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 »
Last week, The New York Times published a fairly straight forward news piece on the bountiful array of studies conducted here and in other parts of the world that suggest that offering paternity leave to new fathers could actually help stimulate the U.S. economy while also supporting women in their quest for work/life balance. The piece starts off with a brief anecdote from writer Catherine Rampell’s personal experience, about having two relationships come to an end because the men she was dating expressed a desire to see her eventually put aside her career, at least temporarily, should their relationship become so serious that they get married and have children. She writes:
I don’t pretend to know how common this situation is, and how many other young women have found themselves in it. But it clarified not only the choices that future mothers must make about their careers, but also how early in their careers they must begin to think about them. And while fairness and feminism may urge us to find better ways for women to balance work and life — Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter have certainly made impassioned cries — the most convincing argument seems to be an economic one.
The rest Rampell’s piece focuses on how women who hope to have children someday have a better shot at being successful at “leaning in” at work if their male partners are “leaning in” more at home, and are being given the support to do so via things like paternity leave. And, more importantly, should the United States follow in the footsteps of countries like Sweden and Norway and offer paternity leave, it would not only benefit those straight couples who chose to partake in more balanced work-life accommodations, but the economy as a whole. Men would be given the flexibility to spend those precious early weeks with their children, women wouldn’t find putting their careers on the backburner the more financially feasible option, and, by keeping more women in the workforce, the economy would grow. Rampell offers a whole bunch of supporting evidence and, all in all, it is one of the least objectionable pieces I’ve read on the benefits of our society striving towards equality for men and women at work and in the home.
But lo and behold, one person managed to be deeply offended by Rampell’s article: Tom Matlack, the founding editor of The Good Men Project, who published a response called “What’s A Guy To Do?”, which, among other things, calls Rampell’s piece an “attack on dads-at-large.” Say what? Keep reading »
Poor Nathan Graziano. He has an obsession and is surrounded by temptation all the time. He can’t stop thinking about women in yoga pants, especially now that us ladies are wearing them in places outside of yoga class. “Yoga pants have brought out my worst chauvinistic characteristics — the characteristics I’d like deny exist inside me,” he writes on The Good Men Project. “But when it comes to yoga pants, I can’t.”
Huh. I’ve never thought about it before, but I guess I get it. Yoga pants are tight. They hug hips, thighs, and butts. If they’re too small, they may even give you serious camel toe. (I will happily size up to avoid showing off my labia.) But, as the female friends Graziano talked to explained, yoga pants are also ridiculously comfortable. It’s why we have started to wear them outside of yoga class or the gym. I wear yoga pants basically all weekend, to run errands, to walk my dog, around the house, and sometimes to go to brunch. Yoga pants! They’re the best! Apparently some guys find them drool worthy — I’ve yet to be hollered at while wearing mine, but maybe that’s because I have no makeup on, my hair is unwashed and I’m in a rush to get home to eat my footlong Subway sandwich. The best thing about yoga pants is they stretch while I eat all the food!
But Graziano isn’t buying this whole “yoga pants are so comfy” excuse. They’re so tight, how could they be?! Therefore, us ladies must be wearing them because we want to turn guys like him on. Keep reading »
“You didn’t finish, did you?” he asked.
“No,” I said.
I’ve lied before, but I’m trying to wean myself away from it. Lying only adds a layer of mental unease to any lingering physical dissatisfaction I might be feeling, and assuaging false pride rarely seems like a good deal. The dishonesty (to myself) leaves a bad taste in my mouth; if he bothered to ask, doesn’t he want the truth? Keep reading »
Given all the video games that depict women in sexist and degrading roles, it’s about time someone made a video game offensive to men. (Sarcasm, people.) Meet “The Boyfriend Trainer,” in which a chick “trains” her boyfriend to behave by slapping and tasing him, is wholly inappropriate to be marketed to impressionable tween girls.
And impressionable tween girls, of course, are exactly who “The Boyfriend Trainer” is marketed to. Domestic violence is fun, kids! Keep reading »
With the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton just over two weeks away, Buckingham Palace is letting out daily updates of the impending nuptials. Few bits of news have proved as controversial as the announcement that the future king will forgo a wedding band after he’s married.That decision hasn’t been well received by the press or the public. Even those who take no interest in royalty have been drawn into a debate about the larger issue: should men wear wedding rings? Keep reading »
In my office, Amber is telling me a familiar story. She’s come to talk about her autobiography paper for my women’s studies class, and she reads part of her rough draft aloud.
“I was 12, and this car pulled up alongside me as I was walking home from school … the driver looked a little older than my dad, at least 40. He leaned out, and I thought he was going to ask me for directions, but instead he asked me how old I was. When I told him, he laughed. ‘Damn, you got some big titties for such a little girl.’ He made this gross smacking sound with his lips, and sped away. I ran all the way home.”
Amber looks up at me. “I want to know,” she asks, “why do older men hit on younger women?” She’s 20 now, tall and graceful; she tells me that for the last eight years, older men have been approaching her. “It’s not just me,” she adds, “it happens to most of my friends, almost regardless of what they look like or what they’re wearing. It makes me feel like I can’t trust anyone, like all men want just one thing. Why can’t they chase women their own age?” Keep reading »
In a recent piece on The Good Men Project about the double standard regarding adultery, Tom Matlack asks, “When was the last time a woman got dragged through the mud for cheating?”
I offer a slightly different question: When was the last time a woman was exposed for cheating—and the story wasn’t crafted around a narrative of love? Keep reading »
When I was getting clean and sober in a Twelve Step program many years ago, there was one phrase from the literature that always resonated with me. We addicts have been, the book said, the “architects of our own adversity.” Yes, I thought the first time I read that. It’s time to stop blaming others for my own pain. It’s time to take responsibility.
That same phrase comes to mind when I think about Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs). I’ve been crossing verbal swords with the MRAs for many years, particularly since 2004 when I began to develop a public presence as a male feminist writer and professor. I learned quickly that not all MRAs were the same; some offered thoughtful criticism while others offered only nasty invective. (Look up “Hugo Schwyzer Mangina” if you need evidence of the latter.) Keep reading »