Anthony Carter

In Praise of Good Men

Filed By Anthony Carter | March 08, 2011 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, The Movement
Tags: feminism, men, realationships

In an effort to make sense of so much of the craziness that goes on, everybody would like a scapegoat. Someone to blame everything on.

men.jpgI have read a great deal of feminist literature. I love me some bell hooks and actually met and talked with her once on a subway when I lived in NYC. I have read feminists, male and female, and I have realized that the problem was never with men.

The problem is with our culture and its social structure.

In fact, anyone, male or female can be an agent of oppression. I have become obsessed with letting go of the idea of men as the big bad.

You'd think being gay would make me male-friendly and somewhat male-obsessed. This is what oppression does to you. It has you inviting and creating a great big bowl of crazy called your life and inviting all sorts of wrong and not very well thought-out beliefs and personal policies into your mind.

As a young queen fresh out of undergrad, I was determined to change the world. I read tons of material on oppression, misogyny, classism and racism. With all of this information, I was ready to take on all the powerful entities in the world that decided how far I could go and what I could dream about.

There was only one problem.

I took in all of the "men are the problem" thinking.

Granted, growing up an inordinate amount of torture was wielded in my direction by men, all straight. The type of torture that teaches you self-hate and self-negation way before you know that's what your doing.

The type that says you are wrong for not liking, being good at, or obsessing about sports. That if you were a real boy you'd wanna fight, destroy, and maim. The indoctrination begins early and often and never, under any circumstances, lets up.

If you're a young kid who is gay or perceived as such, it sets you up for a life or mockery and shame at the hands of friends and family. This is what happened to me.

Having grown up in a working class, black neighborhood in the 70's, there was little I could do to uphold a particular type of masculinity. So between that upbringing and all the reading I read from 23 onward, is it any wonder that I also thought, "If men would just get it together, what a wonderful place this world would be."

I hadn't realized two things:

  1. that society and the way people, not just men think, is the real problem, the true enemy; and
  2. there was no way to truly feel good about myself and my male allies if I believed we were all flawed beyond compare and hopeless.

I would like to offer praise and love for all things male.

I want all men, myself included, to truly fall in love and commit to being loving towards the incredible gifts and joys we experience and share simply because of our gender. I want us all to seek out and work towards becoming incredible men.

Men who can be all things. Vulnerable and action-oriented. Playful, kind, and to the point.

The type of fathers, uncles, brothers, and lovers who can be counted on to take care of children and be secure enough to say, "I don't know. I think we should ask someone who has more experience in this area."

We need men who can think and love and a world that doesn't fear or demonize them as a result of this choice.

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Wow. An interesting choice of topic for International Women's Day...

I think it's related, it shows how we are all hurt, to varying degrees, by the pressures of gender performance.

Rick Sutton | March 8, 2011 11:07 AM

He's brave, Bil.

And did I mention, cute?

He needs to teach philosophy or critical thinking somewhere.

As a gay male, all my overt instances of gay bashing have been by women. So much for the Grace Adlers of the world. I never had mine.

With that said, it is a real problem when we as gay men by experience grow up to distrust and be wary of other men. It's a good discussion to have once in a while and stop to realize that we have the ability to change and alter the next generation of men.

Women need us as allies since, like with heterosexuals, you tend to have a privilege of being listened to when you belong to the group. So let's make this a better place for people of all genders and identities.

Talk to your boyfriends, husbands, friends, sons about destructive behavior.

"I want all men, myself included, to truly fall in love and commit to being loving towards the incredible gifts and joys we experience and share simply because of our gender. I want us all to seek out and work towards becoming incredible men."

Well said.

Anthony - This is a great piece. I'm the founder of the Good Men Project, and this is a topic that we focus on often. You hit the nail on the head. Great perspective.