For the last few weeks, the notoriously controversial male feminist Hugo Schwyzer has been off Twitter and Facebook, an absence that was noticed by some, at first, and then everyone who pays attention to these sorts of things when the reasons for his social media disappearance became common knowledge. Schwyzer, who’s made a career denouncing “the myth of male weakness,” had cheated on his wife (his fourth) repeatedly, they had separated, and that, plus the stress of what he calls “takedown culture” online, had led to Schwyzer checking himself into a psychiatric facility. The admitted former drug addict (who once, in the midst of a drug binge, tried to kill himself and his then-girlfriend) explained in a mass email to friends, former colleagues and acquaintances (including myself) that he had become a danger to himself and he was taking time away from the internet to get well and repair his marriage to the mother of his two small children.
Except he didn’t take time away. First, he gave an ill-advised interview to NYMag.com, in which he described his infidelity as “off-brand” (he’s right, in the sense that he has spent the last few years writing about sex, gender, marriage, relationships, etc. from the perspective of a bad boy gone good). That was followed by interviews with LAWeekly.com (in which he confessed to another suicide attempt) and a porn gossip website (regarding the details of one of his affairs, with an online web cam model), not to mention upwards of four additional “goodbye” blog posts on his own website.
For a few days, things were quiet on the Hugo front. Until today, when Schwyzer reactivated his Twitter account and began tweeting, almost non-stop, for an hour. Admitting almost right away that he was in the midst of a manic episode – Schwyzer says he suffers from bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder – Schwyzer said it was time for the truth to come out, that he was a “breathtakingly cocky,” “self-aggrandizing” fraud who “loved the attention” and was “fucking awesome at getting it.” Keep reading »
Last week, the controversial professor, feminist blogger and personal essayist Hugo Schwyzer announced on his blog, in an interview with NYmag.com and again in LA Weekly that he was retiring his notorious public persona and quitting the internet for good (or— for the time being, he corrected himself some days later in yet another goodbye). Maybe you don’t know or care who this person is and that is just as well. He is a semi-big deal in the feminist blogosphere in the way that Serge Haroche is probably (hopefully) an even bigger deal among mathy-type people (he won the Noble Prize in Physics in 2012, according to this random website I found when I Googled “Nobel Prize winners”). And maybe we should all know more about Serge Haroche. But here we are talking about Hugo. (For a complete list of criticisms of Hugo’s work, you can go here. Or here. Yes, there are entire websites created for the sole purpose of criticizing this man and his work.) [Note: A few of Schwyzer's pieces on The Good Men Project were crossposted on The Frisky a few years ago.]
I can’t help it. Honestly, I’m kind of obsessed with him. As a freelance writer as well as a writing instructor — I teach courses in memoir, personal essay and opinion writing, the genres that both Hugo and I write — this whole brouhaha is pushing all my buttons. Some people are taking a certain joy in this character’s downfall — which I feel is mean but, yes, a little tempting. Like many, for me, the redemptive narrative of Hugo Schwyzer always rang less than true. Keep reading »
Thanks, but no thanks. Yesterday, Jezebel posted an article by resident man feminist Hugo Schwyzer (who, full disclosure, contributed to The Frisky in 2010-2011 ), exalting five ways men are fighting sexism these days. Titled “Thanks, Guys: Five Ways Men Are Fighting Sexism,” Schwyzer, who teaches women’s studies classes at Pasadena City College, notes that men are undoing sexism, really! He includes the following examples: A rant video from Jay Smooth, calling out men who were bullying videogame blogger Anita Sarkeesian; the creation of a Tumblr called MenAgainstAssholesAndMisogyny; the work of performance artist Carlos Andres Gomez, who wrote a love poem called “You Are Everything,” full of ’80s references; an article in The Atlantic calling for an end to “violent masculinity”; and the movement to end the “bro hug.” While I laud any man who recognizes his internal privilege and wants to address the social and historical oppression of women, this is not what I had in mind. Keep reading »
Hugo’s piece was originally published at the Good Men Project Magazine.
Both at the Good Men Project and at my own blog, my most popular posts in terms of page-views are invariably those that focus on one particularly controversial subject: older men and younger women. (Here’s “What Young Women Are Really Looking For From Older Men.”)
As I’ve laid out in those pieces, for a number of reasons I think we should be suspicious of age-disparate heterosexual relationships in which the male partner is substantially older than the female one, and in which the woman is still quite young (say, under 23). Put simply, the potential problems in these relationships seem to diminish based less upon the actual number of years in between the partners and more upon the age of the woman involved. I’m more concerned about an 18 year-old woman and a 30 year-old man than I am about a 30 year-old woman and a 55 year-old man, even though the latter relationship has twice the number of years separating the partners. The research of psychologists like Lynn Phillips—who has written extensively about relationships between teen girls (including those above the age of consent) and older men—bears out how damaging these relationships can be. Keep reading »
This piece originally appeared on The Frisky and The Good Men Project in February, but is being republished on both sites as the film “What’s Your Number?” hits theaters nationwide.
Judging from what I read online and hear from my students, the question of the “number” is as compelling as ever. This month, Marie Claire ran an article, “What’s Your Number?” in which five women (whose numbers ranged from zero to 100) told their stories. The March issue of Cosmopolitan Australia features the same discussion, noting that 59 percent of readers surveyed thought knowing a partner’s exact number was important, and that 33 percent of those same readers had lied about their own pasts, claiming fewer sexual partners than they’d actually had.
The more men his girlfriend has slept with, the greater number of lovers to which she can compare his skills. It’s easier to win a contest against two than against 20, he figures.
Not so long ago, my wife and I were talking to a recently-divorced friend of ours. She’s younger than we are, in her early thirties, and as far as she’s concerned, she’s never tying the knot again. Not because of an objection to the institution, but because she’s convinced that most men marry for one reason: they want to be taken care of emotionally.
“I got tired of thinking about someone else’s needs all the time,” our friend said. “I’m prepared to take care of a baby. But I don’t want my first-born to be my second child.” When she heard that, my wife turned to me and gave me a grin. She knows my history.
In three previous marriages and a handful of other long-term relationships (I haven’t been single for long since I was 16), I found myself—like so many men—taking on the parts of the “naughty boy” and the “helpless child.” Time and again, I turned wives and girlfriends into mother-figures, and the result was inevitably disastrous. Keep reading »
Last week’s discussion about guys, porn, and honesty raised a number of interesting questions. How much truth do we owe our partners about what we do when they’re not around – and how much should we share about what runs through our heads? Almost everyone agrees that outright lies are bad. But are there some questions that invite lies? Are there some questions we shouldn’t even ask? Keep reading »
There are few more famous snippets of film dialogue than this exchange from the 1989 Blly Crystal and Meg Ryan classic, “When Harry Met Sally”:
Harry: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally: Why not?
Harry: What I’m saying is — and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form — is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Keep reading »
“I was always daddy’s little girl. We did everything together. He was my hero. My father was always there with a hug for me; when I was little, he let me climb all over him like he was a jungle gym.
And then my body changed. I developed early; I had boobs by 11. And all of a sudden, my Dad stopped hugging me or touching me. He went overnight from being my best friend to being remote and critical.”
I read that in a student’s journal earlier this semester (quoted with permission). I’ve read and heard similar things countless times over the course of nearly 20 years teaching gender studies and doing youth ministry. Ask any family therapist who works with teen girls, and they’ll report the same thing I’ve heard: story after story of fathers withdrawing physical affection as soon as their daughters hit puberty. Keep reading »