It has been a long, long couple of weeks. There’s been seemingly no end of revelations, discussions and open not-so-secrets about supposedly “good” men who’ve been turning out to be far less than they’ve claimed to be.
Each disclosure of bad behavior from people long thought to be allies seems to tip the next domino, leading to yet more revelations. In August, Joss Whedon’s ex-wife famously came forward to disclose that Whedon had been cheating on her and was, in her words, “a hypocrite preaching feminist ideals.” Not long after, it was discovered that Tim League had been quietly continuing to employ Devin Faraci after having fired him from Birth, Movies, Death. That discussion lead to the women coming forward about having been harassed or groped by Ain’t It Cool News‘ Harry Knowles.
Then, this week, Buzzfeed overturned the rocks hiding Milo Yiannopoulos and Breitbart News’ network… including several erstwhile feminist “allies” who communicated and collaborated with Yiannopoulos in secret. Meanwhile, the New York Times published it’s investigation into reports of sexual harassment and assault by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, while similar accusations were leveled against ScreenJunkies creator Andy Signore.
Meanwhile, Brie Larsen shared her story of inappropriate behavior directed towards her by men… which then turned into a thread of having to explain why that behavior was so inappropriate.
Nope. He’s working. He’s at his job. Think of me as a customer at his job. It’s inappropriate.
— Brie Larson (@brielarson) October 6, 2017
This confluence of events has lead a great deal of discussion on Twitter, on blogs and news organizations about just how much women could trust supposedly “good” men. And, for many men – men who want to be good – it’s a time that feels that their desire to learn and improve is hampered by the fear of doing wrong and getting attacked for it. Many, many men have written to me confused and worried about the new “rules” of being a good man or to complain about having been singled out for breaking them. They feel bewildered at having been punished for breaking a code of behavior they didn’t recognize existed. They’re hurt at the idea that they’re being tarred by the same brush as these seeming few bad actors.
These events – and the reactions that so many men are having – is why it’s important to do some introspection and contemplation. So let’s talk a little about what’s been going on, and how to be a better man.