by Robert Maxwell
A few weeks ago I got an email from a woman deeply offended by The Man Factory concept. She said my venture is “pompous, sexist, and misogynistic”. If I insist on launching such a website, she said, I should give it a more inclusive name, like the “Man/Woman/Person Factory”. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, I thought. I wasn’t surprised by her reaction, since in our modern age of political correctness, most references to one gender or the other are frowned upon, and creating anything for men only is practically worth the death penalty. I didn’t see any point in defending my choice of name and audience to this woman, but her note did inspire me to write this post, intended to answer the question “why The Man Factory?” There are many reasons I chose this name and concept, but to keep things short I’ve boiled down the list to what I feel are the three most crucial points.
I CAN ONLY TEACH WHAT I KNOW
I’m a man, and so far, have lived my whole life as one. Being non-female, my experience as a woman is extremely limited. In “The Lord of the Rings”, Gandalf proclaims that “the wise speak only of what they know.” I started The Man Factory to share what I know about strength training, fitness, health and rural living. Through these I've learned to be a good man, and this website is designed to pass on that knowledge. Women are welcome to the knowledge, too. A handful of my subscribers are women, and I’m honoured they trust me to put something useful in their inboxes every Saturday. The name “The Man Factory” is not meant as an exclusion of women. Rather, it’s an invitation to benefit from what I have found makes good men.
CLARITY OF FOCUS
Mix a bit of blue and yellow paint together and you’ll get green. Start adding every other colour on your palette, and you’ll get an ugly, murky sludge, useless for painting. All the paint in the mixture will be wasted. The Man Factory is meant to mix a couple of paints into a useful, attractive colour. The trouble with many men these days is that they have no clear focus. Life gives them opportunities, but they don’t know which to choose and which to forgo, so they dilute their effectiveness by trying to take on too many different things. The same problem exists in business. The profitability of any commercial venture depends on the ability of its founders to focus on a particular problem, and solve it. A business which tries to solve too many problems will ultimately solve none, including the employment of its creators. The Man Factory is primarily focussed on the need of one group for physical strength, fitness and a taste of rural living. That group is men. Were I to alter my concept to include everything and everyone, I’d quickly lose sight of my original purpose and end up offering nothing useful. Variety stores are all well and good, but most shoppers I know don’t go to the same establishment to buy milk, motor oil, dress shoes and an engagement ring. That’s because businesses have a particular focus, even if they offer many different items. It would be foolish to become offended by a grocery store for not selling used cars.
REAL MEN ARE A DYING BREED
Long before smartphones, computers and superstores distracted us into stagnation, life was much more physical. The pioneers who first settled Manitoulin Island where I live knew the value of hard manual labour. Without it, their land would have remained uncleared, their fields unplowed, crops unsown and homes unbuilt. Being physically and mentally strong and fit was a requirement back then. Today, it’s optional, and when something difficult but worthwhile becomes optional, few people pursue it. The problem is, men are made to be physically capable. Our bodies thrive with hard exercise, and quickly weaken and soften in its absence. Many men I know recognize their innate need to be strong and capable, but don’t know how to fulfill it. That’s where The Man Factory comes in. I believe all men should be physically and mentally fit, capable with their hands and confident in all situations. Sharing my experience pursuing each of these, and teaching other men to do the same is the purpose of this website.
This post is not intended to prevent offence at the The Man Factory name and concept. Offence is unavoidable, and although I don’t relish causing it, I’m not disturbed when I do. These words are simply to explain the purpose of this website, and why I’ve chosen to focus my efforts primarily on men. That said, if you’re a woman who finds this website useful, I’m glad you’re here, too. Strength training is not just for men, and any suggestion to the contrary is moronic. Everyone can benefit from barbell-based exercise, as well as the other skills touched on in these articles. My main objective, however, is to help men improve themselves. If this goal is offensive to you, I’m ok with that.