Feminists vs. Good Men Project: Matlack Makes a Stand, Then Disappoints

by W.F. Price on December 24, 2011

Tom Matlack, who founded the Good Men Project in part with the well-meaning, if naÔve, idea that a process of self-improvement, introspection and mutual respect between the sexes could solve many of the problems that beset men and bring about some resolution of the gender wars, has sailed directly into a feminist broadside unleashed by the usual suspects.

Matlack, apparently frustrated by pervasive man-bashing, wrote an article in defense of men titled “Being a Dude is a Good Thing.” It’s actually quite reasonable, and could only be interpreted as provocative by those who ascribe to radical feminism.

A few quotes:

Why do men get blamed for everything? Well, the cynical response is, ďbecause we can really be assholes sometimes.Ē Iím going to set aside gross acts of what I would call evil: rape, sex trafficking, murder, and felonies of pretty much any kind. Iím more interested in the petty shit that fills our day-to-day and ends up defining us normally imperfect human beings.

[…]

Hereís my theory, and itís nothing but a theory. Men and women are different. Quite different in fact. But women would really like men to be more like them.

In the locker room, in the bathroom, on the walk out of the board room, in my conversations with men of all kinds, thatís what I hear more than anything. The resignation that to be a man is to be unacceptable at some level to the woman in your life.

[…]

My unscientific theory is from a fundamental disconnect between men and women at the micro level. Men know women are different. They think differently, they express emotion differently, they are motivated by different things, they think about sex differently, and they use a very different vocabulary.

Why canít women accept men for who they really are? Is a good man more like a woman or more truly masculine?

While I don’t really believe women want men to be more like women, it’s no mystery why many men, like Tom Matlack, would come to that conclusion. The problem is that they are listening to what women say, and not watching what they do. Additionally, they are conflating feminist demands with the desires of real women, whereas what feminists say women want is often the exact opposite of the truth.

Take, for example, the unending complaints about “objectification.” Feminists have long been complaining about the objectification of women. One theory I have is that much of this angst is simply due to the fact that other women are being objectified — it’s demoralizing for women to see other females soaking up attention from males. Being the “object” of sexual attention is both psychologically gratifying and sexually arousing for women, so when feminists complain about women being objectified, what they are really saying is “it is a terrible injustice that it is not me who is the object of universal desire” (see Sailer’s Law of Female Journalism).

So, having written a piece in which he admits to being frustrated and a bit confused by mixed messages – in other words, an entirely normal male reaction to women’s conflicting demands – but not going after women or feminists in any direct manner, Tom is promptly attacked by all manner of feminists for not being the kind of “Good Man” they expect him to be.

For our benefit, Amanda Marcotte, in responding to and attacking Mr. Matlack, lets us know what she thinks qualifies men as good. In a piece titled “The Good Men Project I used to Know,” she calls his article “a risible, sexist piece of garbage,” advocates censorship and throws around a few slurs.

Here’s Amanda at her feminist best:

It’s a real shame to see that a steady campaign of misogynist blather from so-called “men’s rights activists” in the comments at Good Men Project has poisoned founder Tom Matlack’s mind. Personally, I’m a big fan of just banning MRAs. They have nothing of value to add to a conversation, and exist online solely to disrupt any conversation they fear might lead others towards reaching the conclusion that women are people. The whole mission behind the Good Men Project is presumably to advocate for good men, and while they do publish writings by actual good men, they also publish writings by overt misogynists like Paul Elam, who by definition cannot be good men, any more than members of white supremacist groups can be called “good men”. Differing viewpoints is one thing, but promoting the work of open bigots is just fucked up.

One thing about Amanda is that she can be remarkably candid. Her Chekist tendencies are on display as she demands that one subset of men be banhammered from any discussion about good men, because “by definition [they] cannot be good men.”

As much as I dislike them, I don’t even ban feminists from The Spearhead comments, and I wouldn’t even think of demanding they be banned from a women’s forum/website. In fact, it strikes me that anyone who would make such demands – especially a member of an outgroup – must have an enormously entitled attitude and a huge sense of superiority. It would be as though I were to walk into a mosque and demand certain Muslims be excluded because I, personally, despite not being Muslim, didn’t agree with their views on Islam. It is this kind of behavior that really snatches the “equality” veil off the feminist face, and Marcotte does us all an unintentional favor by putting it out there for all the world to see.

Futrelle, over at his Manboobz online feminist peanut gallery, inveighs against Matlack as well, but as usual he is too lazy to rise above his signature snark, and fails to produce any worthwhile quotes.

However, there is an element of humor to this story, as a clearly clueless Roseanne Barr rises from the morass to take poorly-aimed potshots at men through Twitter.

A few of Roseanne’s tweets (T. Matlack exposes himself a bit here as well):

@feministfather @TMatlack @jennpozner what is MRA???
TheRealRoseanne 8 days ago

@TheRealRoseanne MRA is for men’s rights and the fringe is pretty crazy about how men have been mistreated in divorce and elsewhere
TMatlack 8 days ago

[Hugo Schwyzer weighs in]

@rugcernie @amandamarcotte no, it’s not one organization. A loose and disparate movement of the deadbeat and the desperate
hugoschwyzer 8 days ago

@jennpozner @feministfather @TMatlack you mean closet case whiners, right?
TheRealRoseanne 8 days ago

@TheRealRoseanne @jennpozner @feministfather yeah that’s a good summary.
TMatlack 8 days ago

[…]

@jennpozner the judges in this country are giving kids to their sexually abusive fathers everyday over their underemployed mothers-yet-
TheRealRoseanne 8 days ago

@TheRealRoseanne @jennpozner fake male “feminist” whiners have yet 2 mention that fact EVER.
TheRealRoseanne 8 days ago

[…]

@jennpozner i understand-R difference is that I don’t believe that women have allies in men, or they would already hve dismantled patriarchy
TheRealRoseanne 8 days ago

@jennpozner I also believe its men who R marginalized- they choose to live outside of reality-like #1 marginalizd group-the mentally ill.
TheRealRoseanne 8 days ago

Whew, Roseanne is a real specimen, isn’t she?

As for Matlack’s comment – that he essentially agrees that MRAs are “closet case whiners” – I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he reflexively tries to ingratiate those he perceives as famous. However, given the whipping he’s getting from the likes of Marcotte and various other feminists, you’d think he would have learned the lesson that you can’t satisfy them until you’ve so debased yourself that you are at the level of Hugo Schwyzer.

As for the rest of us, we should just let Roseanne’s hatred sink in a bit. This is feminism. Anyone who wants to confirm that men are in fact blamed simply for being men can do so simply by reading the twitter exchange linked above. Too bad Tom couldn’t resist the impulse to join in.

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