I remain confused about the intention of the Good Men Project. It seems like for every article they publish that looks like they are reaching out to men, they publish several articles pandering to their feminist base.
For example, Justin Cascio wrote an article called When Bad Men Do Good Things. One would expect that the article would address the very real issue society faces when bad people do something that ends up working for the greater good. Instead, Justin treats it as a vehicle to bash the men’s rights movement. Here is the opening of the article:
Jennifer Kesler wrote about the death of Margaret Thatcher under the heading, “Sometimes Bad People Do Good Things,” including a little story about the time Thatcher destroyed food rather than feed the poor. Though lauded by some as a feminist icon, Kesler writes, “Thatcher’s policies harmed women. She didn’t break barriers for us. Any civil rights gain from her actions was despite her, not because of her.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center has written on at least a couple of occasions about the actions of men’s rights activists—individuals who have killed, including the murder of more than a dozen women in an engineering college, down to anonymous trolls on the internet who spew misogynist hate and threats. A couple of websites get named by the SPLC, but the organization has not named any single men’s rights organization as a hate group.
The name of men’s rights has been sullied, some would say irreparably, by ugly voices online and actual hate crimes against women. Men focusing on their own rights are shamed as selfish, myopic, or weak. But even the SPLC admits that some of these men have legitimate grievances, and have endured shocking abuses that deserve justice. Earl Silverman was a Canadian man, a domestic violence survivor, who created the only men’s DV shelter in the country. After years of denigration and repeated rejections for federal aid for his shelter, which Silverman funded from his own pocket, he took his own life. Reportedly difficult to work with and a trauma survivor, Silverman was a complicated man. His shelter was his one great work. Was it also the one great work of the men’s rights movement?
That was a nice set up, in the literal and metaphorical sense. Maragret Thatcher is a problematic figure who, depending on one’s political perspective, did many bad things and some good things. It would have been nice to see someone asking whether those good things can change people’s perception of Thatcher.
Justin could have played this out by then citing examples of powerful men, like George W. Bush, who did many bad things but also did good things. Bush started two wars without Congress’ permission, tanked the economy as a result of his tax cuts for the wealthy, engaged in illegal surveillance and torture, and failed to address the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. However, Bush did excellent work addressing AIDS and HIV in Africa, attempted to implement immigration reform, and tried to improve education.
That is the tone Justin’s article should have taken, but it turns instead to attacking the men’s rights movement using the Southern Law Poverty Center’s biased analysis as support. To put the SPLC’s analysis in perspective, it would be akin to using the American Heritage Foundation’s analysis of gay rights activists as evidence that the gay rights movement is inherently bad. The SPLC is a progressive political organization, and while they may occasionally get their analysis correct, they are not objective in their methods or concerns.
Yet what truly confuses me is that Justin proceeds to then changes the subject, first to his experiences, then to articles published on GMP. It would appear that Justin gets back to actually talking about when bad people do good things, until the next swerve at the end of the article:
Whether men’s rights activists can do more good in this world than bad is not yet known. The odds are against it, but I’m not a gambler: I’m a believer.
What does that have to do with the preceding point about Hilter’s vegetarianism sparing some animals’ lives or Thatcher incidentally opening the door for women? Nowhere in the article does Justin spell out anything good or bad that men’s rights activists do. The good is not even mentioned at all, while the bad is stated to occur without a single example presented.
I think Justin is trying to change men’s rights activists, who he apparently considers bad, by tough talking to them. This reminds me of a quote from the Hagakure:
For the most part, people think that they are being kind by saying the things that others find distasteful or difficult to say. But if it is not received well, they think that there is nothing more to be done. This is completely worthless. It is the same as bringing shame to a person by slandering him. It is nothing more than getting it off one’s chest. [...] By bringing shame to a person, how could one expect to make him a better man?
As I said wrote in my (now vanished) comment to Justin on GMP:
Name one person who identifies as a men’s rights activist who committed actual hate crimes against women. If you cannot, I suggest you retract that kind of hyperbolic, pandering statement.
Also, given that your political movement does not have the best track record when it comes to ugly voices, its position on hate crimes against men, or acknowledging male survivors like Earl Silverman, you should not be so quick to point the finger.
All that said, it is rather tacky and lazy to mention a group you do not like and label them as inherently bad when they really have nothing to do with the point of your article.
I stand by that statement, and GMP cowardly deleting comment will not change the utter irony of a feminist complaining about the men’s rights movement’s nastiness. It also will not change how pathetic it is to imply that every men’s rights activist is bad based on the actions of a handful of people, many of whom do not even identify as members of that group.
That may play to GMP’s feminist base, but it does not play with objective observers, and it only serves to further alienate GMP from people who might otherwise take them at their word when they claim they are legitimately concerned about men’s issues.