Dear Men, We Need to Stop Saying, “Not All Men”

By now, I’m certain you’ve heard the recent offensive and demeaning comments made by Donald Trump. Oh, I’m sorry, I know that was vague, what, with that kind of thing being a daily occurrence now.

Of course, I’m referencing the comments made on audio from an appearance on Access Hollywood in 2005, where Mr. Trump bragged about trying to sleep with a married woman, and went on to admit being a celebrity allows certain privileges; one being sexual assault against women.

While I’m sure some may read this and try and argue with me what was said, don’t waste your breath, or your strokes on the keyboard. Kissing a woman without her permission or consent IS sexual assault. And if you still don’t agree, fine; grabbing a woman by the genitalia without permission or consent, is MOST CERTAINLY sexual assault. Both of these items Mr. Trump more than happily bragged that he did on a regular basis.

While the audio was shocking, and disgusting, it was not even close to the worst thing he’s said about women. I mean, I could go on and on all day, listing horrible reference after horrible reference, but that’s not why I’m really writing this post. What I AM writing about, is something that has come to my attention, and I think it needs to stop as quickly as possible if we have any hope of equality in society. And that is the “not all men” response.

I’m proud to say that I, and many other progressive men of my generation, are joining in the fight for equality when it comes to women. However; with progress comes its own set of challenges. As more and more women step forward to speak about the sexism they face every day, or to share their own personal stories of sexual assault, more and more men are chiming in saying, “Hey, not all men are that way.”

It’s almost like a gender equality version of the All Lives Matter people trying to disregard the Black Lives Matter movement. And news flash men, you sound just as dumb when you say it.

A woman sharing her story, and saying, “A man did this to me,” or, “A man made me feel this way,” in no way has any bearing on you as a man. Unless of course you’re the one doing the assaulting, then you’re an asshole.

But when we as men answer women, in their time of stepping up and taking back control, by saying, “Hey, you can’t say that. That’s reverse-sexism” Then we are in essence doing the exact same thing as the people who violated them. We’re telling them their story doesn’t matter. Their feelings are invalid because you’re uncomfortable. And that’s wrong.

Look, I get it. It’s tough to sit there and feel uncomfortable; to feel gross, like you’re somehow part of the problem. But it’s from the gross place; that discomfort, that we can rise up and be part of the solution.

I spent most of my life as the poster child for ignorance. Not in a negative sense, but in the, “It isn’t happening to me, so allow me to place my head firmly up my ass and only focus on me” way. And like many people, I never really gave a second thought to issues outside of my own world. So, sexism, and other forms of social injustice never registered on my radar.

If someone were to ask me if I believed in equality, or if I supported women getting equal pay, and equal respect, of course I would agree. But, I wasn’t going to actively go out and fight for it. Because it had nothing to do with me, and as long as I wasn’t acting in a negative way, then I was doing my part. WRONG!!

One of the many benefits to meeting my wife is, I became WOKE in a hurry. In not so many words my wife (at the time a woman I was really interested in dating), in not so many words told me it was high time I woke up, pulled my head out of my ass, grew up, and to take a long hard look around at the world we are living in.

It didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it wasn’t until many years into our relationship that she shared stories with me. Stories about her own experiences of feeling scared around men; feeling like she was in a very dangerous situation, and made to feel scared and helpless by a man. This is a person who I see as one of the strongest people I know. Someone I would never guess was in a situation like that. See, but that’s the rub…those “situations” can, and are anything. From a spiked drink at a party, being groped while riding public transportation, or being catcalled when you walk down the street.

I have read story after story from friends and loved ones recently about everything from catcalling and mansplaining, all the way to outright rape and vicious sexual assault, and it all makes me sick to my stomach. This is no way to treat a woman. This is no way to treat a person. And it’s long overdue that men stand up and join the fight.

And, I’m not talking about just fighting for our daughters, sisters, female cousins, moms, or any other female closely connected to us. No, don’t be like fake outraged republicans who supported their candidate up until he said something bad about women. Stand up for all women. Be angry and fight for the 1 in 5 women you don’t know, and who will be sexually assaulted this year.

Because, until the day that All Women are treated equally, respected, and can feel safe, it’s on All Men.

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15 thoughts on “Dear Men, We Need to Stop Saying, “Not All Men”

  1. Thank you. I was just telling a friend that sadly, it is going to take men to stand up and help us be heard. It is awful to not feel safe and yet, it is part of my life. I am so grateful for your words and more importantly, your strength to take a stand and be vocal.

  2. I say ‘Not all men’, and especially ‘Not all husbands’, or ‘Maybe your husband doesn’t / does’…
    And thought I had it all sorted… But your post has got me thinking…
    And you’re sounding very right. Damn us men. Gits.
    Thanks for posting.
    X

    • Thanks for reading. Hey, I hear you. I have said all those things too. And honestly, I agree with the statements, but too many men are saying them, taking the attention away from the women (who need this time to speak up), and then leaving it there. If a man is going to say, “Hey, not all men”, then they need to be the first person to stand up and help with the fight. But far too many just sit back down and think that “not” being a douche bag is effort enough, and it’s not. Thanks man.

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  7. I certainly agree that we shouldn’t be diminishing the women who have been victims of assault by any male. That is absolutely abhorrent and wrong. And really that is the end of that statement.

    But what I’m curious about is your notion of hearing men say that all men are not like that and then equating that to people who discount Black Lives Matter by saying all lives matter. First, all men of whom I have heard say that not all men are like that are not responding to people who commit or say they have committed sexual assault. When I have heard that defense it’s usually in context with all men are scum, all men are evil, or all men are cheaters. Those three statements put men in the unenviable position of defending themselves at the very least, and men more broadly.

    Why should anyone allow themselves to be railroaded? I’m sure men have said all kinds of awful things about women that women shouldn’t be forced to deal with. We could go into specifics but I don’t believe that is helpful. And they said these things by painting a broad brush against men.

    Second, when you frame it as men are not defending assault but defending that all men are not “fill in the blank,” then the analogy between what men are doing and Black Lives Matter disappear. All women should be spared the debasement of assault. All men’s virtue should not be denigrated in the process. We have plenty enough to feel like we have done wrong, and we have years of sexism to atone for. But I don’t believe it crosses a line to say that all men aren’t liars, cheaters and rapists.

    However, if any single woman says that they are the victims of assault and some dolt of a man tells her all men aren’t abusers, I’ll smack that man upside the head with you. Just saying.

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