The Atlantic just published “The Psychology of Feminism and the Queer Case of Hugo Schwyzer” by Raphael Magarik.
We have obviously parted ways with Hugo. He wrote many pieces for us that were engaging and controversial, but in the end we were clearly going in different ideological directions, as he even mentions in the piece: we are interested in affirming the goodness of men while Hugo is dedicated to pointing out our failings. We wish him well despite that ideological divide.
We do want to clarify our mission. The Atlantic piece gave a very partial view of what we work on every day to ensure this is an expansive discussion and movement.
1. Do we attempt speak for all men? No, our mission has always been grounded in personal narrative in which each writer describes a turning point in their life as a father, husband, son, worker, or just a man. There are as many turning points, narratives, and definitions of goodness as there are men. We welcome them all.
2. Are men and women different? Yes, beyond what we have in our shorts. The variety of men and the variety of women is unlimited, but we do try to grapple with the ways in which men who aspire to be good dads and husbands particularly have to navigate gender as an issue. That means talking openly about how some men feel misunderstood by some women, and vice versa. It also means talking about how lasting intimacy and love can flourish despite the different expectations that men and women might bring to romantic love.
3. Why does GMP exist? There simply is no other forum for a thoughtful discussion of manhood. Traditional media casts men in a simplistic out-of-date representation (think Bud Light or GQ), when most men in 2012 live a complex, nuanced life in which they have to sort out the meaningful masculinity and goodness in a vacuum.
4. Does GMP have a party line? No. Over 400 writers actively participate in generating content for the magazine. We have always aspired to a national conversation about manhood. A “conversation” by definition means that there are not set positions or doctrines of what is and is not an acceptable point of view on manhood, gender, politics, or anything else. Often, when readers disagree strongly with something they have read on GMP, we invite them to contribute a response, which we commit to publishing. Our philosophy is, the more varied the views on our site the better. As Tom Matlack said when he started our series of live events inside the walls of Sing Sing prison with a group of ten life-time inmates, “No one, and I mean no one, is excluded from the conversation about what it means to be a good man.”
5. How does GMP view feminism? Feminism is a label loaded with all kinds of different meanings to different people. There’s a body of academic and theoretical constructs which support modern day feminism. We are not a site devoted to theory. We focus on the real stories at the frontlines of manhood. As such, we are HIGHLY interested in talking about what it means to be a good husband, a good father, what role pornography plays in defining manhood, and issues like sex trafficking. That said, even on these controversial topics we are open to publishing a wide variety of different experiences and points of view. We are adamant about supporting equal rights for men and women and for talking openly about the situations where that is not the case. What we can’t do is adopt one ideology which prevents the kind of expansive discourse we aspire to. There are many of the GMP writers who self-identify themselves as feminists, including all of the founders and the CEO. But we refuse to accept a litmus test by which only feminism points of view are allowed on the site.
6. How does GMP feel about men’s rights and the MRA movement? We are strong supporters of men’s groups of a wide variety. We don’t see ourselves as endorsing one or another as these groups generally have a different more narrowly focused agenda than ours. With regard to men who affiliate themselves with the Men’s Rights movement, we do want to facilitate civil discussion around ways in which men have been misrepresented in the media, treated unfairly in family court, and been ignored when it comes to being victims of sexual abuse (among many other issues). We see these issues as central to our mission to deepen our collective understanding of what manhood and goodness looks like in the 21st century.
7. Does publishing a piece on GMP mean that the editorial team agrees with what the writer has to say? Absolutely not. In fact, we often publish pieces together which take the exact opposite points of view for the very reason that we want to facilitate thoughtful discussion.
8. Are there limits to what GMP will and won’t publish? We have recently revised our commenting policy to ensure that discussion is civil and constructive. We have also put a comment review procedure in place which will insure the policy is followed. With regard to editorial content itself we try to publish as much and varied material as we possibly can on our core manhood topic areas. But we won’t publish pieces that are intended to be hurtful or damaging by way of character assignation. And we do attempt to keep men’s voices front and center since our mission has always been to provide a forum for men to talk about manhood. Women are certainly welcome to the party but we want to insure that we stick to the mission.
9. Are men in crisis? Yes, but not the one that Hannah Rosen wrote about in “The End of Men.” There are as many different experiences of modern manhood as there are men. But one thing is for sure: men of all colors, occupations, sexual orientations, religions, economic status, and ages are searching for meaning in new and different ways. Many more men want to be involved fathers, even being the stay at home parent. Many more men don’t just want a physical relationship with their spouse but a deep emotional connection. Many men are re-evaluating the role of work in their lives and trying to sort out its importance relative to their home life. Many men are frustrated by the endless press covering men behaving badly and the seeming disinterest by mainstream media in real men who are trying to do the right thing in their lives.
10. What is the goal of GMP? To change the way men and masculinity are viewed in America and around the world. To provide a way for men who feel alone in their struggles–with parenthood, with divorce, with marriage, with professional success, with professional failure, with addiction, with abuse, with racism, with romantic love, with the search for meaning–to feel less alone and realize we are all in this together.