Scratching the Surface

Diana Palka 2

Diana Palka, the Good Men Project’s new Associate Editor for Education, Humor & Gender, takes a stab at what it means to “join the conversation” regardless of your credentials.

The thing is – I’m underqualified. Like, by a lot.

I’m newly 24 years old and as far as writing goes, I’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of actually being published. With a portfolio of roughly 40 clips – the depth and legitimacy of my communication footprint pales in comparison to the rest of the Good Men Project team.

But it’s okay. And here’s why:

  1. EDUCATION – I have one. I graduated cum laude from Gardner-Webb University (NC) with a Bachelor’s in News-Editorial Journalism. But if I’m being honest, that’s not really something you should oooh and ahhh about. Not for any particular reason – but college degrees aren’t anything special these days – so let’s move on from that. I’m a firm believer in being a life-long learner. It’s a choice you have to make each day and, at times it’s a bit counter-intuitive. Through discipline, I’m slowly learning that if you really commit to axing your inherent need to feel you know it all – you’ll get closer to actually knowing something.
  2. HUMOR- Knock, knock. I’d like to think I have a knack, knack (get it?) for incorporating humor into “serious” conversations. I’m no Amy Poehler, but I’m pretty decent at soliciting a good belly laugh every now and then. Sometimes it’s an ill-timed joke and sometimes it’s borderline inappropriate – but the people around me usually find enough grace and/or pity to choke out a laugh.
  3. GENDER- I have one of those too: female. I know it’s weird and all because the web address in your browser says “Good MEN Project,” but let me just talk you off the ledge for a second. The conversation surrounding what it takes to be a “good man” can’t wholly exist without the perspective of a woman. Not just one woman; women. It can be talked about – tossed around in the locker room at the gym – but the potential of the dialogue is gravely stunted when women and their landscapes are excluded.

I am joining the Good Men Project with six years of experience as a published writer in various newspapers. For the past year, I’ve been actively engaging the blogging community as faith-based lifestyle blogger who explores the concept of endurance learning through relationships and transitions. With this background, it’s my sincerest hope to bring a fresh perspective to the Good Men Project that will propel our men to “fight the good fight” and resolve to do instead of try.

I’m aware that there’s an enigmatic fine line that exists between this conversation and its participants. The cross-over is the difference between joining the conversation and dictating it. I promise to actively participate without forcing a personal agenda of an educated woman with a killer sense of humor. I promise to keep scratching at the surface until it frays and tears.

And I’m hoping you will too.

 

Please contact me directly ([email protected]) with your non-fiction stories as they relate to Education, Humor and Gender. All submissions should fall within the Good Men Project Style Guidelines. We look forward to sharing your story and having you join the conversation!

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About Diana Palka

Diana is a writer, runner, lover of words and life-long learner. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in News-Editorial Journalism from Gardner-Webb University and since entering the proverbial "real world," has been challenged (slash forced) to learn what does and doesn't work when communicating honest messages. Currently, she works with a Benefit Consulting firm just outside New York City where she heads up the creation of employee communications and client deliverables for her team. Diana has a passion for a brave vulnerability that reveals the ugliest of impurities in the light of a perfecting grace.

Comments

  1. John Schtoll says:

    I am sorry but I don’t think I can agree that men can’t have a conversation about being good men without a womans perspective. I think a man can be good without a woman in his life but more importantly , he can have a conversation with other men without the female perspective on what she thinks a good man is.

    It kinda reminds me of an old joke “Women don’t want to hear what you think, they only want to hear what they think but in a lower voice”

  2. Mostly_123 says:

    “The conversation surrounding what it takes to be a ‘good man’ can’t wholly exist without the perspective of a woman. Not just one woman; women. It can be talked about – tossed around in the locker room at the gym – but the potential of the dialogue is gravely stunted when women and their landscapes are excluded.” 

    Maybe,
    maybe not. 
    First and foremost, I think it’s contingent on the the gifts and the insights that each individual brings (or fails to bring) to the conversation. There are lots of situations in life where we do not (and will not, and simply cannot) have the benefit of first-hand knowledge or experience: This does not mean that our perspectives carry no weight. But nor does it mean that they carry all the same veracity or perspective (or on the flip side of that matter- potentially, bias) all the time. Regardless, one ignores (or fails to fully utilize) valuable counsel at their own peril.    

    I’m wondering what the general reaction would be to the reverse of the gender hats:   

    ‘The conversation surrounding what it takes to be a good woman can’t wholly exist without the perspective of a man. Not just one man; men. It can be talked about – tossed around in the locker room at the gym – but the potential of the dialogue is gravely stunted when men and their landscapes are excluded.’

    I tend to think my reaction would be the same guarded statement I made above: In most any situation, there will always limitations to my experience, and hence, my insights; both respective and irrespective of my gender. That doesn’t mean that one can’t, shouldn’t, and won’t contribute. I could always be wrong.   

    In closing, to quote FDR: “There is no indispensable man.”

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