There’s a column that runs in our school newspaper, called “What It Means To Be A Good Man”, in which men write in and submit their thoughts on this prompt.
Sometimes, I can really appreciate the stories and experiences men share there. But often, I wonder, why are these not qualities that also make women – and more generally, people – good?
Is being a good man different from being a good woman?
But this submission, from a recent alum, ran in Friday’s newspaper.
I am just so incredibly thankful that this beautiful and eloquent article has been added to the dominant discourse.
My favorite excerpt:
‘Good’ is relative, not to other people but to the good that a person is capable of doing. To start, then, we should not pose this question as “what does it mean to be a good man?” but instead as “how can one achieve good from the ‘starting point’ of masculinity?”That starting point is no simple matter, but its understanding begins with honest reflection, and an openness to dialogue. Just as all virtue begins with a moral inventory, men need to engage with conversations about privilege, gendered experiences, heterosexism, transphobia, and sexual violence. We need to listen with an open, introspective mind to the chorus of voices saying that certain aspects of our culture of masculinity are destructive and hurtful, both to women and to other men. This is hardly a new idea, but it bears repeating—for if the term ‘good’ has any meaning whatsoever, surely it includes taking responsibility for the culture that we create every day.
I would just like to say, to Hal Edmonson: thank you, Hal, for meeting your own definition of good.