Why I Resigned from The Good Men Project

Last night, I resigned from the Good Men Project. I am no longer an editor nor a contributing writer to the site.

Last week, founder Tom Matlack wrote several pieces which were highly critical of feminism. A series of highly publicized Twitter exchanges took place with a number of well-known progressive women. Tom seemed to harden his position, complaining of being attacked and pelted by angry feminists. I wrote a response, but for the first time since joining the GMP staff in January 2011, publisher Lisa Hickey refused to run my column.

I am a most imperfect feminist. But feminism and gender justice are central to my writing and my work. It was not ethically possible for me to remain silent while the site with which I am now best associated took an increasingly anti-feminist stance. To be fair, it wasn’t tenable for that site to have one of its editors and staff writers be so publicly at odds with and critical of its founder. The only viable option was to step down. I tendered my resignation last night, and Lisa Hickey accepted it this morning.

I will continue to write for Jezebel and to explore other possibilities. In the meantime, I wish the Good Men Project great success.

The piece that Tom and Lisa would not run is below the fold.


One of the most popular articles of the year (and certainly one of the most-viewed here at GMP) is Yashar Ali’s now thoroughly viral Why Women Aren’t Crazy.   Referencing an old film, Yashar coined the simple term “gaslighting” to describe the way in which men undermine women’s self-confidence through subtle (and not so) insinuations that women’s feelings are unreasonable. I’ve thought about Yashar’s piece quite a bit as I’ve reflected on the recent Twitter blow-up between GMP founder Tom Matlack and a number of well-known feminist writers.  (For more, see here, and here, and here.)

I’ve also remembered an incident from a women’s studies class of mine many years ago.  It was a typical course; perhaps 30 women and 6 men.   Most of the guys had been quiet all semester long.  But one (there is often such a one) was a talker. “Kevin” liked to stir the proverbial pot; a member of the college’s forensics team, he was a skilled debater who liked to argue.   Many of his female classmates argued back, not infrequently getting the better of him, which spurred Kevin to try even harder to instigate arguments.

One day, Kevin came to class with a duffle bag.  I thought little of it, until – in the midst of a discussion about men and feminism – he reached into the duffle and pulled out a football helmet.  “I know I’m gonna get killed for what I’m about to say”, he announced dramatically; “I brought some protection.”  Kevin then strapped the helmet on as his classmates and I stared in shock.  I told him to cut out the cheap theatrics, but not before he’d made a powerful point, though I’m confident it wasn’t the one he intended to make.

Kevin’s gag with the football helmet was designed to send a signal about women and anger.  The message he wanted to send was, as he told me later, that “feminists take things too seriously and get too aggressive.”  The message he actually sent was that men will go to great lengths to try and short-circuit women’s attempts at serious conversation.  The helmet was an effort to label those attempts as “male-bashing” or “man-hating.”  The hope was that it would shame uppity feminists into biting back their anger; of course, Kevin only ended up inflaming the situation.  In less dramatic ways, I’ve seen men use this same tactic again and again.

What bothered so many of us about the Twitter conversation about feminism was that Tom Matlack trotted out (as so many men do) that same tactic of attempting to silence women’s anger by suggesting that it poses a threat.  Tom tweeted at Jenn Pozner that some men are afraid to speak up out of fear of female reprisals. Kind of being proven right here.  Now Jennifer Pozner is a well-known feminist media critic, but she’s hardly in the position to carry out “reprisals” against anyone for speaking out, not that she would if she could.  Nor was Jenn (or Kate Harding, or Amanda Marcotte) engaged in throwing stones, which didn’t stop Tom from describing the “pelting” he was taking from feminists.

A short while later, Tom tweeted I really thought the MRA guys were crazy until I engaged the wrath of the feminists. Insane.  Though I doubt Tom thought this through clearly, this is the textbook “gaslighting” to which Yashar refers.   No feminist had called Tom a name equivalent to the names he (and I) are regularly called by MRAs (“mangina” is the epithet of choice from the Basement Boys); it didn’t matter.   Jennifer and Amanda were “insane.”

Seemingly innocuous words often have a profound charge depending on how and by whom they’re used.  Tom knows, surely, how problematic it is to use the word “boy” to refer to an African-American.   It’s not a curse word in most contexts, but when used by a white person to refer to an adult black male, it’s steeped in the long and painful history of racism in America.  What many men fail to understand is that accusing a woman of being insane or of engaging in reprisals merely because she’s expressing forceful disagreement has an equivalent ugliness.  If that seems hyperbolic, google the word “hysteria.”

All of this behavior reflects two things: men’s genuine fear of being challenged and confronted, and the persistence of the stereotype of feminists as being aggressive, wrathful,  “man-bashers.”  The painful thing about all this, of course, is that no man is in any real physical danger on the internet— or even in real life — from feminists.  Women are regularly beaten and raped — even on college campuses — but I know of no instance where a man found himself a victim of violence for making a sexist remark in a feminist setting!  “Male-bashing” doesn’t literally happen, in other words, at least not as a result of arguments over feminism. But that doesn’t stop men from using (in jest or no) their own exaggerated fear of physical violence to make a subtle point about feminists.

There’s a conscious purpose to this sort of behavior.  Joking about getting pelted (or putting on the football helmet) sends a message to women in the classroom – and online: “Tone it down.  Take care of the men and their feelings.  Don’t scare them off, because too much impassioned feminism is scary for guys.”  And you know, as exasperating as it is, this kind of silencing language almost always works. Time and again, I’ve seen it work to silence women in the classroom, or at least cause them to worry about how to phrase things “just right” so as to protect the guys and their feelings.  It’s a key anti-feminist strategy, even if that isn’t the actual intent of the men doing it — it forces women to become conscious caretakers of their male peers by subduing their own frustration and anger.   It reminds young women that they should strive to avoid being one of those “angry feminists” who (literally) scares men off and drives them away

This doesn’t mean that a “good man” is always in the wrong when he’s arguing with a woman.  It does mean that when men and women argue about gender justice, women are more likely to have insights that men have missed.  Here’s the basic axiom: power conceals itself from those who possess it. And the corollary is that privilege is revealed more clearly to those who don’t have it.  When a man and a woman are arguing about feminism – and the women involved happen to be feminists and the man happens to be an affluent white dude – the chances that he’s the one from whom the truth is more obscured is very high indeed.   That’s as true for me as it is for Tom Matlack.

I’ll say it a thousand times. I respect and admire Tom Matlack for what he’s done to start this conversation, even as I disagree with him about the degree to which men and women are really different. I disagree with his take about being “attacked” by feminists, as I don’t see the evidence of animus towards him that that word implies.  But the real disagreement we have is, I think, a bigger (though not necessarily insurmountable) one.

This is the Good Man Project, and as I’ve said a time or nine, I think the opposite of “man” is not “woman”, but “boy.”  At the heart of the reason I joined GMP was because I believe we live in a culture where too few adult males assert the grown-up virtues of self-control, responsibility, and manifested empathy.  Being “manly” is less about traditional machismo than it is about what the Apostle Paul calls the putting away of childish things.  And one of those childish things adult men put away is the need to deflect, belittle, or exaggerate women’s anger.





491 thoughts on “Why I Resigned from The Good Men Project

  1. Pingback: The Man Who Got Away « Quiet Riot Girl

  2. It is a beautiful piece and I’m very disappointed it wasn’t placed at GMP. I’m so frustrated by the entire situation. Feels like a very ugly thing to me.

      • You are the person who made me stop commenting on The Good Men Project. I don’t know if you mean to do it, but you are horrible to women. I don’t know why.
        I am now going to come back, because I think we have to stand up to sexism. It’s just so depressing that some men still thin like this. Women are not a different species.

        • And you know what? Seeing Julie and especially Jo Schroeder’s comments here has confirmed what I have suspected for months now – that they are the ones running the GMP. They are now the reason I am not going to bother visiting anymore and why I will spend my time at AVfM instead. This article by Hugo was the typical drivel I’d expect from him..

  3. I have long argued that some of the worst patriarchs were animus-possessed women—and that it not the end of masculinity, it is the end of the immature and unconscious masculine. But there are those who cannot hear that the opposite of men is the pure, not women.
    At 56, I know I am not crazy. I have experienced what I have experienced and I know to my bones what has happened to me. The patriarchal spin lost all credibility with me years ago. What is tragic is that I had to suffer so very much to know this. Sometimes, I wonder what might have been if only I had been born into a non-patriarchal world.
    Thank you, Hugo for your goodness. For your courage and for your honesty. It isn’t easy to speak forthrightly. The patriarchy hurts men and women. Thank you.

  4. Hugo, to be fair, I did not refuse to run the post. I said that the post itself was not what we had talked about on the phone — that my understanding was that you were going to write about the language of feminism and why some words were important to you and feminists. I also asked if you could explain to me how you thought a post that directly attacked the founder of the website that you worked for was good for The Good Men Project brand. You refused to have a conversation with me about those things, and instead resigned.

    Please set the record straight.

    • Is it really good for the brand ‘The Good Man Project’ if the founder if going around saying all of this.

      I stepped back and observed ALL of this and someone needs to ‘call out’ the founders ramblings. When someone does, they are silenced.

      Thanksfully, he has his own blog.

      • I know that I am answering a 10 month old blog, but I just needed to say that each time I tried to comment on a certain male site, about how men treat women, the moderators cut me off. But that’s okay.
        Hugo, I am still proud of you!!

    • I think Matlack’s reaction to criticism from women has done more to damage GMP’s “brand” than Schwyzer’s piece could ever do.

      • Agreed. My real disappointment was the ease with which the discussion got railroaded by the MRA crowd and substantive response from Tom was absent. In the end I felt GMP let the MRAs crap all over the place…so that Tom didn’t really have to engage. That’s probably terribly unfair but seeing the defensiveness with regard to Hugo’s piece… Well let’s just say I am disappointed. It was especially a drag when GMP started to talk about well “nice” feminists like his mom’s generation and the current generation of well not so nice ones. All the while leaving the MRA dudes crapping up the place and ignoring substantive points I made with regard to accepting the binary gender view as the basis of the problem…
        If GMP is really more of a support group for confused straight white men dealing with the impossible demands of women in their lives…perhaps it should close the doors, make it a private forum and hire some therapists.

        • Amen. Aggression displays (albeit in words) became the only comment that could be heard above the din. GMP is fast losing its ability to hold and amplify subtle voices. Loud became louder and extreme became wildly extreme.
          The subtle have fled, the aggressors are screaming louder and some of us have frozen waiting to see if it is safe to move.

        • Agreed. My real disappointment was the ease with which the discussion got railroaded by the MRA crowd and substantive response from Tom was absent.”
          Yeah, God forbid that MRAs comment on a men’s issue site! Don’t they know their place?

    • If you don’t think the above is about the language of feminism – and the language used against it – then you are reading this from an overly personal perspective. As someone who was largely unaware of this kerfuffle and not invested in the personalities involved (I followed a random tweet here) I think this is very much about language.

      • I completely agree. This is a piece about the language of feminist discourse. I am grateful for this piece and I am grateful for the deeper truths about human power struggles, truth empathy and wholeness that are unfolding in this discourse.

      • Indeed and agreed. An example is this passage: “Tom tweeted at Jenn Pozner that some men are afraid to speak up out of fear of female reprisals.”

        Objectively, I think it’s a true statement that some men are afraid to speak up for this reason. The rhetorical relevance is that, so what? Whose fault is that? Are we males really so weak that women ought to silence themselves so that we feel comfortable enough to speak?

        Challenging the tweet in question is not challenging its truth value (its truth is noncontroversial; even if the threat of reprisals is imagined or exaggerated, it’s undoubtedly a reason many men restrain their own speech) but rather its rhetorical purpose (apparently not to encourage more men to suppress that fear and speak their mind, but rather to encourage more women to tread lightly).

        • “Are we males really so weak that women ought to silence themselves so that we feel comfortable enough to speak?”

          Are women so weak that men must silence themselves to benefit women?

        • It seems weird to me that after decades of being told that we needed to moderate our language so as to make women feel safe, that the effect that women’s speech can have on us is so easily dismissed. If equality is really the goal, then dialog is needed. Real dialog, where I can speak and so can women. What Hugo is doing here is saying that isn’t a valid goal because I am a man and come from a place of power. He says that without knowing my life or my circumstances, without knowing anything about me (I have been physically abused by a woman, and at times the arguments were over feminism and gender issues).

          • Actually I think he was saying that you shouldn’t accuse women of attacking you as a way to close a discussion. We all have views and opinions and we all have ways of manipulating each other into giving in. I think he’s just trying to make us aware of one of the things males do to shut down a conversation–which is the opposite of what we should be doing.

    • I fail to see how Hugo’s piece would have harmed the Good Men Project brand. If anything, it could have been the life jacket the Good Men Project needs after this whole incident. I just feel awful that I had so much faith in the site and recommended it to so many friends, both male and female. It’s certainly not functioning as a site worthy of its name right now.

    • “I also asked if you could explain to me how you thought a post that directly attacked the founder of the website that you worked for was good for The Good Men Project brand.”

      I know Good Men Project is not explicitly feminist, although I would argue it is. Dissenting opinions among feminists and healthy critique of feminists is a good thing – it holds others accountable. And Tom said some things he needs to be held accountable for. I read the entire twitter stream, and Tom wrote incredibly insensitive and sexist-charged statements in response to legitimate criticism by other feminists. I think Hugo’s piece would have been great for the Good Men Project about dialogue and dissent. Nothing in this article was damning or “attacking” of Tom, it is only holding Tom accountable for what Tom said.

      • “Dissenting opinions among feminists and healthy critique of feminists is a good thing – it holds others accountable.”
        This pretty much represents the mainstream feminist viewpoint, though. Not only that, but feminism historically hasn’t been at all tolerant of actually-dissenting opinions and healthy critique. For example, there’s damn near no criticism of feminist transphobia within the feminist mainstream, not even when it’s directly resulted in laws being passed that put up barriers to female trans rape victims seeking help.

        (This actually happened in the UK. I submitted a decidedly comment to the rather blame-free post on our main feminist blog talking about the law as a fait accompli and pointing out how the law’s justification was damn near identical to the transphobic arguments of a really prominent British feminist with ties to the Government minister that introduced it. It didn’t pass moderation. I assume that other people had tried to point this out and got their comments blocked. The blog had previously soft-pedalled her transphobic opinion pieces as a minor issue.)

        • In every defined and general group, some people will refuse to accept criticism. Feminists have at times certainly refused to accept it just as anyone else has.

          It’s somewhat off-topic, though, to bring up the actions of one group of feminists and use that as a blanket to condemn all.

          What you talked about is terrible. I’m a feminist, and a pansexual GLBT activist. I don’t think anyone’s rights should be violated, and I don’t believe that anyone should restrict the rights or try to alter the actions of others. I simply want to see people treat one another as equals, and stop throwing stones because they feel hard done by. Finger-pointing helps no one.

          Everyone makes mistakes. Within every demographic and psychographic there are altruists and assholes.

          Ostracizing other humans based on a single trait they share with a group (based on philosophy, skin color, eye color, industry, or anything else) that you’re not comfortable with based on isolated experiences is ignorant and unproductive. It only pulls the wool further down over everyone’s eyes and builds walls where there should be bridges.

          • There is a difference between ostracising someone for their philosophy and disagreeing with their philosophy. If we’re not allowed to openly disagree with each other’s philosophies then we have to either all shut up or all be of the same mind – neither of which does much good for the evolution of ideas, does it?

      • The irony here is that what Tom was doing is exactly what you are talking about. He was originally bringing up a point about feeling dismissed for being masculine. As a male who was raised in a very, very feminist environment I can tell you that this is a very real thing. It is so common for a man to end up feeling that they can’t speak in a feminist sphere, because if anything we have to say is critical it will be met with derision. If what I say is wrong, show me how it is wrong, don’t tell me that I am stupid for saying it.

    • This is absolutely regarding the language of feminism and the importance of specific vernacular. The GMP is apparently, the best new punchline on the Internet.

    • ” I also asked if you could explain to me how you thought a post that directly attacked the founder of the website that you worked for was good for The Good Men Project brand.”

      Lisa, from where I sit, Tom Matlack took the GMP brand, doused it with gasoline, and lit a match this week. Publishing Hugo’s “attacks” (a word that’s really been abused by Matlack) would be a good first step in what would have been the very difficult process of repairing that brand.

      Furthermore, I can’t imagine what you thought you were reading here. This piece is obviously about the importance of language for feminists, particularly a) the rhetoric of fear of excessive feminist ‘attacks’ and the b) the destructive rhetorical power of the casual non-clinical use of the word ‘insane.’

      That you gave a pretense for refusing to publish it, particularly one that doesn’t stand up to a moment’s scrutiny, doesn’t change the fact that you did, in fact, refuse to publish it. It’s unfortunate you can’t seem to distinguish protecting Matlack’s ego from what is good for GMP.

      • If you read the twitter comment that mentions insane slightly differently, without the filter of anger, it reads differently. Not as if he is calling someone insane, but as if he is remarking that he finds the situation insane. That would actually be the standard way to read what he said (it’s the punctuation that makes it clear). In addition, the complaint that saying someone feels attacked is silencing the attacker is exactly the kind of thing that was hurled in the face of feminists in the sixties. Have we really reached a point where we need to shame and silence men for trying to express how they feel?

    • Not finding a lot of people who are really going to believe that’s exactly how it went here. We’ve all known Hugo on the interwebs for a long time, and would be surprised if he rolled like that.

    • wow… I think that at this point…the feminists look just as bad as the men at this point. It’s a shame that this wonderfully written article was not printed due to your misunderstanding of it’s content. That I can see, Hugo has indeed written about the language of feminism and why some words were important. I would challenge that your overly feminist sensibilities were bruised in this matter and you are unable to see Hugo’s article for what it really is.

      Maybe men should worry about being men, and women should worry about being women and everyone should work TOGETHER.

      • Feminist sensibilities aren’t what’s getting in the way of her seeing the point of Hugo’s article. Hugo’s the one exercising feminist sensibility.

    • Hi. I’m nobody, but I guess that means I’m a Valued Reader, so presumably my feedback could under some circumstances be useful to someone.

      “if you could explain to me how you thought a post that directly attacked the founder of the website that you worked for was good for The Good Men Project brand”

      First, on bad ideas vs. bad people: Was this an attack on a person, or on a specific set of actions by a person? If I give you a parking ticket, am I attacking you? Could we please stop confusing attacking people with attacking ideas?

      Second, on enforced loyalty vs. dissenting opinions: Any brand in which all employees are required to parrot The Official Company Position is not worth my time. Quite aside from the question of whether “GMP” wants to correct problems regarding its members’ sexism, does “the GMP brand” want to be associated with intellectual rigour or with petty dogma?

      Third, on what makes us more worth talking to than rocks: If you don’t invoke reason when faced with possibly-valid criticism of actions, why should I consider you an intelligent entity worthy of respect?

      • Agreed, hugo is simply attacking an idea. The lack of pro-feminist opinion (acknowledging that feminism is good for men and women in challenging traditional gender roles) have been dropping from the GMP. When I have commented on certain articles, I can’t help but feel the responses have been sexist and patronising. I have unliked GMP on facebook because of this. If articles like hugo’s were still present on GMP (at least to show some disagreement) I would still be an active viewer of the site.

    • What kind of “enlightened” project do you think you can have without being able to self-criticize or take criticism from others, exactly? I found this piece to be very reasonable and well-written. How does having a thoughtful and well-written criticism from one contributor to another hurt your website? What HAS hurt your website is that fact that a lot of people are reading this essay somewhere else.

    • That is the same thing. Constructive dismissal. You should have been thanking your lucky stars that a writer and academic of such stature chose to write for your (until now) excellent discussion forum.
      Why is free speech so important (quite rightly) when men want to express hostility towards feminism, but when it comes to challenging sexism, it’s to be limited to discussing use of certain ‘words’, or otherwise restricted under alternative parameters?
      I hope that you can both thrash out your differences, and that you do not permanently lose this wonderful, insightful feminist writer.

  5. Pingback: Tough Guys and Sissies « Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton

  6. You talk about men “gaslighting” women, but you don’t accept that Tom was making the same arguing except in the opposite direction. It seems clear that both sides sometimes do this to the other, yet when someone mentions that women do it to men, those men are labeled “Basement Boys”.

    Yeah, some anti-feminists or MRAs snipe at women and feminists, but within ‘respectable’ intellectual circles those guys’ word isn’t taken seriously in the first place.

    There are several marginalizations in existence here. Yes, women are marginalized in some ways while men are marginalized in others. But for some reason we’ve adopted this mentality that only one side can be slighted. I think both men and women are slighted in different – but equally important – ways on different fronts.

    • I think most feminists would totally agree with this. The idea that men can’t be expected to go beyond boyhood and should be dismissed is becoming more and more epidemic. I think this is also what Hugo was talking about in his last paragraph to a degree.

      However the initial conflict wasn’t about gas lighting, it was about Tom writing an article that posited that men and women are fundamentally different in ways that make it hard for us to communicate, and that women place blame on men for things and nag them a lot.

      • …it was about Tom writing an article that posited that men and women are fundamentally different in ways that make it hard for us to communicate…

        And then both sides proved it. Whatever label you want to give it, dialogue ceases when someone is being attacked. I like the subtlety of the football helmet. We’ve all become so focused on what our view of feminism and equality are that we’ve forgotten (or simply decided it wasn’t important) how to respect those who disagree. In other words, maybe if we yell loud enough, or insult someone enough, they’ll shut up and go away. Gaslighting is it called?

        Whatever happened to respect? Feminism isn’t a permission slip to shit all over someone. Radical feminists and the men who identify themselves as such should take responsibility for their language, especially if they are asking Tom to do the same.

        This whole thing turned into something ugly, and look–people are taking their baseball gloves and going home, and NOTHING GOT ACCOMPLISHED. No one came away from this with a new insight, but there are certainly plenty of bruises. What a damn shame.

      • “. . . the initial conflict wasn’t about gas lighting, it was about Tom writing an article that posited that men and women are fundamentally different in ways that make it hard for us to communicate, and that women place blame on men for things and nag them a lot.”

        That does sound like an honest question which Tom raised, and is certainly worthy of open discussion by truthseekers of all persuasions.

        Is it, in fact, possible, that men and women are “essentially” different in ways that might sometimes cause them to “talk past” each other, or not be on the same page?

        It seems to me that a correct answer to this would do a lot to set human relationships straight. Certainly, if such a thing were true, we would want to know it, and allow for it, and make occasional course corrections so that we didn’t go on the rocks.

        For as matters stand nowadays, we seem to go on the rocks quite a bit.

    • Totally agree. Hugo’s argument amounts to saying , first that Real Men Don’t Have Feelings, and second that if a man does have feelings he cannot express them to women without becoming a boy.

      • I didn’t get this understanding from this article. I got the understanding that adults (male or female) ought to strive to develop mature ways of expressing their emotions, or at least ought to have the maturity to take ownership of immature ways of expressing emotion.

        If, for instance, I’m feeling wary of entering a conversation in which I feel that my gender, race, or some other characteristic will lead my interlocutors to engage in hostile rhetoric, I doubt based on this passage that Hugo would decry my saying, “I’ll admit to being nervous in this conversation because of my past experiences, but I’d like to proceed nonetheless.” That’s taking ownership of my anxieties, as opposed to, “Well, I know how women/blacks/[insert group here] can get, but I’ll try to get through to you anyway.”

    • It’s true that men have their own issues but in a world where male privilege exists one has to acknowledge that men and women do not suffer symmetrically. There are asymmetric consequences of patriarchy for women and while men face issues those issues are NOT the result of systemic female privilege OVER men the way a lot of women’s issues are due to systemic male privilege OVER women. It’s this simple point that most MRAs, gender traditionalists, etc. can’t seem to appreciate but it seems blindingly obvious to me.

      • Exactly.

        It IS blindingly obvious–when you’re really listening instead of looking for new and sneakier ways to blame women for everything the patriarchy does.

        (Also, just to put the other nattering on the thread to rest–no, women and men are NOT “essentially” different. Good grief, what’s wrong with these people? What on earth is gained by the “men-are-from-Mars” baloney? I’ll never understand why there’s so much whining about women daring to tell the truth.)

        • The essential difference seems to be that we have different experiences. If we bear that in mind, we can understand why people say the things they do.
          I liked that essentialism comment, and it did make me think. I do agree, however that women are just people, like men.

    • That first part was a typo, though, right? I’ve heard it said and it makes some sense that privilege conceals itself from those who possess it, but power isn’t that sneaky.

      • No typo. Power definitely conceals itself. The powerful often really have no idea that they wield power over someone–particularly when the gap is only just big enough.

      • Out of context, it’s hard to wrap one’s mind around, but it did make immediate sense to me in the context of this piece. I also see how it works in other areas as well.

        Consider those who hold the opinion that poverty is a moral failing; that poor people are lazy, and if they just worked hard and pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, they could be successful. (I run into this thinking a LOT in my line of work.) These same people have no recognition of the impact their relatively peaceful childhood has on them; their education; their friends and family; their knowledge of the world. They assume that they are NOT more powerful than this other person… they just do more with what they have. They are blind to the huge and often insurmountable resource gaps between themselves and the guy sleeping on the sidewalk.

        It’s somewhat like a virus that sneaks in and disguises itself to the immune system, so that it can reproduce and grow more effectively. Perhaps people who are aware of their power are reluctant to wield it to acquire more power?

      • IKR. The power is rather obvious.
        Like gee, why did I stand up in the middle of that argument? It’s not because I’m taller than that woman, of course not!!
        I don’t know anywhere power’s not obvious. You have to make a choice, especially in moments that matter most. Privilege usually happens with or without your permission such as repercussions for ‘losing’ the argument only costing you a few minutes or days of ostracism as opposedto your job or your life c

  7. Time and again, I’ve seen it work to silence women in the classroom, or at least cause them to worry about how to phrase things “just right” so as to protect the guys and their feelings.

    Or, possibly, to protect ourselves from retributive attacks based on the accusation that we’ve said something we actually haven’t. If you don’t offer any straw, no one can build a strawman to use against you.

    It’s not always a deference to caretaking men that silences or makes limitingly self-conscious feminist women. Sometimes it’s self-care, or more accurately self-protection, especially in a setting like a classroom with a known bellicose shit-shirrer, which I think is an important issue to address, particularly in light of your point about real attacks versus imagined ones.

  8. Lisa, to be entirely accurate the post was posted for a few minutes and then taken down at Tom’s request. I’m happy to establish that timeline.

    The reason I resigned is contained in the question you asked. As publisher, you asked me why you should put up a piece that could damage the GMP brand. That was very clarifying to me about the gap between feminism and the GMP brand. You were right: you couldn’t publish the piece and protect the brand. But I couldn’t not speak publicly against what Tom was saying. Your words clarified the impasse helpfully.

    And as I made clear, the option you had was to run the piece or I would resign. There was no need for more discussion. You couldn’t run it, I couldn’t stay at GMP in good conscience if it didn’t run. I’m not angry at you, Lisa, just honoring our irreconcilable differences.

    • The sad part is that they did post a piece (or nine) of yours which was not in line with what GMP should be all about. Remember your cuckold post? You actually wrote that women’s right to choose extends past the actual birth of the child. I’d guess that if that post never made it on GMP that this current rift wouldn’t be playing out. How about all of your “men are potential rapists fear them” posts? If you don’t fit the GMP brand, that’s all the better for the men who read the content of that site.

      • That was never what was said.

        Nobody EVER said all men were potential rapists.

        Not EVER.

        All that was EVER said was that women DON’T KNOW what kind of man is approaching her out of the blue, so men could use their heads and quit giving women crap about not automatically trusting every dude who wants to hit on her…especially those who already ignore her boundaries to do so.

        SO sick of this “waaaah women are mean for protecting themselves” garbage.

    • Discussion is important and you can’t truly discuss issues if you are constantly worried about appearances rather than content. I feel like this was the entire argument behind the defense of Tom Matlack’s piece. The fact that is the argument used to take down Hugo’s piece is damning.

      As someone who tries to be a good man, I don’t disagree with anything Hugo said in his post. Apparently GMP’s brand no longer includes me either.

        • A publisher pushing a writer to modify/not publish an article so that it fits the brand is not acting in the spirit of communication. Good communication cannot emanate from censorship. Any writer has the right to resign if they believe the restrictions put on their communication are limiting their voice.

          • In fairness, apparently it was published, and then un-published. So she didn’t so much refuse to publish it, as just un-publish it. Not sure how that’s supposed to be a meaningful distinction.

          • 1. Why does Hugo have to answer questions when Tom doesn’t?

            2. Hugo’s piece seems to deal directly with language and the way some words are viewed by feminists.

            3. Amanda’s piece “attacked” Tom more than Hugo’s. Why publish Amanda and not Hugo?

          • @LISA

            If I may interject, from the perspective of a third party, you did not apparently ask a question in good faith. You seemed to ask a rhetorical question in order to shed light on your critical opinion about Hugo’s stance. Which is fine, too, but it is unfair and disingenuous to act like your only motive was inquisitiveness or seeking clarification.

            And, furthermore, it was a question that put the “brand” of the GMP above the meaningful content of the GMP.

            With all due respect, no piece of your reaction is aligned with good, honest, or responsible journalism. If you had a personal problem with the content – even if TOM had a personal problem with the content – you still owed it to your readership to publish the article and let the readers form an opinion and respond appropriately. That you have so little faith in the way this could have turned out having done so, makes me question how much you value discourse and progress. There is more to the GMP – or, there was more, anyway – than the superficial value of the “brand.”

        • I respectfully disagree. I think his point was simply that he recognized you were in a position of choosing between two mutually exclusive possibilities: publishing this article and protecting the “brand” of GMP. Hugo recognized that you were in a no-win position. And he recognized that your role is to protect the brand. So he was totally understanding of why you decided not to publish it. Yet, his allegiance was to voicing his opinion and so he felt it was more important to resign than to keep silent. He was totally respectful of your decision. His point, “There was no need for more discussion,” wasn’t dismissive to me. It was an honest recognition of your position and the fact that there was no clean solution to this impasse.

        • Bingo.it’s kinda the same move.it’s appropriatefor his blog and toprotectthe brand,buthe’s notthe editor. Resigning,especially after he’s done some very unfeministthings himself is kind ofoutthere and sounds more like a powerplay than righteous indignation.if its still a powerplay and you’replanning tocon back,well, carryon,butI’mnotbuying,so maybe it won’t work atGMP.

    • Most honorable, Hugo.

      It does make me sad that the impasse though is not so much about the brand as it seems to be about Toms inability to process some serious criticism and come out on the other side with a fuller view of what it means to be a good man. I hope that is not the case.

      • Perhaps Tom isn’t the only one who needs to come out with a better understanding. Perhaps the lesson here is that some men, even ones who are well intentioned, feel marginalized (and whether that’s right or wrong is a different discussion) and that maybe a change in the way some dialog is conducted could help alleviate some of that.

        • Oh, good grief. The “tone” argument rears its ugly head again. I suppose if women were only nicer and less demanding more men would be willing to listen. Jeez. What utter crap. If some guy needs his hand held and cookies handed to him he’s no good as an ally anyway.

          The second no more cookies are forthcoming the allegiance is at an end and feminists are “those nagging bitches” again.

  9. Yes, yes, yes! I watched the discussion from the first tweets. And the Twitter repercussions for the feminists involved. From a passive participation perspective (meaning not tweeting my own opinions) it was jaw dropping to see the metaphorical wall go up higher and higher until it seemed Mr. Matlock must be receiving tweets I couldn’t see because his tweets were no longer responsive. I didn’t know about The Good Man Project (never heard of it), nor you or Mr. Matlock. It was not a good introduction. In the end, you’re the big discovery for me. However, skeptically, due to your association with a group I’m only familiar with from the recent twitter exchange. So thank you GMP for highlighting at least one who’s clearly trying. And I’m glad you’re no longer associated; they have some serious work to do.

  10. I’m so frustrated and saddened by the GMP right now. I had so much hope when it was launched, and I’ve watched with great interest as it grew. But this situation shook my faith in the site. Thank you Hugo, for standing up for what you believe in despite the costs to yourself. I will not be returning to the GMP for a long time, if ever; but I will be following your work closely.

    • This was really the only comment I wanted to make, as well. Gaslighting as a term for purposefully undermining an individual’s perception of reality by telling them that their reasonable reactions are unreasonable has been around for over 30 years.

      Otherwise, this is a great piece. I’m really disappointed in the Good Men Project for, well, not being good men.

    • “Referencing an old film, Yashar coined the simple term “gaslighting” to describe the way in which men undermine women’s self-confidence through subtle (and not so) insinuations that women’s feelings are unreasonable.”

      The coining is in the use of the word as part of the tools used against women by men as a way to silence them. Previously it was used only as a description of general deceit intended to confuse someone else.

      He even mentioned that Yashar was inspired by an old film in the decision to create a new use for the term, the specific actions taken by men to invalidate women’s observations and feelings.

      • No, it was a pretty common trope in feminist and psychological circles to think of, and use, the term as specifically a tool of men against women. Which, again, given the gender dimensions of the film, is not that surprising. Nothing new in the use of the term here. And if there were, the right phrase would not be “coined the simple term ‘gaslighting'” but “used the familiar term ‘gaslighting’ in a novel way…”

      • Then how did I hear the term in a second-season episode of Quantum Leap the other day? I wish I could remember which one. Perhaps it was “A Portrait for Troian,” where the debt-ridden brother to an heiress tries to convince her that she’s going crazy so that she’ll commit suicide.

    • Gaslighting refers to a play written in 1938 and set in 1880. Literally, lights were then run on gas (no electricity), so in the play the husband tries to drive his wife insane in order to gain her fortune…by adjusting the gaslights to make her think they are flickering by themselves. She wasn’t crazy, he was trying to institutionalize her…hysteria, again as Hugo mentioned.

  11. Thank you, Dr. Schwyzer for standing up for feminism instead of keeping your post at GMP. I know there are plenty of reasons you could have stayed and justified doing so. However, the fact that you gave up a reputable writing position at an acclaimed website shows a lot of integrity and commitment to feminism. I thank you for.exposing GMP in this light because I was just starting to think they might have truly feminist goals.

  12. GMP: you lost a good writer with a loyal readership.

    It’s the holidays. I don’t know, but can everyone put their tablet PCs and iPads down, cool off, and…reconsider? The debate gets intense but it’s valuable and necessary.

  13. Brilliant piece from a brave man, Mr. Schwyzer.

    It seems that Mr. Matlack only accepted analysis of privilege from his own perspective. It seems like people feel ‘attacked’ in discussions about sexism, racism, homophobia, etc, when they internalize the blame for the effects of the -ism. I am a white woman, and I struggled to understand that though I benefited from racial privilege, the discussion did not brand *me* a racist (of course, I must work to dismantle that privilege). I hope Mr. Matlack comes to a similar conclusion.

  14. from Hugo: “Tom tweeted at Jenn Pozner that some men are afraid to speak up out of fear of female reprisals. Kind of being proven right here.”

    If I understand you, you’re saying Tom was way off base with this, but are you telling me that resigning your GMP column and likely taking a big chunk of traffic with you is not a reprisal? (Yes, Tom said “women”, but since this has become a feminist thing, I think you count.)

    I don’t understand why you’re trying to make such a big point about *physical* threats that Tom doesn’t face, and how his language of “attack”, “bashing”, or “reprisals” is therefore inappropriate. I know you’re a good writer, so you know what figurative language is. It’s not easy to describe coming under heavy criticism without using such language, whether you’re a man or a woman. *That* is what Tom was talking about (unless I greatly misunderstand him), and *that* does accurately describe what happened and is happening to him.

    You, a feminist, are angry (or maybe just disappointed in a passionate way) that Tom is not feeling and talking more like the kind of feminist that you think men should be – the kind of feminist that you are. *You* are a wonderful feminist, as many friends, colleagues, and commenters will attest, but in picking up your keyboard and going home, you are – again – proving one of Tom’s original suspicions, that what women/feminists want from men is to feel and talk more like them. You do, so you’re in the club. Tom doesn’t, so he’s not just out of the club, but branded a blind-to-his-own-privilege gender essentialist. With words like that, who needs sticks and stones?

    • “You* are a wonderful feminist, as many friends, colleagues, and commenters will attest, but in picking up your keyboard and going home, you are – again – proving one of Tom’s original suspicions, that what women/feminists want from men is to feel and talk more like them. ”

      What I actually want from men is for men to listen more like I do.

      When you say words, I assume that you mean them. When Tom said in his article things about the inherent differences between men and women and implied that most women were nags, I listened, I heard what he actually said, and I responded to what he said. (As did many other feminists.)

      But he didn’t seem to respond directly to any of our criticisms. His responses were often unrelated to the point or blatant straw men.

      Listening to someone, allowing them to speak their mind and trying to understand their point of view doesn’t mean you have to agree. But it is difficult to find the real holes in someone’s argument when you are talking so loud you don’t know what their argument actually is.

      • Wow. Tom NEVER said “most women are nags.” He talked about his friend and his friend’s wife. Then he talked about SOME women. Not all. Some. How can you support Hugo’s contention that all men should feel guilty simply because rape exists, but then fault Tom for writing about his friend with a nagging wife? And if you think feminists aren’t in the business of generalizing and stereotyping men, “rape culture,” and the like, you’re dreaming.

        And even though you’re blatantly misquoting Tom, you have the audacity to talk about listening. You didn’t even listen well enough! And what of the multiple women (including Roseanne Barr) who were talking just as loud? You seem to just gloss right over them. How convenient.

        I understand you want to be heard and for others to listen. But you need to do the same in return.

        • First, someone awesomer than me (but I can’t remember who, apologies) pointed out that if that description of his friend with the “nagging” wife is literally true, that should be a red flag for an abusive relationship, not a grounds for asserting gender essentialism.
          Secondly, most feminists today with wide audiences do not say that men should feel guilty that rape exists, but that men should be equal partners with women (and other gendered folks) in PREVENTING rape, which is not done by feeling guilty and mopey. People keep getting confused about the difference between “please understand when women, who are told over and over all their lives about how they might get raped, don’t trust you right away because of your gender, and it would be nice if you would not engage in behaviors perceived as threatening” and “please take this switch covered in thorns and flagellate yourself for eternity over the sins committed by members of your gender.” Not quite sure how that keeps happening. Similarly, the charge is often asserted that feminists think all men are rapists, which is patently untrue – the assertion is that people have no way of knowing who is a rapist and who is not, and so err on the side of being cautious around people (ie not assuming they ARE safe).
          Feminists are generally trying to break down gender essentialist stereotypes, which means they are not, in fact, stereotyping men, but are analyzing and describing broad trends in our culture about how men are taught to act, and particularly how people with privilege are taught to think about and treat marginalized people.
          And I think a pretty good case can be made for a rape culture, given the findings of the recent CDC study, and also, you know, the world.

          • That phrase again: Rape Culture. In the society that in all of the world in all of history has the least tolerance of rape. I have never personally talked to a man who doesn’t condemn rape.

          • @Traverse Davies

            ” In the society that in all of the world in all of history has the least tolerance of rape”

            Wow, do you ever need a history cross-cultural lesson. And even if what you say is true, (you’re only comparing our society to other patriarchal societies, which is meaningless).

            “I have never personally talked to a man who doesn’t condemn rape.”

            LOL! LOL! Of course you haven’t! They all condemn rape – verbally. It’s called “lip service”. And it’s usually followed by “I condemn rape, but of course what Bill Cosby did to all those women wasn’t really rape, and when a husband forces sex with is wife, that isn’t really rape, and what I did with my date the other night wasn’t really rape, and that woman who claimed she was raped wasn’t really raped, etc. etc. etc.

        • I’mkinda glad someone pulled the “butit was a generalization and generalizations are/notevil!” derai. Generalizations are linguistically necessary and an accepted part ofacademic and scientific writing.ina serious discussion between people who knowthat, arguing against their use is almostalwaysfallacious.as alwaysthere’s are *correct* waystoapply concepts and incorrectones.it is the concept, which included an incorrectgeneralization and inflammatory reasonings and arguments thatare the problem
          Here.notthatsomeone omitted a word thatmight’ve made a fewpeople more comfortable withit.

        • And if you think feminists aren’t in the business of generalizing and stereotyping men, “rape culture,” and the like, you’re dreaming.

          Unintentional irony, party of five…

    • I think Hugo made it clear he resigned because his response was not allowed to be posted, not because of anything Tom said. If his post is allowed it is a discussion at GMP encompassing a wide ideological range. When his post isn’t allowed there is becomes clear that there is a significant gap between what GMP believes and what Hugo believes even though Hugo’s name is editor of the section in which the discussion was taking place.

      • Hugo got a piece published wherein he advocated women lying to men about their paternity in order to avoid a sticky moral situation. In my mind, he snuck one through the GMP staff and should consider all of his pieces to be based on their approval. Every publisher and editor has final say on what gets pushed through. Hugo gets rejected once and takes his toys and goes home.

        There’s nothing brave about Hugo here – he’s merely using this in order to beef up his activist CV.

      • @Jeff, Marcus made it clear that, although Hugo is in fact not a female, he is a feminist, which was the point of the message. There’s no real need to get technical about the words when the meaning behind them is quite obvious. If you thought Tom was referring quite literally only to “WOMEN”, then we’ve got a much bigger distasteful comment on our hands. Being male does not excuse you from taking part in the same tactics female feminists use.

        • Funny; if we’re going to say “women and feminists want men to communicate the way that they do,” then that undermines the entire gender-essentialist framework of the “I’m a dude and it’s awesome so why laydeez be all hatin'” post. This acknowledges that some men are actually capable of communicating at the level which is expected of women; you know, that of a person with basic decency.

    • “what women/feminists want from men is to feel and talk more like them. You do, so you’re in the club. Tom doesn’t, so he’s not just out of the club, but branded a blind-to-his-own-privilege gender essentialist. With words like that, who needs sticks and stones?”

      No, what this feminist woman wants from men is not to characterize all women as x and all men as y. It’s destructive. It’s factually incorrect. It enables so much that is not productive or helpful. It’s lazy at best, malicious at worst.

      Tom isn’t out of any club. Tom decided that rather than respond rationally to the problems with what he was saying, that angry feminists were attacking him. That seems to me like nothing but a huge cop-out. It’s sad that he doesn’t see how his statements were gender-essentialist, but they clearly are. The fact that he uses tactics like calling feminists insane and stating that by pointing out flaws in his arguments, they’re ‘attacking him’, he is demonstrating quite clearly that he is blind to his privilege at least in this one respect.

      • Except that angry feminists *did* attack him. Perhaps not physically, but that’s a bit of a silly requirement for conversations over twitter. When a man calls women “insane” he is using a tactic, but when women call a man a prick it’s just regular rational argument? Come on. Play by your own rules, please.

        • The difference between a woman being called insane and a man being called a prick is this: when a person is labelled insane, they are placed outside of the realm of normal, thinking humans. Their opinions do not matter and they are not listened to because insane people are by nature incapable of coming up with rational, logical ideas. “Insane” is used to describe someone’s mental capacity, whereas “prick” is used to describe someone’s personality. Someone can have a shitty personality, but they are still seen as being able to provide rational arguments. After being told for centuries that women are inferior in every way, especially mentally, while men are praised for being strong-willed (which someone described as a prick often is), it is understandable that the term “insane” grates a little. This is not to say that “prick” is not an insult, or that everybody should be nicer and stop calling everybody else so many damn names, but instead to explain the inherent difference between those two terms.

          • It doesn’t matter what the historical connotations of these words are. Name calling is not an acceptable way to hold an argument.

      • Unless I’m entirely mistaken, didn’t this entire thing start with a feminist characterizing all men as y and Tom objecting to it? It’s kinda late here so I could be getting confused.

    • The thing is, Tom unfairly accused his critics of name-calling and bashing, in order to deflect very substantive criticism. He never acknowledged, in private or public, my two requests for clarity to understand his arguments. I asked at least 5 or 6 times in different forums. Asking the simple questions: “What are these ‘differences’ between men and women?” and “How are women not accepting men, and what would that ideal acceptance look like?” were called “attacks” and “bashing” and “name-calling”. It was none of these things. The addition of language with a sexist history didn’t help.

    • Marcus – Hugo’s integrity as a writer is what made him leave GMP – not a wish to punish Tom… He could not keep his integrity and his silence. Hope that makes sense.

    • BINGO ! Brilliant !

      And don’t forget that the point of the feminists insisting that they win every contest in the “victim olympics” is, ultimately, to continue to change the rules of society until men are utterly marginalized, totally disempowered, kept ignorant and isolated and eventually eliminated by expossure at birth.

      By the time women now in their 20s are in their 40s they will be in complete control of all the levers of power in the society. Their commanding lead in undergraduate and graduate school degrees, and their majority in mid-level professional and managerial positions, is not going away. Already the “blame the victim” chorus has started: men and boys have only themselves to blame for not being able to keep up. Marginalize them further!

      • Yeah. Women being kept out of colleges for millenia and FINALLY outnumbering men for a couple of years means men are in extreme danger of being marginalized. I’m terrified for them.

        It’s like the study where women who talk a third of the time are “dominating” the conversation–objectively it’s completely untrue, subjectively the trope is so ubiquitous that society as a whole buys into it.

        • Except that makes no sense, since the above poster is referencing real statistics indicating women are found in greater numbers than men in college.

  15. Hugo,
    Comparing Tom to the guy in the football helmet doesn’t work. Tom’s was not a cheap, theatrical stunt. It was his opinion. An opinion many people agree with to varying extents, even though some feminists have clearly stated anyone who feels that way is “wrong.”

    Tom was called a “prick” by one of the feminists on Twitter. I saw it with my own eyes. So right off the bat, your claims that there was no name-calling are incorrect and totally wrong. Second, let’s not pretend Tom was the only one who threw out insults during that debate. You cannot tell me with a straight face that all the feminists who entered the fray were without hostility. That’s just not accurate Hugo. Some of them were very demeaning, condescending and insulting. I’m sure both sides said some things they regret, but it was BOTH sides. Not just Tom.

    While you believe there’s a tone among privileged males that says “tone it down and protect our feelings,” don’t pretend there’s not a tone among feminists that says “We know what’s right, now agree with us!” It works both ways Hugo, yet you continue to hold no women accountable for anything. It really does mystify me, but at least you’re consistent.

    You know from our public and private conversations I have a lot of respect for you. Hell, I’ve come to your defense several times. But I don’t think your version of events accurately reflects what happened. Sorry, but I just don’t. I know your fans will rally around you here, but unlike them I examine each situation individually and I’ve found your argument doesn’t hold a lot of water.

    • “…don’t pretend there’s not a tone among feminists that says “We know what’s right, now agree with us!” It works both ways Hugo, yet you continue to hold no women accountable for anything. It really does mystify me, but at least you’re consistent.”


  16. I had looked around the GMP site before this all happened and been disturbed by some of the stuff there. If anything, I think your presence there may have been damaging your “brand” as a feminist author (it definitely made me a little suspicious of you) so I think this is a good move.

    • I would be curious to know also what you found disturbing. It’s a “project”, a community site that has a lot of POVs, and was never intended to have the final word on anything. But if there are “disturbing” things there, it would be good to know.

        • It’s the age-old question that has always haunted blogging. Is a blog defined by its comments and commenters or its content? I’d say we should judge a blog by its content.

          • Lisa asked the person what she found that was offensive. She didn’t specify where. And there was a piece featured which said it was fine to have women paraded around at sports events as decorations for men to leer at, so there you go. There’s some disturbing content which was not in the comments.

        • I do. And it’s very obvious that, here lately, GMP has been attracting swarms of MRAs who seem hellbent on logjamming any discussion where males aren’t deemed the victor or the universal victim. They were there to either high-five the gender-essentialist posts and their writers, or sling arrows at people like Hugo for refusing to do the same.

          Now, I don’t mean to conflate my own personal expectations with the vision or intentions of the people who own and run it. All I know is that, anywhere there’s a high concentration of MRAs is a place I don’t personally want to be. I didn’t see too many reasonable voices prevailing and, as a result, I lost interest.

          This whole debacle only sealed that decision, especially as one of its last redeeming qualities has taken his leave.

          • Alex: I love this. You talk about how hateful the MRAs are on the site (and some of them can be) and how it turns you off. Then you write: “This whole debacle only sealed that decision, especially as one of its last redeeming qualities has taken his leave.”

            You do realize you’ve just insulted likely more than 100 or so people who contribute to the GMP on all sorts of topics. Writers who have bared their souls and personal stories for the betterment of others. But I guess you’re only worth listening to if you hold a feminist perspective and write/act like Hugo.


          • Alex, do you really mean to say that men who have been abused by their wives should be silenced? Do you really mean to say that men should not talk about the all-too-common experience of having their feelings invalidated by women when the man expresses them, or being viewed as a “sexual suspect” in an elementary school classrom?

      • The quotes around disturbing suggest that you may just be interested in being dismissive—hopefully not. It’s obviously a subjective judgment. I stand by my right to be disturbed even as I acknowledge that others might not find the same material disturbing.

        The piece that sticks out in my mind is this: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/how-i-became-a-deadbeat-dad/ –I’m sympathetic that divorce and custody cases can be very difficult for both men and women, and that because our culture sees child care as women’s work there is suspicion directed at men who want to take on a caring role toward their children. I’ve worked with men who are homeless and having a hard time with child support arrears/collection, so I know that this system can be unconstructively punitive toward noncustodial parents (who are usually men). It was in this spirit that I looked at this article. My initial sympathy turned to suspicion with the dropping of the “lesbian feminist” specter of the mother in law’s friends, who had supposedly counseled the ex-wife/mother to claim abuse when she had not previously been inclined to do so, and the ranting tone of the article and many of the comments. The “lesbian feminist” claim was just so conspiracy theory, over-the-top, and unnecessary—I mean, even if the women in question were both lesbian and feminist, it isn’t relevant to explaining apparently dishonest actions—unless, of course, you think that “lesbian feminists” are inherently suspicious, which I don’t. I have some familiarity with the LGBTQ and feminist communities, and I have no idea what a “lesbian feminist” is, except as a rhetorical tool used by men who feel entitled to women’s sexual attention and who are inclined to dismiss feminism as extremist.

        I found it disturbing in the sense of wondering whether a site that would publish an article like this was really making a good faith effort to analyze the relationships between/among men and women. I don’t claim to have made an exhaustive analysis of the site, so I don’t know how typical this article is, but based on your exchanges here with Hugo it appears that you vet articles pretty carefully with respect to name calling kinds of issues, which is how I see this.

        In addition to being turned off by the terminology, I didn’t learn anything from this article. I mean, yeah, women can be dishonest jerks, and the law enforcement/legal system can be really twisted, but unless you thought that women were incapable of dastardly deeds and that the system would be stacked in your favor, this isn’t surprising.

  17. Kol hakavod to you for writing this, Hugo.

    it forces women to become conscious caretakers of their male peers by subduing their own frustration and anger

    This really resonates with me. I’ve been reflecting recently on how often, without even thinking about it, I engage in this kind of caretaking behavior. Thanks for naming it.

  18. Pingback: Hugo resigns from TGMP « What Men Dare Do!

  19. This was a fantastic piece, Hugo—too many favorite insights to list. In my opinion, some of your contributions to the GMP have been brilliant; a few have been infuriating; all have generated controversy. Regardless, you consistently write circles around both Ms. Hickey and Mr. Matlack, and your talents should be put to use where they will be appreciated. My brief patronage of the GMP is over.

  20. Thank you, Hugo, for being so brave and writing this….it is a tightrope you walk when you bring up these difficult issues….I am so grateful that you are defending the silent…A boy that I encountered in 8th grade used to try all the above techniques you mentioned above on me…I rebuffed him and went on my way…That boy grew up to become a Creative Writing professor at an Ivy League university and he wrote a book about his high school experiences…the way he portrayed his female classmates, including me, was infuriating …he was seething mad at last HS reunion when people disagreed with his portrayal of high school life as if only his version of the events that happened over 3 decades ago was the truth….He omitted some particularly embarrassing and humiliating encounters with me (ie., I rejected him) and painted the picture another way…. Thank you for not being afraid to paint the truth of people other than yourself….Happy Holidays…. !!

  21. Pingback: The Monopoly of Marginalization « Gucci Little Piggy

  22. Sorry to hear your tenure at GMP ended this way, Hugo. I’ve just finished reading that twitter exchange, and can completely understand your decision to leave. I certainly would have.

    While you and I have definitely disagreed on more than a few occasions, you have always been the height of composure and reason. I find your writing eloquent, patient, persuasive and passionate — keep up the great work!

  23. Bravo, Hugo! A beautifully written piece. I’m sure it is hard to leave this platform that has been a great home for you up until now, but as we all know, when you shut that one door, a few windows shall now avail themselves to you… I’m sure of it! Thank you for your brave and thoughtful words.

  24. Hugo,
    It is enlightening to see that while the pot calls the kettle black the first action item is to capitalize, rehash, and completely recap the entire series of events from your viewpoint and yours alone. It is also telling to watch as a group that provided you a forum, title and a deal of public exposure in order to help bolster your personal brand is also the first target when the shit hits the fan,and that the facts are distorted through your viewpoint, for your motives and to rally your target audience. That didn’t seem to be the case when you were on stage or accepting awards on their behalf for efforts against violence towards women. That didn’t seem to be the case as you repeatedly touted the “Editor” position at GMP. I have been an observer and participant at GMP since day one and rarely do I recall any efforts on your part to do anything to support the “brand” that didn’t enhance your own brand, talk about your accomplishments, or put you on a stage, including allowing you to use this circumstance as a tool for your own personal gain.

    I stick with my own personal frustration. Labels are the issue. Dividing into separate camps and rallying with the intent or goal of bringing awareness to, or remedying an issue is a fallacy. A true warrior may stick it out and fight the enemy, not besmirch their allies in a noble cause.Pointing fingers, sticking to a need to be right, or picking teams does nothing to solve the issues. We can talk all day about fixing whats broken and shield ourselves in gold but nothing will change by talking about anything. It is an offense to use the Apostle Paul in your argument in reference to “putting away childish things”. That is judgmental and demeaning. I wonder what Jesus would do. Would he turn tail and walk away stomping and pointing fingers at the others or would he stick it out and attempt to make a difference in the name of righting a bigger, more global wrong? A cleverly disguised attack with the true intent of enhancing his own brand, whisking away eyeballs, and passive – aggressively besmirching troops in the same battle, while potentially doing damage to those that have supported you would probably not be His, or Paul’s choice. Motives go a long way Hugo. You know Tom. You know the mission. You know the troops . Using taxonomies as a weapon when you know these things and rallying to divide, not bring together goes counter to what most of your writing says in my mind.
    Motives go a long way. I wonder where your lie?

    Around the halls of the GMP, the question always gets asked, “what constitutes a “Good” man ? I am pretty sure if my true motivation is bolstering my ego, or my “brand”, I may not qualify. “Good Men” see the bigger, much more important picture without regard to damaging their brand, or worrying who they piss off. A “Good Man” does what needs to be done because it needs to be done, not because it makes them look like a hero.

    Forget Gaslighting. I call grandstanding, and childish things .No one here is crazy or even thinks they are. A much bigger part of thepicture here, that is not getting mentioned is the rapid propensity to pit men vs women, or feminists vs men or MRAs. I’m not sure I see that as a true depiction of one who is actually working to remedy the issues. Only pointing out, and dramatizing the problems.


      • I agree with Jack on the whole (though have not known GMP from day one as he has).

        I also note that as a contributor and commenter to GMP I sometimes was restricted in what I could say, partly I believe, as it went against Hugo’s perspective so strongly. I had a few comments deleted on Hugo’s posts for example. I say this to show that Hugo’s voice at GMP was *very* well heard and projected. It really is not a case of him being ‘censored’ I’d say.

        Having said that I respect his decision to leave I think he is honest in identifying irreconcilable differences with Tom Matlack and GMP.

        I have irreconcilable differences with Hugo, so from my point of view I now feel more hopeful about contributing to the project.

  25. Thank you for this piece, Hugo. You’ve touched on so much I’ve discussed offline with friends – things we want to talk about on my blog in the new year.

    I’ve never, ever in my life been called a bigot or a man-hater (I have been called the c-word before, but never in that kind of context) until I posted with GMP. I also read the twitter feeds, once they were posted, with my jaw on the floor. I only hope that we can move forward and talk about this disconnect, about what’s under it, and start listening – instead of continuing to nitpick and cast blame.

    I have so much to say….

    • Please continue to say them Nekki, but understand that if what you say makes me feel hated, despised, presumed guilty because I happen to be male, I will call a spade a spade. In other words, yes, I think some men had been holding back in your presence until recently.

  26. Pingback: The Current State of Feminism « Zatarra's

  27. What seems to be the loser in this dramatic ordeal is open discussion. I’ve read here about a lot of closed views, ultimatums and choosing sides, which will always divide Us as a whole, which doing so requires that there will be a winning and losing side, or good and bad side. The truth is that once We close up and We divide, We all lose our wholeness.
    I recognize that We are in a critical period in society and that Our tempers and perspectives can flare. We often make poor decisions which could, in theory, lead Us into greater and more open perspectives, if We allow them to.
    So at this point, do We remain closed and one-sided or do We cease the tantrums, open Our closed fists, shake hands and apologize?
    We will always gain from feeling Our own humility, and Our shared mistakes. I would rather see Tom, Lisa and Hugo do what they do best and write about all of this, together.

    This rift has already caused pain in the hearts of many, not so much due to the personas attached to it as it has to the meaning in the ideals to which the bonds were established. Hope. Unity. Deeper understanding of each other. These hopes, and other feelings are what has been damaged from this conflict. I’d like to see a Hollywood ending to this that finishes with Unity and empowerment for Us all.

    • I too would like to see the three of them and maybe another woman continue to sort it out publicly. I think people of good will can usually do that if they ignore the “call to arms”….

      It’s a shame comments sections are so damned toxic. My blood pressure can’t handle it…

      • Liz: The toxicity in the GMP comment section is occurring for objective historical reasons, and it comes from both camps. A more subtle version of the toxin, however, issues from the “sensible” and “moderate” centrists.

        So finally, the source of the toxicity stretches clear across the board. All are implicated.

        • Wrong-o. The “both camps” rhetoric is utter nonsense. There’s nothing “objective” about men deciding women are to blame for their fears.

    • “..shake hands and apologize?”

      A noble sentiment.

      The trouble starts when the contestants must decide WHO must apologize for WHAT.

      Then, alas, the same old battle flares up all over again.

      I mean, can you imagine MRAs and feminists mutually “apologizing”?

      I think that would issue in a mutual, conceptual, existential annihilation of both categories. They would literally cease to exist.

      • In the first place, feminists have nothing to apologize for. MRAs constant blaming women for the patriarchy is like saying the sandwich you ate is to blame for your indigestion.

        Second, the ‘both sides are just as bad’ nonsense sounds cute and all, but that whole truth-is-somewhere-in-the-middle trope is garbage. The truth about the moon being made of green cheese isn’t “somewhere in the middle”, it’s false. It’s also false that women are doing ANYTHING to harm men. It’s not happening. Period.

        • I beg to differ Cara, what you just wrote is incredibly one sided and ignorant of many things that occur every day. I personally see men and women as equals, I have the utmost respect for women. But I have also seen them completely destroy others for nothing more than the desire to get what they want. And in fact a close friend of mine nearly lost his son based soley on the accusations of his daughter and ex-wife, even when both had been proven in court to be unreliable. It was not until the daughter finally stepped foward and admitted that she had been manipulating things after she had pushed herself into a corner that anything resolved itself.

  28. This is such a beautiful piece, it’s a pity as women become more and more empowered somehow it makes men to feel like they are becoming less significant to us. It would be so amazing for men to step up and join women in this “new age” of discovery and for both sexes to embrace the changes in the world and both feel empowered!!!

  29. As always, I love your articles, Hugo. I’ll be seeking out your blog on a routine basis. I may visit the GMP from time to time, however, if I don’t see a female friendly atmosphere emerge I’ll abandon it altogether.

  30. This particular issue is not one I believe to be tied to gender portrayal, but rather to argument in general.

    Reading the original twitter argument it seems like all the agents involved were pulling dirty tricks.

    Everyone involved should have stopped, taken a deep breath, and stepped away for a time to calm down.

    None of the agents involved were being particularly sound in their reasoning, relying instead upon underhanded argument tactics and emotional power words to engage with one another.

    I believe this applies to all individuals, from time to time, and likely equally; whether they be men, women, transgendered or jackalopes.

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  32. Thank you, once again, for sharing your searing vision and insight with us all. I, as a male feminist, strongly believed in the mission of the Good Men Project, even as I had some reservations, but I did believe. I am devastated that the editor has left this stain upon what should have been a noble endeavor by non-patriarchal men. Thank you, for once again using your voice in the service of the movement to end sexism and sexist domination. The story that you shared about the male and the football helmet, is one that many men and women need to hear. Feminism is up against so many stereotypes, and it is vital that we look at the various ways that women’s voices are silenced in this society. I look forward to your future pieces, and maybe, just maybe, you will return to the Good Men Project in the future.

  33. If you left because Lisa Hickey refused to run your column, I applaud your decision. However, if you left the site because someone was critical of feminism, than you truly are a feminist. They have little tolerance for difference of opinion and are often offended when someone challenges their ideology.

    • I also have little tolerance for people challenge my “ideology” that racial or sexual minorities are not less than human, nor do they deserve to be victims of a language standard set by the racially or sexually privileged.

      That’s because said ideology is 1.) socially inclusive and 2.) morally correct. Why SHOULD I, for one moment, see anyone wanting to “challenge” the idea that gender essentialism is wrong and that patriarchy is harmful to human beings as potentially right or good? If that’s an idea you feel you need to challenge, then I’m truly not interested in anything you have to say.

      There are white people who believe that their race DOESN’T confer privilege, and even go so far as to claim that their race is now somehow a liability. Same exact principle applies to those who feel the need to “challenge” feminism.

      • That’s another feminist tactic I wish wasn’t so common: conflating, say, the idea that gender essentialism is wrong and that patriarchy is harmful to human beings with a particular set of assumptions about how the patriarchy is harmful to people, who benefits from it, what does and doesn’t count as gender essentialism and how all of this should be solved. I’ve actually seen and heard a lot of really gender essentialist arguments from feminists that for whatever reason don’t “count” for example.

          • You’ve seriously never heard a feminist argue that women are inherently less violent or more caring than men, for example? Never encountered the old feminist transphobic chestnut about trans women somehow carrying some kind of toxic “male essence”?

  34. I’m not really choosing sides here, but must say that the narrative that has been opened here is an important one to examine and discuss.

    I identify as a feminist and a critical genderist (or something of similar meaning with a less awkward label). That is to say that transnationally, women still face an uphill battle, and I recognize that we have not truly entered a post-feminist era, even in the U.S.. However, I also must recognize that women can also be positioned as agents of power and privilege in many contexts. Boys and men are often forced (for one reason or another) into what Pascoe characterized as the “fag” discourse, which is more highly stigmatized and disempowered place to be than women and girls characterized with overly feminine or masculine characteristics. Further, feminists have often frequently openly discriminated against those in the trans community, and feel validated in doing so since they themselves have experienced disempowerment based on their own gender category. This illuminates the possibilities of how the quote below may possess some truth, but that power may also conceal itself from women and feminists when the privilege meter tips more in their direction.
    It does mean that when men and women argue about gender justice, women are more likely to have insights that men have missed. Here’s the basic axiom: power conceals itself from those who possess it.

      • No, Liz. I don’t think so either. But I do think we all tend to oversimplify our given “sides” on issues we feel passionately about, and some of the other discussion here has also spun away from what was perhaps the more original, focused issue(s). I think that the responses here are so rich in material to think about and discuss, that I hope we don’t lose that gift from what started out as (it seems) a negative space.

  35. Hey Hugo-

    long time no talk.

    I’ve been only marginally following the recent conversational battles, but I do find it somewhat ironic that an interview of you caused a seemingly violent shitstorm among feminists after your saying that it’s not ok to call a feminist shitstorm “wrath”… well.

    To be fair, I only read about half of the contributions that appeared after that Twitter exchange, and the exchange as published on the GMP, and I would say that what happened, including your resignation, is a consequence of *mainly* two things: One is bad writing – that’s mainly a problem affecting Tom Matlack’s initial article about his desire to feel good as a man, which I totally share. While I also agree with a lot of what he said, and that what he said *can* be said in a more productive ways, I can totally understand that it pushed a lot of buttons because the “progressive women” (your term above) didn’t seem too well equipped to decipher what he actually appeared to want to tell them (that’s the second problem). And thus, even tohugh his thinking seems a bit muddled in general, what would have been fine as a seed post for a productive conversation on a smaller blog became the starting point for a public battle in which people had problems conceding even smaller points because they had to hedge their public positions. Once someone slams the door and even more so in public, this is what happens, whatever the political affiliation of the humans involved, and it’s really hard to talk people down again.

    The second reason why the thing blew up is actually one of your arguments above. I’m quoting –

    “This doesn’t mean that a “good man” is always in the wrong when he’s arguing with a woman. It does mean that when men and women argue about gender justice, women are more likely to have insights that men have missed. Here’s the basic axiom: power conceals itself from those who possess it. And the corollary is that privilege is revealed more clearly to those who don’t have it. When a man and a woman are arguing about feminism – and the women involved happen to be feminists and the man happens to be an affluent white dude – the chances that he’s the one from whom the truth is more obscured is very high indeed. That’s as true for me as it is for Tom Matlack.

    We’ve had that debate about standpoint epistemology as logically untenable and flawed yet axiomatically central point for much of feminism. But be that as it may, you cannot use standpoint epistemology for only one side of the argument – women are better equipped to understand gender relations because of their assumed epistemic privilege that follows from the assumed oppression of their gender (you gotta love the irony of *that* term ;)) – and not allow that argument when it comes to *men trying to talk about themselves, like Tom did. You must see the logical flaw, don’t you? Even *within* the axiomatic framework, men have a logical epistemic privilege when it comes to talking about *men*. Which is what Tom tried to do, however clumsily.

    Yet what the progressive women heard was a challenge to their assumed epistemic privilege, and more importantly, an implicit challenge to feminism’s discourse dominance in gender matters. That is something feminists don’t seem to understand at all, since they perceive themselves to be a marginalized voice. But they aren’t in the gender debate, in fact, the gender debate is their home turf. Tom’s point that men don’t speak up in this atmosphere is absolutely right, as they are afraid of not having taken their opinion seriously or not being listened to at all, because feminists have such an exquisite amount of rethorical devices designed to belittle men and their opinions – mansplaining, zemenz, check your privilege, etc. Exceptions notwithstanding, a man trying to talk about gender is doing so on feminist ground, in which he is not usually given the benefit of the doubt, and should he attempt to gain credibility by agreeing, chances are he’ll be considered a nice guy.

    Frankly, that’s not much different from any other *in-group* with a firm grip on a particular aspect of public discourse. But it’s more problematic in this respect, because it’s usually the same feminists who complain about the lack of men in gender discourse, who are almost violently defending their discourse dominance. Remember Amanda Marcotte’s reaction to Clarisse’s Creep essay? It’s a better example than her reply to Tom Matlack, because he was so easy to deconstruct.

    Basically, my point is this: “power conceals itself from those who possess it.” And it’s not hard to see who has the power in the gender discourse, right?

        • Liz,

          I don’t think there is much gender discourse in the wider world, which, again, is part of the problem, because it leads to the feminist assumption of being a marginalized voice and makes it harder to see for them the extent to which they’re dominating their corner of the mindshare.

          I don’t think they realize the extent to which they do, and the extent to which they are making it hard for men to talk about their experiences.

          • “I don’t think there is much gender discourse in the wider world,”

            Might I suggest watching TV one evening? You don’t even have to watch the shows. Just the ads.

            Gender discourse is embedded in damn near everything–even if it’s not presented as formal analysis. If you don’t get that, no wonder you find feminism so bewildering.

          • Hey Sarah-

            you’re totally right about gender messages being embedded in nearly everything. It is part of why feminism usually (and often correctly) sees itself as a marginalized voice, which is part of the reason why it’s apparently so hard to conceive that feminism is dominating the *actual gender discourse* in the way it does, and that difficulty makes it so hard for the “progressive women” (Hugo’s term) to understand how a man can feel marginalized in that *actual discourse*.

            It’s difficult.

          • Make up your mind, Sam. Is there no gender discourse in the wider world or are feminists dominating the world without knowing it?

            Or is it that we’re dominating the world but are too stupid to know it? (In which case Sam is his own AV squad).

  36. I find this piece most fascinating. It is in fact apart of a pattern of gas-lighting against Tom.

    Gas-lighting is not sex/gender specific – it’s a technique that can be used on anyone!

    Of course, some will always make sure they themselves are well lighted and with a Halo!

    Odd how when some of The GMP have asked others to address specific errors and even false claims against others ….. a month later responses are awaited.

  37. This hits a personal note for me. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been scared to stand up for fear of looking like a “femi-Nazi”. And with the new rash of jokes surrounded women and making sandwiches that have invaded the internet, feminists start to look like humorless radicals the more they try to take a stand. And after everything the suffragettes went through to gain us the rights we now have, keeping silents makes it seem as though all their efforts were in vain.

    • Margaret,

      totally understandable. But can you also imagine that – particularly progressive – men wouldn’t speak about their experiences for fear of being labeled sexist? Or have it suggested that they only want to talk about this because they can’t get laid? Or having their experiences belittled from a point of view that claims to be inviting them, but only as long as they fit the feminist frame for the debate?

      There are all sorts of unreasonable people in this debate, and most people don’t want to risk to actually listen to others. But reasonable people should take that risk, it’s the only way to learn something.

      • You mentioned (or, I should say, implied) above, in a comment to Hugo, that on the topic of gender discourse, women have the upper hand, the power — although I don’t think that’s totally true, because it isn’t just women who get it. There are men who get it. Hugo gets it. Understanding the problem and having some grasp on how to fix it is not essential to any one gender. HOWEVER — for the gender with the disproportional amount of privilege (the males), part of eventually getting it, I daresay, involves listening to women. Understanding that they aren’t crazy. Giving THEM the benefit of the doubt that they don’t want all men to put on a dress and gab with zeal about “Desperate Housewives” — partially because part of the problem is that what I just said is seen as essentially a “female” action, and some men will be damned if they’ll be “made into a woman”. And part of this is because the concept of that transformation is seen as a lowering, a step down. This implication simply cannot be denied.

        So — if women, in gender discourse, have the most firsthand, real-world knowledge of what it’s like to work without a net (in other words, withOUT gender privilege, in being the un-privileged gender), wouldn’t it make the most sense for the PRIVILEGED gender to listen to those without it in order to gain perspective and, thus, obtain equally skilled footing in gender discourse?

        • And I say this with the implicit understanding that gender privilege exists, for males. If you deny this, then the discussion truly is moot from the word ‘go’, and no further progress can be made until that fact is understood and owned.

          • Alex,

            I believe that there is a real world phenomenon that has inspired the feminist concept of “privilege”, but that the concept has since taken on a live of its own, less as a reminder for introspection, for which I find it immensely useful, butt as a discourse framing device. “Check your privilege” is, in my humble opinion, more often used as a synonym for “shut up and defer.” It is not usually a an open ended suggestion to consider how someone’s perspective may be influenced by his or her experience in life, but a reminder that in this discourse, having less assumed privilege in “the real world” means having more a priori credibility.

            As valuable as it can be for any indidual “to check their privilege”, as a rethoric device it is usually defensive and designed to end a debate rather than have one. It is obvious why that tendency exists – both because of human desire for affirmation and the fact that a lot of gender discourse goes very much to the core of people’s identity and that is often tough – but it’s still a problem for reasonable people who are looking to have a reasonable debate.

      • I am usually that person…willing to listen to any well intentioned person trying to “work their stuff out” – but I was really dumbfounded by a supposedly progressive site putting all the blame on a set of differences “between men and women” – while completely ignoring the fact that ALL couples (gay, lesbian and straight) struggle with knowing each openly, hearing each other non-defensively, transcending family of origin crap)

        I’ve come to the conclusion that GMP is too mired in a straight male binary frame to think clearly about anything gender related…

        • Liz,

          to be honest, I only occasionally read the GMP essays usually following links from Hugo’s blog or from ClarisseThorn’s.

          This blow-up, however, seems to follow familiar patterns of discussions about masculinity on feminist sites. And you don’t really get masculinity discussions outside of feminist sides. So for straight males to participating in that debate means either conforming with their narrative to the pre-defined feminist discourse structure – like Hugo usually attempts to with, apparently, mixed success among feminists, which usually makes it hard for guys to actually convey their honest perspective, because they don’t really speak feminism… so much of this is a language issue, but if you actually mention that you’ll offend people because everyone believes that their own perspective is immediately understandable to everyone else (who’s well meaning). Not the case.

          However, if you want to have a look at an extraordinary exception, have a look at Clarisse Thorn’s manliness series on her blog (clarissethorn.com) – 18 months of productive, albeit at times hard discussion. None of the subjects that caused the Twitter exchange and Hugo’s resignation were avoided, and in the end, everyone else had learnt a lot and come to appreciate the others perspective. It shows that such a discussion *is possible*, but as I said in my reply to Hugo above, I’m not sure it’s possible in a situation where people are worried about their public profile and will hedge their positions accordingly. In that case, online communication will not lead to true exchange, but become an echo chamber.

      • Sam, you’re saying, “what about the poor men” to Margaret. But she never said men don’t also suffer from this screwed-up system.

        So why bring it up, unless your stance is that men suffer MORE, so women should feel sorry for them?

  38. This issue, as with other vital social issues like it (racial privilege and anti-racism, gender privilege and gendered understanding, sexuality and human rights) are all centered on choosing to take responsibility. Guilt is only helpful if one feels guilty about things they have specifically done. Responsibility is about taking a stand and taking ownership of something that harms many and privileges others. As a straight white male, I enjoy so much unearned privilege, and at times I do feel guilty for not doing more. I decide, each day, to take responsibility for making a more equitable and equal society for my community, for my important people, and for myself. This inevitably involves accepting criticism, and I choose to accept it as someone with privilege and social power that I have not explicitly earned through meritorious work. Criticism for me is always helpful, even if it comes with barbs aimed at my ego; especially with barbs aimed at my ego. I appreciate the humility that criticism of my social location provides, and I do not see disagreement with my current viewpoint as an attack. It is an opportunity to become more aware and more responsible. Fear is powerful, and as a male in a western society, I feel the fear of losing privileges that I have enjoyed; however, that fear is wholly set aside when I envision a future of understanding and true integration of every person, whether previously privileged or not. If I’m not willing to talk about my own life, and if I am not willing to tell my own ego to take a hike, I am not taking responsibility for making equity a goal, and that unacceptable to me. Talking about how men are victimized is important, but the central concept here is that feminism allows for a critical look at social and societal inequalities of all kinds, and my social location gives me the ability to choose to pay attention, which in itself describes social privilege perfectly.

    No running this piece smells bad. If it doesn’t fit with a brand, that’s capitalism at its finest and completely within the rights of a publisher to decide. Given that, if the mission of a movement is to allow for a ‘lifting up of the rug’ on what we can do to make our communities and society more just, marketing should be the last thing on a publisher’s mind, as should the ego of a man unwilling to accept criticism for his privileged social location.

    • not JUST criticism….but a hand across the rumbly waters and rip tides…. there is the other side of the river and the grass is truly greener!

  39. Thank you Hugo for all that you have done.

    And thank you Good Men Project for trying to be a thoughtful and safe space for men and their voices.

    And thank you Tom for your vision and hard work, and Lisa for your day-to-day leadership and hard work.


    I will never understand the denial of male privilege, which to me seems very relevant here. I am not writing about Tom or anyone in particular–just about the zeitgeist.

    I *own* my white privilege. I have it because I was born white. You know, genetic lottery. Doors swing open for me in ways they do not swing open for non-whites. I’ve done the personal hard work to be able to see ALL the ways this happens for me. I do not deny them or project my privilege onto others. Whites have had relative power compared to blacks for years and years and years. Not in every individual instance, but as a group. Personal stories are important. But sometimes sociological generalizations are helpful, and understanding group dynamics is one of those times.

    I could complain that a black student might get an admissions boost over me and go nuts over that. I could come up with other individual ways in which a black person might have it better than me. But in the grand scheme of things, what on Earth would I be saying?? What planet would I be living on? That would be so beneath me, and so undermining of my own credibility and integrity.

    I can’t imagine ever saying that black people don’t see the “real truth”–that they are the oppressors of white people, that their anger at whites is out of control and should be toned down, that they make more money than whites on the whole, that they are vicious in their treatment of whites when whites do not do that to them, that they have too big a piece of the pie, that they are like nazis who want to eradicate whites off the face of the Earth, or any other propaganda-bite. This would be insanity. Who would buy it? Better yet, who *should* buy it? Does it matter? Can we just put this behavior aside and let white people tell their stories? Maybe, but if I were black, that might feel kind of…bad. And like condoned lying. And self-deception.

    What if there were a white person’s website called “The Good White People Project” that was supposed to be about ways whites could become better humans in this world, but instead devoted a lot of space to white people denigrating blacks and attacking them all day every day in the comments. And the black people attacking them back, of course, and angrily sometimes, and writing their own articles standing up for black people and attacking whites. Every day a “war of the races.” Sound fun?? Not really!

    I suppose you could say, “This is a website for white people’s issues, and their stories must be told, and we must all give them the benefit of the doubt and show empathy to what is hard about being white.” Ok, fair enough. But what if their stories seemed to *often* revolve around hatred of blacks, hate speech towards blacks, and an insistence on oppression by blacks in ways that simply were not true, and that further harmed the social justice effort for blacks? Well, at the very least, it might make black people not want to comment or write there. I suspect this might be an analogy for how Hugo feels.

    Continuing the analogy, I understand that there could be legitimate points of disagreement between the black and white writers, readers and commenters. But what should a black writer or commenter do when faced every day with large numbers of screams of racism from whites (embedded in huge doses of anti-black propaganda??) Humor that? Assuage it? Draw it out? Empathize with it? Well, MAYBE, if done in a way that they lead to open, civil and honest discourse. If the blacks work hard to really hear how the whites feel and vice-versa. If debate can be respectful, and people engage in it willingly, they can choose to have that.

    But if the whites insist that it is blacks who have all the privilege, when the reality is that they’ve made gains in some ways, but in many others are still really suffering, are they supposed to stuff those feelings? Not be “angry” when that table gets turned on them?

    That’s all I have to say on racial analogies! Apologies to whoever will point out all kinds of inevitable flaws in the analogy. I’m sure there are plenty. I’m typing and thinking fast.

    The gender wars can be really baffling in their vitriol and utter detachment from reality. And yes, gaslighting. Gaslighting is another way to say, “I won’t admit my privilege because I don’t want to give it up, so I’ll turn the tables on you instead.”

    All over the internet we have the same problem. In the old days, there were a few individuals who had printing presses. They had to uphold certain standards of integrity. Today, everyone has a printing press. And we have free speech, and that’s a good thing. But this folie a pleseurs (pardon my French spelling) is always a danger…on both sides…when there are so many megaphones. What matters most tends to get drowned out sometimes by the loudest voices.

    Mostly, this whole thing is just really sad for everyone.

    • Ramen! Very well put and yes, the analogy is flawed…but it helped make the whole thing look as absurd as it was. So thank you.

    • “I can’t imagine ever saying that black people don’t see the “real truth”–that they are the oppressors of white people”

      Not all forms of oppression work in the same way. It’s a bit too late for me to write a decent explanation of why sexism isn’t uni-directional in the way that racism is. Roughly speaking though, although the leaders in most countries have been heavily male, most of the male population are not in positions of power and in fact have interests that don’t align with the leadership. One of the tools that’s always been used to make them behave – to get them to do dangerous jobs and fight brutal wars that only really benefit a few people who are better off than them – is oppressive gender roles. Women have been the ones who nominally “benefited” from some of these gender roles, and once feminism came along adapting them to its purposes was the obvious choice.

      Interestingly, some of the details of how racism works appear to be a lot easier to explain if you treat anti-male oppression as genuine and use an intersectionalist approach. For example, the massive imprisonment of black men in the US.

      • Someday, you’re going to look back and go ” the only reason I thought sexism wasn’t unidirectional was because I wanted to maintain men’s power”

      • The disposable male argument has been coming up a lot lately, and here’s the thing, although it’s true that men often end up taking on dangerous work, so do women. It’s called the sex industry, and it’s everywhere. Just because gender roles prescribe different types of dangerous jobs for men and women doesn’t mean that men are somehow more at danger than women.

        I said this elsewhere on Hugo’s blog; I’ll repeat myself here: “It’s true that men have their own issues but in a world where male privilege exists one has to acknowledge that men and women do not suffer symmetrically. There are asymmetric consequences of patriarchy for women and while men face issues those issues are NOT the result of systemic female privilege OVER men the way a lot of women’s issues are due to systemic male privilege OVER women. It’s this simple point that most MRAs, gender traditionalists, etc. can’t seem to appreciate but it seems blindingly obvious to me.”

        All else being equal, a man in our world has more privilege than a woman. To the extent that male suffering exists, it’s simply not due to any kind of systemic, collective privilege that women have over men, but to do with men’s oppression at the hands of more powerful *men*. It’s as simple as that.

    • I was the person in the so-called “Wrath of Feminists” conversation that pointed out how flawed the analogy Tom made was when he compares so-called stereotyping of men as rapists to stereotyping black people as criminals. I made my critique in good faith because the analogy is sociologically, historically, and factually flawed in a million ways. Because of critiquing this analogy I was told I shouldn’t call people racist (which I didn’t and which, by the way, is a way language is used to dismiss the concerns of people of color) and that I should take into consideration the “race section” at the GMP (which ironically I have written for but is nothing better than saying “But I have a black friend…”)

      Now with that being said, while any sexism/racism analogy is inevitably flawed because of the uniqueness of both -isms (which of course intersect for some of us), this analogy is about 100x more fitting than the one Tom gave considering, oh you know, the fact that women and not men have been historically and systemically deprived of rights as a group…so Lori, I’ll let it slide. :)

      Also, Kudos to Hugo.

      • “when he compares so-called stereotyping of men as rapists to stereotyping black people as criminals.”

        Not black people. Black men. It’s black men specifically that go to prison in hugely disproportionate numbers in the US, and they seem to bear the brunt of the stereotyping as criminals. I’ve even seen other black women do it in the comments of feminist blogs. This goes back to what I was saying about intersectionality – unwillingness to take anti-male sexism seriously is harming our ability to understand and effectively tackle racism. You just completely ignored the glaringly obvious gender gap in favour of a faux-gender neutrality that better fitted with your argument.

        • I agree with the second part of what you said except for your last sentence. I wasn’t replying to you or your point about racial inequality in the treatment of black men specifically, I was talking about what Tom originally said on Twitter and then doubled-down and triple-downed on. Tom compared the stereotyping of men GENERALLY as rapists (which, if it is even as common as he seems to think, does not lead to systemic inequality of the treatment of men GENERALLY) to the stereotyping of African Americans as criminals GENERALLY (which does lead to systemic inequality of the treatment of black men AND women generally-though differently). I urge you to go back and take a look at the transcript of the Twitter convo with Tom, it’s right there.

          I’m a race educator and teach about intersectionality everyday. You are absolutely right about intersectionality and the unequal treatment of black men in the criminal justice system. Anti-black male discrimination is real on a systemic level and while this has its roots in racism, because of intersectionality the historic racism required to control black men has been linked to their gender. Absolutely.

  40. Thank you! The same article written by a woman would just be blown off as more “anger” but from you, it is enlightened and empathetic. So thank you, sincerely for being a true “Good Man”.

  41. I don’t understand the problem people have with privileges. My doctor studied for several years and pushed himself doggedly through medical school. He now enjoys privileges that I do not have. *Privileges* are not inherently evil. Moreover, being white, or even male, is not a privilege. It is merely a fact of life. In fact, being born is not a privilege at all, but rather, a blessing.

      • I do agree that being white, or even male, has blessings. I also agree that being black, or even female, has blessings. I do not agree that being white, or even male, has privileges, if you are implying that those privileges are the result of theft, or malice.

        The privileges that are listed in the link you provided are the result of merit, and if they were not merited by the individual themself, then they were merited by that person’s ancestors.

        If you would like to have a separate debate as to whether those privileges are earned or unearned, I am happy to engage you on that. But privileges themselves are not, ipso facto, evil.

        • You have wonderfully missed the major point. It is the unearned privileges that are societal realities we are talking about here, not privileges as a result of just ‘being’. Unearned white privilege, male privilege, and straight privilege have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt over and over. Your original point is correct in that not every privilege is bad or wrong; when the privilege exists in the absence of justice and fairness, those privileges are not acceptable.

          • I disagree. You seem to believe that the post-modern concept of ‘privilege’ is self-evident, when in fact it is not. It is new, and can be found nowhere outside of feminist or post-modernist discussions.

            I agree that an upper-class, white and heterosexual community in America is privileged; I do not, however, find that to be an injustice. Since it is you that is making this claim, it is up to you to persuade me of this. I can be persuaded, but thus far neither you nor the lady above has been persuasive.

        • Wait wait. You’re actually saying that being a woman had advantages? Like what? Like being undermined intellectually? Like suggesting our “sexual prowess” is a bonus (because women are only valuable if they fit in to narrow concepts of beauty that appeal to men?)

          • Of course there are advantages to being a woman. Women get to decide whether to bring a child to term, or, whether unilaterally to terminate their child support obligations. A woman’s claim that she felt afraid is presumed to be reasonable, and women know how to use this to their advantage to shut men up. Women are authorized to refuse consent to sex. Virtually no one believes a man who says he doesn’t (or didn’t) want to have sex.

            I am not saying that men don’t have privilege. You were saying that women do not have privilege.

        • Privileges are not evil. If there were, people wouldn’t want them so badly. Obviously privileges are generally things that people esteem and seek out.

          The criticism is that people who enjoy certain conveniences of perspective, whether you wish to call them privileges or blessings or whatever else, often have difficulty understanding the reality of people who don’t enjoy those same things.

          To take a specific example: As a white male, I can turn on the TV now and with only a little bit if any surfing find a program in which white males are being depicted as positive, likable protagonists. In other words, I can easily reach out and find positive role models for “people like me”. That’s a good thing. I like having that ability.

          I can, of course, also fairly easily find many examples of adult white males acting like villains, boys, reprobates, and so forth. But that’s not the point.

          If I were a woman or (especially) not white, I would have to search harder to find such a positive figure. There are certain channels on TV I could turn to in order to increase my likelihood, but those wouldn’t be a guarantee (for instance, TBS has a reputation due to its relationship with Tyler Perry of having entertainment of interest to people of color, but George Lopez’s show was recently cancelled while Conan O’Brien’s continues just fine).

          The other important aspect of discussions on privilege is that many of the things on the lists, such as “I can always find a TV show featuring protagonists who are ‘people like me'”, are minor in the Grand Scheme of Things. They’re not “evil” so much as they’re little raindrops of inequity that add up to lakes when taken together.

    • Imagine a woman in the same position. That white mail cis doctor had more opportunities than any woman going into the same program. Implied authority for example? Privilege is inherently bad in an equal society. Especially when people deny it exists and chant BOOTSTRAPS over and over again.

      • First off, I’m not a big fan of By-My-Own-Bootstraps arguments.

        But let’s recognize that men come from all kinds of backgrounds, just as women do. Some of the most obnoxious people I have ever dealt with are privileged, born-rich, upper-middle-class women. And that cis male doctor might well have come frrom a single-parent household in a trailer in the hollers of West Virginia, and struggled to get ahead in a world that constantly makes fun of his accent.

      • Now you’re implying sameness, as though men and women are biologically the same, which is false. In a free society, men and women are free to choose their paths without interference.

        • I don’t understand where you feel that biological sameness was brought into this discussion.

          It seems simple: In a fair world, two people with the same education and the same skills will be equally employable, and any differences in their success will be due to differences such as where they choose to seek employment. Gender, race, sexual orientation, and so forth, should not be an issue *unless* it’s relevant to the field or specific job in question; for a heart surgeon, for instance, I can’t see any way that gender, race, or sexual orientation would be relevant.

          This is not a fair world, though, and there is indeed institutionalized interference created for people who aren’t straight white males. It’s not insurmountable, clearly, but it does exist.

  42. I’m going under a pseudonym here to protect myself and my story, but I want to comment and say that I nearly cried while reading this. I have been on the receiving end of so much gaslighting from family members that it’s practically overwhelming. Recently, a family member accused me of alienating my entire family because of being an outspoken feminist (something totally untrue). Things were said that were incredibly insulting and made me cry myself to sleep that night – telling me that my feminism is justification for men not wanting me (it goes without saying that this is patently false) and that I’m literally insane and going off the deep end. All because I bothered to disagree with them on a touchy subject.

    I saw so much of that conversation in what happened with Tom and the GMP that it was honestly scary. It is heartening to recognize that I am not alone and that I do not have to change who I am simply because another person views my passionate disagreement on an issue as a major character flaw and attempts to silence me by calling me crazy. It’s fairly easy to feel alone in the feminist fight, so I am glad to have voices like yours.

    • You are most certainly not alone.

      Any woman worth her salt has been called crazy and worse many many times.

      Welcome to the club!

      • Welcome to the club, indeed!

        When misogynists call you insane, it means you’re getting through to them. They have no reasonable arguments, so they resort to name calling to dominate you into silence. The negative response is in fact positive feedback.

        It shouldn’t be this way, but ridicule from sexists can be seen as a badge of honor. You deserve it for the courageous act of speaking your truth. So wear it proudly!

  43. First off, I really love this article and I agree with it wholeheartedly. Let me get that out of the way.

    There’s exactly one thing that bugs me, though, and that’s this sentence (emphasis mine):

    “Yashar coined the simple term “gaslighting” to describe the way in which *men* undermine *women’s* self-confidence through subtle (and not so) insinuations that women’s feelings are unreasonable”

    I get that, due to societal conditioning and traditional gender roles, in most cases gaslighting is typically something that men do to women. But you didn’t say “typically”, or “most of the time”, or “in the cases we’re discussing here.”

    I actually brought this up a while back when someone linked Yashar’s article (which in every other regard is a fantastic read). As a man who has been a victim of gaslighting, it makes me a little livid when gaslighting is treated as something that can’t happen to men, or something that only happens to women.

  44. From the article: “insinuations that women’s feelings are unreasonable.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but are “feelings” and “reason” not near-antonyms? And doesn’t that go for both men and women!? I get you’re trying to make some kind of distinction about sexism here, but really? I see feelings as almost always unreasonable, as the polar opposite of reason and rational thought. One is in the mind (reason), the other (metaphorically, at least) is in the heart. They are at odds with one another in a constant tug of war. They often destroy one another. A well-reasoned thought process can immolate an emotional or provoked response, and an emotional or provoked response can easily prevent any reason from entering the picture.

    You wrote: “The painful thing about all this, of course, is that no man is in any real physical danger on the internet— or even in real life — from feminists.”

    On the Internet? True.

    In real life? False.

    Are you going to tell me that the men who no longer have access to their children were not physically and emotionally harmed by feminism? That the men who were locked away with no hope of parole or executed while their feminine counterparts went free were not harmed by feminism? That the men who have no reproductive rights, while women do, were not harmed by feminism? That the men who were circumcised while the glorious clitoris gained legal protection were not harmed by feminism? That the men who were drafted into war while feminism ignored the obvious sexism of the draft were not harmed by feminism? I reject the above claim as provably false, and point you to Warren Farrell’s book “The Myth of Male Power” as a source for a mountain of evidence stacked against feminism in this regard.

    Before you try to accuse me of the things with which you’ve blanketed any man who would dare challenge feminism, allow me to shoot them down like ducks on the pond:

    1) I am not a wealthy white male. Yes, I am white and male, but I am pretty lower-middle class, and have been poor for a decade of my life.

    2) I am not a male of privilege. I have lived in relative poverty, and as an anarchist, I do not participate in the system of corruption, influence and authority.

    3) I am pro-rights. Women’s rights and men’s rights don’t enter into it. It is about HUMAN rights for me, and they ought to be the same (or equivalent, where there is no sameness) between the sexes. I’m an anarchist, as mentioned before, and believe in the most extreme form of liberty and equality under law.

    4) I am anti-privilege and anti-authority. I’m an anarchist, so this goes without saying, but I thought I should spell it out for anyone who does not understand anarchism.

    5) I encourage women to embrace their anger, and men to embrace our fear. I have dedicated a couple of articles on my blog to this topic, and I feel that these two “most unacceptable” emotions need to be cleared for the sexes to be on more equal footing in a relationship. Yeah, I’m afraid of women’s anger. I think most men who say otherwise are lying. And I think most women who say they’re not angry at men are lying too. It goes with the societal paradigm and pressure. We get this way because we’re “not supposed to be this way,” and we deny it and bury it until it festers like a boil. I get it. Do you? You seem to think you’re somehow above it. I seriously doubt that.

    So, while I applaud you for standing up for what you believe, and being willing to stick to your guns and quit the Good Men Project, your article here makes me throw up in my mouth a little. As with most such articles, it aims the guns of feminine rage squarely at men, without the least bit of acknowledgement that maybe, just maybe, the men might have a point about some of the societal sexism we suffer, a lot of it due to the workings of feminism over the past 30 years, but most of it due to the same kind of sexist garbage women have thrown into the spotlight over those same years…about women…while ignoring any way those same paradigms negatively effect men.

    Women are NOT the only oppressed sex. The world is oppressed. The species is oppressed. We oppress each other, and more importantly, authority oppresses all of us as a species. Authority makes up bogus wars between men and women, and your article has served only to exacerbate that bogus war.

    We all deserve our emotions. Women deserve to be able to be angry if they want without fear of ridicule or reprisal, and men deserve to be able to be afraid. We’re frackin’ terrified, man! Terrified. And not just of women. Of our jobs, our bosses, divorce, losing our kids, ending up in prison, homeless, jobless, on the street, unmarriageable because we’re poor, etc. We all deserve our emotions, and not to be treated like we are “less than” or “the patriarchal culprits” just because of our anatomy. Women are not the only ones who deserve their emotions, or their reactions to the obvious oppression all around us. Men deserve that too.

    Empathy? How about some for men? Your article shows precious little for any but “the fairer sex.” Fair? Not in this article.

    You’re right about one important thing, though. The opposite of man, and the opposite of woman is the same: CHILD.

    • e.b. sarver is the saving grace of this comment section. Feminism has run it’s course, done it’s job, and now the pendulum has swung a little too far in that direction. As with all social paradigms, the only choice is to move it back in line with reality. Too often, we hear the laments of me who are persecuted by the courts, expected to take the lead in romance and courtship, fight the wars….all while feminists get to pick and choose which parts of social engagement and society they prefer and which parts they would rather not pole with a 10 foot pole. Blast me if you like, but the world is oppressive to everyone. We need to fight for HUMAN justice, not some 1-sided fantasy construct where the earth becomes some sort of Equestria. Feminism has leveled the playing field in every area women WANT to be equal, but it has destroyed the real meaning of equality, which is that good AND bad are dealt without respect to gender. See also: reproductive rights, family law, rape law, societal expectation with regards to self-motivation, etc etc etc ad infinitum. You CANNOT have your cake and eat it as well.

    • I just want to interject to say that the correlation between feminism and men not having access to their children is over generalized, hive mind nonsense.

      I’m single with a young son who is now 3 years old. For a year after our separation, my son’s father was tremendously abusive to me- stalking me, stalking my new boyfriend, hacking into my email & facebook accounts, threatening me, etc. Those sorts of behaviors are also why I left the relationship. His behavior toward me was well documented and would have been easy grounds for the denial of custody, but (against the urgings of just about everyone I knew, feminist and non) I refused to do it.

      He loved our son and, in spite of his treatment of me, felt he was a good father. I felt (personally, every woman’s experience is different- I can’t stress that enough) that there was no reason our son should be punished for the sins of his father. I obtained a restraining order for myself to prevent his stalking, harassment and abusive phone calls, and made arrangements for picking up and dropping off with another family member. After a year of struggle and extensive mediation, he grew up a lot and the restraining order was been dropped. We are now able to co-parent very effectively. I even slept on his couch last christmas, so that our son could be with us both together on christmas morning.

      I’m an unashamed radical, activist feminist. Feminism, as an ideology, is not to blame for your or anyone’s loss of custody. If you knew ANYTHING about feminism aside from what the patriarchy wants you to believe it is, this would be evident to you. Feminism rejects the idea that women are all inherently maternal, just as it rejects the idea that men are all inherent clueless in regards to the domestic sphere. As usual, the inability of some men to tell the difference between Women and A Woman is both mindblowing and depressing.

    • Yo, I’ll totally trade you my reproductive rights in exchange for your not having to push a 8 or 9 pound hunk of flesh out of your sex organs. Right now, let’s do it. I’m ready.

  45. Pingback: Eat your links, they’re good for you « blue milk

  46. re: “men undermining women’s self-confidence….”As a man with 30 yrs of experience in a field dominated by women, the undermining by men of women’s self-confidence is matched if not superceded by that which women mete out upon one another, and upon men.

  47. This is the first time I’ve heard of GMP and those involved…..
    It was interesting to read the dialogue pertaining to the swirling issues from all angles….
    I could resonate with what Hugo wrote – really enjoyed reading his article.
    Lori Day, thank you for your analogies – and so many others brought good insight and thought to the various perspectives. It seems there is much to be ‘listened to’ from the various angles (I hope not ‘sides’) of these serious issues. What arises for me…is the hope that all will find the ‘space’ that allows attitudes that invite “embrace” even in the midst of strong, passionate, interactions. I think the voices are beautiful – especially in the midst of diversity. I think it takes courage to ‘speak’ – especially in the midst of tense situations where fallout can occur. And rupture can be such a good thing! Especially when followed by repair. Nothing is more connecting than rupture and then repair. It is within such passion that these places are healed and become more integrated and whole. And then all are better because of the hard discussions that deconstructed, allowed for rupture given the risk to engage honestly in our ‘less than perfect’ places of ‘being’. But rupture can feel devastating, and it is painful and hard, and therefore most won’t ‘risk for ‘more’ by stumbling into it. What is even harder at times….and yet carries so much opportunity – is the movement toward repair. And this is not about ‘exclusion’ but rather about ‘inclusion’ and with the openness for embrace….and attitudes of embrace….even in the midst of strong, passionate, good emotion. And allowing the ‘other’ space….opening up ‘space’ for the other….is a powerful, life giving, honoring place. For me, I feel that ‘space’ open when the other is authentically curious and questioning ….with the intent of learning from the other. And this space/place is not mutually exclusive of voicing strong opinion, ideas, concerns, etc. So it is not either/or….but both/and. Someone mentioned listening….and I think that is another place where ‘space’ is opened up for ‘the other’ to enter into and to show up within….
    And I guess maybe – to really enable these places in the midst of the painful intricacies that reside within our raw heart spaces….we hope to have ‘ears to hear’ and ‘eyes to see’….

  48. “insinuations that women’s feelings are unreasonable.”

    True, by definition: feelings are not part of reasoning–or at least are merely inputs to reason. They are information, they are valid, valuable even, but they are _only_ feelings, and not reason.

    So what were you trying to say here? “Insinuations that women’s feelings are invalid”? That would indeed be a mean, ignorant, and socially harmful attack, about which more below. “Insinuations that women [are ruled by | neglect to fact-check] their feelings”? These are terrible accusations–and are sadly true most of the time for both women and men. Are they true more often of women? That’s a reasonable question, but I’d want to put on a helmet before publishing either of the three-ish possible answers. Men are pushed more into hard sciences and other intellectually rigorous environments than women are, so there could be some spillover from that. “Insinuations that women’s feelings are illogical”? Well, yes, and I think that being reminded that feelings are not the same as reason is important (for example, we wouldn’t even _have_ Republicans if more people bore this in mind). But this attack is sort of like a man saying “You women, your problem is that you all have noses!”

    But more interesting to me is the possibility that, since in our culture (North America, at least) women are encouraged to talk about feelings whereas men are not, and that this leads to women being more willing to admit that they are trying to achieve something that will improve their emotional wellbeing, whereas men have to come up with some synthetic rationalisation for each decision–one that terminates before it admits to the true underlying emotional argument. Emotions are useful but they are terribly unreliable, so any decision process that doesn’t involve an intelligent examination of the underlying feelings _should_ be dismissed. In this case I suppose male privilege would be nothing but the ability to attack someone for being reasonable (yes, rational thought with the goal of improving emotional context seems very reasonable! Parallels to, e.g., Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness index).

    So if women really are less capable of acting reasonably in response to their emotions, then the accusation might have some twisted validity. My guess is that it’s easier to act reasonably in response to emotions when you’re “allowed” to admit to having the emotions in the first place (i.e. women should be _more_ capable of acting reasonably than men), but that’s just a guess.

    On the other hand, one gender or the other might be better at presenting an emotion-informed analysis without letting the initial (useful but unreliable) emotions bleed through–which could, perhaps rightly, cause the responding intellect to question the validity of the argument. It’s another possibility, but I’d be really surprised if anyone had good data…

    • To me, “reasonable” does not mean “grounded in reason” (and hence “unreasonable” does not mean “not grounded in reason”), but rather “within the realm of what civil adults find appropriate”. Whether or not emotions are well-reasoned is irrelevant; what’s relevant is whether we can understand, through empathy, why someone else is having the emotions they’re having. If we can’t, we’re likely to characterize those emotions as “unreasonable”, and that’s generally what we’re saying when we accuse someone else’s emotions of being unreasonable: We can’t even see why they might be upset, therefore they’re the one the problem. Such an accusation can also communicate that we’re not interested in trying to understand.

  49. I love writing, blogging, commenting. I see so many sides to things, and am fascinated in continuing the gender dialogue. I want something that may not exist–a blogging platform where men and women come together in relatively equal number, respectfully discuss gender issues free of extremists of both genders…without inflammatory rhetoric…trying to meet in the middle. By default, I must be asking for a heavily moderated site that does not suffer fools and bans people who repetitively shove extreme MRA or extreme feminist agendas down everyone’s throats, ruining the comment threads for everyone. I sometimes want things that limit free speech I guess! I keep hearing that it’s the same on all sites on the internet–the vitriol, the flame wars, etc. I’m worn out. I like a good debate. I DON’T like MRA’s saying feminists want to exterminate men. I DON’T like feminists saying we need a world without men. ETC. Ad nauseum. Sick, sick, sick of the boring, ugly, going-nowhere commentary. Want REAL dialogue. Want a place where I can write and comment with people meeting in the middle. Where can I find a place with fewer lunatics? :-) Suggestions? Anyone???

    • Lori, my experience is that discussions on the fringes of culture—the edges of normative and beyond (and let’s face it, we are talking about changes, those that have happened, those that we see coming and/or long to see) tend to create almost tribal affiliations and then become fraught with internecine doctrinal disputes. Sometimes on small matters, sometimes quite divisive issues. Think of Freud, Adler and Jung.
      Or the Russian, American or French revolutions.
      Where do we speak civilly? Respectfully? In approximate equal numbers? That is a fleeting accomplishment without a great deal of choreography (read: limitation of the speech of some).
      Change is very frightening to most and one result of cahnge-fear is that, in sheer terror, some commenters begin screaming about a doctrinal “outrage” when the reality is that something is frightening them (either an anticipated event or they are suddenly no longer as advantaged as the previous scenario allowed them to be).
      When people are terrified/in survival mode they fight, freeze or flee.
      The trick is to get folks out of survival. That requires witnessing of each group members’ real terror (which is frequently unknown to the individual).
      I, too, am frustrated but the extremism. As a culture, we are fractured. It may take limiting the louder voices for the more subtle voices to be heard. Loudness (in this instance, extremism) is really an aggressive display (albeit in words) meant to hide terror.
      Perhaps a quota system? For every extreme, all other extremes are tabled until the quieter voices are heard? Dunno…just my observations.

      • Thanks Terre. Does your local newspaper have a Letters to the Editor guideline for frequency of submission? Mine does. Every town has some extremists, and they’d publish ten letters a week if they were allowed, drowning out everyone else. But they are allowed one post per four weeks. I know this is not practical–or even desirable!!__ in the world of blogging. But the principle is that, unchecked, you get the same 10 or 15 maniacs without day jobs (and in need of therapy and medication) posting rudely and repetitively on every article all day long, leaving no room for anyone but the most intrepid to weigh in. And if you don’t agree with the dominant mob, you get eaten alive. Why would moderates or new readers want to enter that fray? How do we keep it safe and enjoyable for everyone? I don’t want to be anyone’s red meat anymore. They can all just cannibalize each other. Fighting is a blood sport they enjoy. I don’t. I’ll find my way…

        Thank you.

        • Agreed. Under- or un-moderated comments are aggression in both quantity and tone as delivered by some.
          If a site desire page views more than discussion, this is bound to happen. Failure to acknowledge the aggression indicates that another agenda is running the show for the moderators.
          I am not offering myself up for human sacrifice in under- or un-moderated venues, either.

          • I agree completely. The need for page views often dominates strategy. You start seeing comments as “not that bad” and philosophize that free speech is critical and that all voices must be heard. I actually agree with those things!! So, I don’t know how this ever gets solved!

    • Doesnt it feel sometimes like you havnt left highschool yet? I read posts and responses from many of the current internet feminists and mra’s and realize they are pretty much all the people I avoided in highschool. Downright depressing at times. :(

  50. It seems that male fear of feminism and feminists has something to do with the guilt men feel for all the horrifying things they have done to women. What men
    actually fear is the day all women wake up and explode in rage at men…. the chickens are coming home to roost… yes men fear this rage and I know with each passing year my rage at male attrocities grows. So I have no compassion for men.
    I’m so tired of them ruling and ruining the earth. Feminism will take away male power, men will and are losing power. Any gains women make gets men angry, because to them women are this great source of slave sexual labor, of emotional labor… so when women rise it means men with their ill gotten gains lose some of this sexual slave labor. Of course men don’t want to give up any power at all. Tought, just get out of our way, just leave women to create a powerful world on our own terms. Gaslighting was a term feminists invented as a tactic males use against women. Men always try to make women feel off balance and crazy they don’t want women to discover rage. But I will say this, the more I read this blog the more rage I feel toward the monsters who dominate, rape, torture and exploit…

    • Aileen, you’re an excellent example of the extremist nonsense Lori Day was complaining about… and a perfect illustration of why feminism has nothing to contribute to the Good Men Project.

      • Aileen is not a representative of the feminism that is practiced by myself or anyone I have ever met. If you go to any of the heavily-trafficked feminist blogs on the internet and find anything like this I’ll eat my damn shirt.

      • Copyleft, I agree with you. That is my parting gift to you. And yet, because you and so many others like you painted me with this same brush at GMP, and made the experience of writing and blogging there so frustrating and devoid of joy, I left as well, unrelated to Hugo. I just don’t like being chum in the water. No one except a masochist would give the gift of their time to be treated that way. I will continue blogging wherever my voice is wanted, and where being constantly attacked is not the reward for my efforts. But I hope you all have fun together ripping each other to shreds. I’ve got better things to do and happier days ahead.

  51. So, you left GMP over someone else behaving exactly the same way you’ve been behaving over the response on Feministe to your interview with Thorn? Hypocrite.

  52. Hugo, I think this is a beautiful piece.

    The first thing I thought when reading the first article was, “What is this ‘masculinity’ that he is talking about?” I genuinely think that there could be a discussion about this, but instead it just got couched in terms of “feminist wrath.”

    Why can’t I have an opinion that is different? Why can’t we talk about it? Why am I “attacking” if I simply disagree? Reading about gaslighting was a revelation, because it gave me a word for what has been being done to me my whole life.

    I am a strong, feminist, flawed woman. I can’t be anything else. And if standing up for my opinions means that I stand alone, so be it.

  53. There was always a significant danger of such a derailment: Back when the GMP book first came out (which I liked), I concluded a review with the following statement: “Hopefully, the wider hopes surrounding the book and Foundation will prove fruitful, and will not be compromised by various forms of men’s movement (such as Father’s Rights, Mythopoets, Pick-up-Artists, Men’s Ministry, Men Going their Own Way) who will no doubt see a great advantage in appropriating the honor of being ‘good men.'”:

  54. “Basement boys” because as we all know, the only people who do shit like that are dorks in basements without jobs or their own homes, and surely not successful guys

    Corollary: all guys who do not display success are probably misogynist, it is safe to disregard them

  55. Hugo can of course speak for himself on this, but regarding Lisa’s question of “how you thought a post that directly attacked the founder of the website that you worked for was good for The Good Men Project brand”, isn’t it obvious that this question answers itself? If my boss says to me, “Do you really think your doing X is good for this company?” it’s pretty clear that she isn’t really interested in my opinion on the matter but is saying “Don’t do X!” I don’t see anything wrong with Hugo cutting to the chase and recognizing that he and GMP were just at odds if he couldn’t voice this dissenting opinion.

  56. Hugo, I have disagreed with you in the past, but in this post you are spot on! Thank you for standing up for your beliefs in a calm and rational manner. You, sir, are a good man.

  57. I appreciate a lot of what you wrote here but in all honesty, feminism does not require male voices. Male voices have all the platforms, feminist discussions don’t have to be one of them.

    I have a really hard time stomaching any critique involving sexism or privilege from an educated, cis, hetero, white male.

    Probably most of the problem with the GPM.

    • So? I have a really hard time stomaching any critique involving sexism or privilege from an educated, cis, hetero, white female.

      Suck on that.

    • I’d like to disagree with you Tiffany, on your claim that Feminism does not require male voices.

      To really combat and destroy the idea of misogyny, we need to engage men, since they are the enforcers and maintainers of misogyny. The alternative to engaging men is women suffering endlessly under misogyny, and men never being alerted to its presence.

      I think feminism has two parts…Women-only space is still super important and necessary….But there’s times when we as feminists really should reach out to men, and teach them, and then they can go be role models to other men, or reach out to other men.

  58. I used to love GMP, but it’s become painfully obvious that it’s no longer a platform for exploration and productive discussion. The site is no longer about understanding what it means to be a good man and how to achieve that– it’s about rationalizing harmful attitudes and behaviors. See: Gender Role Ambivalence

  59. @elkdancer@gmail.com

    A culture dominated by men. Male leaders, male advertisers, male executives, male authority figures in law enforcement and the judicial system into forever.

  60. Good riddance to you Hugo, now some of great masses of ordinary men who want nothing to do with feminists like yourself may benefit from a site that is essentially a good idea. Perhaps it will better help them express and understand their own masculinity without being pressured into supporting an elite white female hate ideology that has nothing to do with masculinity or equality.

  61. Pingback: Mannen en hun angst voor een feministische dialoog « De Zesde Clan

  62. A wonderful piece, and thank you for it. One thing, though, troubles me: Yashar Ali, for all he wrote an excellent piece, did not coin the term “gaslighting”; it’s been common parlance in feminist domestic abuse circles for quite awhile now. Ali popularised it to a wider audience and made a good (though not really original) argument for how even small (not immediately apparent as abusive) things can contribute to the oppression of women, and these are commendable things. But to credit him as the originator of the phrase is to take the credit for naming our own oppression out of the hands of all the women who did the original work that Ali popularised.

    • Nice misogyny, acting like feminism is dirty or something.

      Men are free to be feminists, whether other men like it or not, so you should grow up and accept mens’ freedom.

    • Gross oversimplification. I would state it this way “Men, who buy into the BS paradigm of “this sex vs. that sex” are further feeding the gender-imperialists, like Tiffany and company”. For example, I was a staunch supporter of Slutwalk. I didn’t see it as men vs. women, I saw it as good people vs. rape apologists. Unfortunately, Slutwalk was hijacked by the anti-men wing of feminism (like Tiffany) and lost all credibility in my eyes. OWS is another good example. Fair tax laws, $ for occupational and educational programs, reparations and accountability from those whose malfeasance caused the tanking of a major American market. When it turned into communism/socialism vs. capitalism, it lost my support. If you let good ideas get hijacked by hateful ideologues, like Tiffany, people will tune you out. You cannot blindly support your “base”, without regard for the consequences of feeding the fringe.

  63. hi hugo,

    not sure if you read all the comments on your pieces, but i wanted to leave my two cents. i think your move to withdraw from the GMP was merited and respectable, and the following comment doesn’t have anything to do with that.

    i just wanted to share that i find your (and others’) consistent use of race analogies to be a bit off-putting and frustrating. i understand that a race analogy can be helpful when someone is struggling to understand an instance of gender oppression. HOWEVER, race analogies can quickly become problematic, and because i’ve seen you make them multiple times now, i wanted to share why i think this.
    1) sexism and racism function in different ways. that doesn’t mean that they don’t overlap to a profound degree, or that connections can’t be drawn between them. but oppression based on race and oppression based on gender have entirely different histories and aims, and comparing the two can ignore that.
    2) race analogies often rely on the assumption that everybody knows racism a) still exists and b) is unacceptable in any form. the frustrating and painful extent to which these factors are still debated means that a race analogy may not even be that effective, and can distract or detract from the argument one is making. in my experience, especially when trying to reach a white man, making connections about sexism to race/racism is not usually that illuminating or helpful.
    3) comparing the oppression of women to the oppression of POC can be extremely erasing to women of color, and often normalizes the category of “woman” to mean white woman.

    anyway, like i said, just wanted to share my two cents about why i don’t often agree with the use of “other type of oppression” analogies.

    • That was an awesome explanation

      It’s like when people say a phrase like “Gay is becoming the Black of the 21st century”……..gay black people are supposed to think their oppression is becoming their oppression?? That always made my brain a pretzel.

  64. I have always enjoyed reading The Good Men Project for the variety of views expressed. I’m sad that you feel you can no longer write or be associated with it because of a Twitter fight – especially when you’re hypothesis rests on the use of one word. I didn’t interpret Tom’s use of the tweet ‘…Insane.’ as a reference to the women he was engaging with being crazy. The clear delineation between the sentence and ‘Insane’ as as stand alone point implies that he found the situation insane. It was insane. Get over yourselves.
    If I think a PERSON is making a specious argument, I’ll happily engage them. Sometimes it gets out of hand. I know full well from the personal attacks I was subjected to for opposing the Slut Walk movement – all of this after I fully disclosed my experience of intra-familial childhood sexual abuse, & the trauma-based mental illness that horror has visited on me. I lost the plot on Twitter because a group of supporters decided that my feminism wasn’t acceptable. I was even targeted by a ‘male supporter’ who said, ‘hey, I know five women who’ve been raped, you’re wrong’. It was at that point (OK, after having an anxiety attack online) that I walked away – but I still tweet, & write, because I do care, I can think & I have the confidence to stand my ground.
    The women you’ve name-checked don’t own feminism any more than I do. They don’t get to dictate what’s acceptable, & there is no ‘Miss Manner’s Guide’ for behaviour on Twitter. People are childish. People get angry. People get hurt. People are offended and are offensive; but it’s rarely boring and mostly an amazing way to learn.
    That said, for Amanda Marcotte to tweet, ‘I’ve met some domineering wives, but there a tiny minority’ is just as, if not more offensive, lame and stupid as anything else on that circle-jerk of a timeline.
    Finally, I found it interesting that while Tom’s actions provoked you into writing the piece, Lisa – the publisher – knocked it back. Did it occur to you to criticise her in this post? No. You played the man, because the man made you angry, but the woman, in a strong position, just did her job. She ‘accepted’ your resignation. Nice and passive, no implication of any heated words – maybe there were none, but we’ll have to take your circumspection on that at face value. You’re playing to a market, Hugo, just as ‘Kevin’ did (or thought he did).
    Enjoy the break and best wishes for a happy, healthy & successful 2012.

    • Kimberly. I find it interesting that Mr Schwyzer keeps implying, and others accept the implication, that matters revolve around Twittergate.

      Mr Schwyzer was revealing as far back as 17 November that there were differences between him and Tom – the subject Child Sexual Abuse and PSU/Sandusky.

      As Hugo wrote:

      “To Prevent Future Penn States, We Need to Celebrate the Good in Male Sexuality”

      “It’s always risky for a writer to disagree with a magazine’s founder, but I want to take slight issue with Tom Matlack’s Look in the Mirror: the Hypocrisy of PSU Rage.”

      It is all a matter of record in Mr Schwyzer’s own words on GMP.

      There are also many more examples.

      It is interesting to contrast the pieces and analyze the focus of concerns expressed.

      Some read for Key Words – others for content – and some for meaning and intent.

      Yours a “Meddling Rational Archivist” with 30+ years experience in all Equality Streams.

  65. I’m going to miss you on the GMP, but I’m glad you’ve resigned. Tom Matlack and Lisa Hickey’s approaches to feminism have been incredibly disappointing.

    • I’m not convinced Patriarchy hurts all of us. As I look around my neighborhood, I see clean, orderly streets, children with intact, two-parent families, stability, safety and progress. Please tell me why this is bad?

      • You actually do raise a good point. Just as it’s hard to explain to someone who shoplifts everything that shoplifting is bad because it raises the prices for everyone (“So what?” says the shoplifter, “I don’t pay for anything anyway.”), it’s hard to explain to someone on the top of the power structure why it’s a harmful system. Maybe you’re right, for that matter; maybe all those folks in their pretty mansions and their well-coiffed lawns will never suffer one iota as a result of the inequities that support their lifestyles.

        And — please read this part — perhaps some of them have done things which lead them to deserve their position, through hard work, diligence, intelligence, and so on.

        However, many, most likely the majority, have done nothing but be born into the right household. Are they hurt by the cultural inequity? Only from the minor standpoint that people who care about some degree of fairness insult them.

        They should still care, though.

    • “They had the right to call a man out on abuse, but also get to be bought flowers. What more could they ask for?”

      Men doing their own laundry, men cleaning their own house, men making their own bed, less women raped per year, women earning the same amount as men, safer workplace conditions for everyone, a society where rape survivors aren’t blamed for their rape, a society where very old women had more opportunities to escape from poverty, a society where very young women didn’t have to become sex workers out of necessity, a world where women could achieve female sovereignty over something so small as a classroom or an academic discipline without men wanting to invade and take it over and “become experts”.

      • “a world where women could achieve female sovereignty over something so small as a classroom or an academic discipline without men wanting to invade and take it over and “become experts”.”

        So, Jemma, once women take over a profession, like, say, elementary school teaching or nursing, men should just stay the hell out? In your view the best man for the job is frequently a woman but the best woman for the job can never be a man if I understand you correctly.

  66. I loved this article, it’s nice to hear comments about the silent messages men are sending articulated so well. When you mentioned that women feel the need to phrase their message “just right” to protect the feelings of the men who are listening, I think it goes even further than that. I think women are also trying to phrase it just right so that the man will actually listen to what they are saying and not make passive-aggressive comments about “male-bashing”. It’s nice to break through the bull and have someone actually hear and consider what you say.
    Thanks for this!!

  67. This is probably for the best. I never saw any missions statement on the Good Men Project declaring that it was supposed to be a feminist site or that its goal was to advance feminism… and Hugo has freely declared that feminism is what his writing is “all about.” That’s a fundamental incompatibility.

    A commenter above noted that feminism doesn’t particularly require male voices. Likewise, a forum for MEN’S issues doesn’t especially require any feminist input.

  68. Hugo,
    Apart from the rift with GMP, what you’ve written here is very important; thank you for publishing it. I can’t tell you the number of times what happened in your classroom happens on an interpersonal level. I’ve tried to discuss gender issues with men, particularly those related to sexual violence, and have often been shut down with “I’m not having this discussion with you” or “You’re letting your feelings distort reality” or some other form of gaslighting and minimizing. It’s frustrating to say the least, and also makes me wonder *why* a particular man is so frightened at the prospect of discussing an admittedly uncomfortable topic.

      • I’d hardly call discussing how calling women “sluts” for dressing a certain way contributes to/is indicative of rape culture “silly,” but to each his own, Tim.

        • If SlutWalk stopped there, it would be right. Unfortunately, many in the SlutWalk camp believe that women have no personal responsibility and, even if a girl gives you permission, hell…BEGS YOU to have sex with her, and she has had 3 drinks, it constitutes rape on your part. Add in the nonsense about “birth rape” and a thousand other fallacious, specious, and ridiculous assertions…well, you can count on even liberal men, like myself, tuning you and your cause out.

  69. I thought Matlack’s article was really lacking. Perhaps if he just wanted introspective responses from men, he should have taken it to some man-only safe space to hash it out.

    His question “why do men get blamed for everything” was unsupported and unanswered.

    My take on why men feel blamed is that guys who haven’t studied feminism have a simplified understanding of the word “patriarchy”. They feel blamed when they hear that word, as if “patriarchy” means “Men did it. Men did it. Men are bad. All men should feel guilty.”

    To be fair, no man that I know chose to be born with male privilege. Considering it was an accident of birth, I am not surprised if some of them wonder how come they are expected to do homework analyzing their privilege when having privilege is not their fault (thus not their responsibility.)

  70. This little piece has a lot of problems. First of all, a “fear of reprisal” does not necessarily mean physical violence. A reprisal is a very general term, which could include any number of things, including but not limited to being socially ostracized.
    It’s basically idiotic to assume that feminists or women or any particular group are the only ones intimidated from speaking their minds bluntly on college campuses. Political correctness has done plenty to make sure that everyone is equally wary of what they say and how it is phrased, and has done a lot of good for free and open discussions that once upon a time college was supposed to be about.

    [All of this behavior reflects two things: men’s genuine fear of being challenged and confronted, and the persistence of the stereotype of feminists as being aggressive, wrathful, “man-bashers.” The painful thing about all this, of course, is that no man is in any real physical danger on the internet— or even in real life — from feminists. Women are regularly beaten and raped — even on college campuses — but I know of no instance where a man found himself a victim of violence for making a sexist remark in a feminist setting! “Male-bashing” doesn’t literally happen, in other words, at least not as a result of arguments over feminism. But that doesn’t stop men from using (in jest or no) their own exaggerated fear of physical violence to make a subtle point about feminists.

    All of this behavior reflects two things: men’s genuine fear of being challenged and confronted, and the persistence of the stereotype of feminists as being aggressive, wrathful, “man-bashers.” The painful thing about all this, of course, is that no man is in any real physical danger on the internet— or even in real life — from feminists. Women are regularly beaten and raped — even on college campuses — but I know of no instance where a man found himself a victim of violence for making a sexist remark in a feminist setting! “Male-bashing” doesn’t literally happen, in other words, at least not as a result of arguments over feminism. But that doesn’t stop men from using (in jest or no) their own exaggerated fear of physical violence to make a subtle point about feminists.
    Your paragraph about men not being in any actual danger from feminists, but women being in danger from men on college campuses is analogically deficient. The first analogy is that men are not in danger from feminists in a debate but they like to pretend they are. Correspondingly, it should be the case that feminists are not in danger from men. They are, but it is not because of what they say, it is because of who they are (women). Those who are victims of sexual and other violence are rarely so because they took a feminist position, they are so for…well a host of other reasons that are probably too much to get into right now. In any case, the analogy makes no sense, even though it appears to on the surface. And this is discounting the fact that, once again, there are things that are dangerous or threatening that aren’t necessarily physical violence.
    Finally the whole piece has a current running through it, probably unintentional, that OF COURSE men could have no physical threat to fear form these kind, gentle, abused creatures known as women. This is infantilizing at best and ignorant at worst.
    Those criticisms aside, you make some good points.

  71. I wish I could’ve seen this when I was in about the Eigth Grade. Nonetheless, being able to actively weed out boys from my sphere who regularly use terms like “Feminazi” has been invaluable to me over the past decade or more.

  72. It’s interesting to me that Kevin put on a football helmet. Talk about drama. And talk about a sport that women, for the most part, don’t take part in.

    I love this piece and I’m frustrated that so many people misunderstand feminism and its importance. And do what they can to keep women in their place.

    I remember having these conversations when I was in college in the 1980s. I can’t believe that my children will have to continue them.

  73. @Aqseer Sodhi Of course you all think that. I mean you get platforms for your voices all the time. It makes sense that your privilege would mean you feel like you can coopt another. But to use the old adage, feminism + men, fish + bicycle. Your voice needs to stay silent. You have plenty of outlets, including the mainstream media. Use them.

    Just that you’re arguing with me about this is symbolic of exactly the problem with men identifying as feminists. I raise concerns about male voices in a movement meant to help women and am immediately disagreed with by the very people that have the privilege. Go ahead, keep dismissing my concerns.

  74. Let me get this straight. So you resigned in order to make a difference? How “manly” or “womanly” (whatever those things are?) of you?

  75. To be honest, this should have happened months ago. Hugo has never written about anything even remotely related to “good men” or being a “good man” or anything of the short. Fiery, bombastic dross dripping with misandry is really the only way to describe Hugo’s writing. It is fine to be a feminist Rush Limbaugh — there is very clearly a large market for it — but your writing does serious harm to men and boys everywhere who would be so misguided as to believe what you say.

    Tom was attacked for making an entirely reasonable comparison. He compared women suspecting men of being dangerous simply for being men to suspecting African Americans of being dangerous criminals simply for being black. It is one in the same. Projecting the sins of a small minority of individuals onto an entire group of people is WRONG. Period. It is wrong doing it to black people, it is wrong doing it to Muslims, and it is wrong doing it to men.

    • How exactly is it dangerous and wrong what Hugo is doing? Does it put you in a danger of being raped or beaten? You’re the perfect example of what Hugo is talking about how weak and complexed males are.

    • How exactly is it dangerous and wrong what Hugo is doing? Does it put you in a danger of being raped or beaten? You’re the perfect example of what Hugo is talking about how weak and complexed males are.

  76. Pingback: ‘So a Male Feminist and a Female Humanist Walk Into a Bar…’ — The Good Men Project

  77. I have always felt, since its beginnings, that the Good Men Project was based upon enlightened discussion on how to be a good man. How does feminism play into this at all? It’s about men, not women – and about having the freedom to discuss issues that effect our manhood openly and without derision and judgement. Among men. Without having to be afraid of being judged for having a male viewpoint.
    Can a man be a feminist? Truly? I think not – you don’t have the coding.
    I think editorial decisions are the right of the editor, and if you don’t like it then you can quit and walk away.That’s your right as well.
    America, such a wonderful place!

  78. “It seems that male fear of feminism and feminists has something to do with the guilt men feel for all the horrifying things they have done to women.”

    This is just so wrong. One man is not responsible for the crimes of other men. (Yes, I am a feminist.)

          • Spoken like a person who hasn’t really examined the full extent of her unearned privilege.

        • You males are getting handouts not only from your peers (old boys club), but also from plenty of women, cause unfortunately, they’re still brainwashed by this male obsessed society that male validation is the most important thing. So, to get that validation, they’re throwing handouts in your ways. I’ve seen it happen way too often. If you’re a male, handouts should be the norm, but if you’re a woman, and someone gives you a handout, you must-ve performed a sex act to get that. And you males dare to complain? Just shut up and stop embarassing yourselves. Remember, karma is a bitch.

  79. This is outstanding article.

    I like GMP a lot, but the comment policy needs rethinking. Sometimes simple changes improve things without drama. Maybe cutting character count by half would make the discourse less shrill.

    If someone posts a page-long comment, it’s not a comment, it’s a diatribe. They’re not listening or talking to anybody, they’re conducting a self-absorbed lecture that others won’t read but will inspire others to respond with their own diatribe. Conversational types will be less likely to join in and the overall effect is unlikely to boost traffic as much as more varied comments.

    Comments that use all caps in any way should be banned entirely. Communication failure.

  80. Good on you for having the independence to leave the Good Men Project!

    Once, feministing.com bounced me to one of your articles hosted on Good Men Project, and I thought the rest of the website would be good to give to my men friends, with whom feministing.com just doesn’t “click”. I bookmarked GMP, and gave it to several man-friends…until one of them showed me an article by Paul Elam on there. Hateful hateful man.

    Ach, whenever I mentioned GMP after that, it was always with warnings of misogyny, MRAs, and avoidance.

  81. Thanks for the fine article, Hugo. I am very sorry about the impasse between you and The Good Men Project (TGMP). However, I could see it coming for a long, long time.

    I have always sensed that TGMP was using you and other like-minded writers as feminist decoys. Your role was to show “diversity” and unwittingly hide the sexism of its leaders.

    This sense that TGMP was “using” you was very strong when the website would NEVER call out feminist-bashing in its posts and articles. So many TGMP posts were so cruel to feminists and yet, Lisa Hickey and Tom Matlock would never ask them to apologize or remove them from the site.

    Hugo, I have a question for you. Did Lisa or Tom ever ask you to write an article that explained the meaning of terms like male privilege, patriarchy and the guy code? If not, then it proves my point that TGMP was using you and men like Bob Jensen as feminist decoys.

  82. I have more to write. :-)

    If TGMP really wanted dialogue on what it means to be a good man, it would have asked men like you, Allan G. Johnson, and Bob Jensen to write articles about “what we mean when we say male privilege and the guy code.” It would have asked men to think sociologically about these issues.

    If TGMP really respected feminists, it would have had zero tolerance for feminist bashing in its articles and posts.

    The feminist movement is far from perfect. Some of its biggest critics are feminists themselves. I would have no problem if TGMP would publish constructive critiques of the movement. However, it’s obvious by now that TGMP does not want equality. It wants an updated, 21st century patriarchy.

  83. Pingback: USA Why I Resigned from The Good Men Project

  84. Hugo: Founder Tom Matlack wrote several pieces which were highly critical of feminism.


    And? What’s wrong with that?

    Why should he not write anything which is highly critical of feminism?

    The GMP never said it’s a website promoting feminism.
    They even claim, they are supportive to men, they never said something like feminist-only.

    Why does this disturb you?
    You are not banned on the GMP, your comments are not deleted or edited and it is up to you to send them your comments anytime and they will be published for sure.

    However if you expect the whole GMP to agree with you, you are wrong.

    This is not the case, will not be the case in future and other opinions which do not agree with you are and will also existing there. Even if they disturb you so much, even if you like that or not…

  85. If we are going to declare women as crazy / not crazy, we need to examine what the definition of crazy is, and how it may or may not apply to women. Women do have higher levels of depression, addictions, and borderline personality disorder, while men have a ever so slightly increase of genetically caused mental diseases like schitzophrenia, caused by a lack of genetic diversity of x chromosomes. This is because women have higher sensitivity to dopamine but lower levels of it, as well as lower levels of serotonin and higher levels of oxytocin. If we examine the fact that men and women have sexual dimorphism, to accommodate the needs of the individual sex, then we may say that they are adapted to their social environment. Where they rely on a strong reward impulse and strong bonding instinct, which helps them to rear children and prevent depression. However if your definition of crazy is based upon predictability and use of rational judgement, women do exhibit less signs of predictability and use of rational judgement, because their chemistry is subject to more change and strong emotions override rationality.

    • Little boys cry as much as little girls; at that stage of life, there isn’t an arguement that girls are crazy or it’s in their chemistry and boys are rational and less emotional. There’s none of that, because at that age these young boys and girls haven’t been fully exposed to gender role influences by media or by family and peers. They are essentially naive: they don’t withhold feelings, thoughts or emotions as grownups tend to do, particularly men.

      As adolescents and adults we are constantly in influx with messages of what is expected of our gender…we filter these messages and rely on sources such as our parents as role models, peers, media and so on. From little girls to grown women, females have not changed much in showing emotions and empathy; however, the same cannot be said of men…from little boys to men – drastic changes have taken place in emotional behavior and empathy: these are much more controlled and infrequent. Therefore the differences in female emotional predictability remain unchanged through life, while men undergo a metamorphosis from childhood to adulthood. That is the patriarchy/straight-jacket Hugo’s been pointing out…men erected this…and other boys/men succumb to this conditioning and the narrow ideas of manhood.

      • First lets clarify that your talking about the cultural influences, whereas I’m talking about biological influences. Cultural influences can’t be considered to be an inherent, unless the cultural difference is based upon inherent biological features. Furthermore Children also start off with a more similar chemistry, which changes and develops over time. To argue that any behavior is solely the domain of either nature or nuture is absurd, clearly both increase their role in mental development over time.

        Despite the fact that we are talking about men and women, I don’t recall anyone discussing girls and boys. Girls actually do develop changes in mental processes, which is precipitated by the changes in their biological processes. While you may have a point that men are conditioned (as all social organisms are), it does not discredit the fact that a definition of crazy, can be analysed based upon inherent biological processes which are shown scientifically and not culturally.

      • I should also mention that there is also stigmatization with men, regarding men being aggressive pleasure seeking persons. Which is a feature that is driving both biologically and culturally, the culture of which is partially driven by women. Men who are deprived of love by women, except for circumstances where they can prove themselves worthy enough, are prone to make men develop psychological issues. Furthermore having ample amounts of tistosterone and andosterone, will make a male aggressive and less likely to show empathy. Because of the hostile nature of the world, where he is forced to compete to survive and procreate, versus having the ability to be cared for and saved from disaster.

        • “Men who are deprived of love by women, except for circumstances where they can prove themselves worthy enough, are prone to make men develop psychological issues.”

          So, if an aggressive man is deprived of love, you are saying that his aggression and his issues are the responsibility of the women around him? What about women who are deprived of love – are their anger and their issues the responsibility of other women too?

      • You do realize by the time puberty hits are bodies have become distinctively different. I imagine one of the reasons boys might not “hurt” quite as easily as a women is the fact that our bodies are considerably harder. Just look at the average amount of muscles in either sex. Studies show that men on average have a higher pain tolerance(physically) than women.

        • Studies have shown that within the social hierarchy, lower ranking primates have higher levels of stress hormones then higher ranking individuals. With the alpha enjoying the lowest levels. Countless studies associate high stress levels with poor mental/physical health and reduced lifespan. In primate studies, the baseline stress hormones of the entire community actually drops when the community bands together and removes an abusive alpha male and replaces him with a more peaceful one. Granted, human hierarchy is complicated and takes into account myriad factors like socioeconomic status, race, sexual identity etc. Regardless, it stands that you cannot accurately draw scientific conclusions about women’s biologically determined amount of neurotransmitter levels when she is universally denied access to a higher rank via socialization

  86. Hugo,

    Thanks for your writing and all you do. I will continue to follow your work, no matter where life takes your writing.

    (one insignificant side note: Yashar did not coin the term “gaslighting”. People have been using it for a long time to describe the behavior he writes about, yes, referencing the fabulous film.)

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  88. Hugo, I’m glad to discover this blog of yours!

    Your articles on the GMP were ones which I looked out for and keenly read.

    Men’s issues are women’s issues and vice versa and that’s what I got from your articles. GMP is supported by white male moguls and assisted by female social elitists who seek their approval; Lisa and Tom pay homage to all of them and advocate for the MRAs – that’s whom they feel accountable to, not feminists.

    It is GMP’s loss, you were a huge asset to them in my view and gave the site a very unique perspective on gender roles and sexuality; these issues and feminists’ posts evidently made most of GMP men uncomfortable and saw you as public enemy number one.

    GMP is a biased site, turning into some corporate brand that’s more interested in protecting its image and assets than being the not-for-profit open platform for sharing of divergent views.

    Lisa’s distinguishing herself as a humanist and yourself as a feminist was a bit much. Every humanist ought to be feminists and every feminist by virtue are humanists!

  89. And one of those childish things social engineering cultists (“progressives” “social contructionists”) need to put away is the need to deflect, belittle, or exaggerate men’s anger.

  90. Here are the main two problems with feminism very clearly revealed in the following text of yours:

    ” It does mean that when men and women argue about gender justice, women are more likely to have insights that men have missed. Here’s the basic axiom: power conceals itself from those who possess it. And the corollary is that privilege is revealed more clearly to those who don’t have it.”

    First, statements of the kind “women are more likely to have insights…” is plain and simply sexism. You’re not even trying to hide it. That’s how off the rails your ideology has gone.

    Second, your axiom is clearly that women are inherently oppressed and men are inherently powerful. But it is little more than an assumption based mostly on projection of personal experiences. And when you say that “power conceals itself from those who possess it” then this must apply to women just as it does to men. How can your female admirers know that it is not they who are actually privileged?

    It’s also a gross oversimplification given that power also varies from situation to situation. The same two people will sometimes find themselves in a situation where one is more powerful and other times it’s the other way round. Definitely men are not always more powerful than women. The only thing we can argue is if they are perhaps more often more powerful and to what extent that difference exists.

    Still, this type of discussion will never get us anywhere because there will always be fluid and varying power differences in every single encounter that ever takes place. The way you talk about it though just creates an eternal gender war where whatever ideology is currently popular has the upper hand. I suppose it keeps people like you in jobs.

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  92. Thanks for leaving Hugo. Your constant insults of en and co-opting of black males with your silly analogies was beyond insulting to me and other black men. You weren’t a part of our struggle or our pain. Having our children ripped from us by black women and the state due to a feminist biased family court. That’s not Patriarchy stripping us brothers of our children which is why it seems to be the one part of the evil patriarchy that FEMINIST have never complained about. Neither white females nor black females will acknowledge their own matriarchal privilege of destroying our dear black families. You ignored our pain Hugo. But I guess it’s understandable, after all your a man.

    I may actually have to start reading a non misandry GMP now that the hatred has fled to it’s cave.


      Those words are often spoken on the Maury Povich show. Black men and white men merrily knock up women left, right and center – and claim no responsibility for doing so; they’re quick to deny that child is theirs and refuse child support. (Most men don’t like to wrap it up, prefer au natural – is this a men’s right? A lot of men put all the onus of conception on women; for that they should have a lesser voice in child custody. Going so far as to belittle and cuss at the mommies calling them sluts. It does take two to tango you know…where’s the man-whores in all of this? For every female called a slut, there is a man-whore out there.

  93. “Women are regularly beaten and raped — even on college campuses — but I know of no instance where a man found himself a victim of violence for making a sexist remark in a feminist setting!”

    You’re right, women usually don’t beat men up, even on college campuses. They just make sad-eyes and get their boyfriends/brothers/husbands/fathers to do their dirty work, while they enjoy it on the sidelines. I know, because I have had it happen to me, with a spoiled teenager who claimed that I “assaulted” her (not sexually) when I complained of her setting off fireworks from her apartment balcony at 2:00 AM in the morning. Her father, a karate blackbelt, punched me out the following week. Mine is not an isolated incident, shit like this happens all the time (sometimes with deadly consequences) and too many females NEVER regret it, or take responsibility for it.

    And thanks to Hugo’s self-castrating feminism, they never will.

    • It’s like you people can’t separate individuals and systems/structures. Your one individual experience doesn’t mean there is a SYSTEMIC problem. Stop generalizing from a few personal anecdotes. There is *hard* data supporting the notion that there is systemic violence against women. SYSTEMIC. Meaning, it’s extremely common, and it’s propped up by a powerful cultural infrastructure. Even though women commit violence against men the problem is not systemic. Good God. This is an elementary point.

  94. I don’t agree with this at all. Passion is NOT a tool for finding truth and making reasoned arguments. It is completely incidental. If you need to be aggressive in the way you make arguments, your arguments are not good enough. They should be able to stand on their own because they follow logically, not because they are yelled with enough tenacity.

    Making arguments against aspects of feminism is not sexist, nor does it imply a lack of support for equality, which many feminists profess to be the goal of feminism.

    “All of this behavior reflects two things: men’s genuine fear of being challenged and confronted, and the persistence of the stereotype of feminists as being aggressive, wrathful, “man-bashers.” ”
    – It is sad that you make such generalizations without any evidence or reasoning. All people are afraid of challenge and confrontation to some extent, and I don’t think suggesting that some women use wrath as a means of getting their point across is any more demeaning than saying some men support rape culture. It’s factual. But let’s not pretend that ALL men, or ALL women do this or that.

    Since you are a self-professed feminist, I would have thought you’d be against making such cheap generalizations that support stereotypes.

    Yes, that guys action was a bit theatrical, but if in a UNIVERSITY we can’t have an open space for discussion and free exchange of ideas that are reasoned, calm and open-minded, then what the hell do we study liberal arts for? The TA should have been more willing to ensure that discussion was not vitriolic or impassioned to the point of obscuring debate or reason. It’s a shame that we make such effort to support women in engineering degrees but don’t make effort to support male students doing gender studies.

    • Yes, but many male students aren’t there to learn and improve, as you should by attending the class, but to reinforce old norms and steretypes, gaslight women’s issues and emotionally blackmail women to take care of male’s feelings and disregard their own individuality.

    • “Making arguments against aspects of feminism is not sexist, nor does it imply a lack of support for equality, which many feminists profess to be the goal of feminism.”

      This is fair and I would never suggest that the feminist movement is above criticism; however, what I think most feminists object to is when the entire feminist analysis of patriarchal infrastructure (particularly, the effects of things like the sex industry, as well as boys’ club mentalities that exist in many academic and professional fields and keep women shut out of these fields) is sidelined and ignored, and when in discussing men’s issues, men forget that women have no collective, systemic privilege over them. It is kind of impossible to dialogue with you if you truly believe that some kind of systemic female privilege exists in the way that systemic male privilege does.

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  98. thank you :) i had wondered if i was imagining what had happened with the Good Men Project. It seemed to have gone anti-women instead of pro-men and pro people.

    Shame, i read some wonderful articles there (by men) but recent stuff has been really rather unpleasant.

    good luck :)

  99. There was a purpose for feminism and the movement helped women make huge strides toward equality when it comes to things like the right to education, voting, same pay for the same job, the right to work at all etc. I can not deny that and I am grateful to the pioneers who fought to make life easier for women like me who are educated, want to work and be a mother, and of course want to be treated like an intelligent capable individual. That said, feminism has gone too far and indeed many men are afraid to voice their opinions for fear of wrath from women. I am not terrible familiar with The Good Men Project, but what I have read on the site is excellent and I greatly respect what these men stand for. Specifically, the stand against pornography and infidelity. From what I have seen, men have become passive and fearful, which is actually not what women are attracted to. At the same time too many women will not allow their husband to speak up or make a decision or God forbid, disagree with them! Society condones jokes criticizing men, just as jokes bashing white people are tolerated without exception. The other way around and you better run for your life! These days sit-coms often portray weak minded, passive men married to strong, intelligent women. A woman can talk about how “hot” a man right in front of her husband, while she accuses him of being a sexist pig if he objectifies a woman based on her appearance (which he is, but then isn’t she as well?). Instead of fairness and a level playing field, in many ways we’ve gone too far. Of couse there are still plenty of men who do take advantage of women, abuse women, and double standards still exist. Of course that should not be tolderated. But I admire a man who speaks out about the inequality that now exists at the opposite end of the spectrum.

    • When women will start passing laws micromanaging men’s bodies, when males will have to fight for the ownership of their bodies, and when males will get paid 77 cents for every dollar a woman gets paid (as it is NOW) than I’ll admit and start worry that male’s freedoms are in danger.

      • I am so sick of the argument that women get paid less than men. They work different jobs, less hours and take more time off. Read it for yourself: http://lattenomics.wordpress.com/2008/05/07/do-women-really-get-paid-less-than-men/. And women are equally responsible for the objectification of their bodies. With exception, women willingly sell their bodies….whether through prostitution, strip clubs, porn, or through “high class” opportunities such as Playboy and even modeling in skimpy clothes for advertising and magazine covers (magazines usually run by women). Further, men’s self-esteem is also affected by hearing comments women make like “size does matter” and from watching pornography and hearing women fawn over a certain type (looks, money, power etc.). In this way, I agree, men and women aren’t as different as many would have you think.

        • Who do you think started women selling their bodies and posing nude?? Men started these practices. Remember, always remember, that men have and control of the stripping industry, posing nude industry, nude magazine industry, and so on.

      • I was confused by the comment you made about laws passed micromanaging women’s bodies, lol. You must mean the “right to choose”. First of all, where do we get off taking away the right of a father to have a say in this choice? Because it is her body? Well, it’s just as much his baby as it is hers and kudos to him who wants to be involved. That’s what we want right? Please, I’ve had children. It’s not like pregnancy puts your body at risk 99% of the time (unless we’re talking strech marks, lol). Besides, we are talking about the right of a child here, not the right of a woman’s body. A woman does have the right to choose…choose to use birth control or not have sex to being with if you don’t want to get pregnant. I know this is way off topic, but you brought it up, Andrea.

        • He doesn’t carry the baby for nine months though. Of course he can have a say, but it isn’t his choice because he isn’t the one nurturing it with his own body. And a woman, IMO, is more important than her unborn child because she is the one who can think and has feelings, something her unborn child doesn’t have.

        • Ella, It’s sad when women continue to attack women in a discusson about women’s rights.
          Why do you so strongly go against your own gneder?

  100. I would have expected that editorship would require some kind of related knowledge base. In at least one area in which he had editorial responsibility Hugo is decades out of date in terms of knowledge, absent of empathy for the target group and is solely reliant on irrelevant, outdated political doctrine. A wise choice on his behalf.

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    • Me too. I like Yasher Ali too. You guys need to replicate yourself…have lots of kids…so real love, real hope can spread more abundantly!

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  103. “Yashar coined the simple term “gaslighting” to describe the way in which men undermine women’s self-confidence through subtle (and not so subtle) insinuations that women’s feelings are unreasonable.”

    Sorry, but this error has had to be flagged up elsewhere. Yasher is not the inventor of the term. It has been in use to my knowledge for over 30 years. It was even discussed in Film/Media studies back then as well a Psychology.

    Even Shakespeare used the idea and mechanism in Hamlet – over 400 years ago.

    I hope that an Internet myth and error is not being created due to sloppy academic practices.

    • Aren’t you the perfect little anal-retentive scholar, going around pointing this out?

      Nobody gives a shit who coined the word “gas lighting”.

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  108. Sorry to see you go Hugo. Your voice will be missed from GMP. I always enjoyed your posts, even when I didn’t always agree.

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  113. Frankly, Hugo, I always thought your pieces regarding feminist issues–though sometimes thought-provoking–were misplaced on the Good Men Project.

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  115. Sorry to hear about the conflict with The GMP, Hugo.

    I have generally thought your writing was good and appreciated it. We reached an impasse on your unwillingness to clear up the issue of biological paternity of the child born to the women you had sex with. I haven’t been following your work or The GMP for many months, but I heard about this conflict and wanted to comment in case it is helpful.

    I had given up on The GMP many months ago because I think that Tom Matlack is trying to do an impossible thing in (a) maintaining breadwinner status and focusing on homosocial experiences (b) while trying to be “good”. These aims are in conflict with each other. (It’s the mirror problem to women trying to get liberation from patriarchal control without taking earning a living seriously.) And that is why The GMP has become such a hive of MRA activity.

  116. is it really impossible for a woman to be counter-productive, over-sensitive, or dishonest? accusations of same are apparently leveled at women more often than men, but concluding on that basis that the accusations are necessarily without merit, a conspiracy of emotional manipulation to uphold Patriarchy, is, let me say it plainly, counter-productive, over-sensitive, and dishonest.

    people seem to think of courage as the willingness to confront somebody. you are no more courageous to confront the “mangina” crowd and tell them off, however careful your language, as a bunch of over-privileged frat boys, than they are sticking up for each other in the face of frightening female outrage.

    if you aren’t offending people on your side of the debate, you aren’t displaying intellectual honesty. it’s just that f*g simple. integrity isn’t a team sport. be courageous- get out there and attempt to differentiate what constitutes a fair expression of legitimate anger versus what is either genuinely irrational or deliberately overblown to falsely claim moral high ground. *see* if you don’t feel like you need a helmet.

  117. I feel like the author of this article does a good job of invalidating the concerns of people who speak out against “angry feminists”. In this particular case though, he talks about how the “threat of reprisal” and how those disagreeing with feminists have nothing to fear since there’s nothing that feminists can actually do to get back at those speaking out. That misunderstands the reprisal people are actually afraid of.

    The complaint about reprisal is a complaint about an atmosphere that’s not conducive to discussion, and how “angry feminists” create such an atmosphere. Fear of being attacked and judged in a harsh manner and intimidated is most certainly a meaningful reprisal to many people, especially in any sort of environment where one holds a minority opinion.

    Angry feminists, angry MRA’s, and angry anythings aren’t generally interested in meaningful discussion because they shout down and intimidate those that disagree with them, rather than engaging them in meaningful, respectful dialogue. I don’t see why it’s unfair to call out those that do it. It’s not “shutting them up” or undermining them in any way. In this case, it doesn’t even have anything to do with feminism at all, rather than the behavior of certain people.

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  119. “You’re a misogynist”, “You’re a woman hater”, “you just want to restore the old boys club”, “You just want to put women back to before they had the vote”, “you’re just some lonely fat white guy living in his mothers basement”, “Some woman must have really hurt you to make you this angry”, “With an attitude like that, you’ll never get a woman to love you”.

    Men do not have a monopoly on gaslighting and undermining an opponent (rather than that opponents argument) with shaming tactics. Seems to me that this article, like much of feminism, is an exercise in group psychological projection.

    The sad part is, Hugo, you likely ignored all these comments when levied at Tom, and don’t even notice it for what it is, because it has becomes such a standard part of the discourse between feminists and those critical of it.

  120. This was a beautifully written article and I am sorry it wasn’t published.

    I don’t know you personally, but I feel that I already owe you an apology. Some feminist friends warned me not to read your blog and accused you of being a misogynist. In my ignorance, I believed them. Then I stumbled on this piece, and I was shocked at your sensitivity to the female perspective. I have since read more of your articles and I just wanted to say that my respect for your grows by the hour. You write with incredible honesty. In all of your pieces I feel affirmed as a person and as a woman- I don’t get this feeling from the majority of male bloggers who write about gender. I am sorry that I judged you so hastily and I look forward to reading more.

    I also love that you incorporate religious discourse in your discussion of gender. I think Christianity has a lot to offer the discussion and I appreciate that you are willing to go there. Most people are afraid to talk about religion and gender because they are both very heated issues. You have the courage to write about both! That is awesome.

  121. A few months ago, I was summarily banned from The Good Men Project for repeatedly criticizing the view that looking at pornography can somehow turn someone into a porn addict.

    While I admit that there were a few occasions in which I overstepped the bounds of civility, many of my interlocutors and critics were much more rude and offensive, far more often, than I. None of them were banned and their ad hominems and insults are still up on TGMP. MEanwhile, almost all of my comments of substance have been removed.

    Most of my comments revolved around calls to look at what scientific evidence existed that “porn addiction” was actually a major health problem. On a few occasions, I criticized articles brought up by the pro-“porn addiction” faction, point by point, showing the methodological problems many of studies they cite have and the more frequent interpretative errors people made when reading them.

    In particular, I got into a series of arguments with Marnia Robinson, a corporate lawyer with no medical or psychological training who is making a reputation for herself on-line by pushing the concept that orgasms are an evolutionary leftover which threaten our health. Marnia’s position is a layman’s synthesis based upon a creative interpretation of marginal scientific data. For the most part, my comments regarding Robinson’s work were civil and based upon the facts of Marnia’s case.

    The Good Men Project editors, however, decided to give Marnia Robinson editorial control over the comments to her pieces, a priviledge that was not extended to any other TGMP author, as far as I know (it was certainly never extended to me or any other author I’ve corresponded with). Marnia then began to block all my comments. When I complained to the editors about this, I was told that my insistence in bringing up and dissecting the so-called “science” behind Marnia’s position was, in fact, a form of ad hominem attack!

    Now think that one over for a bit: one cannot oppenly discuss the merits of the proof supposedly underpinning a scientific claim because to do so is to engage in an ad hominem attack on the author. Were this to be the position taken by any other publication, it would rightly be criticized as partisan and ridiculous. TGMP, however, seems to feel that insisting upon proof when one calls other human beings “diseased” is somehow radically uncivil discourse.

    A few weeks later, I was perma-banned, apparently because other commentators complained about my stance on prostitutes’ rights (I support the legalization and regulmentation of prostitution and the definition of sex workers as workers).

    During this process I asked Lisa Hickey on several occasions what the bounds of censorship on TGMP actually were. Could one in fact take positions which were unpopular or was one at the mercy of the crowd? If people complained, could one’s comments be censored no matter what degree of respect one showed? Effectively, Hickey responded to me that while she personally believed I shouldn’t be censored, she had to think about how to promote TGMP and that this meant that controversy needed to be kept to a minimum. Here are Lisa Hickey’s direct comments to me regarding the “appropriateness” of my comments:

    [i]”Hey Thaddeus,

    Here’s the thing. You are on our radar because enough people have said that they feel threatened by you, feel “unsafe”, and think you are creating a hostile environment. I have actually stuck up for you many times. But I have to run this as a business. I don’t have time to get in the middle of things. I may, in the end, decide to not moderate comments at all, or I may decide to close comments to everyone if they completely get out of hand, or I may decide to do something totally different as far as systems and processes. I do believe we need a fair system for all, and I don’t believe we have it — yet. But I had to dive into the comments myself, and make some mistakes along the way, in order to really understand what the issues are. So thanks for your patience.

    Our moderating your comments actually has very little do with your views on pornography or anything else. It has to do with two things: 1) your style, which some people find threatening — which I think is actually a function of you being adamant and articulate at the same time. 2) The fact that people have told me that you go around complaining about GMP on other sites (as well as sometimes GMP itself, which I have seen first hand). People who actually work *with* us do, sometimes, get preferential treatment. It’s not that you have to agree with everything we say or do — of course not. But bad-mouthing us as an organization, saying things against The Good Men Project itself means that you are going to be on my personal radar more than other people’s. You are, of course, free to say whatever you want wherever you can. But I am also looking for people to be a part of this who actually want to help us succeed. And yes, I probably do give preferential treatment to those folks. It’s up to you to decide if that is unfair or not.


    Lisa also asked me, on several occasions, to write up my comments as an article.

    Now think about this for a bit, people. If my comments are unacceptable for the site, why would they suddenly become acceptable in article form? One could be excused for believing that TGMP was and is much more interested in generating free article-length content than actually promoting discussion about men’s issues. A 500 word commentary take up no more virtual space than a 500 word article and if it is “threatening” as a commentary, it should be no less threatening as an article. The [b]ONLY[/b] thing different between the article and the commentary is that the article generates more frontpage content for TGMP and, as Lisa clearly points out above, TGMP is a business and its editors need to partial in supporting those who help it grow as such.

    Findley’s comments surprised me because of their blatant appeal to partisan politics and their somewhat callous and mercenary attitude to the issues being discussed on TGMP. Reading them, one gets the impression that content that’s in any way controversial – especially content that is argued in an adamant and articulate manner – will be censored if people make vague claims to the effect that they feel “threatened” by it – unless, of course, said content helps increase the magazine’s profile as a business!

    Thus the self-promoting author Marnia Robinson, who has no training in health care or psychology but who feels competent to diagnose anonymous strangers over the internet as “sex addicts”, is not at all “threatening” or “unsafe”. Calling Marnia out on her claims, however, and showing how they are based upon very shaky scientific foundations… That’s “threatening” and “unsafe”.

    One wonders how TGMP editors feel that they can discuss gender and men without people feeling threatened and unsafe – at least some people, somewhere. In my case, the decision to censor seems to have been based on a purely mercenary calculation: Marnia writes more content for TGMP than I. Complaints about her are thus to be handwaved while complaints about me should be taken seriously.

    Furthermore, Lisa flat out admits that a factor which contributed to my ban was the fact that I had the gall to publically complain about TGMP’s lack of ethics and standards in its decisions as to who gets to censor which comments on its board.

    In other words, I was punished for criticizing TGMP, for not writing enough frontpage content (concentrating instead on commentary) and because “some people” felt that being adamant and articulate about an unpopular position was “threatening” and “unsafe”.

    A few months after I was banned, I went back on TGMP and dug up Tom Mattlack’s articles and read them. I noticed a common theme in many of his pieces: Tom is a self-described “recovering sex addict” who feels that “pornography” is one of the ten most pressing issues for men in the 21st century. I can’t help but feel that Tom’s personal beliefs regarding porn also played a role in the decision to sack me.

    In conclusion, I should point out that I have strenuously disagreed with Hugo on many issues. I’m hardly a Schwyzer partisan. It does not surprise me, however, that The Good Man Project has created a writing project to which Hugo feels he can no longer honestly contribute material. For all of Tom Mattlack’s public chest-beating regarding masculinity and its discontents, it seems to me that he has chosen to edit TGMP in a very patriarchical and traditional style. If you piss on one of Tom’s hobby horses or disagree with his views regarding men and gender, you WILL be censored.

    It’s no wonder, then, that serious gender scholars like Hugo are being pushed away from TGMP. Academia has many flaws, but one thing which generally doesn’t occur in the academic milieu is out-and-out censorship based upon political and personal agendas. TGMP has, sadly, shown that it is not willing to treat all views regarding gender and masculinity equally. It champions some and cuts others according to agendas which its editors are loathe to make public.

    I think TGMP is a valid attempt to deal with men’s issues and don’t think the magazine should be closed down.

    I DO think, however, that its reputation as a sounding board for all things masculine is grossly overplayed. Tom Mattlack has a definite agenda regarding masculinity and is also, apparently, the owner of a fairly fragile ego.

    We should all be aware of what The Good Man Project Magazine is: Tom Mattlack’s hobby horse. If your views coincide with his, you will be given preferrential treatment. If your views run counter to his, you will be censored.

  122. I’ve tried to access the original tweets, but the links in the article seem dead. Does anyone know where they are posted. It’s not that I don’t trust Hugo, which I don’t, but I would like to see first hand what was tweeted. I’m not familiar with the other feminists he mentioned, but I have read some of Amanda Marcotte’s posts and have no problem believing that she either attacked Tom or the male gender as a whole.

    I’ve been to feministing. I’ve been to the spearhead. I’ve looked at alas and many other feminist and MRA blogs. I’ve found the Good Men Project to be the most moderate and best mix of feminist and MRA voices out there. I think it’s telling that you never mention any specific comments that were problematic. What were the tweets that Tom responded to. You might not have such a problem with MRAs if you actually listened to what they said or are you worried about having your views challenged?

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  126. Imo Hugo, you are trying to cater to women to get more viewers. How many times does a husband sit quietly or drop the issue when the wife won’t drop it. That is what I see in everyday life. How many men are stereotyped as angry and abusive when they passionately defend their arguments? Why don’t you discuss more realistic and important issues like why prostate cancer gets one fifth of the government funding that breast cancer does even though more men die from prostate cancer each year. Why don’t you do a piece on the way men are objectified in society. Think the Vietnam War. There are so many examples of how society is sexist towards men and that’s basically the point you are trying to make against men in your article. That they are sexist toward women. Clever way to start out on your own. Cater to the feminists. This makes me feel I could start a website and be very successful. All I would have to do is be heavy pro-feminist and I will get the viewers and support. It wouldn’t matter what dribble I wrote. That wouldn’t be the point.

    • Jai Mitchell, your view of, this from a one-sided male perspective. Maybe we could help males with prostate disease, if they would stop being so uptight about discussing, and show themselves getting exams the way we women do for breast issues. We post pictures of women’s diseases all over every form of media. But noooooo, we protect the man’s body prudeness and shyness. That’s some of the problem.Then the world tells women to be responsible for getting men to go to the doctor.vThat is not our responsibilty. But in the same breath, you tell women not to nag men. What in the h_____ do you all want from women, besides sex and a good meal???Such gross contradiction about the way we do women. It’s a wonder women have survived and not become extinct!!. Men act like shy little babies, when it comes to discussing the penis and testicles in a public forum. And as for your comment about “a husband sitting quietly and dropping an issue”……… maybe if these men would be willing to open up and talk with their wives in open and honest dialogues, a lot of these rambles for women would not occur. Stop spoiling and coddling men. That’s the whole problem now!!

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  132. I applaud the integrity you’ve shown by following your conscience, even when it placed you in precarious position. Your statement about accusing women of being “insane” when they are “expressing forceful disagreement” is valuable in a variety of applications.

    There are some people who don’t even bother w/ euphemistic terms like insane, hysterical, or psychotic. We’re really talking about anger, & many women feel excessive guilt about anger, especially if they’ve been on the receiving end of hostility/rage under the excuse of having a “bad temper.”

    This dynamic is so profoundly effective b/c it plays on a person’s guilt. What better way to silence someone – anyone – than to accuse them of doing the very thing that they are objecting to in the 1st place? A very Machiavellian/gaslighting type of tactic!

    I came across this article Googling some of the more frustrating symptoms (no subjectivity, gaslighting, denial, doesn’t recognize choices) of borderline personality disorder (BPD). My husband was diagnosed last year, & since then, I keep finding articles about fairly common behaviors among men in their relationships with women that, although once acceptable, are now coming under scrutiny. Things that used to get a nod of approval from one man to another (& sometimes still do) are now considered symptoms of a volatile personality disorder.

    Again, I applaud your integrity. I wish more men understood that real men have real confidence, there are no shortcuts.


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  138. My guess is that Mr. Schwyzer is a progressive aka liberal Democrat and Mr.Matlock is of another political persuasion. Am I right?

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  142. I’m rather late to this discussion, I know. But reading your post, I’m rather sad you left because any organization is going to have a number of shades to it.

    Real cultural change is never a smooth progression from one perspective to another. We are, all of us, burdened to a greater or lesser extent, with a thick and viscous soup of historical scripts and role modeling and, I find, we are most likely to lapse back into those old modes of attitude and behaviour when we feel threatened. It might not have been a safe place, but it was a very familiar one.

    If we are seek to validate women’s feelings of repression or fear, then I think we need to afford men the same courtesy. And although you are absolutely right, Tom had real no grounds for feeling threatened, it is clear he doesn’t cope with women voicing their position in an aggressive manner very well. And, as you rightly pointed out, most men don’t.

    I don’t think it is physical violence they fear. It’s violence to their self-esteem, which speaks, ultimately, to the fragility of it. But it is worth pointing out that only men who actually let in a woman’s opinion are vulnerable to this. There are a not inconsiderable contingent of men who find a feminist stance little more than comic relief. And those are the men who really haven’t moved along the scale towards equity at all.

    What stands in the way of feminism is, to some extent, the weight of history. Each of us shrug it off at our own pace. But everyone, male and female, traveling along that path is burdened. And when people behave irrationally or regressively, it is often that burden rearing its head.

    I’m sorry you have parted company with the GMP. You were stronger together, I think, than you are apart.

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  146. Now I completely understand why my fellow females won’t argue with their husbands and give in, when he wants to allow his mom and dad into the delivery room. He undermines her decision for privacy, by telling her that she is being too sensitive and upset over nothing. The wife worries about being too demanding and hurting her husbands feelings, even though, it is her that is naked and exposed. She thinks she is being too fussy, then backs down and allows the inlaws into her private space.
    The selfishness and the feelings of being the family leader, distorts the husbands better judgement, as he invalidates his poor wife’s feelings and her rights as the patient.
    That’s just one example that happens everyday between men and women, and the woman always gives in.

    Women have really been completely brainwashed into always worrying about men’s feelings and their egos ot the extent that we low our self esteem to the floor.

  147. I respect the guys opinion but me personally if feminists became more involved in the good men project I would stop visiting the website.

    I feel uncomfortable around feminists and as that’s a place I would go to for advice or help I would prefer it to not be pro feminism.

    Feminists from my experience have a different opinion about how men should be than most men themselves, so there was always going to be a clash and as a lot of men who look for help can be quite vulnerable I feel the good men project were correct in their stance.

  148. The title “Good Men Project” implies that men are not typically good.

    So it’s a misandrist site, for those who hate men and if are male hate themselves. It’s pathetic.

    And yes female passion is very destructive and is destroying society unlike any force ever seen before on earth. Not only football helmets, but force fields and angelic protectors are needed to oppose their wrath.

    Women are regularly beating and raping men and receive little punishment in courts and systemically lower sentencing. They stigmatize and destroy men’s social lives with their passionate accusations backed by the force of government coercion and impunity. Men have to fear being accused and put in jail without a fair trial, on college campuses which can convict a male even if only 50.1% sure of the crime taking place, amongst many other things.

    The sympathy and power women have with the collective versus what men have is something all men fear for it is a private army of thugs waiting to destroy without remorse or go to whatever lengths to maintain female egotism and passion, for the animal lust of planting a seed in her vagina.

    Men have to fear having emotions outside of female approval or thoughts and opinions in opposition to theirs, in which all forms of collective and social pressure is used to destroy, to become the “mad man” from the boonies.
    It’s a sick form of witchcraft and power that is employed to keep men in a constant state of terror.

    Other men however, feed off their position in hiding beneath the dresses of the lord lady. Like an infant who refuses to be born, they wish to return to the womb and feed of her dead umbilical chord, and so rebel against any sign of maturity and level headedness that may surface in their lifetime by attacking people who point out the reckless insatiable animosity of the feminist machine and women in general. It is a form of cowardice which keeps these men here, a kind of weakness and possession of their minds by the female passion.

    The penalty of doing so is the cosmic justice of being unable to comprehend consciousness, and remain permanently self-unaware driven by confusion passion and never become individual or able to contribute to life. The penalty is feminization which remains forever alienated and oblivious to the masculine, unable to comprehend it in it’s mystery, and forever grasping at it’s own self-generated illusions and then attacking them.

    It is a kind of oblivion, and ultimately a defeat.

    • I will speak in lay terms, so that every reader can understand me. Forgive me please if I don’t write on a higher level as do some posters her. I speak in plain terms.( not trying to impress :) …okay

      But , I need to comment that women do not rape and beat men. Women do not have the strength and the force. It is the one of the most unreal things that we can say about women. This notion was introduced a while back and now men make reference to it as often as they can.
      The plain truth is that men do not want women to be treated right. They want women to shut up , be quiet all the time, put them before our children, exalt them, let them make all of the decisions,don’t have an opinion, cook good meals, be naked all the time, and give them sex, morning -noon and night- every day of the week.
      How was that men?? Did I get it right??

  149. Yashar Ali did not coin the term ‘gaslighting’, he lifted these incorrect ideas about the subject from a pop psychology book called “The Gaslight Effect” by Robin Stern, or at least from articles by Stern that are on the web. What Robin Stern appears to have done was redefine an already existing, very specific term to suit her needs and make a more enticing title for her book. Her book really covers a range of types of psychological and verbal abuse, but ‘Psychological and Verbal Abuse’ wouldn’t sell as well as ‘the Gaslight Effect’, would it? In fact, she never mentions psychological abuse or verbal abuse even once in her entire book. She simply replaces those terms with the term ‘gaslighting’, and a host of invented terminology.

    The term gaslighting as it was previously known, is a type of psychological abuse. It can be verbal, or it can be completely perpetrated by manipulating the environment of the victim. It is a repeated pattern of abuse by which the abuser manipulates or conceals factual information with the intent of eroding the victim’s ability to trust their own senses. For example, an abusive husband may deliberately hide items from his wife that he knows she will miss, lie about their whereabouts when confronted and directly question her sanity. A more common example, an abuser may repeatedly deny physical or verbal abuse to the abuser (I never hit you), leading the sufferer to question their own recollection.

    What Stern, followed by Ali, have done, is redefine the term to conveniently apply to a much wider swath of types of abuse. Stern turned a perfectly decent schema upside down, basically calling a range of abusive behaviors subtypes of ‘gaslighting’, when most psychologists were addressing them as distinct forms of psychological or verbal abuse unrelated to gaslighting. These new types of gaslighting don’t seem to fit with the origin of the term at all, they do not involve direct manipulation of fact, intent, or repetitive behavior nor do they force the victim to question their sanity with the effectiveness and severity that true gaslighting does. She invented silly, catchy terms like ‘Glamour Gaslighter’, alliterative terms that would have been forgotten as soon as her book sales slowed, were it not for their reintroduction by Mr. Ali.

    The problem with all this is that gaslighting was and is a very specific term used to address a specific and less common type of abuse, but Stern and Ali use it interchangeably to describe many distinct types of abuse, which dilutes the terminology and results in confusion. They use gaslighting to describe scenarios previously understood to be countering, discounting, and minimizing–all tactics of abusers that should be recognized as separate because they are essentially different tactics with very different consequences for the mental health of the victim.

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  152. What’s with all the drama? so 2 people disagree, it happens everyday, why bring sexism into it, why create the conflict?
    The issue develops because people decide to develop it, as a writer to many you have a responsibility on the outcome of your views. Information in the wrong hands can lead to wars you become responsible for. What you see as justice is another persons passion to develop fanaticism, you may look back some day wondering how it all blew out to this.
    Writing can and does create paths to the future, just think about how you want the future to become.
    Peace can only come from peace, think laterally and stay away from blame, it doesn’t resolve anything.

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