Hugo Schwyzer: Male Feminist/ Lightning Rod
I first encountered history and gender studies professor Dr. Hugo Schwyzer‘s work on the Good Men Project, a site that aims to be an enlightened, cerebral counterpoint to glossy lad mags. I was struck by how surprisingly validating it was to have a dude say things about feminism with which I agreed. Not that I needed a dude’s approval to know what was right, obviously. It was just really cool to see a high profile ally.
Dr. Schwyzer (it’s pronounced Shwitzer, so you know) kept popping up on my radar. His sexuality education work on Jezebel, and Healthy is the New Skinny kept drawing my attention as he wrote on everything from body image and consent to jizzing on someone’s face. And I my admiration for his writing grew: both as a man skilled at crafting a highly enjoyable written piece but also for his choice of topics that few others of his demographics were touching without a moralistic, religiously-based tone.
Some feminists are not fans. They critique his ego, even argue that his style of communication is “mass grooming an audience to have sex with him.” Others contend that by taking prominence in the field of feminism, he is taking the place that would otherwise be occupied by a talented female.
And there are many more who take issue with his personal life prior to sobriety. After re-revealing to blogger Clarisse Thorne (a friend of this site) his tale of bottoming out during addiction (a story I will let him tell you in his own words on this interview), he has been taking fire from a number of directions, garnering everything from thousands of hate letters and tweets to a Facebook group whose sole purpose is taking him down. The controversy has caused him to resign from several of the sites for which he wrote and his career trajectory is now in a state of flux.
Before we talked, he warned me that even those who give him a platform right now are subject to much antipathy. But as an educator, I think more talk is good.
As of yesterday -due to a legal injunction- this interview is the last one in which he tells the story of his pre-sobriety days. But more importantly, we talk about other stuff: the future of feminism, the possibility for mentorship of young women by adult men, the meaning of that cumming on someone’s face, what does age mean in a relationship and much, much more.