For the First Time a Participatory Media Company Addresses The Changing Roles of Men in the 21st Century


I’ve been interested in the changing roles of men since 1969. As an expectant father, my wife and I had gone through the Lamaze childbirth classes together and were committed to bringing our child into the world as naturally as possible. I had been with my wife through twelve hours of labor. But when she was ready to go into the delivery room, I was asked to leave and join the other fathers in the waiting room.

I did as I was told, kissed my wife, and watched as she went one way down the hallway while I went the other way. But I couldn’t go through the waiting room doors. Something or someone was calling me back. I turned around, walked into the delivery room and took my place beside my wife. There was no question of my leaving. I felt I was being called by our unborn child. “I don’t want a waiting room father. I want a father who is here with us.”

When he was born shortly thereafter, I held my little boy, Jemal, and made a vow to him that I would be a different kind of father than my father was able to be for men and I would do everything I could do to bring about a different kind of world where fathers were not separated from their wives and children. I remembered my own father who was forced to leave our family when I was five years old because he had become depressed and enraged when he couldn’t make a living in his chosen profession.

In 1988, I started MenAlive to help men and the families who loved them to live long and well. In 2009, I read a book by Tom Mattlack, The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood. When I found out The Good Men Project would launch the following year, I knew I wanted to be one of the writers. There were three things that I liked immediately.

First, they really were having a dialogue that no one else was having and were open to a range of topics from my article, From Madness to Manhood: In Search of My Lost Father and Myself, to The 5 Stages of Love and Why Too Many Stop at Stage 3.

Second, there is a community of writers, editors, and readers that came together as equals to explore all the ways that sex and gender issues impact our personal, interpersonal, and social lives.

Third, there is real dialogue going on. I soon became part of the Friday call with GMP publisher Lisa Hickey. Where else can writers talk directly to the Publisher of a major media company? I never had that opportunity with the Huffington Post or any of the other media companies where my articles are published.

The most exciting thing I’ve seen evolve at GMP over the last seven years is the formation of Social Interest Groups where topics such as Men’s Mental Health, Stop Racism, Sex, Love, and Relationships, and The Art of Political Activism are addressed. These groups don’t just talk about ideas, but also how to bring about real change in our world. The Men’s Mental Health group created a powerful video, “Not Weak, Just Human,” that shows that men’s mental health issues are common and helps to remove the stigma that keeps so many men from getting the help they need. Stigma locks us into the “man box” that tells us “I have to do this alone. It’s unmanly to ask for help.” Too many of our fathers, sons, brothers, and friends die before our time. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Now, The Good Men Project has launched an IndieGoGo campaign to expand the groups and add new topics. This will be a real game-changer. Let’s face it, our country and our world is in trouble. Most people agree on that, but find that there is so much name-calling and divisiveness that we have become gridlocked.

Trying to solve problems within our current media circus is not working. The world is too complex and is changing too fast. We need real people, engaging the old-fashioned way, talking to each other, listening to each other, caring about each other, regardless of whether we’re on the left, the right, or in between.

This is an exciting time and you can be part of creating real solutions to bring about the world we all know we want. Check out the campaign by clicking here.

Share it with others. Donate if you believe, as I do, that the GMP Social Interest Groups are a force for good in the world.

As Bob Dylan said in his 1964 song, The Times They Are a Changing:

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth saving
Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’

The times are changing again and you can be part of that change. Come see what we’re doing at GMP by clicking here.

 

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Comments

  1. Greg Liotta says:

    I LOVE this! Thanks Jed! Sharing to my biz page.

    • Greg,
      Thanks for sharing and hope you support our efforts to reach more people and join the discussion on how we can make a better world.