good men project

A Response to “The Pitfalls of Satire”

by Josh Bowman. Josh Bowman is a professional fundraiser, story-teller, comedian, and blogger. He has worked and consulted in Vancouver, New York, and now Toronto for almost a decade. Josh also runs and writes for tenthingsivelearned.com, and improvises around Toronto, including regular shows with Opening Night Theatre.

I am writing this post as a response to an article that Jasmine Peterson wrote in response to an article I wrote in a response to an article that Mark Radcliffe originally wrote. Jasmine much more eloquently addresses her concerns with my piece than certain other writers who were (thank heavens!) equally concerned. My hope is that this post will create a giant, meta black hole that will collapse the internet in on itself, leaving nothing but the remains of charred servers.

My synopsis of Jasmine’s thesis is taken (roughly) from her article, as follows:

“While I love satire, I do think that satire in and of itself can be extremely problematic…I think this is one of the biggest dangers of this literary form, because too many people interpret these statements at face value, without realizing the author’s true intentions.”

Her thesis is interesting, as it to some extent echoes other discussions which have been happening online. The question becomes, what happens to a joke (and joke-teller) when the audience isn’t in on a joke? When do you stop being ironic, and begin embodying traits you previously identified as repellent? Read more

Posted on by Josh Bowman in Feminism 4 Comments

A Response to “In Praise of Large-Breasted Women”: The Pitfalls of Satire

by Jasmine Peterson

A few days ago on the Good Men Project, a couple of articles were published that praised women of a particular bust size. The first was a(n incredibly offensive) diatribe on the ‘perks’ of small breasts. In response to this, Josh Bowman replied with his tongue-in-cheek piece praising the qualities of large-breasted women.

While his satirical response is really very witty and clever, it is not immediately clear that it is satirical. And, while I love satire, I do think that satire in and of itself can be extremely problematic.

Satire, although I fully appreciate it, is a tricky thing. It requires its audience to be capable of discerning that it is, in fact, a satirical statement that is being made. And, had I not known ahead of time that this was satire, I may not have picked up on it immediately and would have instead been rather offended.

When satire is too subtle (or even when it’s not so subtle, but its audience isn’t able to discern that that is what it is), people believe it, buy into it, and then the satire is just reinforcing that which it is intending to ridicule or expose. I think this is one of the biggest dangers of this literary form, because too many people interpret these statements at face value, without realizing the author’s true intentions.

A perfect example of this was an article posted at The Onion about a year ago; it was an article lampooning the attack on women’s reproductive rights and on Planned Parenthood in the United States. It was so obviously over the top that I couldn’t imagine anyone taking it seriously – but they did. So, while I love this literary technique, I also recognize that often it only does what it is meant to do for those who already ‘get it’. Read more

Posted on by Jasmine Peterson in Feminism, Pop Culture 2 Comments

Women Are Not Like Cats

Portrait de jeune femme tenant un chat by Bacchiaccaby Jessica Critcher

The Good Men Project has been heralded as “a glimpse of what enlightened masculinity might look like in the 21st century,” and “a cerebral, new media alternative” to glossy men’s magazines. That’s great. Masculinity needs to be talked about differently. Men need to do this. A good deal of feminism’s work can and should be undertaken by men and boys. But the premise of The Good Men Project still bothers me.

The idea of being good men is actually nothing special. Not raping, not beating, not oppressing, not objectifying, is not some phenomenal feat deserving of praise. That should be every man’s basic commitment to humanity. Anything further should not be done for applause, but as an effort to offset vast inequality.

Saying you’re one of the good guys doesn’t mean you’re exempt from male privilege, no matter how uncomfortable that makes you feel. It also doesn’t mean you’re immune from misogyny or making sexist statements.

So there’s that. I generally try to ignore The Good Men Project. Neutral is a fine place to be in my book. Continue about your business, I would say, if I thought about them. Continue to not actively oppress us, and I shall leave you in peace. But recently they managed to capture my attention and enrage me. And the behavior that caused it was definitely what I’d think of as “good men” behavior.

The article was titled Women Are Like Cats. Read more

Posted on by Jessica Critcher in Feminism, Pop Culture 6 Comments