By Hugo Schwyzer,jezebel.com/ – These may not be the best of times for women on the Internet, as recent episodes of ugly misogynistic trolling make all too clear. On the other hand the end of 2012 is bringing Good News about Good Guys with a renaissance of passionate anti-sexist male activism, online and in real life. Is this upsurge in dudely decency authentic? Or is it just the advent of a new Nice Guy tactic by Liberated Pigs or Predatory Besties? Here are five excellent reasons to be optimistic, tempered with two notes of caution.
1. Men Against Assholes and Misogyny: More of Them Than You Think
Last week, comedian Jen Kirkmanannounced a Twitter strike, going silent until more men stepped up to challenge the hate-filled, sexist rants of other dudes online. The Tumblr she started has been overwhelmed with submissions from men in the past week, most from guys who weren’t familiar with Kirkman’s work. “A lot of men hate the perception of men out there and are speaking up and out,” Kirkman told me; “it’s absolutely heartwarming to hear how many men sit around thinking that sexism is a problem.” Calling out online misogynists may be a cheap and easy form of activism, but even that has proved too expensive for too many men for too long. Good start.
2. The End of the Bro-Hug
White Ribbon, a collective of Canadian pro-feminist men, launched its ManHug campaign this month. Calling for an end to the awkward side hugs and “bro-hugs” (the kind that finish by tapping a fist three times on another dude’s back, as if to signal I’m.Not.Gay) White Ribbon is asking guys to share something real. “Hug an important man in your life (brother, father, son, friend, coworker) and post the #manhug to your favorite social network.” It’s axiomatic that homophobic men are invariably sexist ones as well; as White Ribbon suggests, guys who can authentically embrace other dudes are also more likely to respect women’s boundaries. What gets hugged out, in other words, may be misogyny.
3. The Pro-Feminist Male Performance Artist
When I show this video of slam poet Carlos Andres Gomez to my women’s studies students, the gasps and OhmyGodWhoIsThats are instant. More than a heartthrob, Gomez has just released his new book, Man Up: Cracking the Code of Modern Manhood, that looks at the cost of shutting down men’s emotions. Gomez’s passion may be sexy, but it’s not in the service of seduction -– it’s about modeling a kind of raw, compassionate authenticity for guys desperate to see how healthy masculinity gets lived out. Read more…