To The Good Men I’ve Known


image via http://goodmanproject.com

(This post is a response to Victoria Medgyesi‘s piece The Bad-Man Hype, originally posted in June on one of my favorite new web-mags The Good Man Project.)

Despite pervasive public images depicting men as violent, sex-crazed, idiotic, irresponsible louts, I can never believe men are somehow inherently bad.

I’ve met too many good ones.

Not just friends, family members, lovers and boyfriends. Perfect strangers who could have done any number of unspeakable things to me if they wished. Yet the overwhelming majority of men showed me nothing but charitable kindness.

I started traveling through North America when other kids my age were wrapped up tight in comfy but suffocating blankets of homework and high school drama. With no money and no job I made big tracks in big rig trucks. For two years I spent time in the male-dominated world of long-haul trucking, learning as much about CB radios and swearing as I did about the basic decency of most men.

Out of hundreds of rides, the overwhelming majority talked to me about their lives, their families, what they had seen in the world and swapped some really good dirty jokes and limericks. Often they bought me food or gave me an extra pair of socks when the weather began to turn cold. One guy was hauling a shipment of canned foods and gave me several cans of Dinty Moore Beef Stew from his haul when we parted.

Outside of the truckers, other men I met on my travels showed similar hospitality. Men invited me into their homes with no other motive than to provide me shelter and have some company around. My collection of bawdy jokes and one-liners began to come in handy.

So, for me, the fact that so many perpetrators of sexual and physical violence are men is an uncomfortable truth. But I don’t think sexual and physical violence is so much urged by biology as it is encouraged by gender perceptions. The few men who tried to hurt me were always from geographical areas where the population adhered to traditional mandates of gender, an interpretation I’ve found to be backed by research. (This is only one study, but if you wish to see more studies about masculine gender ideology and behaviors, I will be happy to provide others.)

What I find more amazing is that, in a culture that still echoes misogynistic sentiments, the majority of men I have known are good men. They’ve heard the same messages but through experience (and maybe that simple human desire to be a good person) they make the decision to act decently towards others.

I dedicate this post to all the good men in my life, past, present and future. Please know how much I adore you.

 

16 thoughts on “To The Good Men I’ve Known”

  1. As a good and decent man I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    As a man I have often felt I was judged as a predator, those who do not know me do not know of the countless hours I have spent being a friend to people I hardly know. From talking an abused woman slowly into developing a plan to get out and then acting on it, to just listening and being a shoulder to cry on for someone in pain.

    My couch has seen it’s fair share of strays, I don’t think any one of them felt like I was trying to “get in her pants”. It’s all part of being a decent human being, there are good men and bad men. Good women and bad women, gender gets blown out of proportion sometimes as does “race”.

    But I truly feel that what’s in our hearts that makes us who we are, not if we have a dangle or a divot.

    Thanks for your piece, it found a place in my heart.

    Bob

  2. Thankyou for that post. I agree with you. I have met so many men in my life, a lot of them are my friends. A lot of them are greats people with whom I am so comfortable that I can share with them anything. Some were idiotic and some were immature, and some were downright disgutsing. But still, the majority of them were good to me, and even took care of me when needed.

  3. I see. So only ‘traditionally masculine’ men are “scary” huh? Nope, doesn’t sound like Andrea Dworkin coming out of your mouth at all. You can couch your bigotry in your “I like most Black People” type commentary all you like, it’s pretty obvious that you yourself are having trouble not hating men, even though intellectually you see the absurdity of such a position.

    This is not one of those articles that makes me go “Gee, women are really starting to get just how cruel and mean they’ve been for decades”. This is one of those articles that makes me think you Feminist types will do the absolute minimum required to get off the political radar of activists.

    You are clinging to as many of your hate-filled beliefs as you can, even as you try to see men as human.

    So, I guess it’s a start. But stop patting yourself on the back.

    1. When researchers study “traditional masculinity” they work from an established list of personality traits, something we could also describe as a person’s gender role. Please read the study I posted.

      1. A Feminist CANNOT study ‘Masculinity’ in an unbiased fashion. It’s not possible for ideological reasons. As evidenced by the fact that nearly ALL Feminist ‘research’ is Advocacy Research founded on the thinnest of ice.

        Like the ‘2% of rape claims are false’ canard. The DV is “men beating women” canard (known to be false for over three decades, but Feminists didn’t let that stop them).

        Sorry, but Feminists have allowed these ‘mistakes’, even encouraged them, for political gain. Your movements’ members have completely destroyed your credibility, and until a non-feminist researcher digs in, these answers will remain hidden.

        In short, NEVER trust a Feminist to portray men, masculinity, or Testosterone, in anything other than a self-serving light.

        Argue with that all you want, the ‘research’ speaks for itself…

        1. What research is speaking for itself? Links to support your argument would give it some clout.

          Also: women have testosterone in their bodies. Estrogens are actually synthesized from testosterone and androstenedione. Just an FYI.

          1. I’m not trying to win an academic debate, and I’m not about to get in a links-fest. I made the assertion knowing full well I’d get an ‘evidence please’ response (which would then become “Those other Feminists” when no longer deniable). These ‘tactics’ are used often enough to make them ‘stereotypically Feminist’.

            Take a look at the general culture, at ‘what everybody knows’, then apply logic when asking how it got that way. Take a look at the hard evidence (like the FACT that DV researchers have known for literally decades that DV is EQUALLY perpetrated – Martin Fiebert even grouped together some studies for you to read), or not.

            I’ve found that those Feminists who respond with ‘evidence please’ are FAR less than likely to accept any criticism. At best, you attempt to dodge responsibility by citing other ‘flavours’ of feminism, or that YOU PERSONALLY don’t feel that way.

            The airwaves are positively LITTERED with Feminist talking points that have been thoroughly debunked ad nauseum…but are still propogated as ‘fact’ by Feminist ‘researchers’ (like the Wage Gap, fer instance…or, conversely, ANY Feminist ‘1 in 4′ Stat).

            The fact that you refuse to acknowledge these things is yet more proof of your ‘I Like Black People’-type sexism.

            You’re a bigot….you don’t need me to ‘prove’ it to you, you just need to accept it.

            p.s. I took Biology in High School, AND I watch the Discovery channel….save your infantile Biology lessons for someone else.

            1. Factory, your post is confused and confusing.

              What would accepting one is a bigot even entail? Going to bigot parties, having <3 bigotry t-shirts perhaps?

              You equated testosterone to maleness and she pointed out that equation doesn't make sense – you lost that one.

              She didn't explicitly deny any of the rest of what you said, and I am sure would be the first to agree that incorrect statistics are sometimes invoked for reasons of argument, that that is bad, and that we should correct such errors when and as we can.

        1. Our culture does still have many misogynistic messages. Messages hateful to men, too. The quote you highlight no more implies men are bad because of misogyny than saying our culture continues to have messages and structural features harmful to ethnic minorities implies all caucasians are racist.

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