Tom Matlack: Victim of feminism

Tom Matlack, who I’d pretty much forgotten about because, well, because he’s irrelevant, is at it again. And by “at it” I mean, of course, whining about the mean, mean feminists. It’s his thing.

Some history on me and Tom: Back in January, Matlack, who is the co-founder of MRA-lite site, The Good Men Project, wrote a blog post for The Times as part of an incredibly inane “debate” about whether or not makeup “helps or hinders a woman’s self-esteem.” I responded to his post, entitled “Women Should Do What They Want” (oh gee, thanks for the green light on that, Tom!), by saying, basically, that nobody cares about what Tom thinks about what women should or should not do with their faces. Tom got super choked that I would DARE criticize his nice-guy stance but claimed that “personal attacks bounce right off [him]” and that what he’s really upset about are “the attacks on The Good Men Project as a whole,” which are, according to Tom, “unfair and unjustified.” But the thing is that they’re not “unfair and unjustified.” Not in the least.

Tom Matlack is white dude with tons of cash. The Good Men Project is profitable. That he continues to obsess about being victimized by the evil feminists doesn’t make much sense as feminism, and what feminists think about him, very clearly have had little impact on his life (aside from maybe the amount of time he spends instigating and engaging in Twitter wars with feminists). Unless, of course, you place his whines within a Men’s Rights context. Because what Matlack is doing is what all MRAs do — Pretending that white men, who are the single most powerful group of people on the planet (which is different than saying that individual men can’t experience oppression or be victimized — they can — but AS A GROUP white men are not discriminated against on a systemic level) are actually victims of feminism — a movement to end the oppression of women, as a group.

He goes about this in a super-sneaky way; reminding us over and over again that he’s on OUR SIDE you guys! He’s a “good man,” after all. If we would just stop “attacking” poor Tom, the feminist movement would actually be able to get somewhere. He says things like: “I am all for equality. I am all for women’s rights. What I am not for is making this one giant zero sum fight in which men get bashed.” He pulls the classic “we’re just being honest,” card, as though “being honest” is an excuse for being a sexist mansplainy moron. He thinks feminists are getting in the way of feminism, which is something he is an expert on.

Just today, Matlack published another whiny post that basically equates to “Why me? WHY. (Me)” opining, yet again, feminist “attacks” on men, cloaked in this “I really care about women’s liberation, but women are doing it wrong” thing he’s become so fond of.

When a commenter says the following:

If feminists were truly concerned about equality they would not be seeking superiority. There are more challenges that we as men are facing today that females are not. Frankly society is not stepping up to the plate to bat for us. “They just don’t care.”

Tom responds saying he “couldn’t agree more.” These aren’t the words of an ally. This is MRA stuff, plain and simple.

So here’s the thing, Tom. Feminism doesn’t want you. The last thing we need is some rich, white dude explaining to us how REAL liberation should happen. You’ve proven yourself over and over again to be a sexist douche who thinks feminists are bashing all men simply because they call YOU out on your bullshit. YOU are part of the problem. And anyone with two brain cells can see that a man who goes around calling feminists crazy isn’t of any help to the feminist movement.

So here’s my suggestion: Stop talking about feminism. Stop talking about equality. Stop pretending to be on women’s side. You aren’t. You’re on your side. Your opinion on our movement is irrelevant and we keep telling you as much, yet you continue trying to force your opinions about women and “equality” onto the world and then get all butthurt when we tell you, once again, that you aren’t helping. What do you need from us? You’re already making more money than any of us evil feminist bloggers. Do you need attention? Kind of like a spoiled child? LOOK AT ME. ME. ME. Why not just come out, once and for all, as just another MRA who can’t put together a coherent argument to save his life? The “good man” shtick is such a shoddy cover for your men-are-real-victims M.O. and your desperation for relevance is offensive.


*UPDATE: Last night — April 8, 2013 — editors of The Good Men Project stated, via Twitter, that Tom Matlack would no longer be posting on the site

*UPDATE: April 9, 2013 — Announcement from editors confirming “The founder of The Good Men Project, Tom Matlack, has announced he is officially departing from his role of Board Member, columnist and advisor to The Good Men Project.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • ElizabethP


  • Hex

    What does “MRA” stand for? I came here from a RT. 🙂

    • Meghan Murphy

      Men’s Rights Activist! Sorry, I shouldn’t assume everyone knows…

      • Hex

        Ah, that makes sense. Thanks!

  • MLM

    “The last thing we need is some rich, white dude explaining to us how REAL liberation should happen”.

    Don’t they always seem to be the first ones to try, though? And it’s a pity “just being honest” never seems to extend to honest examination of how well things are set up, at a societal level, to serve their own interests above those of any other group.

    Tom Matlock really seems to love casting himself as “The Good Man Martyred” by feminism. And “The Good Men Project” seems to be “A Voice for Men Lite” as far as I can tell. If he honestly does believe he’s “on our side”, he’s delusional.

  • They’re all the victims of feminism, aren’t they? All the poor menz.

  • Jo

    Totally agree with and appreciate what you’re saying here. I have the dubious honour of having been quoted by TM as an eg of a big bad nasty feminist “attacking” him for his perfectly reasonable (eyeroll) words about How Feminists Should Behave.

    One note to add: it’s generally better to avoid the use of the word “moron” (i.e. “a sexist mansplainy moron”), as it is widely held to be ableist/disablist: There’s a whole wealth of wonderful terms for TM (ignoramus, privilege-wallowing whinger…), why use one with oppressive connotations? 🙂

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  • sporenda

    Don’t you understand Meghan?
    These guys have been very patient with you but you keep denying these obvious truths:
    – feminism is ok, but not your kind, you’ve got it all wrong.
    In fact they’d have no problem with feminism provided:
    – feminist support prostitution and pornography
    – are young women with bare tits
    – stop making so much fuss about small misunderstandings between the sexes, like rape and batterings
    – support the right of fathers to get custody of their kids–but only when they want to
    – finally organize the feminist movement in a way that makes sense, that is with strong men as leaders

    • So, funfems then?

      But they don’t like funfems either, so… your theory seems to be disproven. 🙂

  • Mark Greene’s piece on how Feminists and “Extreme” MRAs have a lot in common. Good lord.

    • Meghan Murphy


  • vouchsafer

    This thing with Meghan and Tom Matlock is a classic nutshell sketch of why women should never bow down to a man. She’s smarter than he is, she easily out argues his points, and she keeps to her position instead of resorting to “hysterics” (who’s emotionally out of control now, Tom Matlock?) to build her rebuttals.
    in the face of unyielding adherence to the truth, which is that women are equally human, the patriarchy and all its tom matlocks wilt like cotton candy in the rain.

  • Phil

    “Matlack is a white guy with a lot of cash.”

    What the fuck does his being white have to do with ANYTHING???

    • Meghan Murphy

      Because he acts like feminist bloggers are oppressing him.

    • That Scary Feminist

      And also because pointing him out as being white helps to illustrate the “poor poor me, I’m an oppressed white dude” phenomenon which is a real thing that pretty much effectively stifles all conversation about actual oppression in the mainstream media.

  • pjay

    I read Matlack’s piece in the NYT. He says women should be able to do whatever they want with makeup.

    Why is that a problem for you?

    • Meghan Murphy

      Why does Matlack’s opinion on how women should or should not comply to heteronormative, dominant standards of beauty in order to perform femininity for the male gaze matter TO ANYONE?? Also, read the post:

    • Candy

      If women should be able to do whatever they want with makeup, why aren’t more men wearing makeup as well? It’s not accepted in society for a man to fake it up the way women do, obviously, but I would make a hunch based on the guys I’ve talked to that most men would choose not to. Men don’t have a similar beauty standard (though of course, eating disorders and BDD in men are on the rise, so men are beginning to feel the same pain), the one women conform to on a daily basis. And I don’t believe many young women truly evaluate their choice to wear makeup because they grew up modeling the behavior of the women around them. They merely wear foundation because they’re insecure about their skin tone or freckles or acne. It has little to do with making a choice and much to do with insecurity and obscuring “blemishes.”

      Both genders should have the choice, but imagine how it would play out if men could walk out of the door with a face full of makeup just as easily as women can. It’s hard to imagine it even occurring.

      • Meghan Murphy

        “If women should be able to do whatever they want with makeup, why aren’t more men wearing makeup as well?” Exaaaaaaaaactly.

      • Me

        “It’s not accepted in society for a man to fake it up the way women do, obviously”

        Why do you think that is, that faking it up is not accepted? I mean, that’s a very interesting choice of words.

        • Candy

          Well, look at the classic male sex symbols, radiating insouciance and a “bad boy” aura. Make-up would not only make them more resemble women, weakening the female beauty construct, it would show that men gave a shit about covering their imperfect pores with foundation and it’s NOT MANLY to care. It’s for “faggots.”

          There’s also the theories I learned in psych that make-up emphasizes fertility cues and the social learning theories of behavior modeling. I believe to an extent both could be true, but (wealthy) men wore makeup for a long time, until the late 1800’s. It’s human nature to want to look your best, and society exacerbates that desire with airbrushed billboards, magazines, and toxic messages until your desire consumes you, “looking your best” entails you not looking like you at all.

          Of course, anyone who’s had a boyfriend open up to them about insecurities knows men are hardly bastions of indifference and that they do care to an extent.

          • Me

            Thank you. I also thought fear of rape had to do with it, being seen as “faking it” making men rapeable. Women on the other hand are supposed to believe if only they put their makeup on right or dress right, that can protect them from men’s violence, that the violence is their own fault.

          • vouchsafer

            And let us not forget the multi billion dollar price tag cosmetics revenues generate each year.

            Of course a capitalist like Matlock wants to (patronizingly)tell women to go ahead and wear it. He’s got a rich white boy’s club of corporation owners to garner favor with.

          • Meghan Murphy

            And that’s supposed to be pro-feminist and liberating! Oh just go ahead and do WHATEVER YOU LIKE, ladies! All we’re doing in this life is making a series of isolated choices, after all…. FEMINISM!