When you’re heading the editorial efforts at a small media company, you can get pretty spoiled. That’s been my day job for the past 2 plus years, managing several lifestyle websites with a tremendous team of people. The founders of the company have shown more confidence in our team than any of us were prepared for and allow us freedoms others seldom are trusted with. Frankly, we’ve had it good. We’ve enjoyed a level of independence only a privileged few get during the course of their careers, and it is this autonomy at work that spurred a crazy idea.
The company I work for started with one brand and quickly grew to five total—with admittedly mixed results. In time we wanted to reach into three new content verticals, and when it came time to launch new websites, we produced an outdoor travel/environment site, a women’s beauty brand, and a men’s lifestyle site. The men’s lifestyle website was menstrait.com, what was meant to be a witty and subtle dig at the ideas of masculinity and what it means to be a man in today’s society. And yes, the site’s name is an intended homophone of menstruate. That was my subtle way of laughing off the idea that only women can be irrational, emotional, and irritable. You know, when it’s that time of the month.
Sadly, the site never got a chance to morph into that. In the immediate rush to capture the all-powerful clicks, we produced journalism of the highest integrity covering topics from the male erection to mortality in Australia. It was some highbrow stuff. We had a lot of successes, some failures, but also an incredible amount of fun.
Of the three sites I helped birth, menstrait.com had the most personality and engagement, except it made little financial sense. Ad revenue on diverse men’s lifestyle content isn’t great, to put it mildly, and men’s trait was shut down. In many ways, men’s trait was a huge success if we think outside the box. First, we had one of the worst domains ever and somehow still got traffic. Second, we managed to piss a lot of people off on more than one occasion, and when we did it was always the type of assholes who still don’t understand why they can’t own other people. Third, during the 2016 presidential primary, we tapped into a group of really pissed off people who wanted to see wholesale change in the world. Pissed off people who want to burn the motherfucker down because of how corrupt it has become.
What motherfucker that is we still aren’t sure, other than perhaps this nebulous establishment that magically keeps reaffirming itself, despite evidence that it is nothing more than a house of cards ripe to be brought down. If asked, many would call this motherfucker capitalism, and to others, it will be governments, the media establishment, regulated monopolies, central banks, banks themselves, or something more mysterious. men’s trait won’t be InfoWars. Please, do not be confused. But neither will we have swallowed hook, line, and sinker the bullshit so many seem to be gagging on.
That’s what men’s trait is morphing into, not just a place for alt men who giggle at the idea of not being manly enough, but for people who look at what is expected and what has always been and then demand more. men’s trait is for men and women alike to come and challenge the Goliaths of the world.
It’s time to stop clinging to the past and dogma and time to start boldly demanding and effecting change in an increasingly polar world, and to accomplish our goals we must deconstruct and rebuild the established entities that hold far too much sway over public knowledge and public opinion. The divisiveness of the world as we know it is not sustainable and bridges need to be built outside of the traditional power structures. Can a website do all of this? No. But it can take part in that conversation and influence thought and discourse with an alternate viewpoint to what’s out there, and that will spur action.
men’s trait won’t be for the conformists. In time, when new writers join in what we’re doing, we’ll be throwing punches as we casually and humourously catalog the absurdities of this world, and especially the United States. We’ll be unapologetic but humble, and we won’t feel remorse if we hurt a—to borrow from the contemptible alt-right—snowflake’s delicate feelings. We’re going to challenge that which is accepted without question, aggressively admonish those who wield power or influence and use it to promote and cause social strife, and we might make you laugh along the way.
With no outside funding, in the near future, men’s trait will begin to recruit new writers. These journalists and academics will become part owners of the site, and instead of playing editorial politics and being run ragged producing content at a record pace for unappreciative board members and shareholders, they will enjoy autonomy and freedom parallel to that which I enjoyed before. Because they will have a direct stake in the prosperity of the company, they will also have a say and a vote. They won’t be employees or contractors. They will be their own shareholders, and it will be—hopefully—glorious.
My goal is to find the most talented writers looking to make the bold move of investing in themselves while writing passionately about their interests, their causes, and their gripes, and to give those writers and journalists a platform. Individual voices who, hopefully, will then shape public discourse outside of the self-loving circle jerks that are mainstream media outlets. It’ll be their voices shaping the discourse, and I’ll be here to provide them with the resources they need. The goals are, admittedly, lofty, and yet I’m hopeful some out there are crazy enough to buy into it.
Updates may be slow. This day job thing doesn’t go away, and I don’t want to leave a group of people who’ve been incredible to know and work with, but once we get rolling, a lot of people are going to be men’s traiting. People are looking for alternatives to corporate media empires. They’re searching for those individual voices and keen insights coming from independent and free journalism, untainted by the capitalist habit of throwing integrity and accountability aside when weighing the bottom line.
If you want the world to stay the same, men’s trait isn’t for you. But if you want to see more equality, more egality, and a weakening of traditional power structures that hold far too much influence over society, we’ll probably get along just fine.
On the last note, all the old content will remain on the website. We own our proud and occasionally shameful past. Just be kind to the future writers/owners of the website. 🙂