Menstuff® looks at what sparked The National Men's Resource publication, Menstuff.
It was sometime, late the summer of 1985. Just another book party at Shepherd Bliss's home in Berkeley. It was a nice time to re-connect with friend's, most of whom I'd met at previous California Men's Gatherings. This was one of the few times we would ever get together - we were all so busy with "our work". It was also a nice time to connect with men who were doing men's work. We sat around one-on-one, casually talking about issues and what we were doing.
At one point during the evening, Steve told me about a workshop he was doing for men. Later that evening, Daniel told me about his workshop. They knew each other, and yet they had planned a workshop for men on the same weekend.
Later that night, I began thinking how isolated we continue to keep ourselves. Whether it's a situation of not feeling worthy to network our important work, or just being "too busy", we didn't seem to be doing a very good job, even within our own community, of getting the word out. And, if it wasn't working here, how did we expect to ever make an impact in the world out there?
There seemed to be a very specific need. To reduce men's isolation, there needed to be some way to make information available about seminars, workshops and events that support and explore positive change for men. We also needed some way to connect the many groups and organizations now emerging that were devoted to helping men with these discoveries.
I decided, that night, to do something about it. The Internet wasn't even a gleam in anyone's eye. That wouldn't happen for another six years.
I spent most of that night going through all the workshop flyers I had saved. I weeded out anything that didn't directly work "with a positive change in male roles and relationships". To my surprise, there were quite a few left.
I took the extra phone line that my daughter had before she left for college, and, before Saturday had passed, recorded an information message on an unlimited outgoing message answering machine. The first 24-Hour Men's Resource Hotline was officially in operation.
But what good was a service that no one knew existed? That night saw the development of the first Men's Resource Hotline Calendar which listed all of these events. I put together a mailing list of some 300 men, went to an all-night printer, and before leaving for work Monday morning, the first quarterly issues was in the mail.
By the second issue, we had listed some 64 men's events happening in the first quarter of 1986 and had located 23 open men's groups and 23 men's services in the San Francisco Bay Area. The third issue added 39 men's magazine's and newsletters and we were off and running. We added editorial and book reviews, too.
April, 1987 saw the start of the 24-Hour Men's Resource Hotline in Los Angeles and from that sprang Men's News, an excellent quarterly featuring articles on major people in the men's movement.
As change continued. The Summer, 1996 was our last issue in the printed format. 40 pages of events and information and a directory of over 2,600 services for men nationwide. During the 12 years of our existance, we never missed a quarterly issue. However, with mailing and printing costs going up, and the desire to make this information available to more people, we needed to look for other alternatives.
The web had started in 1991. We decided to join in on May 22, 1996 when there were fewer than a quarter of a million active web sites in the world. As of noon on September 6, 2014, there were over a billion active web sites in the world. Alexa ranked Menstuff.org 822,652.
We have over 250 megabytes of information on hundreds of mens issues (including abuse, aging, calendar, circumcision, councils, divorce, events, fathers, groups, health, isolation, issues, links, midlife, multicultural, prostate, resources, sex, spirituality, transition, viagra, violence, work, etc.) We also present hundreds of mens book reviews, councils, events, groups, and publications plus thousands of mens resources, links and books including an on-line bookstore. And, Brittanica.com has given us a 4-star rating.
Now that you have a sense of how we got here, browse through our web site and get an idea of where we are today - still working to end men's isolation after all these years. Introduction First Visit Welcome and good browsing. Gordon Clay