When I started writing Man Repeller during my junior year in college, I had no idea what I was doing. If you told me I’d still be doing it six years later, I wouldn’t believe you. I didn’t find my opinion novel and it certainly wasn’t intelligent. I didn’t think it was funny or empowering. I didn’t know that brutal self-awareness could be interpreted as unique. Or that unflinching, candid honesty wasn’t the preferred method of public discourse. I also, I guess, didn’t have confidence in myself. Man Repeller felt like a self-serving narcissistic endeavor at first. Selfish in that I used it to publish whatever no one else would and that I planned to use this platform — a blog and nothing else as far as I was concerned — to substantiate whatever data points fell flat on my resume while I applied for post-collegiate jobs.
But then Man Repeller became my post-collegiate job. And I started hiring people, and had to learn to fake confidence. To make like I believed enough in myself for others to believe, too. And slowly, the faking became real. I started to believe and Man Repeller became not just “a site about trends that women love and men hate,” but an extension of my experience as a person. And I trusted that. I trust that.
Sometimes it still feels a bit selfish. I get to work with some of the strongest women I’ve ever met. This team is, in many ways, the physical manifestation of what Man Repeller supports. They’re independent and proudly themselves — but not so proud that they’re not interested in constructive self-improvement. We’re all here to support each other. We understand that to be better ourselves, the people around us must feel like the best versions of themselves. We all thrive together.
You know, I’ve been putting off writing a mission statement for six years. At first it was because I didn’t know what I was doing and thus, what this was. Then it was because I didn’t trust myself. But once I figured that stuff out — what Man Repeller is and separately, who I am — I continued to procrastinate because, my gosh, this thing is so many things: Jokes, but also an earnest shoulder to lean on. Fashion commentary that isn’t marred by a stereotype that suggests anything less than intellectual conversation. Personal, but also a big, loving community.
Man Repeller is like an onion; the longer and harder you peel at the layers, the more obvious it becomes that there is no center. And it belongs to all of us and it’s here because of us — so your opinion is as good as mine, and you can’t put our opinions in boxes. That would diminish their diversity, the complexity with which they present themselves. We are our opinions, and we don’t fit in boxes.
Finally, though, after six years of pushback, we’re defining Man Repeller. Not because we’ve figured it out but because it’s an onion! And what you see is rarely what you get if you don’t try to peel. But everyone deserves to know that beyond what we cover, Man Repeller comprises a group of pals, you know? Treehouse sisters and brothers and mothers and daughters who are curious.
And that’s why I wanted to do this together. As we grow, I imagine we’ll only need your feedback more. Business is changing and we don’t want to build something you don’t want to be part of. We want to do this with you so that we feel like we’re hanging out in a house that we’ve all helped decorate. Earlier this summer, we published an episode of Monocycle in which I defined Man Repeller as I see it and asked for you to share your own opinions. Those opinions became an important element of the mission statement writing process.
So, here it is: the brand new definition that you’ll find when you click at the top right corner of our site, where a little phrase asks, “What’s Man Repeller?”
You’ll also find a selection of quotes from community members who have expressed what the brand means to them. I encourage the rest of you to share what you think, because this is yours, too.
And also, by the way, thanks.
Collage by Emily Zirimis.