Healthy Masculinity: an Interview with Evan Marc Katz by Amy Loftus

In the past few months, I’ve penned two pieces that touched on hot-button issues.

One was called “Why Men Aren’t Speaking Up About the #MeToo Movement.”

The other was called “Why Married Women Get a Raw Deal.”

My intention was to insert myself into the narrative so that I could offer a nuanced first-person take on both issues. Yet, both pieces missed the mark.

In the former, I posited that there are a lot of good guys who don’t know what to do about #MeToo and that change will take place with more courageous women calling men out for sexual harassment. The criticism was that I was absolving men of responsibility.

In the latter, I posited that there are a lot of good husbands who don’t  know how to mitigate their wives’ “emotional labor.” The criticism was that I was absolving myself of responsibility.

I know when you write on the Internet, you can’t expect to please all people at all times, but these were two prime examples of why I’m less inclined than ever to spend more than 20 minutes on a blog post.

I know when you write on the Internet, you can’t expect to please all people at all times…

No matter what, there will be an uncharitable reader who is looking for an excuse to attack. Suddenly, a blog post expressing sympathy for women turns into an unproductive dialogue in which, if I offer any defense of myself or men, it gets twisted into some form of “mansplaining” and “patriarchy.” Exhausting.

Which is why I was delighted to get an email from Amy Loftus, host of the Something Better podcast, who invited me to be a guest on her show to discuss these thorny issues.

Amy is a married woman here in Los Angeles who also sees the world through less judgmental and gender-biased eyes, and I really enjoyed our conversation.

Please check it out and let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Join our conversation (17 Comments).
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Comments:

  1. 1
    S.

    Thanks for sharing this podcast and for continuing to put yourself out there.  I think conversations like this and your original #MeToo post here in the blog are very helpful.  Putting my thoughts in comments here helped me begin to have further conversations with men I know in real life.

  2. 2
    Adrian

    Hey Evan you did a great job.

    Like you said the issue is complex but many people want us to just condemn all male sexual behavior and anyone who doesn’t is somehow supporting sexual predators.

    Reminds me of a very old post on here where a male commenter quoted a research study about women being most fertile between the ages of… I can’t remember (^_^). But I remember it starting off young in the teens??? and ending somewhere in the 20’s. Many female commenters only focused on the younger ages quoted, ignored the fact that the guy was quoting a study and accused him of supporting pedophile…

    So yeah it’s not that men don’t’ care about things like MeToo or that we intentionally turn a blind eye to sexual assault. Most men if they saw something like that going on they would intervene or report it, but talking about it is different because then we risk saying something that is not liked and then we get accused of being a part of the problem.

  3. 3
    Clare

    Evan,

    I hope that the negative, and very narrow-minded, responses of some commenters to your pieces do not discourage you from giving your point of view, which is a valuable one, I think.

    I heard the most ridiculous thing the other day – a male college student who was sitting around with his male friends discussing the attractiveness of women on campus was consumed by guilt because he thought he was contributing the sexual assault by doing so. This was being discussed on a TV show with a feminist university professor gleefully condemning the behaviour of these male college students. All I could think was, “how the hell is it helpful to tell men they’re not even allowed to comment, in private, on the attractiveness of women??” Do we want to shame men for finding women attractive now? Do we really want to go down that road?

    Evan, I think the reason good men do not know how to respond to the MeToo movement is because good men are not to blame. They don’t know what to change about their behaviour because they’re not doing anything wrong. I for one am not in favour of this mindset that because some members of a particular group behave in a reprehensible manner that the rest of the group are guilt by association. We see it here in South Africa – white people being asked to take responsibility for what the apartheid government did. So by that logic, I am guilty because I am white even though I was 10 years old when apartheid was dismantled? Bollocks to that. I am responsible for the choices I make as an individual and not other people’s choices. All white people everywhere are not responsible for all acts of racism, and all men everywhere are not responsible for every act of sexual assault committed against women. Absolute sheer fucking madness to suggest otherwise and does nothing but confuse the issue and dilute personal responsibility.

    Evan, people who insist on getting triggered and on “safe spaces” will never be satisfied, and you can’t solve their problems by watering down your own point of view. I personally thought your pieces on MeToo and on married women getting a raw deal were very thoughtful and empathetic and I was impressed by them. Being attacked is unfortunately the price you pay for sticking your head above the parapet. But I hope you continue to do it. I personally am very grateful for people, particularly men, who continue to express their point of view and speak the truth despite the madness and objections coming from those with a kneejerk reaction to anything which challenges them even a little bit. I think, if anything, it’s a sign that you’re doing something right.

  4. 4
    amy

    Evan, I was reading Clare’s post with great interest and even greater amusement as I saw it turn into absolutely genius self-parody. Here’s your crowd, my man, the people who find your blog a real kick in the pants:

    Afrikaaners. Radically selfish white Afrikaaners who refuse to take any responsibility for the legacies of a violently, constitutionally apartheid country. Bollocks to that, sez Clare. I bet Clare has lots of other things to say about apartheid in other fora.

    The Germans didn’t say “bollocks to that,” you know. They very firmly did not do that, which is why, bizarrely, Berlin is now one of the cities that Jews worldwide think of first as a haven of tolerance, and why Angela Merkel is the world’s main bulwark against continental wars of nationalism, antisemitism, hatreds of all kinds.

    You should be taking a more careful look at who your fans are, and about why such people think you’re awesome.

    1. 4.1
      Adrian

      Amy it is YOU and NOT clare that we should look at.

      Why turn something positive into something negative?

      First you attack Clare, next you attack all white africans, then you attack the fans of this blog, and finally you backhandedly attack Evan himself by saying if bad people think he is awesome then there must be a reason.

      Take that negativity somewhere else!!!

      1. 4.1.1
        GoWiththeFlow

        Adrian,

        Actually this sentence of Clare’s made my eyebrows go up to the ceiling:

        “We see it here in South Africa – white people being asked to take responsibility for what the apartheid government did.

        As if the apartheid government wasn’t set up and maintained to enforce white supremacy in South Africa.  I’m a white woman in America and I can’t imagine how this dismissal of the harsh realities black South Africans suffered under apartheid and continuing racial injustice there went over with Evan’s readers who are racial, ethnic, and religious minorities both here in the U.S. and around the world.

        Where Amy is wrong is in assuming that Evan is responsible for all of his readers’ and commenters’ views.  He is not.  They are in no way a reflection on him.

        1. Clare

          GoWiththeFlow,

          I’m not going to dignify Amy’s post with a response, but yours is a glaring example of exactly the kind of narrow-minded, broad-brush stroke responses I was talking about.

          You assume that because I don’t take personal responsibility for the actions of the apartheid government that I am dismissive of the suffering of black people here and in other parts of the world.

          You know absolutely nothing about me.  You have no idea what the realities are here, what I do, how I interact with people of all races here. You’re a white American writing a response to a post I made on this blog. I live here in South Africa and have done all my life. I love this country. Please take your virtue signalling nonsense to someone who actually gives a crap, because I certainly don’t.

        2. Theodora

          The level of holier-than-thou self-righteousness and “I’m so ideologically pure, like a Joan of Arc of anti-racism” virtue-signalling has indeed reached comical highs.

    2. 4.2
      Evan Marc Katz

      Amy,

      Thanks for continuing to read my stuff for so many years.

      It’s clear that not only do your have me figured out – narcissistic, patriarchal, intolerable to my own wife – but you’ve also got a firm grasp on your own life. You seem happy, well-adjusted and I can only assume from your tone that you have a similar healthy loving relationship that I have and try to help others have.

      God bless you on this Christmas Eve for reminding me the power that my words can have over strangers.

      You have clearly taken my core message of being warm, trusting and giving good men the benefit of the doubt and applied it to great affect. Keep reading and writing those thoughtful comments. Have a joyous holiday season and may you continue your path of personal growth and relationship bliss!

      Love,

      Evan

    3. 4.3
      Nissa

      Amy,

      Having read many of Clare’s other comments, I think you may be reading something that isn’t there. I take Clare’s comment to be an acknowledgement of the difference between institutionalized racism and the racism of the individual. She’s right – they aren’t the same. Saying so is not an approval of institutionalized racism nor the legacy of that. It’s an acceptance of the fact that the a lot of people never agreed with those policies, even if they benefitted from them. Clare is asking for the blame to be placed on those doing  the actions or making the policies, as opposed to labeling an entire race. Surely you can agree with that?

      Evan is also not responsible for the opinions of his readers, but I strongly suspect that he would support the expression of opinion – even ones with which he does not agree – above the shaming and blaming of others. Your post seems out of proportion to the remarks therein.

      1. 4.3.1
        Marika

        Agreed Nissa. Amy, clearly you have a bee in your bonnet for whatever reason, but I can second that Clare is consistently a reasonable and balanced commenter. This is not about her.

        FWIW, I have a friend who was considered ‘coloured’ in Sth Africa in the apartheid era. She has explained how everything was (and is now for her family) from her perspective – it’s far more nuanced and complex than you or I could imagine.

        She doesn’t hold anything against white civilian South Africans (particularly 30-somethings who were children during apartheid), why would you?

  5. 5
    Elle

    “People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.

    If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.

    If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.

    The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

    Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.

    The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.

    People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

    What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.

    People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.

    Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.”

    — The Paradoxical Commandments, by Kent M. Keith, 1968, renewed 2001

    Addendum: If you spend time writing thoughtful, nuanced, first person blog posts on issues, you will be attacked and your words will be twisted. Write thoughtful, nuanced, first person blog posts on issues anyway.

    1. 5.2
      Nissa

      Excellent reminder, thanks for sharing.

  6. 6
    Shaukat

    Not sure why my comment on this thread was deleted Evan? (If you received it). Feedback would be appreciated, as I don’t believe I violated any rules.

    1. 6.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      When conversation veers off topic, as this has (criticizing a commenter about being white in South Africa) I shield such commenters from criticism. I can take shit from strangers; readers should not have to defend themselves from such slings and arrows.

  7. 7
    Shaukat

    Ok. I thought my comment was nuanced and overall supportive of Claire’s position, but I guess it was off topic.

    At any rate, I would like to reiterate that Amy’s statement regarding Germany was ridiculous, unless someone wants to argue that being fire bombed, occupied and reconstructed didn’t play a role in the shift in attitude.

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