"The women of Bikini Kill let guitarist Billy Karren be in their feminist punk band, but only if he's willing to just "do some shit." Being a feminist dude is like that. We may ask you to "do some shit" for the band, but you don't get to be Kathleen Hannah."--@heatherurehere

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Enjoying The Takeback

Why I'm Enjoying The Takeback more than The Good Men Project

Is it just me, or is there a cacaphony of intelligent, thoughtful writing right now that centers around redefining masculinity in ways that reflect at least some of the progress that has been made by feminism against patriarchy? Most recently, I've started reading both The Takeback and The Good Men Project.

Originally, I thought I'd write a long post comparing and contrasting these two sites, but upon further reflection, that seems like a lot of work, and there's no real reason to do that. The two groups of men are coming from different places, have different goals, and will therefore produce different content. And, though there are interesting articles in both places, The Takeback is explicitly pro-feminist, while The Good Men Project embraces the idea that they are allowing "both sides" to have a conversation (as if feminism, with its long history, is on one side while MRA's, who are comprised mostly of men who love the status quo of patriarchy except where it means they don't get laid and/or get custody of their kids sometimes, are on the other side).

Which is not to say that The Takeback is free from controversy, or that I like everything they're writing about; rather, it's more clear that the men (and women, and folks of all genders) who are putting The Takeback together are obviously more aware of the work that has already be done by feminists, and want to build on that. The Good Men Project is more obviously a profit-motivated sort of enterprise, with aspirations of a media empire--and as such, they cater more toward the mainstream.

It reminds me a little bit of what I perceive as the difference between Bitch magazine and BUST magazine--Bitch appeals much more to me, in that they take a more feminist stand on lots of things (for instance, they don't accept tobacco ads, in part because it's a feminist issue), but I can totally see why folks might want to read BUST, because it is something of an alternative to traditional women's magazines. At any rate, I think it's good that The Takeback and The Good Men Project are both out there, though I'll turn to The Takeback more often for more interesting conversations.

And I have to face it: The Takeback is the sort of thing I had envisioned Feminist Allies becoming someday--only it's way more slick, interesting and inclusive than I could ever have made this site, probably. But I'll happily read them, quote them and link to them!


Scuba Nurse said...

Lovely to see a positive post. I really enjoyed it after a hard day of dealing with horribleness over on my blog.
Keep up the good work.

Thomas Matlack said...

Well as the founder of THE GOOD MEN PROJECT I take this as faint praise as worthy of the cause. I actually think manhood in 2011 is a complex topic that doesn't fall easily into one user fits all definition, of what it means to be good, a good dad, husband, worker, son or man. That's why we promote discussion rather than playing God. If you want to hear what you already believe perhaps that is uncomfortable. But we think its important. Please come join us.