No Poetry, No Gender War, No Bullshit

Tom Matlack discusses the popular men’s movements and why the Good Men Project stands apart.

The first and only time I saw Robert Bly, author of Iron John, the touchstone of the modern “mythopoetic” men’s movement, I was in college—and I wasn’t sure I was impressed. Although I found the man captivating in many ways, I wasn’t convinced that the manhood he was talking about in poetic terms (and accompanied by a lute, no less) was something I aspired to recapture. Beating drums in the woods never seemed to come naturally to me; to me it sounded more like feminism for guys than the stuff of manhood.

At the time, I was immersed in the sport of rowing—a male bonding experience that had little to do with poetry and a lot to do with the testing of physical limits. I suppose the fistfight I had with my best friend during a training session in a cemetery was related to something Bly was getting at, but it sure wasn’t poetic. It had to do with my questioning my friend’s manhood and his retaliating in kind. We both emerged stronger from the exchange.

Our coach, Will Scoggins, had watched our fight from a distance, grinning. He told me that the process of developing underlying trust as a team involved spilling your guts along the way, even showing raw emotion. He had made clear from the very beginning that this was about rowing, but it was also about growing up and learning, the hard way, how to avoid making excuses. The payoff was that we could use this wisdom in any situation later on in life. To his way of thinking, the fight was a sign of progress—a sign of growing faith in one another.

The fight on a cemetery hill with my rowing buddy summarized the kind of men’s movement that I respected a heck of a lot more than what I heard accompanied by a lute.

♦◊♦

In many ways, the Good Men Project was born not out of the men’s movement—or men’s rights movement, masculism, anti-misandry, or MGTOW (men going their own way)—but out of the brutal facts of our own lives as fathers, husbands, and guys trying to make a living. In fact, I had never even heard of any of these philosophies until I started writing about my own life and publishing the stories of other men. In the process I somehow got myself in the middle of a political issue that to me completely misses the fundamental challenge for men in 2011. There are plenty of ways the law (particularly family law) and popular culture, as represented by the media, have limited men. But we have no one to blame but ourselves. We made the laws. We control the media. We have, in the end, suffered too long in silence. Too many of us have knuckled under and become absentee fathers.

Mothers have more rights than fathers, more women are going to college, and Oprah rules the gender discourse. So what? Do we allow ourselves to be emasculated by feminism, by divorce law, by women who, God forbid, want to break the glass ceiling once and for all? Or do we embrace their successes while developing our own powerful voice for good in the world, most particularly when it comes to be being fathers and husbands? To me, having guys beat drums or set up some grand zero-sum gender war ignores the opportunity—an opportunity that’s right in front of our faces—that we might figure out a way to get out of the cave of our own suffering.

To me this opportunity has always been about the power of completely unfiltered communication between men once they stopped thinking about what they were “supposed” to be saying and started speaking from the heart about their own lives. In fact, it saved my own life. I realized that I could learn a lot more from men—damn good men—with no formal education but a lot more street smarts than I had. No poetry, no gender warfare, no bullshit. Just the truth.

♦◊♦

I was surrounded by 30 other men at a grade school classroom in South Boston, many of whom had been sober barely 30 days. They looked pretty tough, and I imagined I must have been the only one in the room without a gang affiliation. The leader at the front of the room began to speak about his structured approach to sobriety. “You miss a session and you are out,” explained Frank, a blond guy in his 40s. “You are required to do each assignment and come prepared to every meeting.” Frank asked us to stand up and pledge our commitment to this course of action, posing a series of questions to which the group responded in unison, “Yes I will.”

Frank began to tell his story. He’d been to prison for breaking and entering, but now worked as a mechanic for the MBTA. He talked about family members who were dead from overdoses or had been shot in drug deals gone wrong. “I gotta admit to you guys,” he said, “I was driving over here and I stopped at a light in a neighborhood I had no real reason to be in. A couple of hookers who I know better than I’d like to admit from the old days came to my window. The thought crossed my mind. But then I thought of this room full of guys. Always remember that a thought and an action are two different things.”

My initial feeling of not belonging vanished as Frank spoke. He talked with a level of honesty that I’d never heard before—one that made me reconsider my own life. Hearing Frank’s unvarnished story of addiction and the struggle for sobriety was a great relief.

I’d grown tired of listening to men talk about alcoholism as though they were delivering some kind of political stump speech. These were working-class drunks, mostly Irish Catholics, with equally strong doses of blind faith and bad behavior. Many had done time and had experienced lows well below mine. Listening to them talk made me stop feeling sorry for myself in a hurry. I had a penthouse apartment and two healthy children. I had endured a bad marriage, an inferiority complex, and a vicious drinking problem. I had lied to myself and others and had gotten caught cheating, but at least I had a roof over my head and plenty to be grateful for.

To get to the root causes of our alcoholism, Frank asked each of us to get a notebook and start writing. This was the fourth step: to take a fearless moral inventory. Frank handed out pieces of paper with the guidelines, “One for resentments, one for sexual misconduct, one for fears, and one for harms other than sexual. Dig deep. Write it all down. Once you’ve identified the facts, start thinking about how it affected you. What part did you play? I don’t care if some fucker punched you in the face, you had some role in that happening. Write it down.”

Several weeks later, I still hadn’t written a thing. I asked Frank to meet me for a quick dinner before class. We ordered fish and chips at a fry joint on L Street and sat at a scratched Formica booth, with graffiti scrawled across the table. Our food arrived just as I started complaining about my ex. He cut me short. “I thought you told me you cheated on her, Tom.”

“Yeah, so what? She is still being a complete bitch, never giving me an inch, accusing me of being a bad father,” I snapped back.

“Well, what you did was not right, plain and simple.”

“Yeah, but …”

“No fucking buts about it, pal. Let that sink into your fucking brain.”

I thought to myself, Why the hell am I taking advice from an ex-con who was just last week talking about cruising hookers, but pushed that thought away because I trusted that, despite our apparent differences, Frank was the first person willing to tell me the truth. I tried to listen to what he was saying.

“The only way you are going to get over fucking up is to admit that you did. Stop denying it,” Frank continued. “You made a mistake. A big one.”

I realized that the whole point of what we were doing in Frank’s sessions was to actually change behavior, not just talk about it. In the past, not taking full responsibility for the impact of my actions—even if I’d apologized, which I did frequently—got me nowhere. Writing down column after column of times I had committed the same sin, however, made it hard to refute my defects of character. If drinking to excess was insane, this shit was even more self-destructive. It was the reason I drank.

“Maybe you are right,” I admitted. “I can’t seem to get over feeling shitty about being a cheat, which causes me to do all kinds of insanely stupid things to cover up the past. I just keep making the same mistake over again in the present.”

“Bingo!” Frank said. “Let’s go help some sick motherfuckers who have a hell of a lot more to worry about than you do.” With that, Frank got up and paid our bill. We walked over to the classroom. Our group was down to 12 guys; everyone else had decided that drinking was a better option. Not that they hadn’t wanted to be good men at some point, but somewhere along the road they had fallen away—again.

♦◊♦

As a man aspiring to be good, I’ve gotten into a heap of trouble with women. I realize that the current men right’s movement is based on how men get screwed by divorce laws. Like so many other dads, I’ve stood outside my ex-wife’s house after dropping off our kids—Seamus, who was 1 year old, and Kerry, who was 3, when we separated—and cried in agony. I was tempted to spend my time in the years after my divorce railing against the laws and, frankly, the whole female sex. But at the same time, I wanted to find love and believe that I could be a good man to some woman—and to do that I had to rediscover some long-lost innocence that would allow me to shed all the bad behavior insulating me from being hurt again. I had to find the balls that I had lost along the way, and stop being a cheating bastard like so many other men these days.

To do that, I needed to hang out with some good men in a faraway country.

♦◊♦

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About Tom Matlack

Thomas Matlack is a venture capitalist.

Comments

  1. Mark Greene says:

    We need a gender neutral egalitarian movement. This hot headed binary gender argument is the personal being cast as the political. You have to listen in order to be heard. You have to own your own bullshit in order to critique the actions of others.

  2. But I’d like to add that only part of my dismay at not being included in conscription has ever been about being viewed as weak. Just like…okay with men I suppose theoretically the “benefit” is being viewed as strong and the responsibility is being the protector and being disposable. But you only really get the ‘benefit’ if you fit a certain masculine ideal. Otherwise you’re stuck being viewed as somehow less of a man, and yet still expected do perform your responsibility and protect women and children.

    So for women…theoretically the benefit is being protected and the trade-off is being seen as weak and sub-adult. But that only works if you’re someone who wants protecting, which I know plenty of women who do. But for me it wasn’t just an insult that people think I need to be protected, it went against my personality. I would much rather be the one _doing_ something to fix a problem then waiting around for it to get fixed. (Mind you, I’ve never been in immediate danger as an adult, so maybe in that circumstance I’d freak out and be unable to think or do anything.)

    And I think this is the match that would (or maybe did) ignore the gender war. Well not this exactly but the fact that men and women benefit and suffer, just in different ways, and the different people on different sides are hell bent on showing that the other side doesn’t have it that bad. (Bear in mind Heather I’m not saying you do this just that I saw you example of pointing out both men and women beneift and suffer and went with it.)

    • I agree with you Danny…at least I agree with what I think you’re saying. That both sides (feminists and the mra) seem to be really focused on proving that they have it worse. It’s like Christians and the LGBT community. Christians cry out against LGBT rights saying that it just goes to show that the US is waging a war against religion. And then the LGBT community has a tendency to decry all things Christian in politics, saying that all Christians are waging a war against equal rights. The two don’t need to be mutually exclusive (there are plenty of Christian LGBT people), but when it comes to politics they are put on opposite sides and they complain about who has it worse and hurl insults at each other.

      Now I’ll be honest, in the example I gave I definitely have chosen a side…but I do my damndest to think of the ‘opposition’ as people, and not as some monolithic entity.

      • That’s pretty much it. Sides pitted against each other that have the objective of proving that the other side doesn’t have it so bad and are just out to attack by any means possible (while at the same time of course swearing by all that is holy that their is being treated unfairly).

        • The difference is that feminist organizations actually use their clout to advocate against men.
          Like when NOW and 80 other feminist groups created the alliance called WEAVE who’s sole purpose was to grab a slice of the stimulus pie for women.
          NOW’s pres said: “we are against this stimulus going to burly men”.
          This statement at a time when 80% of the jobs being lost from the fiscal meltdown being male heavy sectors. This at a time when male unemployment was twice as high for women, and female heavy sectors actually had job growth.

          The list of advocacy that feminists do against men is literally never-ending. In DV (banning of researchers and male victims from VAWA reathorization and VAWA’s stipulation that no grants can be assigned to shelters that house male victims), parental rights (NOW issues an action alert in every state in which shared parenting legislation is pending–what is to fear of dads getting 50% parenting time?), education (over and over feminists minimalize and stymie solutions in the boy crisis).

          The list just goes on and on. Unlike feminists, I have never seen a serious MRA organization say: “men have it worse”.

          They only point to areas where it can be demonstrably shown that males are more in jeopardy and under-funded such as homelessness, suicide, on-the-job deaths and so forth.

          The above argument that both sides are grand-standing to make each gender look like the oppressed isn’t even close to the actual truth.

          • Well and, ya know, in my analogy I’d argue that the LGBT community really does have it worse than Christians. I could make a list, but seeing as this is tangential to my main point, I’ll refrain. And the list of how Christian groups advocate against the LGBT community is long, and much more deliberate than a lot of the harm feminist groups have done to men. Again, I could make a list, but it’s not the focus. But much like your view of feminist lobbies, Christian lobbies have cash, a large membership, and a heck of a lot of political clout.

            The thing is, though, pitting myself against all Christians isn’t going to help the situation. Doing what I can to reverse the actions of the big Christian lobbies that have hurt the LGBT community will help, yes. But demonizing the Christian right doesn’t do anything but piss people off. I mean look at all the crap that went down after Prop 8 passed in California and the protests outside Mormon churches. Even I had to admit that some of the protesting went too far.

            So that was the analogy section – now back to the actual two groups we’re discussing. Now, my own interaction with the MRM has involved a fair bit of grand-standing and ‘men have it worse,’ and ‘feminists are evil.’ I think our perspectives are just different. Just like, it took awhile for me to realize how much a lot of the more radical feminist rhetoric demonized men, and played the game of ‘we have it worse.’ Just…go read a few articles at some of the MRM sites you listed and try to pretend you’re a woman and a feminist.

            Finally, I don’t think each side isn’t trying to make the other gender look bad. I think each side does some grand-standing and demonizing to make the other political organization look bad. Feminists and the MRM aren’t the same groups as men and women.

            • I would agree that gays are certainly more maligned then men. I would also make the same statement for blacks.

              I think it’s interesting that you mention religion as the main group to oppress gays.
              Some of the reactions I get from feminits (like TRU) is that their feminism is a belief system.

              It has no basis upon rationality or evidence. Look at TRU’s off-the-cuffs demonization of MRA’s. While I’m not going to go into why she believes as she does I have argued on boards like ampersands and feministing. Many feminists DEVOUTLY believe that feminism is the “one true faith” that leads to equality.

              Therefore, any who oppose that faith are EVIL. If feminism stands for equality, then anybody against feminism stands for oppression.

              Look at TRU’s hyperbolic reaction to men fighting for their own rights. She has no desire to look at, measure, quantify, notice (and certainly not advocate for) those areas in which men suffer more than woman. She outright resents efforts to budge the victim spotlight on men 1 inch.

              There seems to be this mentality (even among more sane equity-minded feminists) that women’s issues are everybody’s business, but men’s issues certainly aren’t their (or her) business. Look at the silence of saner equity feminists when radical feminists pass clearly anti-male laws. It seems like the the concept of ADVOCATING FOR MEN is so foreign to the milder feminists that they leave beating back the histrionic fundamental feminists to men.

              It seems that as long as the rads push for more female entitlement, many other feminists are willing to be silent since they stand to gain and THEN turnaround and say “not all feminists do that! I certainly don’t believe that, and I am a feminist.”

              Yet, these other feminists don’t believe in (equality for men) so HARD that they are willing to politically advocate for it in any meaningful way. It’s not just the beliefs that you hold, but the ones you are willing to fight for that matter most in measuring a persons conduct.

              So, in some ways feminist is monolithic in that the saner man-loving feminists are willing to let the rads speak for them (by shutting the hell up) and advocate for them (by not starting a counter march or bulletin board, blog or what have you).

              The list of feminists who SPECIFICALLY talk about male issues are actually quite small.
              You have I-feminists, genderattic, a few outspoken editorialists like Cathy Young and authors like Hoff-Somers and Paglia.

              No feminist ever expressed outrage or scorn at Germaine Greer when she stated she liked looking at pictures of nude boys, the exact quote was:”not shaved young men mind you, but nude little boys”.

              GWW’s blog is called “own your sh1t” and I think that’s as good a rebuttal to feminists who state “not all feminists are not like that” as any I have heard in a long time.

              I agree that feminist advocacy doesn’t need to go away, but I do believe that those institutions that can’t adapt to the new world where men are finding their voice and demanding solutions to male specific problems will shrink and eventually disappear.

              • Whenever you say “rads” I think of Fallout 3. Totally unrelated, but true. 🙂

                Anyway, as we’ve been having this conversation I’ve been thinking…maybe part of the reason the more radical feminists are able to get so much attention is just cuz they’re radical. I mean really, how often do you hear about centrist opinions on anything?

                Plus, a hell of a lot of the ways in which women are discriminated against (whatever you want to call it) are social, not institutional. This isn’t always the case (I’m talking to you U.S. military), but mostly it’s a social problem not an institutional problem. It’s about changing social customs and personal opinions – which isn’t achieved by holding a huge protest or political lobbying. So what’re the political lobbies left doing – being crazy radical.

                Whereas with men, a lot of the ways they’re getting the shaft is institutional. Protests and political lobbies, and changing actual policy are what is actually needed to help solve a lot of their problems. At the moment…but it won’t always be like that. What’ll the MRM do after institutionally, men and women are treated equally? Will we end up with two organizations trying to out-shout each other?

                Or maybe we’ll all end up ignoring the radicals in either feminist or MRM organizations and we can get to the work of actually making our society equal.

                Anywho…I am loving having this conversation with you, mate, but we are beginning to become a bit circular. Soooo…how abouts you e-mail me and we can keep it going? Plus, then we won’t be breaking up our arguments into little chunks here and there. lol.

          • John you said: “The difference is that feminist organizations actually use their clout to advocate against men.”

            So just one more thing…I think this is another way in which our different perspectives color how we interpret the same facts. To me, it seems more like feminist organizations often end up focusing so heavily on advocating for women, they fail to see or fully understand how their policies will hurt men. I don’t think they’re actively trying to throw men under the bus.

            But seeing as neither of us are in charge of NOW or any other big feminist organization, we can’t know for certain. All we have are our own perspectives with which we view the situation.

            • Heather,
              I’m not talking about feminist groups advocating for women to the neglect of men. I am talking about feminists advocating against MRA advocates when they fight for their rights.

              The La Musga vs La Musga case is a good example.
              This case is about a custodial mother who wanted to move 1000’s of miles against the non-cust dad’s wishes.

              The case climbed various levels. At the California Supreme court level it looked like the Calif SC was going to rule for the dad, because some of the commentary coming out was that the court had a duty to protect the NCP-child bond.

              90 different feminist DV organizations wrote in separately or in an amicus brief begging the court not to overturn the burgeous precedent decision (which says a custodial mother can move the kids anywhere as long as the kids material situation was improving and the move was not in bad faith against the NCP). The court did rule in favor of the father stating that the destruction of the NCP-child bond should weigh heavily in and of itself.

              What was feminists reaction for a precedent which seems to protect justice, fairness, rights for both parents, and rights of a child to have a relationship with both parents?

              Feminist orgs in Calif tried to pass a bill doing by legislation what they couldn’t do in courts. The bill would have done away with the La Musga decision and let custodial parents move the children anywhere they wanted.

              Luckily this bill was defeated by Sacks.

              The fact that VAWA grants can’t be given to any shelter that helps men says a lot. The fact that feminist activists stole almost half of the $800 billion stimulus package because they were against helping men (whether need or not).

              The fact that evidence-based sound gathering studies have showed for the past 20 years that DV has gender symmetry in the levels of attacking and yet these researchers (and male victims) are BANNED from VAWA reauthorization hearings says a lot.

              Look at TRU’s post at the top of the page. If men FIGHT FOR THEIR rights, she is essentially saying they are whining and need to be shut out of this space.

              This is the way most feminists (who feel like TRU) deal with men’s rights: shut their eyes and hums. But, those at the top seem to think EXACTLY like TRU. And with the power and clout they wield, they don’t need to close their eyes and hum.

              They pass bad anti-male, anti-father laws.

              There are dozens and dozens of studies which show fathers are just as necessary as mothers to parenting. Their styles are very complimentary.

              In fact, one study shows that the #1 indicator of high self-esteem in teen girls is having a loving fit father in her life.
              NOW and other feminists hateful campaign to put fathers parental rights into mothers hands has done a very great deal of harm to millions of children.

              It just goes to show nothing is so sacred that it can’t be destroyed on the altar of feminism (even the well-being of children).

              • This list is just the tip of the iceberg I can remember off the top of my head. The large feminist organizations have positioned themselves as the enemy of men.

                Also, the fact that F&F is starting to join hands with LBGT groups and other largely feminist groups tells me that things are starting to change.

                But that change is largely being brought upon by MRA’s and equity feminist groups, not groups like NOW.

                As it was said in Goonies: “It’s our time now”. It is time for men’s issues to come to the forefront (where and when those issues demand it and can’t be overlooked anymore).
                People are waking up to the incredible harm radical feminist laws has caused. If you look on youtube there are TONS of posters (close to half women) calling bs on feminism.

                NOW is a dinosaur, and hopefully it will find itself kicked out of the feminist movement by egalitarian feminists as things change even more so that the voice of men can be heard.

                I wonder what women like TRU will do with increasingly smaller and smaller organizations to represent their histrionic vilification of men.

                • “NOW is a dinosaur, and hopefully it will find itself kicked out of the feminist movement by egalitarian feminists as things change even more so that the voice of men can be heard.

                  I wonder what women like TRU will do with increasingly smaller and smaller organizations to represent their histrionic vilification of men.”

                  Look this is where we agree. But I think it’s time for people’s issues to come to the forefront. I think it’s time to discuss human rights and do our gosh darnedest to keep gender out of it as much as possible. We need to fix where things have gotten unbalanced, and then leave it. And I think rail-roading feminism (as a monolithic group) won’t help. We need to be very specific about what type of feminism we are calling BS on.

                  And…as a side note, the LGBT movements and feminist movement has had a long and sordid history. They aren’t the natural allies you might assume.

                  • Heather says:
                    “I think it’s time to discuss human rights and do our gosh darnedest to keep gender out of it as much as possible. We need to fix where things have gotten unbalanced, and then leave it.”

                    Again, it seems like we agree with 96% of things, but the 4% is what generates all the discussion.

                    Heather writes:
                    “And I think rail-roading feminism (as a monolithic group) won’t help. We need to be very specific about what type of feminism we are calling BS on.”

                    Agreed. That is why I try to display exactly my beefs with feminism and which parts (even though it gets exhaustive typing the same disqualifiers again and again).

                    Heather writes:
                    “And…as a side note, the LGBT movements and feminist movement has had a long and sordid history.”
                    It makes me wonder if the MRM might be a more natural fit for some portions of the LGBT movement.
                    The near identical ostricization of lesbian social mothers and NC dads from their families by a vengeful ex is interesting.

                    I wonder where else the marginalization of men and lesbians becomes parallel. It seems the constant pandering to women from the powers-that-be disappears when the spotlight moves from hetero women to lesbians. I wonder how much of the pandering from male authority figures over women is based on some kind of sexual excitement at being the night in shining armor to save the day (even when the judge is actually not doing any saving but rather siding with a mother to keep dad out of the children’s lives).

                    I have often heard it said that fathers in divorce court get something slightly closer to a fair shake from female judges who are more adept at seeing through female crocodile tears.

                    • As for us focusing on the little bits where we disagree – that’s where it gets fun and interesting. It’d be boring if all my discussions here were just me pointing out where we agree. 🙂 But do know that I’m reading what your writing; I’m hearing what you’re saying; I’m picking up what you’re putting down…and so on. 😀

                      Oh and as for the railroading feminism comment – I should have specified I didn’t think that’s what you were doing. I realize you are specific with your beefs (and your porks and lambs as well). 🙂 I feel ya with typing the same thing over and over…it’s too bad we can’t link to specific comments on an article so we could be like – just go read it here. I said it all already.

                      The LGBT/Feminism thing stems back from the 60s with the butch/femme dynamic of lesbians at the time going against the feminism of the time. I’m not exactly sure how the GBT have historically interacted with feminist organizations. As for whether the MRM would fit better with the LGBT movements now…I dunno. They’re sort of off doing their own thing anyway – where it intersects most would be with regards to trans men and women, and as far as I am aware neither the feminists nor the MRM is paying particular attention to trans issues. (Which isn’t to say either has screwed over the trans community, I’m just saying I don’t think either is focusing on it).

                      Which again sort of highlights the fact that having two sides to the story sort of isn’t enough.

              • Okay so for your example, with La Musga, I wasn’t there so obviously I don’t know any of this…but just bear with me…

                What if the feminist organizations that advocated for the mother to be able to move away from the father were worried about the precedent it would set. What if they were worried that if the father was abusive, the La Musga case could be used to force the mother to stay close to an abusive father? I’m not saying it would have. Hell, I’m not even saying more men are abusive than women. I’m just saying, that could have been their logic.

                Or yes, they could have the blinders on and be so focused on mother’s rights that they are ignoring men’s rights. And that’s horrible. And they should wake the heck up and realize what they are doing. But I don’t think the people in NOW (or whoever) are sitting around saying – how are we going to make men’s lives more horrible today? I think it’s more likely that they’re sitting around saying – how are we going to protect women from men today? Their goal isn’t to screw up men’s lives, it’s to make women’s lives better (even if that means ignoring men). It’s not a better way of looking at things by any means, but it does point to different motivations.

                So I’m not saying NOW and TRU haven’t done things that hurt paternal rights. The case you just referenced clearly does hurt paternal rights. I just don’t think they’re trying to be malicious.

                And nothing is so sacred that it can’t be destroyed by the fundamentalists of any ideology.

                • However, feminists did try to pass a new bill shelfing the La Musga decision.
                  I’m not necessarily surrendering the argument about the DV groups, I’m just going to table it for now and point out something else.

                  That can’t be seen as anything but that they want fathers parental rights doled out at the mothers whims.

                  As far as I know this new bill (which Glenn Sacks defeated) was not about relationships in which DV was alleged, but ALL divorced relationships. In other words, they wanted to give ALL custodial mothers the right to move the children 1000’s of miles away (or even to other countries) irrespective of the harm to the father-child bond.

                  The simple fact is that in areas in which gender relations are NECESSARILY a zero-sum game (like parental time–if fathers gain, mothers must lose, or due process between accuser and defendant in rape cases) you ALWAYS know which side of the fence the extremist feminists will land on.

                  It reminds me of a buddy I used to play wargames with. The simple fact is that the vast majority of table-top wargames have rules in which quite often players will have to make their own rules clarifications.
                  When confronted with a rules clarification one of my high school friends named Matti would ALWAYS advocate for whatever would advantage him.

                  Even when he played a different side in the same game, he would then advocate changing the rule back to advantage the side he was currently on.

                  That’s about what I expect from radical feminism.

                  • “When confronted with a rules clarification one of my high school friends named Matti would ALWAYS advocate for whatever would advantage him…That’s about what I expect from radical feminism.”

                    Yeah I’m saying I agree. I’m just saying…I think your friend (and radical feminists) are focusing so much on their own interests their ignoring those of the other players (people). But I bet your friend (like radical feminists feminists) wasn’t setting out to screw you over; he was just setting out to benefit himself the most.

                    I totally agree that feminism needs to include men’s rights in their policies. I think feminism needs to move more toward the center. I don’t think it needs to go away entirely.

                    • As I mentioned, I think the vast majority of rank-and-file feminists are truly good-minded people who want the best possible outcome for all.

                      I think even a lot of rank-and-file feminists who advocate for women want the best for everybody, and probably they advocate for women, because that is what they are being taught will help everybody.

                      I don’t have that much of a problem with rank-and-file feminists. But the women leading the charge are women a heck of a lot smarter than me. They have lots of letters following their names (as in degrees).

                      They DO know the score. They DO know that stacking the law to allow mothers to rip loving fit fathers from the children will do a great deal of harm to those kids. They DO know that they are willfully obstructing male victims of DV from getting help. These are really sick twisted people who hide under the cloak of egalitarian goals to pass some sick twisted laws.

                      For these handful of individuals I see them like senator palpatine in the Star Wars saga. They really are just bad hateful bigoted people.

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        Thats a really nice analogy. Kudos.

  3. Anthony Zarat says:

    Big words Tom, but no civil rights movement in history has ever succeeded by ignoring the inentional, systematic, and organized actions of its mortal enemy.

    Feminism is the enemy of men, boys, and fathers becase feminism has made itself the enemy of men, boys and fathers.

    Unlike feminism, the MRM is not engaged in a gender war. We are not anti-woman. We are fighting for the basic civil libereties and human rights for men, boys and fathers. If feminists stop their self-serving assault on men, boys and fathers, our two movements can co-exist as respectful adversaries, instead of mortal enemies.

    Can you imagine if men’s rights and women’s rights started talking?

    Take the example of forced administration of personality destroying drugs to boys (Ritalin and amphetamine). This is an obvious issue for cooperation. Ending this barbaric practice is one of the highest priorities for the MRM. If feminists could see past their own narrow self interest, they would realize that the majority of parents that are confronted with the impossible choice between drugs and educationi are SINGLE MOTHERS.

    Forced administration of personality destroying drugs is a men’s rights issue (because boys are the majority of the victims), but it is also a women’s rights issue (because single mothers are impacted as the principle caretakers of the majority of victims). However, feminists can’t get on board becaus they care more about their own victimization agenda than they do about women. Ritalin and amphetamine have become stand-ins for missing fathers, chemical foam to fill the vacuum left by fathers who are walled off from their children’s lives by misguided feminist policies (and their family court enforcers). Feminists can’t argue with this practice without harming their own disposable fatherhood agenda.

    • Okey pokey…I see where you’re coming from but…(famous last words. lol.)

      My experience of the MRM on GMP has largely been one where I’ve had to defend myself against an irrational hatred of all feminists. Look, I get it. A lot of feminist policies have resulted in sh!t getting worse for boys and men. There are radical feminists, and feminist organizations out there that preach that all men are oppressors and that only women’s issues matter. It’s not as if the MRM is sitting there with welcome arms and the feminists are ignoring it. Both sides have villinized the other.

      I mean let’s look at abortion rights here, as an example. Abortion rights are something that is a men’s and women’s rights issue…yes…that’s right…I said it. It has only been discussed as a women’s rights issue in the public discourse, and that needs to change (I don’t know what the solution is. But it isn’t what we’ve got going right now). We need to acknowledge that every unwanted pregnancy isn’t the result of a dead-beat man having sex with a bimbo. However so far, from what I’ve seen on GMP, the MRM views it as a men’s rights issue only. Now that would be legitimate, if abortion was something that was easily obtained and socially accepted. But here’s the thing…the right to get an abortion is still under attack. So feminist organizations have circled the wagons and are fighting for it. And MRM organizations seem to me to be circling the wagons around father’s rights. Both sides are ignoring the other completely. (Now I’d like to point out I am not saying abortion rights should be the top priority of either feminists or MRM. I’m just saying this is an example where both sides have completely ignored the other).

      So what would it be like if both sides were to talk to each other? Well, I think it’d be a lot more like a fight for equality, and a lot less like a fight against perceived privilege. But let’s be honest, that would mean a lot of change coming from both sides.

      • Transhuman says:

        Heather: As a generalisation, the MRM sees abortion as a men’s rights issue because there are already plenty of feminists lobby groups pushing that abortion is a women’s rights issue only. You don’t get any air time if you support the enemy and the MRM and feminism are enemies at this point in time. Feminists need abortion debate to remain women-only because the flipside, single motherhood, needs wealth transfer from men to single mothers to continue. If the choice of abortion or birth becomes a joint decision between men and women, then the wishes of the man become visible in the debate and the male financial abortion becomes a discussed option. That would leave the state supporting single mothers, instead of individual men supporting single mothers; this is a financial position the state leaders are not happy with. The development of the male contraceptive pill may well be the catalyst that shifts this debate off the table.

        To Tom: Where GMP stands apart is it wants to be for men, as long as it is okay with women. It is not an attractive position to MRAs as it is still seen as a quisling’s position. The question remains, if men are not permitted discourse concerning women’s issues in women’s spaces, why should men permit women discourse on men’s issues in men’s spaces? The answer lies with the realisation that when it comes to GMP is this is not a space for men, but for male feminists. That makes it somewhat attractive to female feminists, as ,long as you don’t challenge any of the tenets of feminism too overtly.

        The MRM was not born out of a desire to share the world with feminists but to oppose feminisms harmful effect upon the lives of men. Women have plenty of protectors including men-feminists, men have a few men willing to oppose the uggernaut.. Too many men have internalised the disposability of men and believe feminism is a good thing. The pendulum has swung too far and women have more rights than men at this point in time; how far it will continue to swing before the return remains to be seen.

        • About the abortion debate: I understand all of that. My point was that both sides shouldn’t be enemies. If feminists would give a bit, and MRAs would give a bit, they could work together to promote legislation that advocated for true equality.

          “The MRM was not born out of a desire to share the world with feminists but to oppose feminisms harmful effect upon the lives of men.” – Right see, that is a problem, I think. Feminism was born out of a desire to oppose men’s harmful effect on the lives of women. At what has it accomplished? It’s done a lot of good, but it’s also managed to do a lot of harm to men’s rights. Creating a direct opposition and then fighting it out isn’t going to solve the problem, I don’t think. We’ll either end up with feminists continuing to pursue legislation that hurts men, or we’ll end up with the MRM becoming more popular and suddenly they could make laws which are harmful to women.

          Look at something like…gang warfare. One side kills someone from the other side. So they must retaliate. And then the other side must retaliate. And so on, and so forth. And when does it end? You stop thinking of the ‘other side’ as people and they become just ‘the opposition,’ that must be stopped at all costs. (that’s not the best analogy, but it was what I could come up with at the moment.)

          • Transhuman says:

            “I understand all of that. My point was that both sides shouldn’t be enemies. If feminists would give a bit, and MRAs would give a bit, they could work together to promote legislation that advocated for true equality. ”

            It is a very human situation, even if it is logical. Your gang warfare analogy is apt.

            It isn’t in the interests of feminists to work towards true equality, the government funding that is paid to NGOs to support the disadvantaged women would dry up if it was realised they are not disadvantaged any more. Thus the MRAs need to exist to oppose feminists, because simply no-one else will discuss the issues other than from a feminist point of view. In the interests of votes, politicians are not going to rein in the excesses of feminist-backed legislation, the feminist vote is too lucrative. Law enforcement has had its attitudesfeminised to the point where even if the women is the sole aggressor in DV, the man is the one removed from the house. So the legislature and the legal arms of society are unsupportive of men and their issues; what is left is the MRM.

            It will take time but the MRM is organising, experimenting with sections of ideology and methods of information delivery. I think the conflict between feminists and the MRM will get worse, the feminists stand to lose access to a lot of funding if they cannot maintain their position as the oppressed sex. Society stands to lose a lot if increasing numbers of men opt out of involving themselves with women.

            Women and men have been told for 40 years they don’t need men, that they can do everything alone and men are tolerated as the lovable buffons they are; spend a few hours watching prime time television and advertising and you’ll see what I mean. What feminism hadn’t counted on was men are just waking up to the realisation they don’t really need women either. They can own a house and car without women, they can hold down a job and live a happy rewarding life without a ball and chain.

            Now that is a common ground that is interesting, men and women realising they don’t actually need each other except for procreation. It might be the end of marriage but the beginning of something infinitely more fulfilling.

            • “Now that is a common ground that is interesting, men and women realising they don’t actually need each other except for procreation. It might be the end of marriage but the beginning of something infinitely more fulfilling.”

              Agreed. I find this possibility intriguing. Though I also think there will need to be a separation of personal and societal when it comes to this. To say, women don’t need men and men don’t need women in their personal lives is accurate. To say that society doesn’t need both is dangerous…because then you get back into more prejudicial mindsets.

              And yeah, direct opposition is human nature…but it’s more harmful than good, I think. I would like it if we didn’t have to go through the whole thing again with the MRM (realizing that men can get along without women, then making laws which reflect men’s needs but ignore women’s, until finally it gets so one sided that women are being left out in the dark on issues that they used to be on top of). Back and forth, back and forth. It’d be nice if we could avoid that…and find our middle instead.

              It’s in the interest of both sides to push their agendas as hard as they can. I just hope that the “gender war” I keep hearing about actually doesn’t come about, and that we reach our middle ground before that happens. Because I don’t think we’re in a gender war right now…and I don’t think it has to turn into one either.

              • Heather says:

                “I would like it if we didn’t have to go through the whole thing again with the MRM (realizing that men can get along without women, then making laws which reflect men’s needs but ignore women’s, until finally it gets so one sided that women are being left out in the dark on issues that they used to be on top of).”

                Heather, I don’t think you will ever see the MRM become as corrupt, powerful and bigoted as the large feminist organizations have become.

                The reason is that helping men doesn’t make for good PR. Therefore, in order to get any leeway men’s rights orgs have to paint themselves to be truly egalitarian.

                From what I understand F&F has started to get some real funds rolling in. They have several wealthy donors from hollywood and other places. They are also getting a lot of face time with high up political candidates too.
                IN the PR shots if you look up their meetings with candidates it is largely WOMEN who meet with candidates. I think F&F has locked onto a critical idea.
                If society cares so much more for the woes of women, than the best thing for the MRM to do is get lots and lots of female faces to explain the woes of estranged fathers. This seems to be what they are doing, and it largely seems to be working.
                They are using politicians own sexism to center on women’s views against them to achieve change for men. It’s kind of funny when you think about it.

                But, their message is egalitarian: A child has the right to a relationship with both parents post-divorce. Their message isn’t that: We need lots of fathers winning sole custody and marginalizing mothers to make things even. Do you think F&F’s board would be over half female if their message WAS we need more father sole custody?

                With the qualifier UP TO NOW, an endorsement or donation for an MRA group like F&F, Radar, SAVE, or Natl Coalition for Men simply *IS* an endorsement for equality. Politician’s female-bias is so profound that this is the only way MRA orgs can get any traction.

                You’ll NEVER see the MRM as powerful, corrupt or bigoted (with a willing and pandering legislature that will pass anti-female bills the way NOW gets passed anti-male bills right now).

                It seems women have convinced men have a stake in advocating for women (or at least staying out of the way), but few have tried to convince women (or if they have they haven’t had much success at the same level) that women need to advocate for men too.

                • “Heather, I don’t think you will ever see the MRM become as corrupt, powerful and bigoted as the large feminist organizations have become.”

                  Well as for being bigoted…there are plenty of bigoted MRAs (just as there are plenty of bigoted feminists). As for being as powerful or corrupt, I’m looking at the long game, here. I’m not talking about 10-20 years from now…I’m thinking more like 50 years, or more. So much can change in that time, it’s difficult to know where people will end up.

                  But the traditional – men as head of the household, men having legal control over their children – paradigm seemed to be an impossible system to change. And yet here we are, on the opposite end of that spectrum, with men getting the short end of the stick when it comes to paternal rights. I’m just saying I hope it doesn’t swing from one extreme back to the other, over and over. I’m hoping it settles in the middle. (Not just with paternal rights but with any way in which one gender has more advantages over the others. I’m hoping for true egalitarianism).

                  • Heather says:
                    “Well as for being bigoted…there are plenty of bigoted MRAs (just as there are plenty of bigoted feminists).”

                    Yes, but A) the bigotry in large feminist orgs start at the very top: the leaders. From what I have seen all of the leaders in large MRA orgs are egalitarian.
                    B) the lone wingnut MRA’s are not so much MRA’s but douches who grab the nearest reed when they’re in the swamp. They latch onto MRA’s simply because it is the best vehicle for spouting their hate speech. These guys are not MRA’s any more than Valerie Solanas is a feminist.
                    But, when the Pres of NOW steers nearly half the $800 billion stimulus from helping men specifically BECAUSE she is against helping men because they are men you are talking about an entirely different creature than a lone (supposedly) MRA wingnut spouting hate.

                    Feminist (orgs) hate starts at the top and gets turned into anti-male laws.

                    Totally different animals.

      • Heather says:
        “It’s not as if the MRM is sitting there with welcome arms and the feminists are ignoring it. Both sides have villinized the other.”

        Heather,
        In counterpoint look at fathers and families. They recently won a custody battle by footing the legal bill for a soldier mom, who’s dad used her deployment to try to rob her of parenting time.

        F&F also held a shared fundraising event with a LGBT (I hope that’s in the right order) due to their voicing in many media outlets the unfair treatment of lesbian social mothers who typically find themselves in the same boat as many NCP dads. I don’t remember the case specifically, but the birth mother left the social mother went to hetero dating (or got married) and didn’t want the lesbian social mother to see the child they vowed to share because she was starting a straight life (I believe the social mother knew her up to about 2y/o).

        When have you ever seen a powerful entrenched feminist group do anything on behalf of any single man? When have you ever seen them fight for a fathers parental rights?

        The very long history of feminist advocation against mens and fathers rights is long-standing as I posted in the 2nd or 3rd comment at the top of this board (click on the article to see LOTS of proof of feminist advocation against mens rights). Some individual MRA’s may villify feminists, but the vast majority of respected MRA organizations (like angryharry, a voice for men, GWW, mensactivism, F&F and Glenn Sacks) simply bring the (often DELIBERATE) harm they do to light.

        I remember an older football joke about a running back (I think it was Barry Sanders of the Lions who was the most fun to watch).
        The opposing teams coach said to the defensive players “Why did Barry Sanders run 100yards for a touchdown!????” One of the players said: “because he couldn’t go any farther?”

        Don’t blame MRA’s for bringing to light the bad sh1t feminism’s radical core does. Blame feminisms radical core that WE NEVER RUN OUT of things showing their true colors.

        • I think, m’dear John, this is where we’re going to end up having to agree to disagree. As a woman my perspective of the MRM is going to be different from yours, and I’m not challenging your statement that there are MRM groups that do advocate for women. But helping in specific cases where women are getting strung up to dry is a decidedly different thing than inviting feminists to join in the party.

          I mean, look at the article on GMP about the top 10 issues for men’s rights. Feminism was like number two, or something. I’ve read plenty of articles in which feminists are demonized, as a group, as a collective. Hell, perhaps that mixed with the way MRM groups are helping women is seen as threatening. As if they want to come in and take over. As if we don’t need feminism anymore, the MRM will fix everything. And instead of the MRM saying, naw we can work with you feminists…..they tend to go out of their way to talk about how feminism is so horrible, etc.

          Do you get what I’m saying? I’m not saying one group is more to blame than the other. I’m saying neither side is making much of an effort to consider the other. And the two sides aren’t the MRM and women, it’s the MRM and feminists. An important distinction.

          • You know what?
            I’m starting to think you’re right.

            This is where we will have to agree to disagree.

            Summation of my point: Your rights would be in far better hands in MRM, than my rights currently are in the hands of feminists.

            I have seen very little good coming out of very large, entrenched, clout wielding, politically active feminist groups for men.

            But, it can be argued that the MRM is simply fighting for equality (they’re not fighting for millions of dads to win sole custody and marginalize mothers parental time as payback, but shared custody. And feminist groups are fighting them to the death on it).

            When F&F fights for soldier moms and NOW fights for Lorenna Bobbit, well I know what conclusion I draw from that.

            • Hmm but I wonder how many of the early feminists would have fought for Lorenna Bobbit. My bet, not a lot. Feminism, as an idea, started out as a fight for equality. It’s taken some very wrong turns, and I think part of the way it has screwed itself up is by victimizing women and demonizing men. It viewed men as the people in power who needed to be overcome.

              I worry about the MRM doing the same thing with feminists…victimizing men and demonizing feminists. (Not demonizing women…I don’t think that the mainstream MRM is demonizing women…but feminists, yeah sometimes).

              Anyway, I respect what you’re saying, mate. I think we’re both working toward the same goals, we just differ on whether we think the MRM on it’s own can achieve them.

              • By using the word fight I mean that NOW under-wrote Bobbit’s legal defenses. NOW is seen to be the premier feminist organization.

                F&F under-wrote a soldier mom’s legal defense.

                Again: totally different animals.

          • I think many are seeing feminism as a broken movement and unable to be saved, hijacked by extremists who ended up getting quite a bit of power. So hence they see it as number 2, a threat to EQUAL rights for men. From what I can tell both the mra and the original feminism have the same goal of equality, but the new feminism has left major doubt in many men and women.

            That demonizing of men has taken it’s toll, even I find it hard to listen to the new non-egalitarian feminism because every fibre of my being feels like they’re missing half the picture. I don’t think the world is as easy as 2 sides, I think both genders work together a lot for a common goal and in many cases that is having safety, resources, housing, family. The labels of feminism and MRA are so loaded that it’s hard for both sides to debate SIMPLY because the labels don’t indicate that individual, anyone can claim to be x but it doesn’t mean all of x is like they are, but not many people on BOTH SIDES can actually see that.

            • @John – pretend I was articulate enough to say what Archy said. 😉 This is what I’m trying to say.

              • I understand Archy’s point.
                My rebuttal would be this:
                A) as Tom M calls for men are going to have to stop internalizing the concept that they must suffer in silence for the greater good
                B) the slight bridge-building seems to be growing OUT OF the MRM, not feminism. Many bad feminists in the movement have villified men. They have even passed laws based on it.

                Feminists have largely gotten away with this BECAUSE of the male perspective that they must suffer in silence.

                By finding our voice, and if need be INFLICTING it upon feminists and others (from the rooftops if need be), then *AND ONLY THEN* will feminists realize men (and MRA’s) are not so bad after all.

                It is male silence which enables our depiction as sub-human tools to be used until broken by conservatives, corps, and feminists.

                Also, you may not see this from individual MRA’s but I definitely see a trend in MRA orgs that they WILL side with a woman in custody matters (or what have you) when the women is the victim of lack of due process (even putting money where their mouth is by funding legal battles of soldier moms)

                I have NEVER seen this type of equitable action from ANY feminist organization.

                • It reminds me of the book “Black Like Me”.
                  An author uses special pigments to dye his face and hands black and writes about his ordeal blending into society.

                  IN one scene the only seat available on a bus is the one next to him. There is an elderly white lady who looks skeptical about sitting beside him.

                  The author gets out of his seat and stands so the white lady can sit unencumbered with the “danger” of sitting next to a black man.

                  Many of the blacks give him dirty looks. The author says he understands later that he should have maintained his seat, forcing the woman to sit next to him (if she wanted to sit) and therefore realize the experience wasn’t so bad after all.

                  It’s only by finding our (male) voice and telling others when we are in pain that it will no longer be tolerable for feminists to dehumanize men. Only THEN will rad fems realize that men are human too.

                  That we feel anxiety in arguments, that we obsess and are stressed about sex and dates, and fitting in, and gaining approval, and seeking companionship.

                  ONly then will feminists realize that it tears most fathers hearts out to work 40 to 70 hour weeks and miss their children’s first words, first steps, first bike ride or first day of school. That men working more is not men oppressing women, but a loving sacrifice to perform the dreary and allow mothers the opportunity to bond with the children.

                  That bridge-building will NECESSARILY have to come from men finding their voices, which will mostly (but maybe not entirely) come from the MRM.

                  Well, here’s to dreaming of a better future for men and women.

                • Agreed, it’s time men spoke out and never stay silent again. We take on so much burden and through macho culture and fear of being seen as weak we remain quiet on that which hurts us, we’re expected not only by many men but by many women to be beasts of burdens at times, free of emotional problems, super strong and ready to work work work and die for others.

                  Find those voices lads, it’s time to talk!

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Ya see, theres two generalisations there:

      1 Feminists are evil: Theres too many contradicting varieties of feminism out there for that to be true.

      2 MRAs are good: Unfortunately not, I’ve seem some pretty hateful stuff come from the MRM. We should acknowledge our demons.

      • Peter,
        You are correct.
        However, my counter-point to this would be the following argument.

        The harm you see done by feminists typically comes from national, high-profile, clout-wielding, politically active self-identifying feminist organizations like NOW and AAUW.

        Fundamental feminist IPV fanatics have banned researchers and male victims from testifying before congress during VAWA reauthorization hearings.

        NOW and 80 other feminist groups created an alliance of feminist organizations called WEAVE who’s sole purpose was to derail Obama’s stimulus for shovel ready projects and cut off a slice of that pie for women (this at a time when male sectors were 80% of the jobs lost, men had twice the unemployment of women, and women’s fields actually showed a little growth versus double digit declines for male sectors). NOW’s pres said: we are against this stimulus going for burly men.

        In other words, despite demonstrable NEED for men, and lack of need or much less urgent need for women WEAVE met with Obama and he agreed to re-direct 42% of the stimulus to female friendly sectors in education and medicine even those were largely unscathed.
        In other words, when there is a (male punishing) disparity between the sexes feminists feel entitled to make them more disparate simply because they believe helping men is bad.

        The bad things you can rack up against feminist has to do with national organizations. The bad things you can lay at MRA’s feet can only be pointed at random doucheb@bs on the internet grabbing hold of any flag they can with which to use to spout their hate.
        These aren’t MRA’s so much as hateful people grabbing the nearest reed in the water, because the MRM seems like something they can piggy-back their message off of.

        The two AREN’T EVEN COMPARABLE.
        Fathers and families advocates for the rights of the child to maintain a relationship with both loving fit parents post-divorce. NOW advocates for the parental rights of the father to flow from the mothers whims, and advocates against shared parenting (in contradiction to ALL OF THEIR TALK about breaking gender roles).

        • Also, the random MRA who villifies women and feminists (en mass) have only the power of their words.
          These national, politically-active, clout-wielding feminist organizations have the power to pass their bigoted sentiments into LAWS.

          Once again not even comparable. And when you compare ONLY organizations rather than individuals MRA’s are much more egalitarian than the almost all of the feminist organizations. Male organizations like RADAR, SAVE, Nactional coalition for Men, fathers and families, intactivists have a much better record than NOW and AAUW.

          NOW even paid for Lorenna Bobbit’s legal fees for pity’s sake.

  4. I do enjoy seeing earlier pieces come back and still be relevant enough to get fresh discussion going, but it can be easy to miss it’s pickup up from where it may have left off many months before, if not longer. On the front page of comments for these articles, for example, the last comment from typhon_uncensored until the conversation re-started was posted almost a year ago – March 15, 2011. So, uh…keep that in mind. (I’ll see if I can do something about making it more clear that when an article is being re-published.)

    • Indeed. I was a lot more frustrated with the GMP back then.

      However, the point still stands. I don’t think men in power really share _anything_ with the men not in power. Except antipathy. Men in power seem to get great glee in squishing powerless men like bugs.

      • Not very encouraging is it? Enter OCCUPY. How long before the bugs get fed up with being squished and start getting even? But hey – that’s a whole new can of worms 😉

  5. I have a question.

    But we have no one to blame but ourselves. We made the laws. We control the media. We have, in the end, suffered too long in silence. Too many of us have knuckled under and become absentee fathers.

    Given the massive gap between the men that do make the laws and the men that don’t make the laws and despite their best efforts are governed by them how is it that when talking about helping men we become some sort of collective “we” that is responsible for every bad thing that’s ever happened? I’m all for taking responsibility to do my part.

    There is a popular proverb that goes something like “All that’s necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.”

    How can the good men get anything near a fair shot when from the very outset of being men we are regarded as bad/evil?

    • Interesting that you talk about the collective “we”. I submit that IN PUBLIC the collective we often becomes “I’m sorry dear, I really didn’t mean that” when politics and law conflict with domestic peace. Men have been making laws for centuries to appease their wives. This is the basis for the great myth of male supremacy. When the little lady speaks, men write legislation. Ask any politician and I guarantee the male politicos will deny it till their dying breath. Life is seldom as it seems.

      • Kinda like the phrase, “When mom’s not happy no one is happy”?

        I agree that that phrase is unfair to mom but at the same time there is some truth to it. I mean look at how when Obama was about to inject some money into several industries at the last minute they suddenly got redirected to mostly women. You think you can keep a straight face while claiming that this would have gone anywhere near as smoothly if it was the other way around?

  6. Heather, I admire many of your comments and you seem genuine. Did you really have to learn about equal but different at university? In my mind this entire discussion relates to “everything I needed to learn about life, I learned in kindergarten” Share, look out for one another, hold hands crossing the street and so on and so on. The only thing getting in the way of good, natural human relationships is wrong headed bigotry as taught to us by wrong headed bigots who we were unfortunate enough to have as role models.
    “The most expensive thing a person can own is a closed mind” – A. Einstein

    • Ah I was in a bit of a rush to get some comments out, so I was a bit more brief than I could have been. Feminism, as an ideal, was something I wasn’t presented with until I picked up The Feminist Mystique in high school. I read it, some things clicked, and I decided I was a feminist. Mostly though, what drove me was a hell of a lot of anger. So while I had learned all of the classic kindergarten lessons, I sort of ignored them when it came to feminism. My town was rather traditional, my mother was rather traditional (and as a teenager I viewed her as even more traditional than she actually is. Anyway, it’s a long story…but suffice it to say, I was pissed off at the world, and so my feminism reflected that.

      When I left my hometown and went to university, I lost a lot of my anger. Around the same time is when I started taking gender studies classes. In those classes, the feminism that was taught really was about true equality. So it’s not just that I hadn’t learned about equality until then….it’s more that is when I learned about it in relation to feminism, and that is when it finally hit home.

      • grins – u b awesome – be happy – stay focused –

        • Thanks. 🙂 It’s part of why I always feel the need to respond when people claim that universities all teach a radical version of feminism. I don’t doubt that some do…heck I knew of one professor (not from my university) who was a Holocaust denier, and that’s pretty radical. Now it’s possible some kids could have sat in the same class I was and come away with a more radical message….but that wasn’t what was taught.

          Actually, who am I kidding, I feel the need to respond to pretty much everything. 😉 lol.

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        “Around the same time is when I started taking gender studies classes. In those classes, the feminism that was taught really was about true equality. So it’s not just that I hadn’t learned about equality until then….it’s more that is when I learned about it in relation to feminism, and that is when it finally hit home.”

        Glad to hear it 🙂

  7. The normal response of feminists to the MRA/Roissy-ite point of view is to try to silence it. Or shame it away, which is the same thing. This is ever more widely understood as a testimony to the hollowness of feminististic worldviews.
    These days, there is a one way progression from seeing the world as a school-taught feminist to being an anti-feminist. It never happens that anyone goes from reading Roissy to embracing modern gyno-supremacist bs or even fail to see thru the pretendedness of the “equality” posturing.

    • Well my ‘school-taught’ feminism (at university) was a lot more rational and equality-driven than the feminism I espoused to in high school. So my progression has been from a radical “men are the oppressors” feminism that was born out of my own anger and then it has become an egalitarian and equity-driven feminism that I was taught about at university.

      • @Heather, I’m glad you found that progression. I find it extremely hard to listen to radicals, I try with an open mind but quite a few have really offended everything I stand for and have seemed so far from equality it’s made me have that whole wtf face (extremist mra’s evoke the same reaction). Easy test people can do to see if a feminist space is egalitarian is mention an issue where men suffer and see if they get the whataboutthemenz insults, get “male privilege” used as a silencer and other ways to just generally tell men STFU. Sadly quite a few men, and mra’s, even women seem to experience that in some areas whenever male issues are brought up which leaves a bitter taste in many mouths.

        Given that behaviour exists it’s pretty easy to see how so many people are suspicious of feminism, especially with the bias in studies like the CDC report that can further fuel the suspicion. What seems clear from what I see is they are 100% fine with egalitarian feminism but fear feminism has become very gynocentric to the point it’s harming men through inaction on their behalf, or inability to allow men into the movement to champion the issues. There’s a reason the MRA exists and I’d say that’s because quite a few feminists were highschool version instead of equality based.

        At the end of the day both sides just want to be free from oppression, misogyny, misandry, equal rights, not being forced into war to protect others, no being disposable, no silly sexism and gender role harms, ability to be themselves without judgment, and ability for both sides to be seen as both victim and perpetrator as individuals and not as a group. Same goal but with a gendered focus usually, which is pretty normal since it’s easier to understand your own genders experience.

        • Yup. Totally agree with this. Though when I was at my most radical, I was also for women taking on responsibilities usually taken on by men (including women in the draft is probably the simplest example to give). The difference was that I blamed men for women not being included in the draft, if you get what I’m saying. I was radical in that I blamed the “male oppressors” for everything, but I wasn’t radical in that I didn’t want women to only get the benefits of equality. Hmm…maybe I’ll write a piece about it or something.

          • Everything I know of history (which isn’t too much:P) seems to usually do the typical few people in power who happen to be men and they oppress the hell out of everyone, which is why I see so many men really dislike the idea of male privilege because they’re being lumped in with the top dogs yet have very little power vs the “1%” etc. I simply blame society and just want it all to change.

            I’ll definitely read the piece when you write it. I really really want to see something about privilege PLUS responsibility, weighing out the benefits when they come with major negatives such as conscription, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone talk about the idea of privilege when it comes with such a responsibility and obligation to serve “king/queen and country”.

            • It’s funny, I’ve never viewed something like being included in conscription as a negative. I’ve always found the idea of getting rid of all the traditional “benefits” of being a woman to be a positive thing.

              • “It’s funny, I’ve never viewed something like being included in conscription as a negative. I’ve always found the idea of getting rid of all the traditional “benefits” of being a woman to be a positive thing.”
                I’m gonna guess you mean being seen as weak, less able as a man? Whilst men do get seen as stronger it comes with the price of being seen as disposable. Having to protect and sacrifice yourself for others, your life automatically is worth less than that of a woman. Acts of chivalry, honor, protecting the weaker women is also protecting women who are seen as more deserving of life, more special, protecting your loved ones.

                Also being included in conscription is highly negative, it denies men choice and quite frankly is oppression. Men have the right to vote, women have the right to vote, but men don’t have the right to choose whether they enter wars in some areas (seeing as conscription doesn’st exist everywhere). On the flipside men have the ability to enter all roles of combat whereas women are limited although this has quite a lot to do with physiology and is quite hard to get around.

                I do not think most women, hell even most men, truly understand how bad it is for men and how bad it has been. There is a HUGE focus on the negatives of being a woman, not much on the positives, not much on the negatives of being a man but HUGE amounts of focus on the positives of being a man, a man that usually is successful at that. Both genders get good treatment in some areas, bad in others, things that appear to be harmful to women are also harmful to men n vice versa.

                Strength isn’t a benefit when you take into account the expectation and responsibility it comes with, and I don’t think I’ve seen a woman ever speak of that. Being seen as weak is negative, but always has the benefit of your life is worth more than a male, being protected and cherished more than a man’s, men are expected to die but society finds it harder to deal with female deaths from what I see.

                Quite frankly I think both genders have a lot of positive n negatives, and these days I don’t think either is really better off than the other. It’s extremely complex, varies by area/culture/time period, and highly dynamic. The more society talks of the negatives and positives of BOTH genders, the more I feel both genders are closer to equal than previously thought in the levels of bullshit they face. It’s easy to see one as worse off if we only look at the negatives that gender faces and not bother to really look into the other genders problems, and this is what has troubled me for the last few years since my mind really opened up and started spotting good n bad in both genders.

                • Yeah I agree with what you’re saying. That was a bit of a tossed-out comment that I sort of failed to give proper context, about conscription. I’m not saying conscription is a good thing…I was just referring to my dismay that women were not included. But yeah, what you’re saying in your entire post is definitely a much more accurate description of how I see things now.

                  But I’d like to add that only part of my dismay at not being included in conscription has ever been about being viewed as weak. Just like…okay with men I suppose theoretically the “benefit” is being viewed as strong and the responsibility is being the protector and being disposable. But you only really get the ‘benefit’ if you fit a certain masculine ideal. Otherwise you’re stuck being viewed as somehow less of a man, and yet still expected do perform your responsibility and protect women and children.

                  So for women…theoretically the benefit is being protected and the trade-off is being seen as weak and sub-adult. But that only works if you’re someone who wants protecting, which I know plenty of women who do. But for me it wasn’t just an insult that people think I need to be protected, it went against my personality. I would much rather be the one _doing_ something to fix a problem then waiting around for it to get fixed. (Mind you, I’ve never been in immediate danger as an adult, so maybe in that circumstance I’d freak out and be unable to think or do anything.)

                  And as for disposibility…I am not trying to downplay that. I think it is horrible how men are unable to elicit empathy from our society. But for women to be held up on a pedestal and given empathy out the eyeballs is also damaging for society. It tells women that their problems are what really matter, and that their view is most important. And when you put someone on a pedestal, there’s always such pressure to do and say nothing wrong.

                  (Just like to add that I’m not trying to say “but women have it bad too…”) or something on this men’s site. But we were just talking about different gender roles so I figured I’d bring it up).

                  So I think what I’m trying to say is that even the ‘benefits’ of being a man or a woman aren’t always really benefits. It’s like the stereotype that all African-Americans can jump high and play basketball. Then, when you meet one who can’t, it’s this big deal and you point and laugh and assume they must be defective. It’s the strict gender roles and stereotypes themselves that are the problem, not the specific benefits or responsibilities.

                  (Now as a side note, obviously some benefits are in fact benefits. Policies and laws regarding motherhood versus fatherhood come to mind. Men are definitely getting the shaft with that one).

                • Hey also, Archy…would you mind e-mailing me? I’ve got this idea that I’d like your help with if you don’t mind?

        • Peter Houlihan says:

          “At the end of the day both sides just want to be free from oppression, misogyny, misandry, equal rights, not being forced into war to protect others, no being disposable, no silly sexism and gender role harms, ability to be themselves without judgment, and ability for both sides to be seen as both victim and perpetrator as individuals and not as a group.”

          I like that a whole lot 🙂

  8. I enjoyed this tale but advising men to engage with women in the western world at this moment in time is asking them to suicide which is exactly what feminism wants to fund DV family courts and divorce courts. why else does it keep on changing the playing field? Every time feminism gains ground men fall back. Well the only place to fall back now is away from women because there is no safety for men now and its only getting worse. Ironically feminists complain that men dont find them physically appealing then. Like the article I just read here. You want men to find you attractive? Stop punishing them for it in increasingly ridiculous and unfair ways or just watch us walk off the field. Im in australia and im walking away before that misandric garbage becomes law. Why? Because I do have honour and i could not offer a woman a decent go with that hanging over my head. I will be truthful. So me propositioning a woman would go something like “I really like you but if ‘The Plan’ comes in Im going to have to break up with you because the family pets have more rights than me. I will effectively become your pet and if you tire of me at any time you can dump me at the pound (prison)”

    Reckon she’ll go for it? Would a misogynist tell the truth?” Hmmmmm interesting questions arent they?

  9. PS It’s always the easy way out to be against something. All you have to do is trash talk and act the hero. A lot of what passes for intellectual discourse here falls into that category (in my personal and most humble opinion lol) Being for something means stepping up and doing the work – Byron Katie might have something to say about that (and I’d agree with her all the way) so yeah Tom, you hit the mark. Do right and don’t regret. Your children and everyone elses will be better for it. Above all, remember that fucking up is the road to growing up.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      “remember that fucking up is the road to growing up.”

      Amen

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      I respect where you and Tom are coming from, admitting you’re wrong and being greatful for what you have are very important things. But its equally important to be against things from time to time, its important to stand up and say “Thats not right.” Sometimes being a good man means more than making do with what you have.

      • No need to be against in order to promote what we’re for right? I don’t have to bitch about unfair judges to campaign for fair divorce laws and clear guidelines judges must follow or cease to be judges. I don’t have to waste time battling man hating, over the top “feminists” to campaign for gender equality, fair treatment for everybody and mutual respect. I believe that when enough of us see the truth of what’s right and fair for everybody then all this other crap will disappear. It’s along the same lines as understanding that good jobs in countries that sponsor terrorists will occupy otherwise vulnerable and unemployed/disenfranchised young men in ways that eventually eliminate the “terrorist as occupation” alternative currently in vogue. Generally being against anything leads to replacing what on is against with an equally onerous something else to be against. Better to be for something good and great and decent. Just try not to get killed doing it by those making a large living from being against.

  10. I read it once, nodding my head as I went and will no doubt read it again. Being a man and a father IS about owning your shit and speaking truth from the heart. I’m going to put it out there that in a fatherless land nothing prevents us from being fathers to some other mans offspring. If my brother(s) are MIA nothing prevents me from fathering except my own selfishness. If my brother(s) can’t be with their own children then let them be with someone elses (like maybe mine?). I see no need to whine about what I don’t or didn’t have and every reason to be grateful for what I do have. In an imperfect world a little love goes a very long way.

  11. Tom, what you’re trying to do here is admirable, but (and the earlier comment from typhonblue only reinforces my point), you’re never going to truly succeed until you clean house and rid this blog of the contributions–and comments–of the MRA movement (and I include GirlWritesWhat among that “august” group). Those guys–and that woman–are not really about “owning your shit” (despite what she claims) and trying to be a better man without the whining, excuse-making and refusal to make that fearless moral inventory. They’re all about “Women have it all–we menz are the REAL oppressed sex, wah wah.” They’re about whining and complaining about how everything from the courts to dating customs is out to get them, and how the world has been utterly destroyed by feminism. The simple truth is, they hate women, and they have nothing to do with any serious exploration of what it takes to be a good man who desires a healthy relationship with the women in his world and his life (whom he regards as fellow human beings, not she-devils or filthy smelly sub-humans), or with his children (whom he sees as flesh of his flesh yet independent human beings, not just property and pawns to be used in divorce wars).

    For the sake of the integrity of what you’re trying to do here, the MRAs and their twisted vision of manhood and masculinity have to go. If you don’t see the truth of this now, you will later. And you w8ill regret that it took so long for you to learn it.

    • Well…..I have to say I kind of disagree with you there, Tru. Not about the article, I really love the article. But about ridding the blog of MRA comments. I don’t think shutting out an entire group of people (mostly men) that are discussing men’s issues is the best way to explore what it means to be a good man. Maybe, instead of shutting them out, restructure it? Add a Men’s Right’s section or something? I dunno…I’m not in charge of how this site works. But I just think completely shutting them out isn’t the solution.

      I haven’t been here long…but it seems to me that a lot of what the MRM (including GWW) have to say is valid. Now sometimes it can be taken to an extreme, so that even when I say “I agree men are screwed in a couple ways but not as much as you think,” it ends up being interpreted as, “Men are the oppressors!” And there’s a lot I don’t agree with the MRM on….but there’s also a lot that I don’t agree with some of the more hardcore feminists on. And there have been some comments from some pretty hardcore feminists (at least so I’ve seen). I think it’s about finding a bit of a balance…but again, not shutting out the MRM entirely.

      • Hmmm or maybe not a Men’s Right’s section….but a Politics section and more MRM-oriented stuff could go there? *shrugs*

      • Thank you, Heather. it’s should be pretty obvious that excluding MRAs from a men’s issues blog makes no sense.

        And Tru is a woman, as I recall – that makes the suggestion especially ridiculous.

    • “For the sake of the integrity of what you’re trying to do here, the MRAs and their twisted vision of manhood and masculinity have to go”

      A typical generalization based on no facts, you can easily see many of the MRA’s commenting take offense to certain parts of feminism and actually are fine with egalitarian feminists. What this site needs is egalitarian mra’s and feminists to work together along with the others but your comment sounds very ignorant and bigoted against MRA’s. What’s sad is that your comment is EXACTLY like the negative stereotypes commonly associated with mra’s, the bigotry, generalizations, ignorance, pot calling the kettle…..Getting rid of the MRA’s would be the absolute worst thing this site could ever do, it’d instantly destroy all of it’s credibility on working to better men’s lives. It’s obvious you haven’t really LISTENED to many of those MRA’s and what they are objecting to

      Wanting to hear the experiences and opinions of men means listening to MRA’s is quite necessary considering quite a lot actually research the harm against men and have been through quite a bit of shit. I feel they have much to contribute and have personally seen MANY of them contribute in a decent way and sadly it seems feminism failed miserably to study issues against men due to a major clash of ideals regarding gynocentric and egalitarian feminism, the mere mention of men’s rights can easily find belittling comments and bigoted views. Feminism in it’s current popular form doesn’t seem to be able to handle male issues very well, I may be wrong but I personally do not see much done because they’re too busy with issues regarding women. That’s fine though if they want to focus on women, but it means we need the MRA to do the same job for men. Or we could just make an egalitarian movement and cater to everyone’s needs.

      You don’t go ignoring feminists if you want to hear of female experience, so why ignore the MRA? Quite frankly the articles by some feminists (not all!) were absolutely disgusting in their minimization and blatant ignorance regarding statistics they posted themselves on male rape victims, but I still read and commented on them because it was important discussion and they had some decent points. No one is perfect but if it bothers you so much, don’t read the MRM material here?

      Quite frankly I think the GMP recently has been much better, it seemed to move towards egalitarianism. Don’t forget you’re on a site for men and it seems to be only recently that we’ve started to study a lot of the harm against men in various societies, of course you’ll have male rights activists speaking up especially when there are male rights issues. The rights issues come with the territory, expecting no one to mention divorce issues, conscription etc on a site asking for men to open up is the epitome of silly.

      Disclaimer: I am egalitarian, neither feminism nor mra really fits me as I simply want everyone to have a good, fair chance and have good representation on their issues.

      • I’m sorry…did you say work together? Work together?! Are you out of your mind? How can we work together when the menz (feminists) are still oppressing us!? You’re a radical feminist (mra) just hiding behind the guise of egalitarianism aren’t you? 😉

        That was a joke, btw.

        • 😛 It gets annoying I know, I sit on the outside reading both the mra n feminists and it’s weird because they have both the radfem/bad mra’s, the gynocentric feminists and androcentric? mra’s, then the egalitarian feminists and mra’s. The common theme is neither side fully trusts each other, and they see the BAD a lot of the other side which destroys their trust more. So hopefully the good of each side dominates so they can both realize there are those they can work together with.

          There is one argument though that I’ve never seen successfully refuted, that even the bad feminists can have quite a bit of political power and try lobby to get genderized laws passed, Australia’s “The Plan” (something that scares me from what I’ve seen written about it) seems to be a case of that. But I guess idealism probably plagues politics, this election season in Australia is going to be a hard choice to find someone that isn’t a total waste. Accept gay marriage and don’t genderize laws, bring equal support for male n female victims of DV, abuse, rape, etc and they’d get my vote. It’s the 21st century ffs, we shouldn’t be having problems for men or women like we do atm :(.

          • Tru, let me tell you a little story.

            When I turned 32 years of age, I was in a session with my psychiatrist talking about my past. The minute I focused on what the girls did to me as a youth (particularly one crush who not only turned against me but sicked her boyfriend on me afterwards in the high school halls) I felt this raw rage and once the session was over, I was experiencing pure anger with heavy breathing and tense facial muscles tightening.

            It was the first time I had ever really acknowledged, fully, that what the girls and women did to me in my past had hurt just as bad as what boys and men did to me.

            Unfortunatly, as I looked around for resources on the internet, I could find NOTHING on girls bullying boys. Only boys bullying boys, boys bullying girls, and girls bullying girls.

            Worse, since I was into feminism a bit (only the egiltarian side, not the gynocentric side) I told my story to some feminists. You know what they said? They said I was still a privledged white male who still benefits from oppression of women, no matter how bad it was for me. They also added that what happened was an anomoly compared to what girls and women go through.

            In short, these feminists minimised and invalidated my experiences on the spot. Threw me out with the bathwater.

            The only support I got for my past in the beginning was from Men’s Rights Groups, particulalry Glenn Sacks. Then came Feminist Critics, Toy Soldiers, etc.

            Yes, the Men’s Rights Groups who you love to decry were the ONLY ones to welcome me and my struggles. Meanwhile, I heard NOTHING in terms of support from feminists until NOW, at the age of 34. Two years, Tru! TWO FREAKIN YEARS!

            Then again, these feminists who did accept me wouldn’t be called feminists since they didn’t tow the old “Men are oppressors, women victims” line.

            So as much as you want Men’s Rights activist writing removed, how much they present twisted distortions of masculanity, the fact is they were THE ONLY ONES who accepted me.

            And before you say “Feminism isn’t a monolith” well, I could’ve used those egiltarian feminists back then to defend me. Two freakin years, Tru. Only now did I find egiltarian feminists whom have backed me up.

            Next time you have the urge to whine about Men’s Rights Groups, you’d better think of someone like me because without them, I wouldn’t be here right now to be honest. I’d probably kill myself at some point.

          • Agreed. I think feminists probably have more of a political lobby because they’ve been around longer, and because it was a fairly sensational act having women get together to change politics. I’m just worried that 20 years from now (or whenever) the MRAs are going to have their own big political lobby and it’ll look just like the feminist lobby, only for men instead of women.

            • Also, I can’t for the life of me find any information about “The Plan.” Google is being most unhelpful.

            • Well personally I’d rather see the egalitarian movement take over everything and have a nice structure where gender rights, disability, racial rights, etc all work together and share resources but that’s probably more of a fantasy than a reality at the moment.

              ht tp://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/feminist-governance-feminism/australia-the-new-saudi-arabia-of-radical-feminism/ Is one of the articles on it, from what I’ve seen of it….”The Plan” makes me wonder “WTF ARE THEY THINKING”. It seems like a approach to ending violence in a way that is gendered (bad since it’s DV isn’t gendered, everyone can be victim and perp), harmful to men “Shifting official policy that views domestic violence as a problem created solely by men” and treating women like they’re weak, and just generally makes my blood boil. I haven’t seen it written about in the news yet, try “National Council’s Plan for Australia to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children. ” Even the title indicates bias. Huge pdf to read though. :S

              I absolutely, CANNOT stand gendered approachs to violence and abuse, the campaigns pretty much never speak of male victims of female perpetrators (especially in rape) and this further reinforces the harmful views where men are the big baddie and women are the victim. It offends me, especially since I’ve been hit by females, psychologically bullied, sexually assaulted and know others who have as well. Gendered approachs do not give those outside of the stereotype the appropriate support, female abusers need support to overcome their problem, male victims definitely need support.

              This is the reason I do not support the white ribbon campaign, and refuse to take the pledge as well. I’ll pledge to not be violent against anyone, but I won’t do the pledge if it wants MEN only to pledge at not allowing violence against women, especially when men and women both hit and abuse other men and women. Hell males are 4-6x higher in deaths by violence worldwide ( ht tp://www.who.int/entity/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/DALY6%202004.xls ) so these campaigns that rarely seem to even mention male victims just generally piss me off.

              It really does feel like society ignores male issues whilst playing parent to female issues, it’s a half arsed approach and considering there seems to be evidence of abuse being a cycle that passes down. From what I’ve heard regarding abuse the abused have a higher chance of abusing, growing up in violent environments for example I’d say definitely increases the risk of future violence. Of course not all victims go on to abuse but I do believe there are links where SOME will and it’s pretty understandable that some people will react with hatred of the symbol of their abuser. Overly simplistic view of an extremely complex problem of course but if we don’t identify and support ALL victims and perpetrators then this cycle of abuse will just continue.

              My own extended family have issues with this, grandfather was abusive, abused his kids, some of those kids later went on to abuse their kids and it wouldn’t surprise me if grandfather was abused by his parents/family. I have friends with abusive mothers, wives, husbands, fathers, it’s not limited to one gender so what help will there be with this stupid gendered approach? The fact I’ve read comments of men who goto rape support services and being told they were joking, to stop lying, etc makes me fucking sick that humans like that exist who would openly welcome one gender but tell the other gender to go jump.

    • Dudebro, you didn’t even understand what I said.

    • “They’re about whining and complaining about how everything from the courts to dating customs is out to get them, ”

      The gendered shaming language. Man-hating feminist. Check.

      “…..and how the world has been utterly destroyed by feminism.”

      Oh noes!!!!! Feminism is holy, they are blaspheming against feminism!

      “The simple truth is, they hate women,…”

      Mind-reading is a form of objectfication, Tru, just so you know that we are on to you. It is an expression of ownershiphttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectification. That’s noted feminst scholar Barbara Nussbaum, someone I respect as a feminist and as a scholar, saying that.

      These commenters don’t hate women. You are just projecting your own hatred of men

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      I could make all those complaints about feminists and prove their inherant evil (based on Valerie Solonas, Mary Daly and others). I could do that, but it’d be a lie and women’s issues would still be problems.

    • And you believe feminists ARE the solution?
      The group that bans the domestic violence researchers Gelles and Strauss (the famous researchers who found 1 woman was abused every 15.5 seconds) from VAWA reauthorization hearings? The reason being that these researchers also found that 1 man is abused (by women) every 16 seconds, and is pushing for gender-neutral DV laws.

      The group that threatened Erin Prizzey (the woman who started the UK battered shelter movement)with bomb threats and THREATS TO HER FAMILY when she said women were equally violent (which she found by asking those she admitted about their OWN VIOLENT acts) and she was going to allow male victims into her shelters?

      The same group that stipulated in VAWA that no grants could be given to shelters which housed male victims (or CHILD VICTIMS unless it was under the umbrella of helping the childs mother too)?

      It’s simply amazing that feminists think women’s issues are EVERYBODY’S PROBLEMS, but men’s issues certainly aren’t HER problems (and men need to suck it up and stop whining).

      You know how arrogant and bigoted that view is?

  12. typhonblue says:

    Does the fact that it will likely be a man who will enable your wife to one day tear Cole from your arms make the pain easier to bear somehow, Tom?

    Is it because you know you share a group mind with that man–the judge who will side with your teary eyed wife as she tells him how much of a bad man you were? The two of you are in on some vast conspiracy, you’re compadres, you and him, you have your secret club-house and you-know-what is the key…

    And yet he’s still the one wielding the knife that’s cutting your heart to pieces. But it’s some sort of ancient dance between men, a sympatico women can’t fathom, by eviscerating you in your weakness to the pleasure of your ex-wife he’s sacrificing you to the gods of manhood. And as you’re consumed you know your pain is not in vain.

    Not in vain. Because it feeds the idol of sacrificial manhood.

    You need the illusion of power so badly you will destroy yourself for it.

    • Wow, that’s powerful.
      You are correct of course. Many men seem to be pulling the wool over their eyes in terms of their own lack of agency when it comes to the kids.

      It’s easier to say that you’re at fault somehow, because then it allows your mind to bury the lack of power and the victimization.

      What about the loving fit fathers who were cheated UPON by the mothers and still can’t get access to their kids? What about the loving fit fathers who’s exes move the children 1000’s of miles away with the courts blessings?

      Is that the only mantra we can give them is that they’re equally culpable for the culture and they have to lie in the bed that they (somewhat) made?

      It seems there is a whole lot of denial going on.

      Lastly, when Tom says men need to find their voice, what are we supposed to do when the radical feminist core actively advocates to minimize men’s voices when that voice says we deserve to be parents too?

      Look to my last three comments in this thread:
      http://goodmenproject.com/comment-of-the-day/in-the-beginning-it-was-about-storytelling/
      in which I detail the full-press war that feminists are engaging in against fathers parental rights and other issues.

      What are we supposed to do when feminist IPV advocates actively BAN domestic violence researchers (whose research shows gender symmetry) from VAWA reauthorization hearings and other IPV conferences?

      While I deeply appreciate what Tom and Lisa are doing here and they deserve a big round of applause, I wish they could at least admit the truth that a rather vocal, politically connected, and politically active subset of feminists actively oppose men’s rights (particularly where it steps on female roles in such a way that it displaces women–if divorced fathers get more custody time than mothers NECESSARILY must get less).

  13. “Women dominate the very vocabulary by which men’s lives are described and interpreted, both at home and in the media.”

    “Men are afraid to dip their toe into the unfamiliar waters of their interior lives since they fear they might end up crying on Oprah’s couch.”

    The first sentence is quite true. Women dominate the discussion about men.

    The second sentence shows just how much feminized thought has influenced men. Men aren’t afraid about crying on Oprah’s couch. Men are simply not as emotional as women nor should they be. Men are not broken women.

  14. I acknowledge your right to ‘out’ yourself in this piece.

    What I take serious issue with here, is you breaking the anonymity of Frank. If you received his permission to do so, then that should have been disclosed immediately. If his name is pseudonym, then that should have also been disclosed. You describe his physical appearance, his history of incarceration, his family, the place of the meeting, and where the man is employed.

    On the INTERNET sir.

    I won’t even bother to address the rest of your pompous grandstanding.

    “”Whom you see here, what you hear here, when
    you leave here, let it stay here. Anonymity
    is the spiritual foundation of our program.”

    There’s a real good reason for that quote….dipshit.

    This comment pasted from WORD due to GMPM’s practice of auto refreshing to inflate the appearance of advertising impressions.

  15. ProleScum says:

    We’re just having an honest debate here. Why bring violence into it at all?

    Perhaps an attempt to insinuate the association ‘MRA=Knuckle Dragger’?

  16. thehermit says:

    “Unlike you who want to find a feminist bogeyman in every minor slight- -regardless of reality, history, or personal experience.”

    the so called “feminists” here had shown us that they know litlle about their own history. We don’t need bogeymen- acts are speaking for themselves. Your shaming tactic is falling back on your head. The truth is, you have nothing in your hands to stop us. feminism, as a hate ideology, has to be eradicated, for our sons AND daughters wellbeing.

  17. No he made mistakes because he made mistakes. He is dealing with as a man. Unlike you who want to find a feminist bogeyman in every minor slight- -regardless of reality, history, or personal experience.

    Stop this insanity. It’s transparent and disgusting.

    • thehermit says:

      “Stop this insanity. It’s transparent and disgusting.”

      The insanity begins with your ignorance.

    • typhonblue says:

      @ Fred

      Where the OP is bad, he’s bad like every man. Where he is good, he is unique, a special snowflake onto himself?

      I’m having a hard time chewing through this guy’s stories. Once he waxes lyrical my eyes glaze over and ‘blah,blah,blah’ echoes in my ears.

      But I have noticed something. He’s definitely a man in charge, an alpha if you will. He was when he was a businessman screwing over others and he still is as a feminist man, screwing over other men.

      He cautions men not to blame, not to be angry, but I imagine he’s in a far more secure position then many men who only have their anger–and the slowly growing fraternity of men inspired by their anger and the hurt that fuels it–to protect them.

      Everything I read of him tells me he probably doesn’t need the MRA because he has a high horse, bought and paid for by a upperclass wage, and he need not really concern himself with the problems of proles.

      So why not throw those proles under the feminist bus to assuage his guilty conscience, wot?

      ‘I cheated! I boozed and drank and screwed around! But look! I’m willing to sacrifice these poor sods who never even had half the chance and who must have also done everything I did, even if they didn’t, because they’re men! Ladies–heh heh–look how I’m doing what I can to discredit and hamstring these little schmucks, I’m doing it for you! I’m proving I’m totally reformed by scapegoating other men! Now ladies–heh heh–don’t get all excited all at once, there’s plenty of me for you to adore!’

      Alpha males, ever ready to sacrifice the underdog to appease women for their own failings.

  18. If you don’t vote… don’t bitch.

  19. Mr. Matlack:

    Robert Bly and his “Iron John” had nothing over “Iron Joe Bob”

    http://www.amazon.com/Iron-Joe-Bob-Briggs/dp/0871135531

    It is the real, although satirized, story of the Mens’ Movement.

    As for me, I feel that men are inherently “good,” and further, that they should be able to define what that means on their own terms, separate from the opinions, values, beliefs, and attitudes of women.

    Reason, accountability, and responsibility is an equal opportunity endeavor and women are just as culpable as men for the public havoc and private strife that exists in the world.

    For men and women both, it is ignorance combined with desire that is the cause of most of our suffering.

  20. typhonblue says:

    This is an amazing portrait of a man who is incapable of acknowledging female agency in his life.

    Wow. Just. Wow.

    “I feel like a decent guy, and I know that, more importantly, I am raising my sons Cole and Seamus to be the same and my daughter Kerry to know what a good man looks like. ”

    But not raising your sons to know what a decent woman looks like, of course.

    Well here I am, safely shielded behind the rampart you’ve erected between woman and person. All I can say? Thank god I’m not married to you. Or your daughter.

    • epynephrin says:

      I feel you’ve somewhat missed the point here. Defining a “decent woman” doesn’t seem to me the point of a blog entitled “Good Men Project.” Attempting that definition is something I’d even be uncomfortable doing. However, as a man who’s seen the highs and lows of manhood, I feel Tom’s earned some rights to comment on that–ever acknowledging that your mileage may vary (this is one of the tacit understandings in first-person writing like this).

      Commentary on “Good Womanhood” from a man will almost always come across as condescending at best, probably misogynist at worst. Furthermore, simply leaving the agency of womanhood out of this single blog post doesn’t say a lack of acknowledgement–it’s just beyond the scope of this one individual entry. I’m sure there’s an object permanence joke in the fact that simply because something isn’t mentioned, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

  21. typhonblue says:

    Man up, because women can’t.

    “But we have no one to blame but ourselves. We made the laws. We control the media. We have, in the end, suffered too long in silence.”

    Maybe you can’t. Maybe the real power is in the negative space that the phrase ‘man up’ carves out.

    You define the laws. We define you.

  22. Morrisfactor says:

    “Or do we embrace their successes while developing our own powerful voice for good in the world, most particularly when it comes to be being fathers and husbands?”

    Pretty hard to have a powerful voice as a divorced father when the standard “cookie cutter” visitation schedule in America is: “every other weekend and two hours on Wednesdays” – and that possible only if your ex-wife decides not to move to another city or state or obstruct your visits.

    Women’s “successes” have come at the expensive of fathers/husbands/children – just ask any man and his children who has gone through divorce.

    The abduction of my daughters and the actions of corrupt Family Court/Divorce Court is why I am now part of the MRA. I won’t rest until I see changes.

  23. Female Feedback says:

    Nice essay.

    I think one place where I think we may see change in coming years is that as more men participate in family life and share the good earner, good parent, good partner role that many of us women are trying to do as well, it will be easier for boys to reach adulthood. There will be less need for fights with other boys and men to be the sine qua non of “manhood,” for emotional isolation, for acting out things rather than articulating them first. More boys will have a compassionate-mentor type father and mothers who can relate to them, which will make boyhood much easier.

    My only suggestions are:

    1. To get out of the mindset that this has to be done with other men. Having the strength to discuss these things with your family is what I would think is the sine qua non of “manhood.” Fearing that Oprah dominates things is legitimate; many women do try to be dominant rather than a participant themselves or just leading when necessary. But many of women try hard not to dominate family life and to be on a peer level with men in the home, and, of course in the marketplace/workplace.

    2. You say “how hard it is to try to be a good dad and a good husband and breadwinner, which is what women still expect of us, all at the same time.” Regarding this word “breadwinner,” many of us women don’t want men’s careers to be more important than ours. We do want men who have some means in the political economy but the ability to be an equal participant as a husband and father is more important to us than the man being the primary provider of money.

    • Female Feedback says:

      Sorry – I made some confusing typos in the above – corrected here.

      Nice essay.

      I think one place where I think we may see change in coming years is that as more men participate in family life and share the good earner, good parent, good partner role that many of us women are trying to do as well, it will be easier for boys to reach adulthood. There will be less need for fights with other boys and men to be the sine qua non of “manhood,” for emotional isolation, for acting out things rather than articulating them first. More boys will have a compassionate-mentor type father and a mother who can relate to them, which will make boyhood much easier.

      My only suggestions are:

      1. To get out of the mindset that this has to be done with other men. Having the strength to discuss these things with your family is what I would think is the sine qua non of “manhood.” Fearing that Oprah dominates things is legitimate; many women do try to be dominant rather than a participant themselves or just leading when necessary. But many of women try hard not to dominate family life and try to be on a peer level with men in the home, and, of course, in the marketplace/workplace.

      2. You say “how hard it is to try to be a good dad and a good husband and breadwinner, which is what women still expect of us, all at the same time.” Regarding this word “breadwinner,” many of us women don’t want men’s careers to be more important than ours. We do want men who have some means in the political economy but the ability to be an equal participant as a husband and father is more important to us than the man being the primary provider of money.

      In sum, I get the sense you may still be deferring to women as the primary parents and want the role of primary provider. If you step out of that into peer marriage/peer parenting/peer earning, a whole new world of liberation can be found.

  24. Just saw a great speech on 21st century feminism for the TED talks and this article is the perfect match. They both leave out some things, but that’s the point of progress over dogma, right? I’ll be forwarding this to all the same people who got the TED video.

  25. My MKP men’s group meets in an urban warehouse next to Charlie’s Diner … in a moving company that is quite literally on the wrong side of the tracks. There’s not a drum in sight. And yet … there is magic and raw poetry in the voice of a man telling the whole truth. Poetry, stories, songs, narratives, prose … all the same. Mythopoesis … the recreation of reality through story.

    You ended up in a circle of men because of your addiction. I ended up there because I wanted to live up to my own expectations for what I could be. Same thing.

    Maybe there is no separation? Maybe you’re still standing apart because that’s the story you really like to believe about yourself. And from where I’m standing … that is indeed bullshit.

    In 2500 year old Tantric philosophy there is a concept that goes “I am not you, I am nothing like you, I am nothing but you.” And so it seems.

  26. Mervyn Kaufman says:

    I always thought Robert Bly was a pompous son of a bitch, but since no one else was openly asserting the rights of men at the time, I kept quiet. Somebody had to hoist the banner.

    Thus, I found Tom’s confessions, if that’s what they were, refreshingly honest and reassuring. If anyone’s truly serious about self-changing, it’s clear you’ve got to bring up all the ugly shit and then deal with it openly. It’s almost like a surgical experience: peeling away and cutting open. No wonder so many guys chicken out and back away. In writing this, Tom didn’t opt for melodrama, but the subtext suggests that to get where he is today has been a truly wrenching experience.

  27. Ah yes, yet another “Men need to MAN UP” diatribe.
    The Men’s Movement, the REAL movement, not the one you’re trying to promote here, is not about Men vs. Women. It’s about the damage feminism has, and continues to do, to society and our future generations. Are your kids better off in DayCare or at home with their mother? And that’s just for starters…

    As a society we need to stop exalting “grrl power” at the expense of boys and making people PRETEND, (for fear of offending thier delicate political correctness sensibilities), that women are simply fantastic at everything they do vis a vis men. It’s wearing very thin.

    • Instead of making it a ‘home with mom’ vs. daycare thing….

      Why not let the woman be the breadwinner and you stay home with the kids?

  28. Tom,

    Yours is a powerful story.

    Just to clarify about Robert Bly, his significant contributions to men were twofold, and didn’t involve either lutes or drums.

    First, he said that men needed to learn about being men from other men. This was not obvious when he said it–during a time when many men were receiving instruction about being men from women. Although this is axiomatic today and reflected in your story, it did not go over well at the time. Bly was both vilified and ridiculed for it, in particular by feminists.

    Second, Bly said that some problems of individual men were deeper than personal. If one man has a problem, it may be a matter of psychology. If many men have the same problem, something else is going on. Bly, who was a disciple of Jung, speculated about the “something else” in terms of myth and story. He was also ridiculed for this, although these concepts have since proven useful to many.

    As to poetry, I believe it was William Carlos Williams who said,

    It is difficult
    to get the news from poems
    yet men die miserably every day
    for lack
    of what is found there.

    • LIKE. Thanks for this wolf. Well captured.

    • Wolf,
      Thanks. It’s so easy to caricature Bly, Hillman and Meade and miss the depth and courage of their work, and the effects they had on a generation of men.

      Tom, I appreciate your story and its honesty. No need though, to take a cheap (and apparently thinly informed) shot at Bly and, by association, those of us who have found our way to a similar place of honesty and self-responsibility by a taking different path.

    • Julie Gillis says:

      Thank you Wolf. Each takes a different path to their manhood or womanhood. For some the sheer power and passion of art may be the road needed. Nothing feminist about art per se. Nothing emasculating about distilling what one sees into words, forms, images. There is power in art, great power. It need not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there is power there nonetheless.

  29. thehermit says:

    “So to blame men’s problems on feminism is completely forgetting that most of the issues today have been brewing well before feminism. Men of the past punished present-day men with these issues, not feminism.”

    This is exactly what i had in mind when i said no honesty, no self criticism on the feminist part. Amazing.
    You still believe you exist in a vacuum.

    Stop blaming others? What are you doing with this post?

    Yes,you blame men of the past, men of the present, everyone excluding yourself.

    As i said, feminists have power what MRM don’t have. Even in the law making process. Realize it.

  30. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    I’m a bit taken with Bly, I’ll admit. I don’t think gender is a tabula rasa situation, so mechanical feminism where “men learn from women” or some such only produces angry, passive-aggressive “feminist” men much of the time (who all too often dominate women.)

  31. He’s not saying to just take the abuses of the system. He’s saying that if you want want to end the injustice, then you, as an individual, have to end the injustice yourself. He’s also basically saying to stop blaming others. A lot of the injustices prevalent today have been brewing well before feminism. The thought that women are more nurturing than men has been around since the practical beginning of human history because women for most of human history have been the primary caretakers of children, whether they were nurses or nannies or mothers or what have you. So it was always assumed that because of this, women were more nurturing. I’m not saying it’s right at all. I’m just saying this because feminism had nothing to do with it. The case of Rostker V. Goldberg concluded that because women were excluded from combat (and remember, feminists are fighting to get women in combat), they would not be needed in the draft, and that thought still continues to this day and has nothing to do with feminism. So to blame men’s problems on feminism is completely forgetting that most of the issues today have been brewing well before feminism. Men of the past punished present-day men with these issues, not feminism.

    • Yet in a way he is telling men to just take the abuse from the system and women. The injustice that divorced fathers go through does not start with them. It is done to them. As much as Tom is right that men should not wallow in their sorrow and settled into hating women, he is wrong in suggesting that fathers ought not rallying against biased laws that strip their children away from them. I cannot imagine any decent father would settle for never seeing his kids unless he jumps through every ridiculous hoop his ex puts up. The right thing to do would be to fight for his kids, and even if that means changing the law.

      No one should blame feminists for all men’s problems. However, there is a correlation between feminist policies and the treatment of men in today’s society. It is obvious in family and criminal courts, in the treatment of male victims of abuse, and how men’s grievances are treated by society. Skirting around that would be akin to skirting around the impact of religion on people’s view of homosexuality.

      Like Tom, I do not think the solution is for men to drum around a campfire. However, I also do not think the solution is to blame men for their own problems. Yes, I understand that from a social and feminist standpoint any bad things–from getting divorce to losing a job to getting abused–that happen to men are their own faults. That said, it is quite easy to guilt men into self-blame. It is more difficult to look at the situation honestly and acknowledge that there is no one-size fits all explanation. It is not just one person’s or one group’s fault.

      So I do not think the tacit “man up” statement helps. That sentiment is the very reason men suffer silence. Yes, there are plenty of men who do not take responsibility for their actions. There are also plenty of men who take responsibility for other people’s actions. They do that because as men that is what is expected of them. If the goal is to get men to come forward and talk about their problems, then people need to stop with the “it’s men’s own fault” refrain.

      • Did you read the article? Seriously. Missed point completely.

        He was not ‘abused’ by the system. He wrecked his family by cheating. He had to own up to that and stop trying to pass the buck with the ‘Yeah, but…’ excuses.

        Only then could he be mentally healthy and move on with life and a better marriage than the first. Also, he wasn’t a shining knight of a dad. He didn’t even know how to change diapers on his custody weekends. That was a problem.

        The court system is run by old male judges… the majority of them are not feminist. The majority of them are *actually* conservative men who grew up in the 1950s watching June Cleaver in Leave it to Beaver. They award custody to women more often because they believe that is what a woman is born to do and little else. Feminism for the most part has not even focused on divorce except to allow for people to decide their own fate.

        Why rail against no fault divorce? Really? Give me one good reason? If you for instance fell in love with another woman (other than your wife who you fought with) would you like some judge to arbitrarily force you to stay married?

        • Yes, I read the article. I was not referring specifically to Matlack’s experience. Matlack’s experience does not represent or reflect all men’s experiences, so it is unwise to assume that because he behaved badly and would not take responsibility for it that all men with grievances behaved badly and refuse to take responsibility. As I said, it is very easy to guilt-trip men. Most men will fall right into all on their own. However, it is not a great solution to men’s problems.

      • This was the best response I have read here. Thanks for breaking it down…

      • I meant that Jacobtik had the best response here. Thanks again…

    • wavevector says:

      You have a myopic understanding of both history and feminism. Before the late 19th century, children were considered the property of the father, and he would retain full custody in a divorce or separation. The current day preference for maternal custody is a direct consequence of the first-wave feminism of the 19th century:

      “The pioneering feminists of the nineteenth century fought hard to establish custody rights for mothers in the face of a common law tradition that gave fathers paramount rights of custody and control. At the very first women’s rights gathering in 1848, the newly drafted Declaration of Rights and Sentiments presented custodial rights for mothers as one of the primary demands”

      http://www.law.berkeley.edu/3158.htm

      So yes indeed, feminism is very much to blame for the discrimination against fathers in family courts today. Modern feminist organizations such as NOW have fought against laws for the “rebuttable presumption of shared parenting” that would equalize the post-divorce parental involvement of fathers and mothers.

  32. thehermit says:

    Some intellectual honesty, at least.
    Basically what you say is everyone should clean up his own mess, and mind his own business.
    It’s a honorable observation, and i respect it regardless of i’m an MRA or not.
    But.
    The biased laws still exist all over the so called “western world”,
    and it has nothing to do with what vanished from your heart. Do you think they will just fade away? Do you dare to say us to shut up and take it like a man? Everything is our own fault anyway, is not it?

    I’m not angry at feminists. I’m not angry at all, but i want justice, and i’m not alone. Enough is enough. Men are not perfect,nor as fathers nor as husbands, but that’s not a reason to treat them as secondary citizens. What i miss from feminist discourse- don’t forget they have power and trillions of dollars in their hands- is exatly the honesty. As i see it, if they have to choose between justice and power, they will choose power.

    I’m sorry but good or not, you’re still a nitwit.

    • What do you call a guy who reads the words of a nitwit? I think you know…nitwit.
      I like this article, it gets to the point and your mission is right on Tom. Just one thing, I really think bashing Bly or any drummer sucks. These guys said the same thing you do, but you were not ready to hear it then. In the Men’s Movement I was in, there was poetry, drumming as well as legal and health issues etc. addressed. So, for my money you should keep up the good work and not point fingers. There is more than one way to skin a cat.

    • Tom Matlack’s work getts better every day. If ideas like his were more mainstream, and supported by generous government financial and institutional patronage comparable to what feminists have, there would be no need for “angry MRM activists” like myself.

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