoughtful, and unscripted realities that are revealed here shed light on the assumed journey to being ‘good men’. It’s truly refreshing to pull back the facade of insensitivity and have a birds eye view of what men think, and their desire to be understood and heard.

  7. Veronica Rodriguez says:

    Great article!

  8. Tom,
    I admire your work–and I know we don’t know the half of it–and see a great need for The Good Men Project. In fact, my friend and fellow U of A MFA grad Cameron Conaway–he might not admt it, but he plays basketball as well as he fights–has talked to me about sharing my journey as a single dad, author, teacher and Agent Orange victim/advocate/survivor on the site. Cam is just a truly good human being. Watch him with kids and you’d never suspect he can tear you limb from limb, right?

    I must confess I’ve felt the past few months that the focus. points of view and quality of essays have been less than what drew me to the journal in the first place. The tone has felt dominated by a strain of thought developed in gender studies depts where privileged white woman decide what is and isn’t acceptable feminist orthodoxy and seem to have taken control over much of the magazine’s content.. The fact that most of these bloggers are blind to their privilege is symptomatic of a change in the general power structure of our liberal institutions. An Arab man or white woman? Who would you rather be in an airport security line? Or at the grocery store? Why don’t we have that conversation?

    What is it like to be falsely accused of rape as a college freshman in a fraternity? This happened to one of my students last year. He is and was a good kid, though I could tell he was struggling, and during a conference I asked him about his life.

    “Google me,” was all he said. He and his friend were later exonerated. Before that, an un-redacted police report, his full name, hometown, major–nursing–and undergraduate gossip about his psychology, his bad habits, and the most intimate parts of his life were splattered all over local and regional websites and newspapers. He lost work. He left school. He was innocent. The young woman who had led him and his friend by their wrists up to the room for the threesome she’d been planning for weeks was naked and fully engaged when somebody–a sorority sister I think–opened the unlocked door and saw her in the act. Keep in mind, many of those in Greek life come from very conservative backgrounds, and this young woman was no exception. She was embarrassed, humiliated, and had lost social stature that took months to build in the time it took for a door to open and a desire to be revealed.

    Within hours the story had changed, the sexual crimes unit convinced, some might even say coerced her to press charges–anonymously, of course–and two young men were charged–publicly–with a sex crime. Thankfully, my university was thorough, and charges were dropped once the court got around to meeting several months later. But these kids are scarred for life. No retractions were printed, nor were the transcripts of any legal proceedings leading up to exoneration.

    This is supposed to be a men’s magazine. Why are the articles about rape either lead by women or emasculated men willing shame themselves in line with orthodox feminist thought? This wouldn’t fly on a women’s forum, and it shouldn’t. Over at BlogHer, they have a pretty good thing going. Let’s try and keep that going here. I love women, but I’m here to learn from men. I know I’m not alone.

    Thank you Tom,

    • Martin Nash says:

      You are not alone Ben. I made similar, though far less eloquent, comments on this thread myself (though sadly now in trash).

      I too started following GMP to hear and share with other men. Like you I love hearing about women and learn much from them, but have gotten jaded with the continuous ownership of most issues by a few very vocal women. I don’t want this site to become anti-woman in the same way some feminist sites are anti-men, but do believe that we should have a space somewhere where men can LEAD the conversation. Perhaps I have just misunderstood the GMP mandate and should look elsewhere for the balanced view of men.


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