August 31, 2013 Leave a comment
I tried to post this as a comment over at DDP but it wouldn’t let me. I’m not sure why but here are my thoughts.
I started writing for The Good Men Project recently and I admit that I don’t know much about the past issues, but my experience with them so far has been good.
I think you have a great point about compliments in our culture not being safe or appropriate for women to give in many situations, but I also think Noah has an excellent point if you think about it in the context of relationships. My husband seems surprised whenever I compliment him and he’s the sweetest man I’ve ever known so it took me awhile to understand that he had just never gotten compliments before.
I’m a proud and vocal feminist. I found Disrupting Dinner Parties around the same time as GMP(oddly enough) and have really really been enjoying it. I have linked to That’s Queen Bitch To You in more places than I can remember, it’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever read online. Ever.
I’m also a mom to two sons and I’m concerned about the way men are socialized and shamed in our culture. It’s different than what we do to our girls but I can’t write it off. I know that girls are far more likely to be sexually abused, I know girls are going to be struggling for equal pay and safety and to be taken seriously and hell all of the things feminism is fighting about and all of the things you guys are talking about here at DDP. My heart breaks for what women and girls go through in our world and I am willing to work to change it. But none of that makes me ok with the bad stuff that my sons have to deal with and will have to deal with, and the more I look the more I am absolutely convinced that all of the harm being done to our girls and our boys is being done by the same system. It’s not the boys against the girls it’s the system against us all. We all buy into the system in different ways and amounts and some of people are actively supporting the system. Both men and women. That’s how the system works, it brainwashes people to do its dirty work.
Hell how many times have we been going along thinking we are not supporting the system only to uncover one more layer of privilege or one more way we didn’t realize we were helping the system keep someone down? I grew up a feminist, I later had to learn about how race and trans issues needed to be taken into account too. It’s all a journey.
I’m willing to spend some time being my feminist, equality loving self over at GMP and maybe my little drops in the bucket will make a difference in some way. I’ve certainly read some great things over there(you linked to several of them) and am happy to be posted next to some of the other contributors. I’ve also read stuff there that made me roll my eyes or think “oh hell no.” But so far I’m growing and learning from things there, and from taking the time to force myself to write with men and boys in mind. Not because they are more important than women and girls, but because as a strong feminist (and overall sassy gal) I’ve always focused on how things affect women and girls and I find it valuable as a person and as a mother to purposefully shift my focus.
I think in the past I was trying to even things out, to balance out the sexism I saw. I’m not sure any more that’s the way to make a change. I think maybe the way to make changes is to start seeing how the system hurts everyone involved in it and stop comparing who is hurting the most. Not because the hurting is equal but because it is when you accept someone’s pain that they will accept yours. When it’s a contest of who has been harmed more than everyone feels minimized and brushed off and we fight each other instead of the system. When you honor how everyone has been harmed you can all be on the same side and it will take all of us to beat the system.
Last week on our weekly writers conference call the editors were looking for more diverse writers. Maybe you could submit some articles, or encourage anyone from underrepresented groups you know to submit articles.
The viral nature of the internet is an interesting phenomenon and The Good Men Project, like Jezabel and other hyper-popular blog groups (even DDP has gotten some awesome press lately) is no stranger to it. One of the GMP featured articles from February started showing up all over teh Facebooks a couple weeks ago and I’d like to take a moment to address it because, well, some things need to be addressed.
Before I start though I’d like to acknowledge the fact that there is a long and complicated history between feminists and The GMP. The involvement of Tom Matlack and Hugo Schwyzer is enough to keep the controversy kettle at a rolling boil but also the content is overwhelmingly heteronormative and the group has a poor track record for rape-apology. Potentially the most egregious example being this piece [note: I’m linking to Feministe‘s takedown and not the original article…
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