Yesterday, I inadvertently got involved in a Twitter battle of sorts. I retweeted someone else’s opinion about the Good Men Project, with which I happen to agree. This is what it said:
Why don’t @goodmenproject just be honest & call themselves The Good Misogynist Project?
Well. I didn’t start the controversy, but I certainly ended up in the thick of it. You can read a good part of it here.
There’s enough overt misogyny in the articles themselves, as evidenced here, here, here, here, and here. But the thing that bothers me is the attitude that “men need space to be men without having to be feminists.” Guess what, dudes? That already exists for you. It’s called all the time, everywhere. Just because we don’t want you all up in feminist space with your non-feminism doesn’t mean that you can’t do it someplace else. You don’t need a whole web site, a whole magazine, a whole online kingdom in which to be manly men who aren’t “feminists.”
Additionally, it would behoove men to stop looking at respect for women as something to do because it hurts you if you don’t. As in, “We men can’t be our authentic selves because Big Bad Patriarchy says we must be assholes to women, and if we treat them that way we won’t get what we want. Which is actually to be Big Powerful Manly Men who can wear aprons and stay home with our progeny. Rrrrr.”
It’s absolutely true that patriarchy is bad for men. You won’t hear me arguing. But the reason for respecting women shouldn’t be because patriarchy is bad for you. If we all based our treatment of others on the idea that it will hurt us if we don’t play nice, we will never actually achieve mutual respect. Consider schoolyard bullies, for example. Punishing them with trips to the principal and out-of-school suspension rarely deters them. That’s because the rule is, “Don’t bully or you’ll get in trouble.” That’s not enough of a reason for most kids to stop.
Respect for others should come from the fact that we’re all people—living, breathing humans with hopes, fears, failures, ambitions, passions. Every person deserves respect. And to bring this back to my original topic, women deserve respect not because men will be hurt if they don’t, but because we are every bit as worthy of respect as men.
Real Good Men exist. I know because I married one. I am related to them. I have befriended them. I have read things they’ve written. I’ve met them in my travels and my online circles. I saw them speak up in the Twitter conversation yesterday.
Good Men, use your voices. Stand up for yourselves and stand beside us as we work toward ending misogyny. Don’t let the Good Men Project speak for you.