Over at Thought Catalog, Brokelyn editor Tim Donnelly responds to the backlash against a post he published by an out-of-work “stay-at-home girlfriend,” Quiana Stokes, who spends her days sending out resumes, preparing meals, getting ready for sexytime, and otherwise adhering to “stereotypically Stepfordish rules” to keep her boyfriend around. The piece, he says, garnered concern from the usual suspects: The Hairpin LOLed, Jezebel approved but called Stokes’ tone “troubling,” and The Frisky wrote, “Could I live like Quiana Stokes? Probably not. I’d get bored.”
Donnelly’s million-dollar question: If this had been a dude talking about preparing meals and “ironing your working lady’s panties instead of going to watch the game,” which blogs would step up to the plate and lament the poor schlub? Where are the dude blogs?
Go ahead and try to think of some, because I’m more than willing to learn. The only dude blogs that come to mind are the supremely superficial ones: Guyism (tagline: “Hot Girls, Humor, Videos, Photos, Sports, Beer, Celebrities”); Asylum, which also shuttered last month, leaving as its swan song an Andrew WK interview, in which he announces his intent to go into outer space; Thrillist (unofficial tagline: “WHATTUP BROSEPH?!?!”), a repository of what to do and buy now that your frat activities director isn’t around (a site for which I apparently don’t meet the bro standard; I got rejected from a job there last year).
There’s AskMen.com, with its watch-brand reviews, and Esquire’s website, with its “what she wants you to wear” huffy insistence on swarthy materialism as the preferred style. Or BroBible, the voice of the “Brommunity,” a site that should speak for itself (but I’ll speak for it too: the words “Big Boob Bonanza” currently appear on the homepage).
Even when these sites are at their best, they lack a sense of humor about their subject matter, and about being a dude in general. Those sites exist in the old archetype of the “men’s” magazine that hasn’t changed much in decades: fashion, understanding your lady, the sexiest women in X field (because we never expect successful women to be succesexxxy too!). Those media are for “men”: 9–5ers, execs, suit-wearers, dads, old-fashioned bros clinging to their Axe body spray, wooing pearl-clad ladies in Learjets soaring above pristine Caribbean waters on weekend getaways.
But where’s the voice of the dudes? Just because bros throughout history have made a mess of things, repressed women, minorities, immigrants and the gaze doesn’t mean there aren’t those of us out there who have moved beyond all that and harbor modern-day issues just as complex as the girls’ …
Yes. I have so little to criticize about this. But Tim’s just scratching the surface. The Voice for the Forward-Thinking Dude is here. It hasn’t gone anywhere—it’s just been a little reticent and awkward while we happily watched women work to reclaim theirs.
Sure, the media are still largely male-controlled. News skews male. Sexist shit pops up every day. Lots of the ladyblogs are owned by men. We do check our privilege; we know Men’s History Year resumes after March. But this is different: on the Internet and in print, there’s been a dearth of witty and incisive commentary about the complexity of masculinity, and suddenly that’s all changing. A new generation of men, long misrepresented in the media, is finding its voice.
So perhaps the question is not whether men’s blogs exist or not, but if we’re having an identity crisis. You go to Maxim.com and, no shit, you immediately get what they’re about. It takes picoseconds, even for someone who, oddly, has never heard of Maxim. But it won’t be so easy with the new crop of men’s publications, and, you know what, that’s OK.
We got a page-two mention in Donnelly’s piece. We are “on the right track.” Cool. Donnelly goes on to, in essence, write us a job application, parroting our mission statement (“we can recognize that coping with being a man in the modern world is challenging”) and then suggesting impeccably on-brand ideas (“Did that NY magazine cover story on the effects of rampant online masturbation on Actual Sex Life cause people to rampantly masturbate less? [yes]”). I love all of these ideas. Are they for sale? Gift? We’ve already run one or two.
Tim: You get us. You get what we get, that there are men (many men, we hope) who want to read about sex and gender (often) and sports (often), and also media, the Internet, books, theater, dicks, hemorrhoids, food, domestic violence, comedy, education, working out, fatherhood, women, prison reform, OCD, depression, other really serious stuff, and other really dumb stuff. We’re really all over the fuckin’ place, and for a reason—because this is what men think about. Lots of shit. Weird shit. Mayonnaise. If I see one more book implying men’s interests can be reduced to 200 blank pages, I’ll shit myself.
To borrow our sports editor’s analogy, we’re having an awesome Man Night in a Crown Heights dive bar while you’re hanging out by, like, Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club. The Art of Manliness (they’ve nailed the male-advice niche) is here with their straight razors and waxed mustaches. There’s The Takeback, The Root, and Feminist Allies, having nuanced discussions about men’s role in fighting sexism. There’s also a bunch of dedicated Tumblr-ers, Blogspotters, and Twitterers. It’s a goddamn sausagefest over here.
But it’s also the greatest party ever.