A Response to James Fell, the Good Men Project, and the Myth of the Alpha Male

good men project

Every now and then an article comes along that leaves me no choice but to hop on the saddle and write about it.

The Good Men Project is another male interest community, but this one brands itself as the anti-MRA, anti-PUA alternative for the self-described “good men” of the Internet (mmhmm…).

Before we go further, let’s have a quick recap of the men’s community that the article in question attempts to skewer. The Manosphere gets very confusing sometimes. By contrast to “the good men”, we have sites like “A Voice for Men” that present viable arguments for the Men’s Rights movement, and other sites that support PUA related lifestyles and techniques, with equally strong arguments for and against. We even have anti-PUA sites that teach game without acting “pick uppy” (by my friend David Tee is one such site, and also one of the only such sites, come to think of it.)

There are a lot of opinions out there. And, it’s a big topic. Being male is one half of being human, and that, in itself, is a mysterious and infinitely complex subject.

As a “moderate” (hopefully this site is very moderate in nature) I’ve found it’s best to acknowledge strengths in all of these areas without becoming some type of ideologue. There’s a lot to learn in the “Manosphere”, but there’s also a lot of garbage to sort out.

Unfortunately, ideologues and extremists are common in the world of gender-related issues, and this is where most of the garbage comes from. Just look at Tumblr feminism. The reason is because topics that concern love and dating, or marriage and gender issues, expose our most vulnerable parts. For some people, bad experiences sow seeds of anger and hatred–usually caused by rejection. The end result is often misogyny, or wannabe-PUAs who become disconnected from reality and see life, and interactions with women, as some type of win / fail, us vs. them system.

The worst end of that spectrum are facets of the Red Pill movement. It’s almost impossible for these guys to have normal relationships with women, it seems. Everything becomes about power, control, who’s getting what from who, and other toxic ideas painted with a thin veneer of self-improvement to lure the desperate.

On the other side, there are men like James Fell who writes at the Good Men Project. You would think that such a site would be free of genderist ideology; after all, that’s their brand. However, the truth is that much of the time, it’s no better than the rest of the garbage we have to sort through; it’s just that they are batting for a different team.

In an attempt to be a voice of reason, last year Fell wrote a scathing piece, “ “The Myth of the Alpha Male” “, for the purposes of putting a dent in what he calls the entire Y-chromosome community. Partially, the article is a response to the Elliot Rodger incident, where he incorrectly assumes Elliot had affiliation with the philosophies that he derides (the forum Rodger visited was a misogynistic community that was explicitly anti-PUA, anti-men’s self development).

He makes one or two valid points. But, he blindly opposes reasonable arguments in the Manosphere. As a result, he poses the risk of sounding like a social justice warrior. Just like the men’s community has gender ideologues, the women’s community does, too. it’s taken the moderate MRM community to start calling them into check after years of feminist ideologues running rampant. This has resulted in numerous “wars” erupting all over the Internet–and sometimes more literal wars occurring on college campuses.

What has resulted from this war are some fruits. For instance, the rise of a more moderate, libertarian style feminism championed by writers like Christina Hoff-Summers, who is dubbed “The Factual Feminist”. Summers calls herself a feminist, and is still widely supported by the dreaded MRA movement, despite the fact Fell argues such people have no interest in gender equality.

These developments toward egalitarianism are important, because gender based extremism is one of the reasons that there’s any “war of the sexes”. Egalitarianism is what we are moving towards, and it’s the reasonable approach where men’s rights and moderate feminism meet in the middle.

A lot of this nuance is totally glossed over by James Fell, who plays into the same ideological binaries, without even realizing it.

I predict this article will go quite long, as I am now going to deconstruct some of Fell’s main points, as he attempts to bash the entire Manosphere with a giant sledgehammer.

Excuse me while I invent a new acronym. I’m going to call it the YCC, which stands for Y Chromosome Community. Although I’m going to break down it’s individual components, whenever I refer to these components as a whole, I’ll call it the YCC.

Fell’s first mistake. There are many thoughts and ideas coming out of the so-called YCC, some with very different angles. Attempting to categorize all of it as crap is a quick ticket to become another ideologue / bigot.

(Blah, blah, blah, Elliot Rodger was spurred by the Manosphere….) But surely I’m just painting an entire community with broad and negative brush, aren’t I? Well, yes, but the YCC has such an evil, toxic component to it that any merits it may have make the entire schema unworthy of existence in a civilized society that values equality and diversity.

Yes, you are. Thanks for recognizing what you’re doing. There are evil and toxic components when gender ideologues and bitter people take up the mantle of MRAs, or when PUAs with one-track minds are born; who cannot understand human interaction outside of get laid / don’t get laid. But how is feminism different? There’s feminists who just want a better, more egalitarian world, then there’s feminists who actively preach hashtag #KillAllMen and similar bullshit craziness. I sense the author won’t be calling out the latter, will he? That’s probably because of my sense that he’ll be sleeping on the couch for a week if his feminist wife found out.

Before I get into this, I want you to know that this isn’t just me ragging on stuff. For the male reader, I am going to give you real advice towards the end on what I think you should do instead of being part of the YCC.

With great irony, at the end of the piece Fell suggests doing the same things that Manosphere writers suggest to become more “alpha”. Sigh.

These [PUA / Manosphere] books seek to “redefine what it really means to be an alpha male.” Really, it’s not just a bunch of cock-sure, arrogant and self-entitled assholes. It’s a gentleman. A leader. A strong and worthy man blah, blah, blah. They’re putting lipstick on a pig, trying to convince you that you’re either the leader of the pack, or you’re a beta who won’t get what you deserve in this life, and they pretty it up with all kinds of nice-sounding terminology and definitions, but at its core the idea of being an alpha male is bogus…

The whole concept of alpha maleness is toxic, and prevents you from focusing on the real path to self-improvement. Life is not about dominance, but about seeking achievement based on your own terms and what is really important to you. It’s about staying true to your own self, all while seeking to improve. Don’t let someone preaching “be more alpha” strip away your real personality. Don’t sacrifice who you are at your core in order to fulfill some foolish fantasy of what it means to be a man.

I am good at writing, fitness, being a husband and a dad. There are people who admire me for these qualities I have worked hard to develop. I suck at technology, sports, anything mechanical, fashion … it’s a long list of things I’m terrible at, and yet I admire others who are good at them.

Without regurgitating his entire article, Fell argues that the alpha male is a marketing ploy. In reality, men have varied skills, and the alpha male is incorrectly taught to dominate over everyone else and not have any weaknesses. In real life, we take pride in our strengths and we do not feel intimidated by others, The world isn’t about alpha versus non alpha, but everybody celebrating their own strengths and weaknesses.

I’ve written extensively about alpha attitudes (including an e-book about the topic). Let’s be clear: even in the shallowest areas of the Manosphere, I’ve never seen “beta” defined as somebody who has weaknesses and skill deficiencies. Nobody can be a master of all trades, fix cars, bench press and be flawless. Even the dumbest PUA teachers do not claim that being alpha means being some perfect dude. By contrast, a guy who’s caught up worrying about these things and suffers from anxiety as a result, is more likely to be the beta male.

Fell doesn’t even know what he’s talking about. He invented his own definition of “alpha” so that he could criticize it.

Men and women possess slightly different traits that relate to what it means to be extremely confident. However, both genders can be charismatic social leaders. Being in the moment, as a powerful, engaging social leader is how most reasonable people define “alpha”. In this case, the alpha stands out from his or her peers regardless of their profession or skills.

It just so happens, a charismatic social leader who’s male also attracts a lot of women. This makes becoming more alpha a goal among guys who want to improve in this area (which is a lot of guys, which is why there’s an “industry” around these topics).

While the term “alpha” may be inaccurate to describe human behavior, it’s a great analogy. The other night I was at a dance club here in Prague. Every man in the club (shamefully, myself included) had blended into the background while ONE guy was grabbing women, picking them up, twirling them, and having endless fun. Guess who got laid that night? Guess who was the clear, dominant social leader? It’s not something to resist. It’s something to observe and learn from. Picking up just a few of these skills can go a LONG way to helping out us guys who have fought through years of bad social conditioning.

You’re obviously a huge fucking douchebag if you start going through life comparing yourself and others through the lens of “beta” vs. “alpha”. This is what The Red Pill community does. If you do that, go jump off a cliff–you’re a retard. At the same time, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

And somewhere, there is some nerdy little guy who has never lifted a weight in his life or excelled in any sport, and who spends his time staring into a microscope because he’s working on a cure for a terrible disease. And maybe there is a woman who loves him for his genius and his dedication to his work. Is he an alpha, or a beta? This geeky scientist could end up doing more for the betterment of humanity than any football player, rock star or actor.

This is where Fell’s article becomes toxic in it’s own way. That nerdy scientist is an awesome guy and I salute him. But let’s be clear: that guy may experience bad depression because, despite the fact he’s curing cancer in his lab, women don’t even look at him. In social settings, he becomes nervous and retreats as far away as he can. He doesn’t understand why his great professional accomplishments are not rewarded by booty.

Fell’s solution: He has none. Yes, a woman MAY find him and love him for who he is, but he’ll also live with the fact that he’s at a massive disadvantage in the sexual marketplace. He may place all of his value on that one woman who appreciates him, which would result in co-dependency syndrome which would then jeopardize that relationship.

Men who are more “alpha”, or have a higher value in the sexual marketplace, are not co-dependent or suffer from any other insecurity about women. Why? Because they know they’re desirable, and that desire from women perpetuates even more desire, and more options. This is the healthiest position for a man to start a relationship because he’s not obsessing and putting all his happiness on that one special, 1 in 10,000 woman who finally gets him.

So how the fuck does that geeky scientist improve in this area? Well, as he obviously won’t find many solutions at The Good Men Project, he’s unfortunately more likely to fall into the Red Pill movement or into the arms of some lame PUA marketer, which indeed could only hurt him more.

The problem with guys like Fell is they fail to see the reality of the situation. Fell says you can’t fix things like height or the shape of your face, but you can excel at your own virtues. This seems like sound advice, but it’s limited thinking. The virtues you can focus on may not be the right virtues needed to attract women. You can’t fix height, but you can at least put some lifts in your shoes for an extra inch or two so that more women initially notice you.

This sounds like creating a crutch, right? The reality of the sexual marketplace, however, has been recognized by women for years – hence the advent of the push-up bra. Initial impressions deliver the attention that you need to get “in the door” to allow something more meaningful to occur. This is where factors like height, appearance, muscles, cool clothes, etc help. They lessen those initial judgments about you. Once they’re interested in you visually, they can discover your personality, which should always be your real strength.

It’s a bad idea to teach men the fantasy version of reality. The fantasy is that some scientist will be rewarded for his hard work and contributions to society with pussy. Teaching men the entitlement myth is what creates the misogyny in the first place, when these men inevitably go crazy and start blaming women for being unfair to them.

Combine visual appearance with learning to let-go, relax and be in the moment in social situations, and even that socially clumsy scientist can excel. Call this being “alpha” or whatever you want, but it’s a tried and true formula that has worked since humans were first attending social mixers in fire-lit caves. It’s also why that popular guy in high-school, who very consciously dressed like a rock-star, always had a girlfriend and knew what the fuck he was doing.

The few PUA teachers who are useful understand the one most important trait of all, which is the ability to exude confidence socially. We achieve this many different ways, but at it’s height it’s the ability to walk into a club and completely “let go”. Dance like a crazy person, be fun, and highly engaging. That’s what being sexually alpha as a man is, and that’s what gets a guy laid. It can be a long journey to reach that point if you suffer from social anxiety of any sort.

At the bottom, Fell provides his solutions. This includes working out, gaining confidence, and understanding women better. Ironically, these are all things that advocates of being more “alpha” teach. All Fell is doing is rewriting the script and crying foul.

The Rest of Fell’s Article

Fell then begins lambasting the Men’s Rights Movement. I have mixed feelings about some of the activists in this movement who have fostered a few of the negative stereotypes. Nonetheless, it’s crazy to characterize what a movement represents by focusing solely on the weirdos. Fell is promoting an anti-MRA, pro-feminism point of view without taking a closer look at the toxic realities in his own movement that mirror his criticism of MRAs.

He uses an ice cream analogy to describe the pains of the privileged white male.

An MRA is like a guy who got a waffle cone with three scoops of ice cream: peanut-butter chocolate, Oreo, and cookie dough flavors. And yet, he complains because someone left off the chocolate sprinkles. An MRA is a like a multi-millionaire who whines that a tax loophole was closed and he’s going to lose 0.5% of his annual income.

This has “social justice warrior” written all over it. Men’s rights is a response to an extreme politically correct landscape of censorship, masculinity shaming, and groups taking advantage of social conditioning to reap power. This affects all men–including non-privileged men. Cultures of extreme feminism also denigrate women by making it so women require “Princess” treatment and special attention at all times, which flies in the face of being strong and independent. This is why many women are supporters of Men’s Rights, egalitarianism and libertarian feminism which advocates real equality, and not a classist / genderist system.

(This is also why I won’t characterize “All Feminists Are Like That” in the same way that Fell and his ilk characterize men’s rights activists. Quite a few feminists are legitimately about global women’s issues and egalitarian ideas. These feminists, however, are less likely to be found on Jezebel, Radfem and the Good Men Project, which are all sites that promote a narrative of rich, white privileged men oppressing rich, white women with first-world problems like manspreading and vague definitions of street harassment.)

Social justice warriors, like Fell, do not see the nuance. You’re a privileged man, or you’re an under-privileged woman. If you’re privileged, you have no right to complain-about anything-so shut the fuck up.

There’s a reason why critics refer to these people as cultural Marxists. In Marxism, people are reduced to social class. There is no room for details or nuance. If you’re a privileged class, then nothing you say or do has justification or merit. On the most extreme level, the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia liquidated intellectuals out of cities, forced them into farming positions, or simply executed them. Why? Because they were “privileged”.

I don’t agree with everything in the MRM, but it’s dangerous to completely ignore this generation’s concerns with an over-zealous politically correct, culturally Marxist landscape. Yes, there are misogynists in the “Manosphere”. But as the brilliant Reddit group “Stormfront or Social Justice Warrior” points out: bigotry and hatred also infests many people who identify as fighters for the under-privileged; including a great deal of self-described feminists.

They’re the mythically oppressed white males, and women stole everything that it means to be a man. In reality, it’s a thinly veiled hate group based around delusional thinking. A fair bit of it seems to be based around having to pay child support.

I also have issue when MRAs take on victim complexes. It’s like the same behavior of feminists who begin adopting cultural Marxist ideas, but this time in reverse. It’s treating poison with poison. That being said, Fell still sounds like someone completely brainwashed by pseudo-feminist white-male class-based warfare. He sounds like the kind of guy who will attend a feminist rally, hear women scream about white men oppressing them (often using completely mythological data, like the pay gap) and fail to see the irony of his views when he criticizes the MRM for engaging in the same behavior.

But it has grown beyond that into “women are trying to keep us down, usurp all our power, taking away what it means to be a man.” In the old days, being a man meant having the privilege of beating and raping your wife with impunity. Taking away that privilege is a good thing. Putting rapists in prison is a good thing. Preventing rape in the first place is an even better thing, and to do that, we need to talk about it. We need to let people know that it is NOT okay!

Men, especially white men, still hold many of the cards. They’re saying the system has skewed in the female’s favor, and they’re now the ones being oppressed, and they’re pissed. They preach equality, asserting their “rights,” but equality is the last thing they want. If they achieved equality that triple scoop waffle cone rapidly becomes a single scoop of vanilla in a regular cone.

More SJW talk. Strange, abusive views about sex from a hundred years ago pose no risk of returning in Western society in the 21st century. And, an SJW article would not be complete without explaining the importance of “teaching men not to rape”. This is horribly offensive every single time I hear some Jezebel reading shill bring it up. Abusive psychopaths with power-complexes rape. Regular men do not rape and do not need to be taught “rape is bad”, as if we’re innately born with the “I want to rape girls!” gene that educators need to shut off.

And, more class-based warfare here. Yes, there are many white male CEOs and white males in positions of power. But why not judge them for their merits and not their race or class? A white male who owns some awful, greedy banking company that hurts people and promotes criminal mortgages should be derided (much the same if it were a woman or a black man holding that position); while a white male like Elon Musk, founder of TESLA, can be saluted for technological innovations and a desire to better the planet. If SJWs from The Good Men Project had their way; even someone like Musk would be kicked to the curb based entirely on social class and status. Is this a world you want to live in?

In Summary

Fell’s article is just above useless. The reason is because he advocates bettering yourself by working out, learning confidence skills, and so forth. The difference between this and a lot of the men’s material in the Manosphere is just a matter of wording and marketing. Where I’d be apprehensive about keeping Fell as a long-term role-model is how he would likely have a hard time facing certain realities about life, culture of men, and the sexual marketplace. Sometimes, we men need advice about things like “alpha behavior” if we want to rectify certain areas we are deficient in. We can’t just pretend these things do not exist. Fell not only keeps blinders on his eyes, but he is preaching from the pulpit of feminist genderism, which is hardly a benefit to his fellow men.

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