As Christmas approaches and 2014 draws to a close, our news editor Glen Poole lists some of his favourite writers on UK men's issues.
As I drew up this list I was struck at how vibrant the conversation about men's issues has become in the past year. This is partly because of the growth of online media like the wonderful insideMAN (of course); partly because more people who have been around the men's movement for years are taking time to publish their thinking and partly because there are (I think), more people than ever before engaged in conversations by, for and about men in the UK and worldwide.
This is good news and I for one would love to see this list of writers growing exponentially in 2015. If we are to tackle the many different issues affecting men and boys then it is vital that we build a critical mass of people who are informed about men's issues and engaged in conversations that make a difference.
If you don't write yourself, you can still play your part by reading, commenting on and sharing what these writers have to say. You could also become a writer yourself in 2015 and share your thinking with the world. If you have an idea for an article then why not get in touch with insideMAN? Make it your resolution for next year.
Also, if there are people writing about men's issues that you admire and think we should be aware of do please let us know in the comments section.
Enough of the preamble. Here, in no particular order, is my list of favourite UK men's issues writers from 2014:
1. Ally Fogg
If you don't know him yet, Ally Fogg is a left-wing social commentator who has carved a regular slot for himself at The Guardian's Comment Is Free section where he has become their "go to guy" for men's issues. While he writes on various subjects, his dedication to the gender conversation is such that he blogs regularly on the subject at Freethought Blogs where a lively debate is guaranteed under each article. I admire Ally for his rigour in digging through research and statistics that others don't bother with and for attempting to view each argument on its merits rather that from a position of ideological prejudice---and he's a lefty so you can generally rely on him to see the world from a "patriarchy hurts men too" perspective.
Classic Ally Fogg article: The five little words that betrayed Emma Watson
2. Neil Lyndon
2014 has seen the welcome return of Neil Lyndon to the "men's issues" debate with regular contributions at Telegraph Men. Neil was one of the first men to dare to put forward the radical idea that men and boys, as a gender, experience sexism, discrimination and inequality. This simple idea is still as radical today as it was over 20 years ago when he first published his seminal work on men women, No More Sex War. He is older, perhaps more socially conservative than Fogg and while he is more connected to men's issues on a personal level seems to have less understanding of how social policy on gender is practically delivered. However, he is no ranting, irrational misogynist; he is a rigorous and intellectual commentator whose writings provide a vital, counter-cultural viewpoint from the frontline of gender politics.
Classic Neil Lyndon article: Abortion: why aren't men allowed a say?
3. Duncan Fisher
I've know Duncan longer than anyone on this list as he commissioned my first ever article about "men's issues" nearly 15 years ago, for a website called Fathers Direct (a project that became the Fatherhood Institute). Duncan is the most pro-feminist man on this list. He believes that men's equal participation in parenting is key to delivering equality for women, but rather than taking the finger wagging "why don't men pull their weight" approach, he proudly advocates for the benefits of involved parenthood and highlights the barriers that prevent men from having an equal opportunity to be an involved parent. I find Duncan's "Mums and Dads Net" facebook page a useful source of articles I wouldn't otherwise find and have to commend him for producing the most popular insideMAN article of 2014---four reasons feminism is alienating teenage boys.
Classic Duncan Fisher article: "Do men do their fare share of housework?" This is a sexist statement.
4. Chris Good
In contrast to the old hands like Fisher, Fogg and Lyndon; Chris Good is a newcomer who's made his mark in the past few months. At the risk of sounding like Louis Walsh on the X-Factor---he reminds me of a young Neil Lyndon. He seems raw from personal experience and driven to make sense of the debate around gender and find a way to make it work for both men and women (as demonstrated by the name of his blog is All For Equality). Chris has taken a stand against the feminist narrative around gender and writes in an open, vulnerable and honest way as a man who seems to be evolving and defining his own gender politics as he writes. He gained some notoriety this year by having his articles removed from the newly formed Huffington Post Men, but more interesting than this incident is the intelligent way he responded to it (see classic Good below):
Classic Chris Good vlog: Feminism has the power to silence opposition in the media
5. Martin Daubney
Just like Chris Good, Martin Daubney has the sense of a writer who's developing his gender politics and working out his perspective with each new article. Like Chris, he's critical of feminism, but not coming from an entrenched anti-feminist perspective, rather questioning feminist perspectives on gender and inviting discussion and debate. Daubney has the additional advantage of a having an existing track record as a journalist and editor as the longest serving editor of Loaded magazine. He has been writing on men's issues at Telegraph Men throughout 2014.
Classic Martin Daubney article: Why men have a problem with the word feminism
6. Dan Bell
Dan's my partner in crime at insideMAN and has been pushing mainstream media outlets to talk about men's issues as a journalist for several years now, having worked for both BBC and ITN online (amongst others). Dan's writing is rooted in journalistic integrity and you can rely on him to bring rigour and balance to his writing about men's issues as his investigative work into funding for men's health initiatives revealed in 2012. However, the writing I most enjoy from Dan happens when he puts himself into the story whether that's visiting a military rehabilitation centre, recalling a fight between two women or reflecting on a conversation about boys between mothers on a London bus.
Classic Dan Bell article: Why Kitchener's finger gives me the arsehole
7. Karen Woodall
The only woman on this list and deservedly so. Karen works on the frontline with men and women who are alienated from their children after separation is groundbreaking. She's had her mind on the challenges of gender inequality for years and after decades of approaching life as a proud feminist, she is now a born again anti feminist. I don't listen too carefully to her passionate anti-feminist tirades---like a scorned lover I know she only has bad things to say about feminism---but her writing about the reality of working with men and women and children on the frontline of family breakdown is peerless. The world needs more Karen Woodalls! If you want to take an in depth journey into gender politics of social policy in 2015, start reading Karen's blog on a regular basis.
Classic Karen Woodall article: Gas-lighting masculinity: the dimming of post-separation fatherhood
8. John Adams
It's great to see the growing number of UK daddy bloggers who are taking time to record their experiences of fatherhood---many of whom you can see featured at Love All Dads. My personal favourites are those who can step back and see their experience within the context of broader gender politics. A great example is John Adams who can go from writing articles about baby changing facilities and men's fashion ranges to interviewing Nick Clegg or an SNP representative on Scotland's Equal Opportunities Committee. You can follow John on at Dad Blog UK.
Classic John Adams article: Discussing family friendly, flexible working with Nick Clegg
9. Milo Yiannopoulos
Milo Yiannopoulos is a controversial journalist and entrepreneur who appears to have been drawn into the gender debate via his interest in technology. He is writing a book on GamerGate which in his words "represents a brutal clash of worlds: put-upon, basement-dwelling nerds and the bloggers and feminists who have for years been claiming that video games are hateful, misogynistic and should be censored". As a highly intelligent, provocative and influential writer (currently writing at Breitbart and Business Insider) he has recently positioned himself as a fearsome defender of men who feel unfairly attacked by feminism. Whether he continues to write on "men's issues" in 2015 remains to be seen.
Classic Milo Yiannopoulos article: What is 'manspreading' and why are people angry about it?
10. Glen Poole
I know, I know it’s highly self-congratulatory to list yourself as one of your own favourite writers (and definitely weird to refer to yourself in the third person) but I love writing about men’s issues and I do enjoy looking back on my articles from time to time, so stuff it, I'm including myself in this list. If you want to take a look at what I’ve been up to this year, you’ll find much of it here at insideMAN; my Guardian and Telegraph articles are bookmarked over at Journalisted and then there's one article at Huffington Post Men that I may add to in the coming year.
Classic Glen Poole article: It's International Men's Day so let's give men a break
A FEW OTHER WRITERS AND WEBSITES WORTH KEEPING AN EYE ON
- Damian Ridge (Male Psychology and Masculinity)
- Nick Clements (Masculinity)
- Sam Thomas (Eating Disorders)
- Duncan Alldridge (Masculinity)
- Mike Buchanan (Right-wing anti feminist)
- William Collins (UK men’s rights blogger)
- Spiked (various libertarian writers challenging authoritarian feminism)
- Peter Lloyd (author of Stand By Your Manhood)
- Telegraph Men
- Huffington Post Men
- All of the writers featured in our #100Voices4Men series
---Photo Credit: flickr/Jimmy Brown
Article by Glen Poole author of the book Equality For Men