A Response To The “Not All Men” Argument

A Response To The “Not All Men” Argument

I see why you might want to say it, but don't.
12537
views

I understand where you’re coming from, males who say “not all men” to women’s comments on sexist experiences. You want to be sure not to be lumped in with rapists, misogynists and generally awful people. You want to be sure that we know not to assume every man is like the sexist ones we have come across, and that it’s unfair to you to be assumed sexist just because you’re a male. Because that’s like saying all black people are criminals or all Muslims are terrorists, right?

Not exactly.

Most women you encounter that make statements about men being sexist or relaying experiences with discrimination based on gender realize that not all men do this. I recognize the existence of misandrists who truly demonize men in an aggressive way, but they are not the majority. It’s slightly insulting to our intelligence to presume the majority thinks in such absolute terms. Responding to these narratives by saying “not all men are like this” is extremely minimizing and problematic. The fact that “not all men are like this” does not change that men like this do exist. Women’s experiences with them speak to the society we live in in which women are seen as inferior in a lot of ways. To avoid addressing and listening to concerns made about how males treat females in this society, and instead complaining of a perceived generalization, is unhelpful. It makes you a part of the problem.



When “not all men” is used as a response to sexist experiences, it silences the speaker, shames them into thinking their story, possibly shared by many other women, is invalid and unimportant. If the only response you make is “yeah, but I’m not like that,” then you establish an obvious implication while also securing your place among enablers of sexism. You may not be like that, but that doesn’t mean you should not try to listen and do your part to address sexism in society. The assertion that you are not a rapist or a misogynist is not productive, and it is not a significant accomplishment. It does not give you a free pass to ignore the existence of the people who are rapists and misogynists by minimizing and attacking those who voice complaints about the female experience.





Feminist motions to change the inferiority of women and femininity in the public and private sphere require the support of both sexes. Statements about men that relay personal incidents aren’t sexist. The current and long-standing power dynamics between men and women put men above women in society, more often allowing men a voice. When men avoid validating these stories, that only perpetuates the systematic oppression of women. It may be uncomfortable to read statements about men’s treatment of women and they may seem like generalizations, but if you’re truly not a sexist or misogynistic person, there should probably not be the resentment that comes with the indignant, “not all men are like that, I’m not!”





Maybe you aren’t like that, but unless you take measures to speak up against everyday sexism when you see it—women being catcalled or grabbed in the street, jokes made about rape or “staying in the kitchen,” sexual harassment at work or public places—you’re not much better than the men in their stories. And if you are truly on the side of eliminating sexism, you might spend less time telling women “not all men,” and more time listening and standing with them.

Cover Image Credit: http://cubmagazine.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/NotAllMen.jpg

Popular Right Now

Why Your Grandma Is Your Biggest Blessing In Life

Because nobody loves you more than she does.
202238
views

There are many people in your life you are thankful for: Mom, Dad, siblings, cousins, best friends, teachers, neighbors, you name it. You are grateful to have people who constantly support you, who pick you up when you're down and love you unconditionally. But the one person who stands out among the rest of them is your grandma.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Why Your Grandma Is The Best Person In Your Life

Ever since you were little, you and your grandma have always had a special connection. Going over to Grandma's house for the night was something you looked forward to. She knew how to entertain you at your best and worst moments. No matter what you did together, you loved it. Being with your grandma wasn't like being at home or with your parents – it was better. You went to the park, made cookies, went out to dinner, got a “sweet treat" at the mall, played Go Fish, took a bubble bath for as long as you wanted and got way too much dessert than you should have. You did things you weren't supposed to do, but Grandma didn't stop you. Because at Grandma's house there were no rules, and you didn't have to worry about a single thing. Being with Grandma was the true epitome of childhood. She let you be you. She always made sure you had the best time when you were with her, and she loved watching you grow up with a smile on your face.

The older you got, your weekend excursions with your grandma weren't as frequent, and you didn't get to see her as much. You became more and more busy with school, homework, clubs, sports, and friends. You made the most out of your time to see her, and you wished you could be with her more. Although you were in the prime of your life, she mattered even more to you the older you both became. You were with your friends 24/7, but you missed being with your grandma. When the time rolled around, and you got the chance to spend time with her, she told you never to apologize. She wanted you to go out, have fun and enjoy life the way it makes you happy.

Reflecting back on these moments with your grandma, you realize how truly special she is to you. There is no one who could ever compare to her nor will there ever be. All your life, there is no one who will be as sweet, as caring, as sincere or as genuine as her. Even though you're all grown up now, there are things about your grandma that never changed from when you were a kid. She still takes you out for your favorite meal because she knows how important eating out means to you. She writes you letters and sends you a $5 bill every now and then because she knows you're a hard-working college student with no money. She still helps you with all of your Christmas shopping because she knows it's your tradition. She still asks what's new with your young life because hearing about it makes her day and she still loves you to no end. Your grandma is your biggest blessing (whether you knew it or not), and she always will be no matter what.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Kron

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

I’m The Girl Who Never Dreams Of Her Wedding, Because Getting Married Is Not A Career

I have others dreams in life that are much bigger than marriage.

1478
views

Ever since we were little girls, the idea of a dream wedding has always been built up around us.

Everyone has one, everyone knows what season they want to get married in, what their dress looks like, what flowers they want, and so on.

But I've never had that. I've never had a time in my life where I knew what kind of wedding I wanted or what kind of dress I'm going to walk down the aisle in or what kind of flowers I want. I've never been the kind of person to dream of a prince charming sweeping me off my feet and taking me away to my happily ever after.

Growing up, my idea of a "perfect life" was being a working, single mom with one child that I'll adopt, and living in a decent, upper-middle-class apartment. I have never thought of myself with a significant other. I've never thought of myself as someone that would get married, much less someone that would dream of a wedding.

And the fact is: that's okay. It's perfectly acceptable for a woman to want to focus on her career.

It's perfectly acceptable for a woman, or person for that matter, to not want to get married. It is perfectly acceptable, in this day and age, for me to be a single woman and not want or dream of a wedding.

No, there's nothing wrong with that.

No, it doesn't mean I won't ever get married (don't stress, mom). No, it doesn't mean I'll be a bad parent because I want to do it on my own. No, it doesn't mean I'm "crazy."

Yes, it is terrible for people to look down on others because they do not want the "norm."

Yes, it is rude to assume that I'll become an old cat lady. Yes, it is rude to assume that being a cat lady is a "bad thing." And yes, your opinion of my future does not matter to me.

Part of the good thing about this day and age is the fact that we have a chance to choose. We can choose a career, family, or both. And if someone chooses differently than you or the "norm," that's OK, too.

Related Content

Facebook Comments