Are Dude Blogs Going Through an Identity Crisis?

Over at Thought Catalog, Brokelyn editor Tim Donnelly responds to the backlash against a post he published by an out-of-work “stay-at-home girlfriend,” Quiana Stokes, who spends her days sending out resumes, preparing meals, getting ready for sexytime, and otherwise adhering to “stereotypically Stepfordish rules” to keep her boyfriend around. The piece, he says, garnered concern from the usual suspects: The Hairpin LOLed, Jezebel approved but called Stokes’ tone “troubling,” and The Frisky wrote, “Could I live like Quiana Stokes? Probably not. I’d get bored.”

Donnelly’s million-dollar question: If this had been a dude talking about preparing meals and “ironing your working lady’s panties instead of going to watch the game,” which blogs would step up to the plate and lament the poor schlub? Where are the dude blogs?

Go ahead and try to think of some, because I’m more than willing to learn. The only dude blogs that come to mind are the supremely superficial ones: Guyism (tagline: “Hot Girls, Humor, Videos, Photos, Sports, Beer, Celebrities”); Asylum, which also shuttered last month, leaving as its swan song an Andrew WK interview, in which he announces his intent to go into outer space; Thrillist (unofficial tagline: “WHATTUP BROSEPH?!?!”), a repository of what to do and buy now that your frat activities director isn’t around (a site for which I apparently don’t meet the bro standard; I got rejected from a job there last year).

There’s AskMen.com, with its watch-brand reviews, and Esquire’s website, with its “what she wants you to wear” huffy insistence on swarthy materialism as the preferred style. Or BroBible, the voice of the “Brommunity,” a site that should speak for itself (but I’ll speak for it too: the words “Big Boob Bonanza” currently appear on the homepage).

Even when these sites are at their best, they lack a sense of humor about their subject matter, and about being a dude in general. Those sites exist in the old archetype of the “men’s” magazine that hasn’t changed much in decades: fashion, understanding your lady, the sexiest women in X field (because we never expect successful women to be succesexxxy too!). Those media are for “men”: 9–5ers, execs, suit-wearers, dads, old-fashioned bros clinging to their Axe body spray, wooing pearl-clad ladies in Learjets soaring above pristine Caribbean waters on weekend getaways.

But where’s the voice of the dudes? Just because bros throughout history have made a mess of things, repressed women, minorities, immigrants and the gaze doesn’t mean there aren’t those of us out there who have moved beyond all that and harbor modern-day issues just as complex as the girls’ …

Yes. I have so little to criticize about this. But Tim’s just scratching the surface. The Voice for the Forward-Thinking Dude is here. It hasn’t gone anywhere—it’s just been a little reticent and awkward while we happily watched women work to reclaim theirs.

Sure, the media are still largely male-controlled. News skews male. Sexist shit pops up every day. Lots of the ladyblogs are owned by men. We do check our privilege; we know Men’s History Year resumes after March. But this is different: on the Internet and in print, there’s been a dearth of witty and incisive commentary about the complexity of masculinity, and suddenly that’s all changing. A new generation of men, long misrepresented in the media, is finding its voice.

So perhaps the question is not whether men’s blogs exist or not, but if we’re having an identity crisis. You go to Maxim.com and, no shit, you immediately get what they’re about. It takes picoseconds, even for someone who, oddly, has never heard of Maxim. But it won’t be so easy with the new crop of men’s publications, and, you know what, that’s OK.

We got a page-two mention in Donnelly’s piece. We are “on the right track.” Cool. Donnelly goes on to, in essence, write us a job application, parroting our mission statement (“we can recognize that coping with being a man in the modern world is challenging”) and then suggesting impeccably on-brand ideas (“Did that NY magazine cover story on the effects of rampant online masturbation on Actual Sex Life cause people to rampantly masturbate less? [yes]“). I love all of these ideas. Are they for sale? Gift? We’ve already run one or two.

Tim: You get us. You get what we get, that there are men (many men, we hope) who want to read about sex and gender (often) and sports (often), and also media, the Internet, books, theater, dicks, hemorrhoids, food, domestic violencecomedyeducation, working out, fatherhood, women, prison reform, OCD, depression, other really serious stuff, and other really dumb stuff. We’re really all over the fuckin’ place, and for a reason—because this is what men think about. Lots of shit. Weird shit. Mayonnaise. If I see one more book implying men’s interests can be reduced to 200 blank pages, I’ll shit myself.

To borrow our sports editor’s analogy, we’re having an awesome Man Night in a Crown Heights dive bar while you’re hanging out by, like, Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club. The Art of Manliness (they’ve nailed the male-advice niche) is here with their straight razors and waxed mustaches. There’s The TakebackThe Root, and Feminist Allies, having nuanced discussions about men’s role in fighting sexism. There’s also a bunch of dedicated Tumblr-ers, Blogspotters, and Twitterers. It’s a goddamn sausagefest over here.

But it’s also the greatest party ever.

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About Cooper Fleishman

Cooper Fleishman is managing editor of HyperVocal.com. After graduating from Kenyon College in 2009, he moved to New York to follow his dream of book-publishing glory. Once here, he sold dog food on the street and copyedited celebrity-gossip tabloids, finally landing as senior editor of the Good Men Project, where he served for a year before sneaking into HyperVocal. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @_cooper.

Comments

  1. I am wary of anything that tells me what a man or a “dude” is…..I am happily married with three daughters, 15, 7, and 6. Including my niece, sister in law, mother in law, and female friends, I often find myself the only male in a room for hours on end. Guess what? I still watch football, don’t look at pr0n, have a fulltime job/career, and oh yeah, I write my arse off here:

    http://www.lance-myblogcanbeatupyourblog.blogspot.com/

    There are plenty of good blogs penned by men. I don’t call them man blogs or dude sites or anything other than places I go to read cool stuff by “forward thinking” guys who aren’t Charlie Sheen like.

  2. HumbledDad says:

    Lance speaks the truth. He does have cool stuff on his site.

  3. My understanding is that Coop’s article is less about a dearth of great individually-driven man-blogs, of which I am absolutely sure there are oodles of, and more of the collective, group effort like the examples he offers up early in the article. As one of the lady persuasion, I’d say that The Hairpin comes very, very close to “fitting” me both closely tied to and completely separate from my conception of myself as a woman. Coop’s point, as I read it, was that the sites that exist out there for men, like AskMen or the Maxim site, are more closely grouped together in interests. There’s less diversity. Then again, perhaps there’s just less diversity *that we can see*, and that’s a whole other question altogether.

  4. The Ostrich buries its head in the sand and then asks “where are the clouds?”

    What a joke.

    Cooper, just for the record, here is the answer to your ridiculous question:

    MEN do not banter endlessly about trivial banalities because we are fighting for our survival. We don’t talk about hair colour or nail polish. We talk about why we live in a man-hating world where the overwhelming majority of all pain, suffering, neglect, misery, and dispossession happens to MEN.

    Examples:

    1) MEN constitute 95% of the prison population
    2) MEN constitute 75% of the homeless (and 85% of the un-sheltered homeless)
    3) MEN constitute 75% of all suicides
    4) MEN are the overwhelming majority of victims of murder, assault, and every kind of violent crime
    5) FATHERS are overwhelmingly discriminated against in divorce
    6) BOYS are failing out of school, college, and life
    7) BOYS are force-fed RITALIN when they refuse to act like girls in school

    We have no “good time” blogs because we are fighting for our lives.

  5. Its quite simple.

    The people that think that the only men that are talking are the types that are on blogs/sites about beer, sex, sports, and other stereotypes are the ones that don’t want to acknowledge those other men. Even though people are starting to open their eyes (even so called progressives that will quickly write a man off simply because he’s a man) to guys like us we for the most part are still taboo.

    The mainstream isn’t ready for men who think beyond who has the biggest rack (or they are benefiting so much about that they don’t want those stereotypes to be confronted) and the “progressives” don’t want men to actually think about themselves (and ironically some of them claim that men shouldn’t be thinking about themselves because “its always been about men”, believe me if it was all about us we would not be as bad off as we are).

    We exist. They need to start listening.

  6. Why do we push the blame to these generalized, non-specific persons? We use terms like “they”, “society”, “the media”, hell it’s endless. The lack of beneficial dialogue, because that is what is really being said, is our own fault. Yes, there is a lack of healthy dialogue on the internet and within the media. But, the real solution is not to change what these outlets produce. They should only be catalyst, or conversation starters, for men. The real groundwork for change in the lives of men begins with the physical world. Men need to meet together, look each other eye-to-eye, and begin to talk. The real question is: How often do WE talk about important issues with other men? Is it really just “them” forcing this superficial dialogue or is the media just replicating our own conversations? I know most of those who read articles such as these, are open to the dialogue that we are talking about. What about those men, we all know them, who don’t take the time to put some “meat” into their conversations? I challenge every man here to find at least one male, and open a conversation with them about something that matters to us. I know, it’s not easy. It is the most essential tool we have for change, but it cannot be done through computers.

    • Challenge accepted. I think it all starts with a positive space where we can engage with one another, and the Internet can surely be that. It’s tough to be open/honest when you get the message that no one’s listening.

    • Not a bad idea. A big part of the reason I started blogging is because of one thing. So that at the end of the day no one could complain that “men aren’t talking about that stuff”. But alas its a hard go at it indeed. In the end while I agree that we need to start talking about these things and get other men talking about them its an uphill battle against people that simply either do not want those conversations to happen or only want them to happen in their spaces where they control the discussion.

  7. I get the argument here and I agree with Tim’s assessment overall (though I disagree with his take on our site since he just used SEO keywords as the entire basis for his argument), but I’m getting a little tired of this site acting as though its above the fray.

    It’s great that your founder has so many connections that got this site a lot of attention at loss. And it’s wonderful that you all believe in it enough to write here. But you can’t just continue to act like this site is a safe-haven from “the dumbing down of male media” when, honestly, most men would find it obscenely dull, not diverse, and bordering on ego ejaculation with all of the self congratulation.

    Personally, I’m just weary of seeing our site mentioned on here on my Google News blasts, always in some defamatory way. We’ve done a fine job building an audience of over 2M readers/month and a diversity of content. You guys…had an Observer article and have less than 200K visits in a year of existence.

    Chris
    Founder – Guyism.com

    • Pardon me…that should read “got this site a lot of attention at launch”.

    • So you’re saying that your SEO keywords don’t correspond to your site’s content? That Guyism has tons of content not correlated to those keywords?

      Your site’s popular tags, located on the front page, include #babes, #drunkness, #bikinis and #cleavage. You’re not owning up to the content your site produces, which mostly consists of ogling celebrity women. Then you act as if the Good Men Project only got (poor) traffic through “connections,” and that site traffic directly relates to smart writing. That’s like saying that content farms are good for journalism.

      Everything is a “list” on your site and fits into easily digestible chunks (don’t want to over-exert the attention span), usually involving drinking, one night-stands and hot girls. This is “what guys need?” Is that all? How is that not dumbing things down?

      • The only reason this site has ever received any attention is because its founder is a well-connected known entity. You don’t get coverage in the Observer, NY Mag, and other prominent publications for being a men’s site with an entirely unearned ego and middling writing. They’ve trashed us several times without us caring this site exists. At a certain point, results matter. If men cared so deeply about Good Men Project, they’d share it and gravitate towards it. But they don’t. Hence the dismal traffic.

        Additionally, we run one list a day because it’s highly shareable and digestible (in fact, every media property does this, so please don’t single us out). But you took a cursory glance and made an assessment that’s entirely inaccurate. We also have twenty original news posts per day covering the sports, humor, tech, gaming, and style verticals. Yes, there is hot chick content (and, candidly, I’m not a huge fan of it). But it’s not our duty to cut off our nose to spite our face and tell users what they should want to read. There’s a difference between creating “smart content” and completely ignoring the will of the audience and society at large.

        Our staffers have written for sites ranging from AOL to CBS Sports to EGM to MTV.com. We have freelancers from Salon, NY Mag, and others who could write circles around most media people. I myself am a graduate of USC’s journalism school (it’s no Emerson, but we get by). They cover the news like someone here would, or someone at Gawker or NY Mag’s blogs would. Yet for some reason, we constantly have to deal with people like yourself who take a quick glance, make their judgment, and that’s it.

        I personally believe you can serve both masters and, frankly, our method has worked and the Good Men Project’s hasn’t. Except, of course, for a couple of pompous pseudointellectuals who like to feel good about themselves by tearing down other things people enjoy. So that is what it is. Success is a metric when you act like you’re king shit. And this site is a failure in every possible measurable number.

        Chris

        • Thanks for continuing to read us, Chris!

          As silly as this pissing contest is, you’re just straight-up wrong about our numbers. We’re at 1.5 million visits since June, not 200,000.

          • As said above, I only see our name in Google Alerts. I really couldn’t be bothered to wade through this autofellatio drivel on a regular basis.

            Either way, Quantcast doesn’t lie. http://www.quantcast.com/goodmenproject.com, 180K global uniques/month (you know, the only metric that actually matters.

            Keep on earning that 500K raise, Good Men Project! And thanks, underqualified kid out of college who thinks he’s an authority on manliness!

            • Way to take the high road, big guy.

            • You’re not offering something new/different.

              GMP is.

              If I want to loll in boobs and drunkeness I know where to go. Thanks.

              Don’t be kidding yourself about your site. I went to it.. couldn’t see any ‘news’ unless you count Megan Fox half naked on a couch ‘news’.

            • We currently have articles on saddle shoes, classic gaming, and a man stealing a sex doll among the top stories. Given that there isn’t a Megan Fox article there, you’re obviously just a troll.

              But hey, enjoy the self-righteousness because we’ve built something many people care about and you’re just a lonely commenter here.

            • You consider that ‘news’?

            • “If you’re buying a $460 sex doll, you probably need some help though. For that kind of money, you could get a hooker and a lifetime’s supply of ether.”

              Sample of your writing.

              Drugging hookers. Ha, ha. Funny. Mature.

              I can’t find a single article on that site that doesn’t make brain cells die.

            • It’s not supposed to be “mature”. That’s what many of you don’t seem to grasp. You can do both. We could write 1000 word opuses every day but the majority of readers aren’t into that. Modern online journalism is about getting to the point and the line between entertainment and reporting is a thin one (especially for us since we don’t really claim to be CNN, mind you). But what we do is get all of the facts, double check them, write it up like a new story, then infuse a little humor. That’s what our view of internet news and commentary for a men’s site should be.

              You can disagree, but what bothers me the most about your comment and this site is the derisiveness of it all as if your taste should be every man’s. It’s a very “East/West Cost” exclusionary mentality.

              There’s a problem with men taking themselves entirely too seriously (and this site is incredibly rife with it). There’s a time for seriousness (we covered the “homeless man with the golden voice” very early in the news cycle and did it that way) and there’s a time for fun. We do both and do it well, so your judgmental opinion is inconsequential.

            • Guyism has about as much depth as a deflated kiddie pool.

            • Did you use your “Analogy of the Day” Calendar for that one? The depth of the wit is astounding!

            • And you, Sir, are an authority on manliness I take it?

              Pray tell…

            • Guyism’s Daily Picks: “Pictures for Dirty Old Men (and you).

              Scintillating.

            • Erin – That one’s a partner link…*shrug.

              Our humor content gets as much traffic as our hot chick content. And tech/style/sports/gaming are not too far behind. As I said above, if you want to be a men’s site with reach, it’s better to feed people what they actually like rather than what you think they should want.

              But honestly, if you come to this site, you’ll have your unwavering opinion because, from what I’ve seen, the commenters here are equally as sanctimonious as many of the writers, so I’ll stop beating a dead horse and allow you all to carry on with your demonizing of other brands to make yourselves feel like you’ve accomplished something.

            • Chris, partner link’s still represent the content of your website.

              If you went by the woman’s popular magazine Cosmo, you might think all women liked where articles about how to please their man in the bedroom, $200 dollar shoes and the best age to do Botox. There are a good portion of women that are quite happy with this content only. But there are also women that desire more indepth commentary about issues women face beyond sex and fashion.

              I don’t deny that you are probably very popular with a demographic of men. Just as Cosmo is very popular with a demographic of women. But men have more then enough websites where they can seek out naked girls and humor.

              But GMP goes beyond the standard guy-commentary we are all very familiar with media selling us that men are about.

              I come to GMP because I get to see a side of guys that I don’t really get to see anywhere else. I get to read view points I don’t hear guys talk about in real life. I don’t need to see more commentary on guys nudging each other and drooling over celebrity women or talking about how hot a girls boobs are. I know men like boobs, I don’t need to be at a website that reduntently revels in this when it’s all around me in real life and on the internet already.

              At GMP I see men talking about issues that directly relate to their lives. And how they want to improve their lives. For themselves, families an their companions.

              If you want to call that “sanctimonious” in your own attempt to demonize GMP, it’s writers and readers, go ahead. But while you talk about your brand being demonized, you forget that a lot of your content is about objectifying women and stereotyping men. If that isn’t somewhat demonizing, I don’t know what is.

              On Guyism, the extent of men’s interests fall to dysfunctional athlete relationships and a drunk chick peeing herself in a bikini. And Guyism says this is “what guys need”. Maybe it’s what some Guys like and want, but I don’t think it’s what guys need.

              I clicked through every section of your website until I came across your story in your Humor section about Abercombie & Fitch pushing padded bathing suits to girls from 8-14. You’re last paragraph tries to make a joke about what you think is misplaced worry about the padded bras leading girls to early sexuality. You state, “slippery path that ends with the Jennifer Connelly “ass to ass” scene in “Requiem for a Dream?”. You go on to joke that “seems like a little bit of a stretch”. And that’s so much more well rounded then “Pictures for Dirty Old Men”?

              I’m not trying to take a hit at your writing. You’re a witty intelligent writer.

              But as a woman, I do find the content offensive. I understand I’m not your target audience, but what do you really think benefits men better? A place where they can oggle more T&A (becaues that’s so rare) and joke about concerns for sexuallizing little girls when your website shows strong sway to objectfying women, or a place where men can talk about concerns that relate to their home lives?

  8. HumbledDad says:

    As an aside — I would bet all the money in my pocket that this particular site (Good Men) has just as many female readers as men. I might even push it to declare it has more women readers than men.

  9. The real ideas – and therefore the most dangerous – are being discussed with brutal honesty within the relatively unknown blogs outside of the Manosphere. Of course, the Manosphere is growing and gaining momentum. Roissy and Hooking Up Smart do quite well in the traffic department.

    I am profoundly suspicious of GMP given it’s roots and it’s financial backing. Oh, and it’s autorefresh bullshit which is now happening with less frequency but it just happened. Again.

    Seriously, turn that shit off.

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