What We Do
The Good Lad Workshop is an Oxford-based effort to empower men to deal with complex gender situations and become agents of positive change within their social circles. We run workshops throughout term time for groups of men within the university, such as sports teams, drinking societies, clubs and JCR/MCR members.
Our workshops focus on issues relating to consent, masculinity, peer pressure, power and responsibility. Instead of casting men as potential perpetrators who just have to learn to obey the law, we promote the idea of ‘positive masculinity.’ We challenge men to see not just obligations to avoid harming women, but opportunities to make a positive difference in women’s lives.
Is that such a bad thing? It doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. What would you have to believe to see it as a bad thing? I guess either that men should be dominant over women, or that there are no familiar predictable conflicts between women and men. Both of those beliefs seem pretty hard to defend.
What does Dan Bell seem to believe? That men are hard done by, that men get too much criticism and re-education, that men are disadvantaged just as much as women are, or perhaps more.
Even if he’s right on all counts, it seems to me the Good Lad approach could still be a useful one. It seems to be a workshop meant to get people to think harder about how to behave decently. Who among us couldn’t use some of that?
Workshops are an hour long. Their focus is a series of scenarios developed from real life situations. We believe the scenarios involve difficult issues where there are not necessarily clear answers and are, therefore, genuinely worthy of reflection. Ultimately, our aim is not to tell any man what to do, but to equip them with a powerful, alternative framework to analyse complex gender situations.
Doesn’t sound very dogmatic or doctrinaire, does it.