on manhood and masculinity

Op-Ed: Don’t Call Me “Dude”

By Matt Graber

Please don’t call me “man” or “dude” any longer. I will not join you in friendship or partnership on a male-supremacist, patriarchal project. I will not condone the view that women are born to provide you with sexual gratification, and to do care work for you.

I will not be your wingman. I will not support your objectification of women’s bodies. Women are not accessories to you, regardless of how much money you have. In social settings such as parties, bars, or clubs, I will not accompany you when you violate the personal space of others. When they refuse to allow you to enter into their personal space, I will not ease or comfort you.

Please learn to love and care for yourself. You are incredibly beautiful, and I want you to be cared for. Learn to cook, clean, sew, and care for yourself, your body, and your personal space. If you do not know how to care for yourself and are seeking a romantic partnership on the basis of finding somebody to do that work for you, then I will remain skeptical of your capacity to love and care for others.

I hope that we can differentiate between coveting bodies and loving people.

I love you. I want a friendship with you that is based on realizing the infinite possibilities of ourselves, our love, our bodies, and our gender expressions; a friendship based on falling head over heels in love with all life and all people. It is all far too beautiful than to be used and abused by you and me for the sake of manhood and masculinity.


MatthewGraber-Don't_Call_Me__Dude_-matt_graberMatt Graber is still emerging – uncomfortable in their own skin and searching for beloved community. For Matt, a trip to Palestine in 2010 ignited a passion for decolonization and liberation. They are a radio broadcaster on West Philly’s community radio station, WPEB 88.1 FM; and a part of Free Maroon Philly, a committee to free US-held prisoner of war Russell Maroon Shoatz, and Philly BDS – the Philadelphia coalition for boycott, divestment, and sanctions of Israel.


  1. dmitry

    September 1, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    The Black President of the white supremacist sexist state would not send his women pilots and missile operators to target Syria, if Assad had better air defence…while the “left” is busy fighting linguistic discrimination and verbal inequality…
    What a truly sick post…the1% may sleep well, not much will ever come from such pathetic “left”. Palestine will forever be occupied if such folks would have to much influence, Vietcong would have him shot. But in Amerikkka that’s a leftyy for you…

  2. G.K.

    September 2, 2013 at 2:30 am

    In a variety of ways, this piece doesn’t seem up to the usual standard of The Feminist Wire. For one thing, this “open letter” to sexist men seems misplaced on a feminist blog, where the majority of readers would presumably be feminists already. It reads like cookie-grabbing to me, and would make a stronger statement on a site aimed at men.

    I also don’t think that their appropriation of the keffiyeh fits with TFW’s usual stance on being aware of racism and international/multicultural issues.

    In light of the aforementioned, even this person’s refusal to use male pronouns seems rooted more in male guilt and an immature feminist identity than in a non-binary gender identity.

  3. Nick Painter

    September 2, 2013 at 4:11 am

    Are we equating the complete hatred with women with the use of the word “dude?” Are we allowed to be attracted one another without it being about oppression? Or is sexual liberation of humans impossible without exploitation in your view? I guess I am confused what it is you are upset about? That women are oppressed, just realizing this? Need to tell world? I didn’t need some great revelation to tell me this or to announce in such a fashion as I have lived it…I’m glad your passion was ignited by going to palestine, I just walk around detroit…

  4. DRG

    September 2, 2013 at 11:52 am

    This is like Zoolander III – Zoolander Rises for the Cause

  5. Dana

    September 2, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    This was a lovely piece. Can’t understand why others would pick it apart and say it’s not enough of this nor not enough of that.

    I have taught my son and daughters the exact thing……which is to love yourself and value others. You need not be predatory nor a prey!!!!

  6. Chris

    September 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    There’s something about this post that seems inauthentic and poorly thought out. This looks more like climbing on a white horse and waving a feminism banner–“don’t worry ladies! I don’t say ‘dude’ anymore! All is right in the world, now!”–and points heavily outward without showing much sign of actual personal reflection.

    How about this for a manifesto: I will listen and work on understanding despite the veil of privilege I constantly wear and interrupt men in my life who say and do misogynist things.

  7. TS

    September 2, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    This is really cheap, unevolved feminism looking for cookies. You’re right, men should learn how to clean and feed themselves, and you’re not getting a prize for figuring that out. Where’s the self reflection in this, the nuance, the intersectional view point? It is as though this author is so ashamed of his cis male privilege that he won’t even directly speak to it, choosing to hide behind this shaky manifesto and the appropriation of non-binary gender pronouns (“they”). This is substandard writing for TFW.

  8. T.L.

    September 2, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    I’m disappointed that The Feminist Wire published this piece. I agree with a previous poster that it is not up to the usual standards. And the author’s logic does not work. Removing “dude” and “man” does not challenge actual relations of power. Declining to identify with a male pronoun (“they” instead of “he” in the author bio) in and of itself does not upend gender binaries in the specific contexts that he describes. To be honest, the whole thing feels insincere: a (presumably) white guy wrapped in a keffiyeh staring stoically into the distance talking about having “a passion for decolonization” feels more like “macktivism” than a sincere effort at self-awareness.

  9. Tara Bratton

    September 3, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    at least he’s trying. try growing up in vegas. as simple as this is, it is a breath of fresh air to some.

  10. WT

    September 9, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    I remember when the term “White Knight” was a slur against reasonably progressive men who don’t like misogyny. Now the term has officially come to life in the form of a blonde white college guy wearing a keffiyah and “renouncing” his institutional privilege the way Michael Scott on the Office went “I DECLARE BANKRUPTCY!” Dude, man, you’re the textbook definition of a Brocialist.

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