Boycott the Good Men Project

Major trigger warning: Rape and rape apologism, victim-blaming, enabling rapists.

The editors at the ill-named Good Men Project (GMP) are apparently on a mission to rehabilitate the public image of male rapists and convince people that most of them are “nice guys” and “good dudes.”

Image by mercurialn, CC license.

Image by mercurialn, CC license.

Their most recent stream of rape apologism began with an article by Alyssa Royse, also posted at xoJane, on how “nice guys can be rapists, too.” Royse argues that a friend who raped a sleeping woman is both a rapist and a “really sweet guy” who genuinely believed he had an “invitation to have sex” with this woman – because she was sending “signals” – and somehow had no idea that unconscious people, by definition, cannot “have sex with” anyone.

GMP has also since posted an anonymous first person account by an admitted, unrepentant serial rapist who sees rape as an acceptable “risk” and “tradeoff” for the “positive, happy [sexual] experiences” he’s had while partying.

These are just two among several grossly irresponsible GMP pieces on rape from the past week (I won’t be linking them or any other GMP piece.)

Ally Fogg has written a decent overview of Royse’s and the anonymous rapist’s articles, and a succinct explanation of how they harm rape survivors and enable rapists. Other good posts that debunk in detail GMP’s recent writing for the rape apologist trash it is:

  • Ami Angelwings: Nice feminists commit rape apologia too [note: Royse doesn’t identify as feminist]. The whole post is great, but I especially want to highlight her point about Royse implying that talking about doing sex work is an invitation to be raped. Pretty horrifying.

    It also seems as if [Royse’s] friend understood his actions all too well, choosing a victim who was unconscious at the time, and a member of a group that society looks down on (sex workers) and can add that detail to the story along with all the other details of her flirting and dancing so his friends will understand that he was just getting mixed signals. Honestly, all victim blaming angers me, but I find it really f-ed up that he (and the article writer) added that she’s a former sex worker as part of how he “knew” she wanted sex.

  • Thomas Macaulay Millar brings the facts: most rapists are predators, most of whom have raped multiple times. Based on their own accounts and the best available research on perpetrators, Royse’s friend and GMP’s anonymous rapists are both predators, and the latter at least is a serial one.
  • Dianna Anderson with more facts on how this kind of “sympathy” for perpetrators allows rapists to justify themselves and manipulate others.
  • Brian Stuart/red3blog on why getting consent is not  nearly as complicated or confusing as GMP would have people believe.
  • No Sleep Till Brooklands on why you don’t get to call yourself a good guy just because you don’t “feel” like a rapist: The Good-Men-Who-Only-Occasionally-Rape-People Project
  • Feministe, What In Holy Hell Is This? and And Just When You Think The Good Men Project Couldn’t Get Any Worse.
  • Ozy Frantz on why zie’s left The Good Men Project over their publishing rape apologism. [I, um, question zir evaluation of GMP editor-in-chief Noah Brand’s supposed feminism, but whatever.]
  • Roger Canaff: Nonsense at the Good Men Project
  • In response to Royse’s claim that calling people like her friend “bad guys” is basically saying “at least 50% of the men out there are bad” – i.e., a claim that the majority of men are rapists – Ally Fogg points out that nice guys don’t knowingly commit rape and that most men don’t rape.

ETA: I’ve also posted a response breaking down how the argument that we need to “humanize” rapists by seeing them as “good people who do terrible things” centers perpetrators at the expense of survivors and is really dangerous.

The upshot of it is that GMP is committed to doing work that harms survivors and enables rapists. They have no intention of changing or even reconsidering their approach, and in fact have doubled down on it.

Some of the people and publications that work with GMP are writers whose work I respect, and outlets publishing good work (xoJane and Role/Reboot in particular, though both also have their own problems with enabling abusers like Hugo Schwyzer and propping up rape culture – xoJ did publish Royse’s piece, after all).

ETA: Role/Reboot and Alternet, which has also shared GMP material in the past, have both stated that they will no longer share content with The Good Men Project.

Point being, I recognize that there’s value to the work that folks who work with GMP are doing, and even that there’s good writing being posted at GMP. But at this point, I think working with them  is an endorsement of their harmful, unethical behavior.

As such, I can no longer support the work of anyone who works with, writes for, or shares content with The Good Men Project. I encourage others to consider doing the same.

A final note: yesterday I tweeted a few comments criticizing GMP and stating what I’ve said above about no longer supporting the work of anyone who works with them.

In response to my saying I was sickened by their constant rape apologism, one of GMP’s twitter accounts (@GMPGoodLife) followed me. Why, I can’t say. In any case, @GMPGoodLife retweeted a comment I made about knowing thoughtful and well-intentioned people who do good work and also work with The Good Men Project.

They retweeted this without sharing any of my other comments criticizing them, effectively quoting me wildly out of context to make it appear that I support their work. They also refused to take down the tweet at my request. I ultimately had to delete and rewrite in a way that couldn’t be twisted into looking like an endorsement.

This is extremely deceitful and unethical, and hardly the behavior of “good men.” Writers who work or are considering working with GMP may want to note that they don’t seem to respect the integrity of writer’s work or writer’s words.

26 Comments

  1. [warning: apologism and disdain for survivors]

    The stated purpose of the Good Men Project is to provide a space for men to tell their stories and share their perspectives. How is publishing Anonymous’ story unethical or deceitful?

    It could only be deceitful if you felt that TGMP had some other purpose, like crusading against rape or protecting female rape victims against upsetting stories (aka “triggers”). But that’s not what they’re here for.

    • Please read more closely. What I said was “unethical and deceitful” was their quoting me out of context.

      Their publishing an anonymous rapist’s story IS unethical, especially how way they framed it without any evidence as the story of an “addict,” for reasons that are amply covered in the links I provided. Ally Fogg’s overview is good for starters.

      Your disdain for anti-rape crusading and respecting the experiences of survivors is really endearing.

      • If my stated purpose were anti-rape crusading, you’d have a valid point. But it isn’t, so your endearment is irrelevant.

        Publishing a rapist’s story is inherently unethical, no matter who does it or where? I don’t think so, sorry.

        • Uh huh, that’s exactly what I said.

          I suggest you move along, and maybe also consider not using your work email to leave comments. A thought.

          • Nice threat, but I’m not sure what sort of crime you’d be avenging by going after my work address. Does disagreement equal rape too now?

            • LOL, no one is threatening you. Goodness, the persecution complex is strong with this one. I just think it’s kind of stupid to defend publishing unrepentant rapists using one’s work email. YMMV. Either way, I’m bored now and your future comments won’t be approved. Run along and defend rape apologists with obtuse comments somewhere else.

            • Hi Grace,

              I thought your article was interesting – thanks for collating all the sources!

              I have to say, I found your response to Copyleft a bit puzzling – when I read his/her comment re: “crusading against rape or protecting female rape victims against upsetting stories”

              I thought it was a valid point. I do NOT agree with the GMP, and do think the articles range from deluded to damaging. However what I thought Copyleft was saying was that their publishing of the article is totally in line with their so-called “principles” or agenda. This is not necessarily a good thing but hardly deceitful. Copyleft obviously misunderstood what you meant was deceitful though, which you clarified.

              The fact that you replied so abrasively kind of detracted from the value of your piece though, especially when you started belittling him/her about leaving comments from his/her work email. Who cares? I am a feminist and an anti-rape crusader and certainly didn’t for one moment think Copyleft was a rape apologist, I didn’t understand why you’d throw that out there!

              I definitely don’t think the idea of crusading against rape was meant as a derogatory comment.

              I personally think articles such as the one involving the serial rapist *should* be published. Give a man enough rope and he’ll hang himself…

              Thanks again for an informative article, not so much the unhelpfulness of your comments. Someone clearly took the time to engage with you and your writing, not to stir up a bitch-fest, but seemingly to enter in good faith into a dialogue, even if he or she did get the wrong end of the stick.

              It could serve you better to engage more patiently with readers when explaining your point.

            • One question: Have you read my comments policy?

            • So, what is your goal in whining about how right, proper and ethical it is to publish True Confessions: Rapist Edition?

              I mean, there’s literally nothing a decent person could agree with in the rapist’s screed, and nothing to disagree with in Grace’s post. Saying NOTHING about the rapist’s remarks and picking one minor tangential offshoot of Grace’s post to disagree about gives every indication that you’re getting a charge out of the rapist’s opinions.

        • Actually, in the comments section of one of their self-justification articles they compared themselves to anti tobacco activists and seemed to be arguing that publishing this was intended as anti rape activism, as did a lot of the commenters defending them. Seems like they’ll twist themselves into whatever position is most convenient for the context.

          Grace, I have to say this is the first time I’ve seen your blog and I think I like it already!

    • umm-but they are called “the good men project”. if what you say is what they really stand for then why call themselves that? can’t blame people who-after reading what they have called themselves would say “well, a good man would not do that…”

  2. Everything about this just saddens me so much. I wanted to like GMP. I think there is absolutely a place for men to talk with other men about gender roles, healthy masculinity, and how to be aware of and examine your privilege without ever abusing it. Those are conversations that men need to have with men instead of always depending upon women to lead them into it.

    But GMP is not that place, as has become so painfully clear.

    • Yea. GMP is the “You’d better believe we’re Good Men or else” Project, not a space for men to actually work out what it means to be good.

      • Exactly.

        Even before this most recent travesty, which was one final straw on the poor camel’s back, I was really disheartened because of this Comment of the Day post (cw assault) http://goodmenproject.com/comment-of-the-day/a-kind-of-rape-society-doesnt-talk-about-is-the-type-where-consent-is-given-through-coercion-or-wearing-down/

        Not because of the post itself. Actually, while I still find the post problematic in a few ways, it’s much more like what I would have hoped the “addict” post would have been: Someone who understands what he did was wrong, is trying to process that and change, and is using that as a springboard onto a topic that a lot of people don’t discuss, i.e. coercive sex. If there’s ever any value to be found in the point of view of someone who’s committed an assault, it has to be something in the similar vein as this.

        aaaaaaaaaaand then the comments were full of people trying to reassure him that what had happened was not rape. Sigh.

        I think you’re spot on – they’re not the Good Men Project, they’re the Men Are Good Project.

  3. Just one note, Ozy doesn’t use male pronouns, but zie/zir ones I believe. Ozy ID’s as genderfluid or genderqueer I believe.

    Otherwise, thank you for this article. I hadn’t yet seen all of the various responses. I never went to the GMP if I could help it, but I certainly will be paying better attention to what links I’m following in the future. What they did with your tweet was definitely underhanded and yet another nail in their coffin.

  4. Hi Grace,

    Just read your “Comments policy”, thanks for directing my attention to it! Loled at your “no free speech” dictat – never come across anything like this before.

    Quite a shame, because the essence of your message is important and should be heard, ideally by many more people, and I hope you can find a way to reach them.

    I will stick to reading feminist blogs which do encourage free speech and don’t categorise anyone who questions the writer as a rape apologist, which I find a little strange.

    Best of luck!

  5. Lindsey Weedston says:

    Why is it so easy for people to confuse a helpful discussion about the issue of gender roles and the pressure men feel to be masculine and dominant and how that leads to violence and general psychological dysfunction with “well that rapist doesn’t know any better, so it’s okay.” Yes, we live in a culture where the entire concept of sex has been twisted into a mutated hell beast and yes, the gender roles imposed on males fucks them up in the head. But never ever ever forget that as long as you are an adult with the mental capacity of one, you are always responsible for your actions and must be prepared to accept the consequences.

    For example, GMP is staffed by adults and should know that posting a raw piece from the perspective of a serial rapist without commentary telling everyone how awful it is that he think’s it’s perfectly okay to rape… is irresponsible. There are men (like Royse’s friend) who are looking for excuses to feel okay about raping women so that they can do it without remorse. Free speech is great, but if not balanced with personal responsibility, it leads to chaos. Consider the effects that your words could have on other people. I could tell an overweight individual that he/she is fat and disgusting, but I wouldn’t, because doing do would hurt someone. And doing so and then yelling at anyone who told me to stop being such an asshole that I can say whatever I want because freedom would make me a drooling moron and a general detriment to society.

    Good men and good women do what they can to avoid causing unnecessary pain to other people, even if it means they have to deal with the minor inconvenience of shutting their mouth holes.

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  11. I had a desire to write for the GMP until I saw those articles. Then I flipped a figurative table and vowed never to support them. But thanks for providing an eloquent and concise rebuttal.