Clarity & Chaos: It seems that the blame game in the mainstream,...
Dec 15, 2011

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It seems that the blame game in the mainstream, whether through the minimization of male life in pop culture or on television or through the continued obsession with men behaving badly, has finally struck a chord with the average guy

Being a Dude Is a Good Thing by @TMatlack — The Good Men Project

Yes, being a dude is a good thing! But that’s pretty much all I agree with. 

Usually I appreciate the “Good Men Project” pieces. But this? Not only is it heterocentrist/sexist (yes, despite the nod to gay marriages) but it includes quite a bit of crude gender essentialisms.

He really lost this dude at “The resignation that to be a man is to be unacceptable at some level to the woman in your life.”  Maybe it’s because I’m in one of those role reversed relationships (at least in some aspects.) And I’m absolutely willing to admit that I won’t shed a tear if the macho disappears forever. But I can’t shake off the feeling that he either lives in a different (pop) culture than I do or just sees it completely different. I really can’t agree on the “minimization of male life in pop culture or on television.” Sure, there are a lot of negative stereotypes of men. But from How I Met Your Mother to beer commercials, most of pop culture still caters to a “dude”-sterotyped masculinity. And the continued obsession with men behaving badly? Sure, there is a lot of coverage of men behaving badly - a lot of men do behave badly! Without having a statistic to cite, anecdotal evidence would suggest that the media obsesses a lot more about individual cases of women behaving badly (Casey Anthony? “welfare moms”?) Hell, our societies - and especially the American society Matlack writes about  - even do everything possible to paint the victims of evil men in a negative light. (Strauss-Kahn’s victim?) 

This disconnect between men and women in a everyday situation - I really can’t talk about this without sounding arrogant. But why would you keep up a relationship with a person you’re not connected to? I’m not disconnected  to the important women in my life, be it my fiancée or close friends (or my mother). When I do feel disconnected to a woman person in my life, the end of that relationship is near. I would almost turn it around: Men and women are often socialized to be “disconnected” but are actually quite connected on a fundamental level.

Sure, there are differences between men and women. But Matlack makes them much more monolithic and essential than they are, at least in my life and experience. A lot of the “communication” disconnectedness is not essential but socially constructed, anyway. 

I don’t know. Maybe I’m totally misreading him. But this text by its founder really makes me reconsider my view of the Good Men Project… I’m all for men* speaking up and advocating a more constructive, different masculinity - gladly under the banner “dude”! But this article just rubbed me the wrong way.  

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