Archive for August, 2015

Well, what a difference a year makes, or so the saying (sometimes) goes. Two years ago today I published my first entry on this site, only a couple of hours after creating it. I made a blog post on the 1 year anniversary so I figured I would keep it going and do one for the second anniversary, too.

This is going to be short, not because I don’t have a lot to say, just because I have another blog entry in the works that will hopefully be published this weekend, so this one doesn’t need to drone on.

A lot has happened in the last year. The first year was amazing, it was a huge weight off my shoulders to actually get it up and running and the response it got was beyond anything I could have imagine. I subtitled it ‘the everyday ramblings of an everyday blog’ because that’s how I truly feel. I’m not special and I never thought I was. I live a very average life: a job, an apartment, a car, a few close friends and a small number of hobbies. It was important for me to start this blog for that very reason, because my thoughts and feelings didn’t match what I was seeing in the media, in other people’s live.

I think one of the biggest things that has happened in the last year is the length of these entries. A few months ago I did a bit of research and in the first year of this blog my entries increased from around 2000 words to somewhere around 4000. I can’t really explain why they’ve nearly doubled in size but I think it’s mostly to do with how comfortable I feel when uploading entries. When I first started the blog I was in a bad place. While the intention at the start was pure, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the attention it got. Sometimes, I think I was writing what I thought would get me noticed. Not that I wasn’t writing from the heart, just that I was perhaps oversimplifying things. I remember my first blog on rape culture, about 3 or 4 months after I started this blog, ran to 4/5 pages when I was typing it. I thought that was huge and was slightly worried about uploading it in case the length put people off. Now, my blog entries regularly run to 8 or 9 pages and I don’t think twice about uploading them.

I’m not saying I’m any more special now that the blog has been running for two years. In fact, I feel more average than ever. And that’s a beautiful thing, a glorious thing. I love this blog, truly, even though I don’t get to publish entries half as often as I would like. It’s my catharsis, my confession.

This last year, the second year, has been just as special as the first year but in a completely different way. It’s been a tougher year in terms of who and what I want John Salmon to be and whether or not I felt ready to try and transition from hiding behind a pseudonym to my real identity.

For those who don’t know, John Salmon isn’t my real name. Using a pseudonym has garnered me some criticism over the last couple of years. I’ve been called a coward for not being brave enough to write under my real name. I don’t see fault with argument, I can completely understand why people would think that. I would like to point out that it’s not cowardice that keeps me behind this name, it’s simply caution. I’m protecting my identity because I’ve seen what can happen to those who openly speak out about the same topics I write about. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the same platform as those people. I have a lot to lose and, at the moment, I’m not ready to risk it.

I’ve tried to open myself up. There are a handful of people who either know my real name or who I have developed friendships with outside of John Salmon, but they are few. At one point, I had 10 or 11 shared friends. Now, I only have 2. It’s nothing against those people I defriended, I just need to have that distance between my two identities. It’s difficult, having two separate identities that equally form who I am, but I decided that I really need to keep them separate. Those two who I have kept on my friends list are the two best friends I have encountered on this journey. I don’t know whether they feel the same way, but they keep me grounded and honest. As weird as this may sound when talking about two people I’ve never met: I love them.

I’ve discovered a lot more about myself this last year. I’ve got in more arguments, I’ve pissed more people off, I’ve discovered more about myself and my own personal ideology, I’ve opened my mind to more ideas and thought processes and probably thought about quitting more than ever. I’ve taken small breaks, long breaks, resolved never to come back and resolved never to leave. The gauntlet of emotions; I’ve run it. I don’t go out with the intention of pissing people off, sometimes it’s just the end result. At the end of the day I couldn’t care less, if I think someone’s saying something stupid I’m quite happy to tell them.

I’ve definitely got on the wrong side of people, I’ve argued more with people who, supposedly, share a similar belief set to my own, I’ve been banned from more pages in the last 6 months than in the first year of this blog. But, more importantly, I’ve made new friends, formed new opinions and really started to realise who I am as a person.

I’ve realised over the last year that I genuinely couldn’t give a shit if people like me. I genuinely don’t care what people think of me or this blog. Whether they think I’m pretentious, up my own arse, confrontational, cowardly or anything else is something I honestly couldn’t care less about. While the initial reception was positive and I continue to get positive remarks, I’ve burned a lot of bridges recently. I don’t regret anything, I don’t feel like I have anything to regret. I know there are people out there that don’t like me, as there are people out there that I don’t like. I don’t find that worrying in any way. We have different opinions and are passionate about them. I don’t see that as a negative. What kind of boring world would we live in if everyone was in agreement all the time?

I love this blog, genuinely. I know that without the help of the admins at Exposing Feminism, The United Anti Feminist Coalition and I Don’t Need Feminism I wouldn’t have a fraction of the followers or views that I get. I know that without all the shares, comments and likes there would be no reason for this blog to continue. I only write the stuff, it’s people on Facebook and Twitter that really get it out there. I’ve received a lot of help and for that I’m truly grateful. I’ve noticed a page called Discrimination Against Men has shared a few of my Facebook posts recently, opening up my stuff to an even wider audience. I don’t know who runs that page but, whoever you are, thank you.

I’m 29 in 4 days. I finally feel like I kinda know who I am and what I believe. I spent most of my early 20s not knowing and it was a difficult time. John Salmon’s World would probably not exist without social media and it would probably not be as much fun to continue without the support of hundreds of people who have liked, commented, shared, discussed and debated stuff with me.

I don’t care if you like me as a person, I just hope you read what I write, not because I think I’m better than you or that my opinion is the only that counts, simply because it’s just another opinion to think about.

To all those who have read and shared these blog posts over the last 2 years, genuinely I can’t thank you enough. I hope you’re with me for a long time. Yeah, there are times when I’ve come close to giving up but something always brings me back. Whatever that something is, just know that you are part of it, you are part of me.

I don’t post as often as I want to, but I’m always thinking of what my next blog entry will be. I’ll be back in the next few days (hopefully) with a look at why men are so angry these days.

Until then, thank you all for your continual support of an everyday bloke rambling on about everyday things. It means the world. John Salmon’s World!

All shitty puns aside, Peace!



About a week ago I posted an exploration of masculinity and why feminism seems to be so intent on reshaping it into something more ‘palatable’. The implication is clear: masculinity is broken and in dire need of fixing. For some reason, feminists have decided they are the only ones qualified to fix it. Worse than that, male feminists are using the fact they are men to try and present this as something all men should be welcoming of, despite the fact that, as I said my previous post, masculinity is something that transcends definitions and is entirely personal to each man.

As part of that blog entry, I initially focused on another article, an article that occupied the same spectrum as the one that ended up in the final version. It’s by a man who feels so ashamed of who he is that he feels the need to apologise simply for being a man, feels the need to pay some kind of penance for enjoying traditional masculinity because, somehow, it’s oppressive and all that banal shit you’ve come to expect from feminists, male or otherwise.

When I posted the blog on my Facebook page I made an allusion to the editing I’d done to reduce the length of my post. Yeah, the blog I posted was about 8 pages so should be apparent why I thought it was necessary to edit this down. Instead of getting rid of it completely, though, I decided to simply finish what I’d started and make a separate post, sort of an addendum that follows on from what I said originally.

I’m going to leave it completely as it was originally written so the start won’t make sense here, you have to understand it was originally part of a bigger piece and would have appeared before the article I ended up focusing on in last week’s blog. I’ve put it in bold to make it stand out more.

So, if you can stomach more of my ramblings about what it’s like to be a man, here we go:

The first, which I’m not really going to delve into, concerns one man’s struggle with finding a place for masculinity in 2015. It could, and should, have been an insightful delving into the psyche of what exactly it is to be a man, how masculinity still has a huge, valid part to play in modern society. Instead, it comes across as a snivelling apology piece that, for some reason, seeks to denigrate all men for enjoying traditionally masculine things. I can’t remember where I saw this first but I’m pretty sure it was the aforementioned Honey Badger Radio group:

The implication is simple – enjoying ‘traditionally’ masculine things like outdoor grilling is somehow worthy of guilt. It reduces traditional masculinity to a cliché, something to be embarrassed about, something that is, somehow, only furthering the notion of oppressive patriarchy or some other bullshit. Rather than simply enjoying grilling, the author postulates that it is in fact some kind of social construct that needs to be dismantled or something. It goes on to state that, in fact, it’s our society’s obsession with the ‘private’ and ‘public’ spaces that dictate this enjoyment – women are supposed to live in the ‘private’, men in the ‘public’. Essentially, it is implying that men who like to grill are simply conforming to harmful, societal gender norms that exclude women and only serve to foster a sense of ‘brohood’ that limits masculine development.

It couldn’t possibly be because men simply enjoy cooking outside, it’s because they’ve been indoctrinated to enjoy it by decade’s worth of advertising and socialisation. Don’t forget, this is a male feminist writing this, a piece that is all about masculine guilt and how, even subconsciously, something as simple as enjoying being a ‘grill master’ is actually enforcing the rigidity of gender roles. This is what I mean when I talk about the need to redefine and reshape masculinity. Now, it’s very presence is damaging.

The thing that I’m sure I’m supposed to take away from this is how damaging traditional gender roles are, how it’s damaging that ‘men make fire’ when it comes to outside grilling and BBQing. Instead, all I’m seeing is something that seeks to shame men for enjoying something that has a traditional history, in the same way some women are shamed for enjoying traditional lifestyles from previous decades. Just because something is traditional it doesn’t automatically become a negative thing now we’re living in, supposedly, enlightened times. How many women love 1950s fashion? I’m no fashionista so I’m not about to say that 50s chic is making a comeback but I’d say that it’s something very much admired by a large portion of my female friends.

Does liking 50s chic mean you endorse everything about that era? If you wear polka dot dresses with coiffed hair and thick, red lipstick do you hate all blacks and want to see them segregated? Of course not. Enjoying something from the past doesn’t mean you actively endorse all the other things that come from that era. In the same way, enjoying a BBQ in the back garden with your friends and a few beers does not mean you think the denigration and subjugation of women is ok, it simply means you enjoy an activity that has its roots in a past decade. Does enjoying grilling mean you don’t think women should also be allowed to enjoy grilling? God no.

I absolutely love rugby, it’s my favourite sport. Rugby has been around, in various forms, since the 1830s. In the 1830s the majority of the British population, men and women, couldn’t vote. Does my enjoyment of rugby mean I think the removal of voting rights are the best way to go? Of course not, in the same way that my enjoyment of 1980s British Heavy Metal doesn’t mean I see all female concert goers as potential groupies. I’m mature and intelligent enough to know that enjoyment of something specific does not condone everything else that belongs to that era.

Do some people still have outdated ideas about the roles of men and women? Of course, but it’s not as simple as saying ‘men who like to grill are buying into an age old system of oppression.’ That’s such a ludicrous way of thinking and treats individuality as something non-existent. When you say ‘I feel guilty that I like grilling because, in the past, it’s usually been exclusionary to women’ you are effectively rendering individual choice obsolete. You apply 50 year old social norms to a more progressive world. If you feel guilty about every single thing that has roots in a past era of time then you’d barely be able to enjoy anything!

So no, I don’t buy into the idea that enjoying something that is borne out of a different time period, something closely linked with masculinity, is inherently linked in with oppression. If women want to work the BBQ then that’s absolutely fine with me.

But it’s not just grilling that’s raising the ire of self-loathing feminists. Now, the act of marriage has been a sore point for feminists for a long, long time. ‘It harks back to the time when women were treated as property’ is the most common exclamation. I mean, if you don’t want to get married, that’s fine, but don’t ruin it for those who do want to get married. But, this time, feminism has instilled such a high degree of self-loathing in one feminist that he feels he needs to forgo his own happiness in order to appease his wife’s unhappiness! Yeah, it’s just as fucked as it sounds.

So there you go, a page of stuff I edited out in order to shorten the original blog. There may be some repetition as I had to rework everything once I’d edited this out, but generally not too much changed. The response I got to last week’s blog was pretty good, got a good number of shares and some insightful comments. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I posted it, I’m aware that not everyone can access my rather verbose ramblings but I find it hard to scale down what I write. As you can see, these blogs take a lot of effort to write and often go through edits and redrafts.

Hopefully you get something from a different perspective. If you do take something away then that’s awesome, that’s all I can ask for.

Until next time!

I’ve written on past blogs (though it’s more of a recent thing) that, at its core, I don’t think feminism is a bad thing. That is to say I don’t think the core tenets, the actual dictionary definition of feminism, is in any way divisive or offensive. It’s simple, the belief of equality between the sexes. Sure, there are a few variations that seem to promote ‘women’s rights’ above ‘equality’ but that’s mostly semantics and, as ideological definitions go, there are bound to be some evolutions over the years. So yeah, it’s not really a confession or something that I haven’t already put out there but, generally speaking, I think the concept of feminism is as noble as any cause over the last 200 years.

However, there is a huge difference between the base concept of feminism and what it actually looks like today. One of the biggest problems I, and a whole shitload of others, have is that the dictionary definition is an easy way for feminists to ignore the reality of their movement. The dictionary definition and the actual practice of feminists today are so far apart that the dictionary definition has become utterly useless to accurately describe the state of the modern movement. Feminism in 2015 is an absolute mess. It’s a mess of hypocrisy, double standards, ignorance, racism, sexism and, much to my humour, an endless cavalcade of in-fighting.

I mentioned in one of my previous blogs that I struggle with how far to go when criticising feminism. I know, at its core, there’s a valid movement there somewhere. I know, at its core, it’s something I can get behind. I know, at its core, they only want to do good things. However, those desires and hopes are often crushed when I read feminist articles. Hell, I’ve written about enough of them on here to know that there are some very misguided views being promoted as ‘feminist’ but, in my heart, I don’t want to rag on the movement too much because I know its original purpose is valid.

However, there’s a part of me that thinks the less vocal I am and the more polite I am about it is just not good enough. Some modern feminist theories are so utterly batshit insane, so incredibly warped and stupid, so moronic and derisory that it’d be doing them a disservice to not call a spade a spade.

There’s a lot of shit going on in the feminist movement at the moment. If I had the time to write about every stupid article I saw I’d be able to knock one blog entry out every week from now until next year. Unfortunately, I am constrained with the time I have to give to these blogs so I have to pick those that I feel I have more to say about. Generally, the articles I don’t feel I have the time to write fully about end up going on my Facebook page so I can still put forth my views.

There have been 2 or 3 articles appear on my Facebook newsfeed this week, appearing everywhere from Exposing Feminism to the Honey Badger Radio Facebook group. That’s one of the benefits of Facebook, there are articles I see that I would never have found without the use of social media.

Feminism gets a bad rap, especially in MRA and MRM circles, as being relentlessly misandric. While I won’t disagree that there are a lot of areas of modern feminism that are misandric I don’t for one second claim that of the entire movement or the entire population within it. Why? Well, because I believe in the validity of ‘not all men are like that’. If I believe that then there’s no reason why I should believe all feminists are ‘like that’. Misinformed and ignorant of the more blatant hypocrisies? Yeah, absolutely, but not wilfully damaging.

One of the worst aspects of modern feminism is their relentless assault on masculinity. From phrases like ‘toxic masculinity’ to their insistence that simply being a man is to be an emotionally stunted walking disaster they have some utterly absurd ideas about what it’s like to be a man in 2015. It’s just one example of the movement’s hypocrisy – if a man tries to tell a woman what it’s like to be a woman then he’s guilty of ‘mansplaining’, yet one of the core focuses of feminism is trying to ‘redefine masculinity’ or, in short, telling men why their masculinity is bad for them.

Yeah, it’s a pretty pathetic, grasping at straws notion of ‘gender equality’. There’s nothing more patronising than a hypocritical feminist telling me how all my problems in life are caused by the very thing that helps define me. Nothing more patronising than a feminist trying to tell me that I can be a better man if I just follow her lead. No thanks, I’m quite happy with my masculinity. My masculinity is not something that a woman will ever understand and feminism’s constant desire to reshape me into something more acceptable to them is nothing more than a warped fantasy of what they think men should be like, rather than what men would like to be.

I don’t buy into the idea that one of feminism’s goals is emasculation of the entire male sex, however I do believe that they harbour some kind of resentment or jealousy towards men. I have no idea why, it’s not like being masculine is something they actively desire, quite the contrary, but they seem obsessed with re-shaping and redefining it into something else. I can see why men think emasculation is the end goal but I think it’s something else, something a bit less sinister.

I simply think that women don’t know what makes men tick so they try and view it through a female lens. They do what feminists do best – they see a handful of men struggling with their identity and blanket the entire sex with that struggle before deciding that they, and only they, know how to alleviate it. I don’t think the goal is deliberate emasculation, I just think it’s borne out of ignorance, a lack of knowledge on what exactly it means to be ‘masculine’. Rather than try and understand from a male perspective, they simply apply a female filter to it and see that as some kind of desired endgame.

That’s all well and good, but, in order to be a success, it needs to have been a success at some point. Unfortunately, they have had a small taste of victory with male feminists. Again, I’m not tarring all male feminists with the same brush but they are some of the most deluded, batshit insane men I’ve ever come across. It’s fine if you think masculinity is an ideal that you cannot uphold or aspire to, but that doesn’t mean you get to speak for all men. One problem I have is that male feminists somehow believe they have ‘seen the light’ and it’s only a matter of time before other men realise it and join up. They seem to be more accepting of the company line that so much of modern feminism is based on – ‘if you let go of your need for masculinity and embrace your femininity then your life will become easier’. Sorry, but it just doesn’t work that way.

There’s an article I want to focus on that feathers the line between somebody wanting to do something and somebody feeling like they should be doing something. I don’t want to try and speak for the man who wrote this article because that would go against everything I’ve said in the previous paragraphs, I simply want to use this article to highlight one of the many things I find objectionable about modern feminism and it’s attitude towards masculinity. The fact this article is written by a male feminist is good because it shows us the impact of feminism on masculinity from a direct source. By that, I mean that we are hearing about reshaped masculinity from a man and not from a woman. Not that women shouldn’t be allowed to analyse and talk about stuff like this, just that it makes a difference hearing about masculinity from a man rather than what can only be a theorised version of masculinity from a woman.

The article deals with a feminist (and I won’t keep qualifying it with the prefix ‘male’, as far as I’m concerned a feminist is a feminist, male or otherwise) and his struggles with masculinity and marriage.

As I’ve said, I don’t think the inherent endgame of feminism is total emasculation, I simply think they try to reshape men through a lens that they can understand. By that, I don’t think every feminist thinks ‘I want to destroy all masculinity and have only femininity be acceptable.’ I just think their goal is more along the lines of ‘let’s see if we can reshape masculinity so we can understand it a little better.’ Of course, that thinking is seriously flawed as it essentially becomes ‘masculinity-lite’, a diluted version of masculinity that’s infused with femininity which will make the whole concept even more confusing.

As ever, I can’t remember where I saw this article, so I’m just gonna give a shout out to The Honey Badger Brigade Facebook group which has provided the last 2 or 3 articles for these blog entries. Anyway, on to the article:

Now, I’m not going to judge anybody for doing whatever they feel is necessary to find happiness in their lives, but I will question the motives and reasons behind choices that, I think, cause more harm than good.

This first paragraph is where I initially think the entire concept of an ‘open marriage’, particularly in this context, becomes almost a parody of what it should be:

‘As I write this, my children are asleep in their room, Loretta Lynn is on the stereo, and my wife is out on a date with a man named Paulo. It’s her second date this week; her fourth this month so far. If it goes like the others, she’ll come home in the middle of the night, crawl into bed beside me, and tell me all about how she and Paulo had sex. I won’t explode with anger or seethe with resentment. I’ll tell her it’s a hot story and I’m glad she had fun. It’s hot because she’s excited, and I’m glad because I’m a feminist.’

My problem is simply this – what on Earth has being a feminist got to do with it? It’s a simple question, one that will hopefully be answered further along, but it’s one I can’t answer. If he wasn’t a feminist would he still allow his wife to date and have sex with other men? By the insinuations of this opening paragraph then, no, probably not. So what is it about being a feminist that makes this ok? Is this the feminist endgame, for men to suddenly be ok with their wives wanting to sleep around simply because feminism says it’s a good thing? I’m sure we’ll be given a quality explanation!

‘Before my wife started sleeping with other men, I certainly considered myself a feminist, but I really only understood it in the abstract. When I quit working to stay at home with the kids, I began to understand it on a whole new level. I am an economically dependent househusband coping with the withering drudgery of child-rearing. Now that I understand the reality of that situation, I don’t blame women for demanding more for themselves than the life of the housewife.’

As much as I think this article is full of ideas that I can’t wrap my head around, he does actually raise an interesting point on the whole concept of feminism and, to a lesser extent, any ideology.

‘I certainly considered myself a feminist, but I really only understood it in the abstract’

Ultimately, what is feminism if not an abstract concept to all of us? I mean, it’s not a physical thing, it’s not something we own. It’s not like a car or a house. When you buy an Audi you can quite confidently say ‘I’m an Audi driver.’ But how do you become a feminist? I can say ‘I’m a feminist’ but then not do anything related to feminism at all and no-one can tell me any different because there’s no way of owning feminism, there’s not something physical you can buy that suddenly makes you feminist. So, at what point do you become a feminist and at what point does that start to mean something? That’s the point, and it’s something I’ve thought about for a while but could never put into words:

What does saying ‘I’m a feminist’ actually mean? Nothing. It’s a meaningless phrase. The only reason we understand the intention behind it is because of what’s been done in the name of feminism in the past. But it’s just a collection of theories, ideas and concepts. It’s nothing tangible that we can ‘own’. You say ‘I’m a feminist’ and I say ‘so what?’ That’s one of the problems with modern day feminism, because it’s not a ‘thing’, there are too many people who claim the label for themselves but adhere to different standards to others who also hold the label. It’s meaningless and is just one reason why NAFALT is such an easy concept to hide behind.

Aside from that, there is an angle here that I can appreciate – he didn’t know what being a househusband was like until he actually did it. The difficult thing is how broad he brushes his strokes. Not only does he call bringing up a child ‘drudgery’ he also makes a sweeping statement about the quality of life of housewives. His implication is that it’s a boring life to be cooped up inside all day looking after the children. Quite apart from the fact that that was a choice he made it completely shits all over those women who choose to be housewives and love every second of it. In his attempts to empathise with those women who perhaps don’t enjoy the housewife role he kind of shits all over the women who do enjoy through implying they are somehow not making the most of their lives. Of course, this is all conjecture on my part but it wouldn’t be the first time a feminist has decided to impart knowledge in absolutes.

I’m actually beginning to question whether this is satire or not. Either it’s real and this guy is seriously deluded or it really is satire and I’ve just fallen for it hook, line and sinker! I bitch a lot about people falling for satire and people posting it as if it were real so I’m hoping it’s not. A quick look around the site suggests its real but we’ll see.

The next paragraph highlights, I think, the impact feminism has had on modern culture as well as the idea of masculinity. I’ll just paste the paragraph and then explain what I mean.

Still, as a man, I could, if I wanted to, portray what I’m doing as “work,” and thus claim for myself the prestige men traditionally derive from “work.” Whenever I tell someone I stay home with the kids, they invariably say, “Hardest work in the world.” They say this because the only way to account for a man at home with the kids is to say what he’s doing is hard work. But there’s a subtext in the compliment that makes it backhanded: We both know no one ever says it to a woman. Mothers care; fathers provide care. The difference is crucial. Despite my total withdrawal from the economy and the traditional sources of masculine identity, I can still argue I am a provider. I provide care.  

This idea about staying at home being ‘work’ is not what I want to get into. What I really detest about this paragraph is the fact that it is blatantly untrue. The idea that staying home is ‘work’ is something that has come up in feminist circles before, particularly as they like to shroud themselves with some kind of martyr status for being the ones to ‘pick up the slack.’

The insidious thing here though is the assumption that we don’t credit women with the work they do when they stay at home with the children. The author says that he’s often told that being at home with the children is ‘the hardest work in the world.’ I’m not going to disagree, I’m in no position to tell someone how hard it is to raise a child. The blatantly untrue bit comes with this line:

‘But there’s a subtext in the compliment that makes it backhanded: We both know no one ever says it to a woman.’

The idea that we don’t tell women they have the hardest job in the world when it comes to raising children is, at best, a naïve attempt at trying to empathise with the work that goes unnoticed and, at best, a flat out lie that he’s saying to try and gain brownie points within the feminist movement.

We don’t, as a society, tell women they have the ‘hardest work’ in the world? Erm, I beg to differ:

So there we have it, plenty of examples that show that we do value the work women do when it comes to raising children. In fact, sometimes we value it more than the work fathers do. Well done for throwing all fathers under the bus for the sake of feminism.

But what’s this got to do with the ideals of masculinity? Plus, I said feminism was just a series of ideas and concepts, could the same not be said of masculinity? Of course, but that’s the point. Masculinity is something that is personal. There are certain traits we deem masculine that most men seem to embody, in much the same there are a few core tenets that, you would imagine, all those who call themselves feminists stand by. Masculinity is an entirely personal thing, it comes with being a man and can’t really be understood as something inherently defineable. Yes, there are traits some women share in the same way there are some feminine traits that men share (I have a few feminine traits) but, overall, that still doesn’t stop someone from being masculine. That’s the point, these men are trying to redefine something that can’t be defined through a lens that doesn’t understand the fluidity of the concept in the first place.

To put it simply, it would be like me trying to redesign a car engine to make it run smoother when I have no idea how a car engine works in the first place. Feminism trying to redefine masculinity is like a computer technician trying to refit a car. I have no idea if that makes sense to anyone else but me.

I don’t want to go through the entire article because it would take too long. I will pick out the beginning of the next section because, according to the author, redefining masculinity is a necessary evil due to the manifestation of Patriarchy in the way marriage is structured.

In short:

She didn’t present it as an issue of feminism to me, but after much soul-searching about why the idea of my wife having sex with other men bothered me I came to a few conclusions: Monogamy meant I controlled her sexual expression, and, not to get all women’s-studies major about it, patriarchal oppression essentially boils down to a man’s fear that a woman with sexual agency is a woman he can’t control. We aren’t afraid of their intellect or their spirit or their ability to bear children. We are afraid that when it comes time for sex, they won’t choose us. This petty fear has led us as a culture to place judgments on the entire spectrum of female sexual expression: If a woman likes sex, she’s a whore and a slut; if she only likes sex with her husband or boyfriend, she’s boring and lame; if she doesn’t like sex at all, she’s frigid and unfeeling. Every option is a trap. 

The whole point of this article, to me, is exemplified in this paragraph. The author tries to figure out why he’s upset that his wife wants to sleep with other people and comes to the conclusion that it’s his own fault. That is such ingrained self-loathing I honestly don’t know where I’d begin in trying to tell him how fucked in the head he must be.

Let me repeat that – he blames himself for feeling upset that his wife wants to fuck other men! Not only that, he then performs some bronze-medal-winning-Beth-Tweddle mental gymnastics shit in order to justify it, somehow coming to the reasoning that marriage, by definition, is sexually oppressive and it was up to him to break down this facet of patriarchal oppression by disregarding his own feelings and allowing his wife to do whatever the fuck she wants.

I mean, this must be satire right? I’ve obviously just fallen hook, line and sinker for the biggest piss-take on the internet? That’s the only way I can justify this. The author is so ashamed of feeling upset that his wife wants to cheat on him that he doesn’t blame her, he invents some bullshit reasoning of ‘patriarchy’ and ‘oppressive monogamy’. Not only that, he then uses that paper-thin justification to leap into the old ‘stud vs slut’ debate and use that to further justify why it’s ok.

I don’t want to put words in the author’s mouth but this, to me, is pretty much why a lot of men despise feminism. Simply the fact of being a man, simply the fact of wanting to be monogamous, to be with one woman and one woman only, is oppressive to the point that it requires you to let your wife sleep around in the name of feminism because that’s what being a good feminist is all about, regardless of your own feelings. Happy wife, happy life and all that, I guess!

But how does this tie into masculinity? Well, he says it himself – masculinity is so fragile that monogamy is some sort of social construct (what isn’t, these days?) men have invented in order to keep women down, in order to repress their inherent sexuality and sexual freedom. Men are, apparently, so weak and fragile that we’ve reduced women to nothing but prudes or sluts and determined to control their every sexual move lest they don’t choose us.

Not only is that massively insulting to men, it’s massively insulting to women. The implication here is that not only are women too weak to resist the urges that, I’m pretty sure, most people feel at some point, even when in stable relationships, but that they’re too stupid to realise they’ve been tricked into ‘oppressive monogamy’ and need to be ‘allowed’ to sleep around by their husband. Ultimately, in his efforts to show how much of a good feminist he is and allow her to not miss out on exploring her sexual prime, he’s showing he still has control over her sexuality.

Look, I’m not one to try and tell other people how to live their life, I’m not one to try and tell women how to manage their sexual drives, and I’m not one to cherry pick paragraphs from an article. He does state that the open marriage arrangement is available to both of them, he just doesn’t take advantage as much as his wife.

There was a similar story I posted on my Facebook page about a woman who wanted to ‘explore’ her sexuality before it became too late and asked her husband for a similar open arrangement. They both had opportunities to sleep around but her husband ended up having sex with just one woman for a period of about six months. Funnily enough, that upset her. Yeah, you got that right. Woman who wants to open her marriage gets upset when her husband also has sex with other women. The main reason was because it was just one woman that he was sleeping with. I don’t know why that’s so bad, at least it shows he’s committed to something, not just using and losing a different woman every night.

Point is, this article presents men as some kind of enemy to the women they supposedly love, this article presents husbands and marriage as some kind of enemy. It implies that, in order to be good husbands, they have to be ok with their wives wanting to sleep around. Anything else would just be another example of suppressing women’s sexuality. Why women couldn’t have figured this out before they got married in the first place I don’t know.

But what’s this got to do with masculinity and feminism’s inadvertent desire to reshape it? Well, the very idea that being a man makes you feel the need to suppress women’s sexual drives through the oppression of ‘monogamy’ makes it sound like masculinity is inherently fragile and weak which, despite the protestations of feminism, is blatantly untrue.

I also find it funny that feminism is obsessed with parroting the idea that ‘we want men to be open and free with their feelings’, yet their first response to men expressing hurt that their own wives might not want to sleep with them is to denigrate them and label masculinity as fundamentally ‘fragile’. It shows that they only care about men expressing their feelings when those feelings match what feminism wants them to be, not what men actually worry about.

I have absolutely no idea what feminism wants men to be open about because every time men do open up about their feelings they get shamed, denigrated and downtrodden.

It’s no surprise that men are shy about opening up when they are met with cries of ‘male tears’ and ‘manfeelz’. Hypocrisy, thy name is feminism. But we already knew that, we already knew feminism was a hotbed of hypocrisy and muppetry, so why do we allow them to continue to lecture us on how it is to be a man?

I think it falls back to the idea that runs through my mind when I talk about grass roots feminism – why would we think badly about feminism? I mean, this is a movement that has been around, in various forms, for a couple of hundred years (Mary Wollstonecraft was an early feminist, though I’m not sure if the term was really around back then) and we are bashed over the head with the idea that it’s a movement for equality. On the surface, feminism is a movement for equality, that’s what the masses are told and that’s what the masses believe. It’s only when you start taking a real look at the machinations and modern practices that it leaves a sour taste in your mouth. Why would a movement so fervently expressed as one for equality actually be anything but?

That’s one of my, many, problems with modern feminism. We are now so used to seeing feminism posited as a positive movement for everyone that we aren’t allowed any deeper critical thinking of feminist theories without being labelled de facto misogynists or women haters. I think masculinity is hard to define. Men know what it means to be masculine, women know what it means to be feminine. Yes, that’s a very simple generalisation but I think it’s true. We can embody various traits but me liking traditionally feminine things or embodying traditionally feminine traits doesn’t mean I stop being masculine. I’m still as masculine as the next bloke, it’s just not something we can put out there and say ‘this is what is it to be masculine’.

That’s where the problem with feminism’s intent on reshaping it comes in. They’re trying to reshape something they don’t understand. They call it ‘toxic’, they call it ‘entitled’, ‘weak’, ‘fragile’ and any number of other shaming devices to try and break it down, to try and crumble it and then rebuild as something that is more palatable to them. But that’s the problem – what does it mean to be truly masculine? Feminism cannot reshape masculinity because it doesn’t understand masculinity. Men writing articles about how they feel like their masculinity is something inherently oppressive or exclusionary only feeds into the idea that it is something that can be wilfully reshaped and repackaged. When it’s men that are writing articles from a feminist perspective that tell men to feel ashamed of their own feelings, whether that’s a love of grilling (yeah, that was actually the subject of a real article) or upset at your wife wanting to sleep with other men, it only furthers the notion that masculinity somehow is toxic. When a man is told that his likes are a result of decades of socialisation and nothing more, or when a man thinks he has to be ok with his wife’s infidelity because anything otherwise is him embodying oppressive tendencies it makes men feel like they have to change because the very existence they inhabit is oppressive to those they love.

Masculinity is not toxic, toxicity is not gendered, not by a long shot. Feminism wants to redefine masculinity because it doesn’t understand masculinity in the first place. Masculinity, as with femininity and the very concept of feminism, is almost impossible to reduce to one core belief or manifestation.

I don’t mean to tell people how to live their life; I don’t mean to criticise things if people are genuinely happy; I don’t mean to approach this like I have all the answers. I don’t and I will never profess I do. I’m just getting very tired of being told that the very things that make up who I am, the very traits I embody, the aspects that make me the man I am are somehow inherently oppressive and need ‘fixing’. I’m not broken, I don’t need fixing, especially by someone who has no clue what’s ‘wrong’ in the first place.

I am not broken, I am not toxic; I am a man. Start treating me like one and you’ll see that for yourself.