There’s a hashtag that’s making the rounds, making a strong impression. #YesAllWomen.
I don’t want to try to make myself a part of that, because it belongs to women, who use it to shed some light on things that every woman must endure, or push past.
But it’s also a response, a response to men saying “not all men do that” when people (often women) point to actions of sexists or mysoginists. I’m sure you’ve heard it before: “Not every man is a rapist.” “Not all men treat women like that.” “Not every man thinks that way” or “…acts that way.”
And I’ll leave it women to counter that with “yes, but all women have had to deal with this.”
Instead, I’ll simply say this. Not all men do these things, but far too many do. Let’s hashtag that, guys. Chronicle the mistakes of our gender, many of which we may have made ourselves at one point.
* Too many men think that feminism means disliking men.
It doesn’t. It means advocating for equal treatment for women. Men can, and should, be feminists. Men should not resent feminists, and women should not fear being called one.
* Too many men think their needs are someone else’s problems.
If you are lonely, I’m not going be callous enough to say that’s your own fault. But it sure as hell isn’t the problem of the woman you want to be with. And it is in no way her fault. You may deserve love, or companionship, or sex. But you’re not ENTITLED to it. So someone rejecting you is not doing anything wrong. It’s that simple.
And too many men, including myself as a teenager, don’t seem to get that.
* Too many men think that their reactions are someone else’s doing.
I get it. When you find someone attractive, it’s powerful stuff. But being attractive is not the same as inviting attraction. You’re entitled to find someone attractive. But not to force that someone to deal with it. And if a woman dresses nicely, that is for herself, not for you. You’re owed nothing because of it. Conversely, if a woman doesn’t want to dress or conduct herself according to the standards of beauty you hold for women, so what? She’s not attacking you or your tastes.
* Too many men feel as if they are now the victim.
We - as men - are not being attacked. We are losing a sense of power, to be sure, but it was power we had no right to. The Men’s Rights Movement may come from an understandable place - when society’s values shift, men brought up to feel a certain way about our place in it can feel lost. Or powerless.
But society’s values needed to shift. And those fighting to shift it aren’t attacking men. They’re protecting themselves. Or empowering themselves.
Too much Men’s Rights talk comes from a place of being attacked, or being the victim.
But white straight men are not the victims. As individuals, they (or we, honestly, because despite my Dominican heritage, I’ve mostly occupied a white male space in society) can be. But as a demographic, we are not collectively victimized. You know how I can tell? Because we lack the perspective to know real victimization.
It’s tricky being a man today. But ‘tricky’ isn’t victimized.
* Too many men don’t get it.
If one of the above ‘too many men’ comments describes you and thoughts and actions you consciously have or make, then you are part of the problem.
But there are other men, men who don’t act on these assumptions, who will read this list or one of many similar ones being expressed in the current weeks and months, and push back.
If you don’t see the truth in these statements (or similar ones) even when clarified that its not all men, just too many of them… then you don’t get it. You’re part of the problem.
This all stems from one angry, lonely, possibly mentally ill young man stating he wanted to punish all women - and the men those women choose over him - by killing them all. And then trying to do so.
Why did he do these things? There are probably too many reasons to properly sort. Guns should be a part of that discussion. But this isn’t a situation that’s JUST about guns. Some have blamed nerd culture for too often making women objects in quests, conquests to be won, and maybe for convincing nerd guys that persistence is a virtue and that women unimpressed with us can be persuaded to change their no into a yes. That’s an important analysis to have, as well. The Pickup Artist movement has come under fire for similarly making women objects of quests and also promoting a sense of entitlement among men. We should be looking at that. How we treat the mentally ill will be discussed, even as we realize that the mentally ill are more often victims than perpetrators of violence, because the shooter’s pathology was on display before the shooting, was recognized as problematic, but nothing was done or could be done.
But this isn’t all just a geek problem, or all just a gun problem, or all just a pickup problem, or all just a mental illness problem.
Part of this talk has to center around a guy problem.
Men have to stop looking at women as if they are to blame for our loneliness or our rage. Or like they are the solution, the holy grail at the end of the chase, and anyone who prevents us from getting that is doing us wrong, especially the women themselves.
Not every man who feels this way acts on it in such a violent manner. But isn’t one enough? And isn’t thinking about women this way a problem regardless of how we act on it?
Not every man feels this way. But too many do.