The Not-So-Good Men Project

Yesterday, I inadvertently got involved in a Twitter battle of sorts.  I retweeted someone else’s opinion about the Good Men Project, with which I happen to agree.  This is what it said:

Why don’t @goodmenproject just be honest & call themselves The Good Misogynist Project?

Well.  I didn’t start the controversy, but I certainly ended up in the thick of it.  You can read a good part of it here.

There’s enough overt misogyny in the articles themselves, as evidenced here, here, here, here, and here.  But the thing that bothers me is the attitude that “men need space to be men without having to be feminists.”  Guess what, dudes?  That already exists for you.  It’s called all the time, everywhere.  Just because we don’t want you all up in feminist space with your non-feminism doesn’t mean that you can’t do it someplace else.  You don’t need a whole web site, a whole magazine, a whole online kingdom in which to be manly men who aren’t “feminists.”

Additionally, it would behoove men to stop looking at respect for women as something to do because it hurts you if you don’t.  As in, “We men can’t be our authentic selves because Big Bad Patriarchy says we must be assholes to women, and if we treat them that way we won’t get what we want. Which is actually to be Big Powerful Manly Men who can wear aprons and stay home with our progeny.  Rrrrr.”

It’s absolutely true that patriarchy is bad for men.  You won’t hear me arguing.  But the reason for respecting women shouldn’t be because patriarchy is bad for you.  If we all based our treatment of others on the idea that it will hurt us if we don’t play nice, we will never actually achieve mutual respect.  Consider schoolyard bullies, for example.  Punishing them with trips to the principal and out-of-school suspension rarely deters them.  That’s because the rule is, “Don’t bully or you’ll get in trouble.”  That’s not enough of a reason for most kids to stop.

Respect for others should come from the fact that we’re all people—living, breathing humans with hopes, fears, failures, ambitions, passions.  Every person deserves respect.  And to bring this back to my original topic, women deserve respect not because men will be hurt if they don’t, but because we are every bit as worthy of respect as men.

Real Good Men exist.  I know because I married one.  I am related to them.  I have befriended them.  I have read things they’ve written.  I’ve met them in my travels and my online circles.  I saw them speak up in the Twitter conversation yesterday.

Good Men, use your voices.  Stand up for yourselves and stand beside us as we work toward ending misogyny.  Don’t let the Good Men Project speak for you.

21 thoughts on “The Not-So-Good Men Project

    • I’m sure your article was one of the good ones! There are actually a lot of good articles on there by men who really are good men. There’s just so much misogyny that drowns out the good, and whenever women get upset about that misogyny, the way the GMP responds is just…ugh.

    • Well, if you wrote it, I’m sure it was good. As Sarah already pointed out, there are good articles on there. Unfortunately, they’re buried under the crap, which generally attracts a lot more attention.

    • That’s what I noticed, too. There’s this sort of feministy sheen on some of it that makes it look ok until one reads further. It disturbs me that actual good men might be blown off-course by reading this stuff.

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  3. “But the thing that bothers me is the attitude that “men need space to be men without having to be feminists.””

    This, and the linked articles, shock and confuse me. My previous experience with the GMP was via “No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz?” which discusses how misogyny itself creates misandry, and how feminism is good for both men and women. I had assumed that the entire website was, essentially, “How feminist men can continue to be Good Men, despite misogyny in society.”

    “It’s absolutely true that patriarchy is bad for men. You won’t hear me arguing. But the reason for respecting women shouldn’t be because patriarchy is bad for you.”

    Er, how do we know that that’s the only reason? We can’t get into the heads of every single author. It’s more likely that they’re trying to get patriarchs’ heads out of their lower orifices by showing how their sexism is hurting them along with women.

    Again, I honestly was not aware that there were misogynists on GMP’s blogrolls. Maybe I’m reading the wrong blogs; I don’t know. I just never once got that impression. Even in the comments, misogynists have never seemed to stick around for long.

    • Let me turn that around a bit. When women are told that misandry is bad for us, it’s because it’s “hurting our cause,” which is to be treated with equity. When men are told that misogyny is bad for them, it’s because it makes people not like them. There is still a society-wide way (and, I would argue, not just in American society) of looking at women as inferior in some way. We still require men to “rescue” us, even from ourselves.

      Or let me try it this way. I fully support marriage equality. But I don’t do it because I think somehow my marriage will suffer, or the marriages that are already legal will suffer, if we don’t achieve it. I do it because I believe all people should have the rights I already enjoy.

      I’m all for having men on board with supporting equal rights. I have no problem with men who call themselves feminists (I know some great men who use that label). But when you ally yourself with someone’s cause, it should be because it’s a worthy cause, not because you think you stand to lose something.

  4. I remember being excited when GMP started. Then I remember being dismayed at the “Men’s Rights Activists” that started trolling the comments. Still, I bucked up; I don’t want the trolls to win! Then of course, The “Good Men” Project started giving the MRAs a forum to spew a crypto-sexist version of their misogyny…which of course escalated. I was out, then.

    • Yeah, that’s the thing that troubles me. There actually are some good articles on there (see above; Travis contributed one–and he’s definitely one of the “Good Men” as advertised). And hateful trolls are everywhere, so that’s to be expected when you put yourself out there, especially for a good cause. But giving them air time for their crap defeats the purpose. Misogynists don’t need “safe space” to vent their feelings, it’s called “The World.”

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  6. Hi Amy- I found your site and this article from Twitter. Just a few days ago I had a post on GMP published about my fight and struggle with short bowel syndrome. I have also had an article posted about my reflections on being a father to a daughter and how much it means to me, and a post that was a love letter to my wife after seven years.

    I was shocked to hear that this article was posted at GMP and it seems that they have posted an apology to it here http://goodmenproject.com/evergreen/older-man-provides-booze-to-an-underage-party-dad-saves-the-day/

    Obviously that post (the one removed) doesn’t speak to any of my beliefs or feelings and I was dismayed to see this come at a time where I was hoping to spread a message of information and hope to others who struggle with what I do to.

    That being said, I have also had a positive experience with GMP thus far and have dealt with their male and female staff people. I think that they are geniuninely interested in highlighting men in a good fashion as well as posting articles to help progress those who aren’t. The aforementioned posts don’t do anything to help that and frankly should have never gone past the submission page, but then again I am not on the staff and not sure how or what gets published there.

    Though I’m all for equal rights as I feel that since we are all just humans we should each be entitled to the same rights no matter who we are, I think GMP does have some good content and the message they are trying to portray is a good one. They should leave out content that doesn’t further men in the right direction.

    I feel like society in ways is progressing but in other ways mired in stereotypes. In the same way that women are labeled or lumped together under some umbrella of thought, the same happens with men.

    As a man, I find it frustrating to constantly see men portrayed as stupid pigs, only controlled by their genitals on tv, commercials, ect. I think it is good to have an outlet to show that there is more to a gender (and I think this stands on both sides) than just a sweeping acceptance. We are each individuals and though we have differences inherit in our gender, we are also much more complicated than the sum of our parts.

    Perhaps an incident like this will cause a larger discussion within the site of what content they feel is fit for the message that they want to portray, and as harmful and irresponsible as that article was, perhaps it will bring about a better change in the outlook and future publications run by the site.

    Thanks for your time

    • It’s too bad that articles like the one you mentioned above (I saw it too, via another blogger) and the ones I linked to are associated with GMP. There really are some good things on there. I’ve seen some articles written by men like you, and like Travis (he mentioned it in a previous comment here). There are actually a couple of writers there that I like. But if the overall goal is to create a place where men learn and grow, especially in regard to respect for women, then garbage like what we’ve seen has to go. It has to be tossed out by careful editors who understand what male privilege and patriarchy do in our society. And when called on it, they need to do more than remove it with an excuse that it “slipped through.”

    • I was excited to hear about The Good Men Project when it first started up. My first misgivings about the site started when it was clear that the comments were not moderated at all. I saw some of the most horrendous abusive things said about women. I heard a lot of talk from GMP about “safe space”, but what they mean by that is that its a safe space for men to say whatever they want without consequence. GMP is certainly NOT a safe space for women. When I tried to bring this up on Twitter, GMP responded that they were a place for a “conversation” ie, they were not interested in policing men who were abusive.

      This latest article, while the most egregious, is certainly not the first one that has been overtly sexist and demeaning to women. I hope what has happened will lead to some serious changes at GMP, but I’m not holding my
      breath.

      • I have to admit, I often avoid comments on sites like that because on large blogs and online mags, they’re sometimes not well-monitored. Case in point: the comments on Huffington Post. But after some of the articles on GMP that I and others have mentioned, I took a look. It’s pretty horrifying. I wonder if they would police it better if the comments were racist in nature.

        I’m not holding my breath for change, either. I just hope that the actual good men will step up and stand against the sexism demonstrated by the writers and editors at GMP.

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  8. Yes good men must change!
    I totally agree that men and women should be completely equal .
    Let’s start by getting rid of the silly segregation in sport.
    The next Olympics should be gender free – no men’s or women’s competitions,
    just mixed events.

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