But where’s the voice of the dudes? Just because bros throughout history have made a mess of things, repressed women, minorities, immigrants and the gaze doesn’t mean there aren’t those of us out there who have moved beyond all that and harbor modern-day issues just as complex as the girls’, and significantly more complex than trying to decide which platinum watch to buy this season (spoiler alert: what’s a watch?).
My friend Diana Vilibert is about as much an expert in the field of lady blogging that I can think of: she’s an occasional contributor to The Hairpin, along with frequently appearing in The Frisky, Lemondrop and Marie Claire. She says female-centric blogs have been so successful because of the second-sex problem.
“Women benefit from sites that discuss gender-specific issues for the same reason any ‘minority’ (of course, women aren’t actually a minority, statistics-wise) would benefit from a site that addresses issues relating specifically to them. So women benefit from having not just a blog/publication that covers addresses them in the first place, but a community for discussion, like Jezebel.”
In fact, Googling “female blogs” provides several directories to some of the top writers, sites and topics on the internet. Google “male blogs,” however, and you’ll fall down a completely different rabbit hole: the top result is “Best Male Blogs — Gay Blog Directory;” eight of the other top 10 results are gay porn-related; one is about male nurses; the other is spam.
The landscape of male-centric blogs does contain a few inspiring islands of note, though all of these are fenced in to a limited topic area: Geek Dad over at Wired, who writes with a sweet insistence that parenthood isn’t the death of all things young and fun (see: Top Nerf blasters arriving in 2011) and serious issues facing parents (see: Bill Gates Says Anti-Vaccine Autism Groups “Kill Children” — And He’s Right); Sites like Topless Robot and Geeks of Doom don’t delve deep and limit themselves to gender unspecific nerdery, but the distractionary content would be right at home in a larger dude blog (TR‘s Fan Fiction Friday featuring April O’Neil is a particular favorite).
The internet is lousy with sports bloggers, but, if you can believe it, even some of us dudes who like sports just as much as the bros don’t need to read about it ad nauseam (Bill Simmons and Tony Kornheiser are two are my favorite writers … when they’re not writing about sports). An editor just turned me on to an online magazine that launched last June: The Good Men Project, which certainly seems on the right track. The big topic dominating its homepage right now is intense and serious discussion of a Men’s Rights Movement, while its blog carries a rage of topics, from Europe’s highest-profile openly gay soccer player to maintaining guybrows, along with a whole section just for daddy bloggers.
As Diana says, it’s a matter of creativity of content and figuring out what dudes want to read about it. “Maximand AskMen.com and the like assume that it’s sports, chicks in underwear, and tips for getting laid, for the most part. But if the non-bros DON’T feel like those publications speak to them, then what topics are left? Of course, there are niche interest publications out there, too —style blogs and whiskey magazines and sports magazines, etc. — but those are general interest, not gender-specific. I think the challenge is figuring out what a ‘male issue’ is and then writing about it in a way that doesn’t speak down to men.”
Abortion policies affect us too, ya know, especially those of us who are terrified about unplanned pregnancies; war affects us more: out of my five friends who served in Iraq, four of them were dudes. Our generation is strung up by the new estimation of masculinity that can be every bit as confusing as puberty: where our fathers were forged in a past world of patriarchy, we’re living in a present where taking your husband’s name seems increasingly anachronistic and quaint. If you’re a dude just trying to do right and get by without being a steaming pile of Tucker Max horse shit, you’re out of luck for reading material.
So we know the publishing world/everything throughout history has cowered in the shadow of male ego, and that’s why women’s sites have sprouted and grown in the underbrush. But the emergence of clever, well-written dude blogs will act as the appropriate counter balance: with a men’s site that’s a fun, educational read like The Hairpin or Heartless Doll, we can recognize that coping with being a man in the modern world is challenging when you veer from the path paved over by generations of watch-coveting, tits-gawking, fantasy football playing, Ed Hardy-covered knuckle draggers; that it’s OK to be a guy who questions sexism and doesn’t assume the world is his personal cum rag. And in the space that emerges between two poles of gender blogs, we’ll realize there’s a lot more things that are just “people” issues.
I asked Diana what she would envisioned as content for a hypothetical dude blogspace.
“I would LOVE to see men reading smart advice—on style, on women, on sex, on how to order wine, on books to read this month, etc.—written in a tone that doesn’t assume all men are either Don Draper or
Here then is my proposal for a what a possible dude blog would look like:
- Possible names: Dudeist, The Rockstrap, Manscraping, Machopocalypse, The UnChauvinist, Do Not Pass Bro, The Manist, The Blog Lebowski, Genderation Y, Dudegasm
- How to tell her you’re not going to cover the check
- Etiquette guide: talking to your high school friends about war after they return from Iraq
- Etiquette guide: being a dude at a pro-choice rally
- Why The Neg actually works, and why you should never ever say the words “The Neg.”
- Did that NY Magazine cover story on the effects rampant online masturbation has on Actual Sex Life cause people to rampantly masturbate less? (yes)
- Tested: recreational Viagra
- A long self-indulgent Gchat interview with a dude author: T.C. Boyle? Is Chuck Klosterman up to anything lately?
- Actually we should probably have regular Chuck Klosterman updates. He’s the dude’s blog dude that we love to idolspize.
- Female fashion experts explain to us those trends we can’t wrap our heads around, from gladiator sandals to tights-as-pants (butseriouslywhat’sthedealwiththat).
- Can you wear her …? (A style guide to borrowing your girlfriend’s clothes)
- Cheat sheet: what are you supposed to know about sports this week?
- How to be a volunteer firefighter
- Japan’s fear of “grass-eating” men who don’t want to breed: is this happening in America too?
- The Big Lebowski and the sum of all human wisdom
- The backdoor: vastly overrated
- The pacifist’s guide to being prepared for a street fight
- The status of a male birth control pill, and why this writer can’t wait for that day
- And, of course: How to Survive as a Stay-at-Home Boyfriend