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.”
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.