Warning: This is an honest account of this feminist's (?) evolution of thought on the new Vocal community for men and of men in general. If you're easily offended, please do one of two things... Stop reading now. Or read to the very end. Anything in-between will guarantee you missing the point and getting offended. (:
There has been a call to action from the Vocal community for a long time regarding the creation of a men's community on the platform. The much beloved late Tom Brad had championed for it with his closest Vocal friends, including Call Me Les, and I know there are many (probably most) Vocal creators who are proud and grateful to finally have this community.
I wish that I could say that I was one of them. But the truth is that I was teetering somewhere between complete indifference and anger that so many called for it. I rolled my eyes more than once when creators would cite statistics or situations that spoke to men's struggles and the need for a space for them to call their own.
To me, the idea of a space that was "safe" for men seemed redundant and ridiculous. As a daughter of an abusive and sociopathic father and a victim of continuous bullying during my childhood, I have grown up in this world feeling that it is not men, but women who need a safe place. To a great degree, I've been conditioned to believe that men have it easy, that they don't know fear like we women do...
Of course, practically speaking, I know this is not the case. There is no denying that men can also be victims of bullying, violent crimes, abuse, and sexism. Like women, men have medical concerns and conditions that are unique to their sex. And men have emotions and struggles that women may not understand.
I'm not completely ignorant to the struggles of the masculine sex. I've also often found that my best friendships, the least complicated, the least unpredictable, and the most gratifying were my platonic relationships with men.
In fact, growing up, those same boys who bullied me relentlessly were also my closest friends. They were my Basketball Buddies, my Mario Kart Kings, my fellow hackeysack kicking, skate board flipping, salmon fishing bros. And I loved them.
But I also hated them. I dreaded them as much as I longed to hang with them. And it was the same with my father and every man I've known since then.
I long to have a healthy, fun relationship with them. But I also cannot, will not let myself trust any man entirely. Ever. . .
So, does that make me a man hater? Honestly, I don't know. Sometimes I think I am. I've called myself a feminist. I was certainly raised by a multi-generational clan of feminists. But those same "feminists" were also abused by men. When it really comes down to it, I don't think any of us agree with the actual "feminist" goals. Or at least not how they seek to achieve them. And especially not what they look like these days.
But I digress...
We. . . No. . .
Am just so tired of being afraid of the reactions. The outbursts. The raised voices and whispers that aren't really whispers but constant echoes in the back of my mind:
You're fat. You're ugly. You're stupid. You're lazy. You're weak. You'll never be good enough. You don't deserve that promotion. You're just not as good...
It's just so Exhausting! This endless cycle of negativity wears me down. It erodes us. As individuals and as a society.
The more you're exposed to this kind of masculine thought, the easier it becomes to think that this is how all men think.
And it took a long, hard look in the mirror for me to see that maybe, just maybe... It's not all men, afterall.
Maybe... I've simply had a limited circle of masculinity in my life.
Over the last few years, I've started to see the flaws in my own opinions and instincts when it comes to men and women. And myself.
But it still took the launching of this new Vocal community to thoroughly see how deeply ingrained the resentment and fear, and yes... even a little unconscious hate... had become in my life.
And for that, I apologize. To the men here on Vocal. To the men I've known and will come to know. To my husband. And to myself.
I suppose the fear was that a men's community would simply turn into a community of women bashing.
(Like the supposed "domestic violence prevention group" that my stepdad frequents and tells us regularly how they just all talk about what "B**ches women are... Grr...)
I guess that's what I was expecting...
But I should have known better.
The truth is that some of the Vocal Creators are the very same masculine voices who have helped me overcome years of ... well, whatever it was. Fear, anger, resentment.
Reading your voices, your thoughts, your beautiful stories has helped me see into your minds and souls. And let me tell you... what incredible voices and souls they are.
I've read stories from you about your wives, partners, kids, friends and more that show just how amazing you guys are.
Wonderful Dads do exist! Loving husbands are not just what Disney is made of!
So, after initially kicking and screaming (in shameful secret), I now humbly (and shamefully) and PUBLICLY acknowledge how incredibly... well, full of crap I was!
Why shouldn't men have their own community? How small minded I was when I anticipated that this amazing community would become nothing more than a woman-bashing club!
Believe me, I'm smacking my head against the palm of my hand as I type. Yes. I'm THAT stupid sometimes! And I sort of proved your point, didn't I?
Men do indeed need and Deserve a place to call their safe zone. And forgive me for my intrusion just briefly as I commandeer your safe zone to bare my own soul and beg for your forgiveness!
And in an effort to make up for my own ignorance, I'd like to call attention to some of those very same Vocal creators whose stories have reached me and pulled me off of my high horse.
And, I suppose, I must also say thank you to Vocal.
To be honest, it's been a roller coaster ride on this platform, but the truth is that for all my griping and grumbling like so many other creators...
Not winning challenges or receiving loads of top stories, or etc...
Well, that sort of pales in comparison to what this platform, this community has given me.
Because of Vocal. And because of the encouragement and honesty of this community, I've gained a lot!
I'm writing again. However crappy and ill penned my words may often be. I'm voicing my thoughts. Baring my own soul. Letting the screaming in my head out!
But even more than that...
I'm growing as a person. Through my own writing and especially, through the beautiful stories I've read from my fellow creators... I'm growing.
Bit by bit. Day by day. Story by Story. I'm growing.
So, to the following men, I say, "thank you for your raw honesty, kindness, humor, bravery, dignity, respect, and beautiful creativity."
Eric "Atomic Historian".
And the late Tom Brad.
And forgive me, there are many others that I will be quick editing in here over time.
About the Creator
Alaskan Grown Freelance Writer 🤍 Lover of Prose
Former Deckhand & Barista 🤍 Always a Pleaser & Eggshell-Walker
Lifelong Animal Lover & Whisperer 🤍 Ever the Student & Seeker
Traveler 🤍 Dreamer 🤍 Wanderer
Happily Lost 🤍 Luckily in Love
Very well written. Keep up the good work!
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