I approve very highly of The Good Men Project.

It’s an online magazine about masculinity and gender issues from the perspectives of progressive men. I think the world needs more things like this. I wish the ratio of women to men in my Sociology of Gender class hadn’t equaled than the student-faculty ratio for the class. I wish that most of my conversations about masculinity weren’t female-dominated. One of my big problems with feminism [I know you’re all like, damn, how many big problems with feminism does she have?], or maybe just with the way feminism has been perverted over the years, is the tendency of feminists to condemn the masculine. 

Tad Hargrave exemplifies this beautifully in this article from TGMP:

“If you were to sit down the average progressive male and ask them, “What are the gifts that women and the feminine bring to the world? What are the gifts that sexism, patriarchy and oppression have blocked the world from receiving?” The list would be long. Of course, there are dangers of conflating women and the feminine together directly–these lines are often not so clear. One can be in a woman’s body and deeply masculine and vice versa. But still, the list would be long. The gift of birth. The gift of their cycle. The gift of nurturing. Deep intuition and sensitivity. An amazing capacity for depth of feeling. The way that women are often the ones to carry a community–often the invisible giants on whose shoulders a community rides.

But if you were to ask the same man, “What are the gifts that the men and the masculine energy brings?” You would often see silence. And shame. Answers come but . . . not as readily. There’s a deep sense, in this culture, that men are a bad animal. A sense that “we don’t need men’s protection–we need protection from the men.” “

If we’ve reached a point where we feel that men as a collective cannot be celebrated, then we are doing something horribly wrong. Yes, patriarchy exists, and needs to be eradicated, but it doesn’t afflict all men, and afflicts many women. Patriarchy is not a “men’s issue,” just like the work-family-balance isn’t a “woman’s issue”. These are people’s issues, society’s issues. 

He also quotes a progressive female friend of his, who says the following:

“I’ll tell you something many of us women talk about in these circles for conscious change. We’re surrounded by sensitive new age men and what we really want sometimes is a man who could just bend us over the couch. Yes, we want men to be more sensitive. But sensitive to US as women. Sensitive to our needs and desires and body language. Not overly sensitive and taking everything personally. I need a man who’s solid in himself enough to notice what’s happening over here–not someone who’s obsessed with himself and what other people think of him.” 

 I added the italics there, because for a very long time I’ve felt like it makes me a bad…person-who-is-conscious-of-the-problems-of-patriarchy to want to be “man-handled” (I wish there was a better term) from time to time. I’m almost uncomfortable asking this question, but I’ve learned that questions that make you feel that way are the most important ones to ask, so: Does every action that could be construed as being based on male privilege (or white privilege, or class privilege, etc.) have to be interpreted as such? It seems to me that being progressive should be about finding ways to do these actions respectfully. Like, I don’t mind being hit on as long as dude is coming correct. I like to wear makeup and flowers in my hair, and I don’t think this makes me any more or less of a woman. And sometimes I want “a roughneck n***a, mandingo in the sack/ who ain’t afraid to pull my hair and spank me from the back” — LL Cool J feat. LeShaun, “Doin It”. I just also want to be able to hold insightful conversations and go on romantic outings and just kick it on a couch somewhere with him. All of that can be confusing for me, so I can’t even imagine what the conflicting messages must be like for guys.


About alaiyo0685

I'm a kind of quirky, pretty stubborn, way too opinionated, twenty-something, intellectual, introspective, queer, Black, female, in a polyamorous relationship, and this is where I try to figure out my life.

One thought on “I approve very highly of The Good Men Project.

  1. I love what you wrote so much. thank you for being willing to question everything and find your own truth in this. that can be scary. but as you liberate yourself, we’re all liberated. just beautifully honest.

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