It's not ready for prime time, and maybe never will be. But for reasons great and small I'm going to go ahead and mention that I'm starting a new blog that'll focus more specifically on the subject of men and feminism for men.
I'd been brewing the idea for years, actually, ever since Twisty Faster taunted some guy or another (I don't think it was me) that if he wanted to do feminism he should go do it with men instead of bugging her about it. The most proximate cause was a post by Amanda Marcotte called Why Progressive “Men’s Movements” Are Bound to Fail, about the latest, shark-jumping blow-up at the Good Men Project (which at one point Amanda and a bunch of others posted at.) Also while I used to blog a lot about actual, you know, real adult sex on this blog I've sort of been derailing that subject here for years. And there are a bunch of other reasons.
The reason I decided to call it "The Bad Men Project" came out of a conversation in comments on Amanda's post.
Men shouldn't have to be "good" to participate in feminism. Instead, once he starts to see the full impact of gender expectations on men and women you'd expect even very self-serving men to be as invested as the "goodest" man.
Oh, and one final thing about that "good" men business? One of the biggest gender constructions on the planet is the "good" man as Sir Galahad: the strong, virtuous arm lent in support of "the little ladies" who've been so oppressed by those other men. Who therefore aren't as "approval-worthy."
I'd add that another good reason for calling it that is that the more I've reflected on subjects and the longer my conversations with memoir groups, a councellor, and other people, the more I've watched my own children grow up compared to the toxic fire swamp of a society and immediate culture I grew up thinking (sweet mother of pearl!) was normal or even "progressive" the more of a bad man I've been over all. I haven't wanted to be. And I mostly haven't been. But when I have they've been doozies.
My worst transgressions, incidentally and maybe not surprisingly, have often been when I was trying my best to be a "good man." And imagining myself a "good man," and while doing genuinely good things incidentally considering the toxic sex and gender wasteland I grew out of, I've managed to pull some seriously bad-news shit. While thinking I wasn't. And yeah, again, a heck of a lot of it was somewhere between tame and lame at the time but, wow, getting back to my children and their peers, if any of them were to do any of that shit today their friends would be shocked and I'd be horrified. The most difficult part is feeling pretty sure that if I were to wander around still thinking myself a "good man" it wouldn't be long before I was pulling some other kind of crap. So... forget that.
A final note on that subject: I'm so not alone in having thought myself a "good man." Which really, to paraphrase Mark Twain, is just a NiceGuy™ with a liberal arts education." Which in turn is another way to say you're probably fooling yourself.
And since the whole challenge of subverting the dominant paradigm is learning not to fall for it in the first place when it's as invisible to you as water is to a fish is to get over the idea that it's even possible to be a "good man" in the first place. At least not in this generation.
So anyway. That's the background for the project:
- Subverting the idea that only a "good man" can a) not block progress on feminism, b) contribute to feminism, or especially c) benefit one's self from feminism.
- Acknowledging that I personally have not been and therefore can't declare with confidence I ever will be all that great no matter how repentant or reparative.
- Communicating to other men who've been raised to be "good men" that... well... pretty much everything we're taught to believe makes a man "good" is patriarchal indoctrination.
Wish me luck!
Update: Doh! Here's the URL: The Bad Men Project.