Every once in a while, the internet tends to bless us with various posts along with #NotAllMen under it. And while I would love to see it bring attention to a silly stereotype, this always pops up whenever a woman narrates an incident revolving around sexual harassment or assault.
And if you are someone who happens to possess a decent amount of common sense, you’d know how problematic this behaviour is. But before I get to shaming any of you for this, let’s take a look at what #NotAllMen is about.
Bitches Ain’t Shit
Several people believe that #NotAllMen came out as a response to #MeToo, not that this makes it any less problematic. But this has been going around for years now. It first made its appearance back in 2014 in the form of a satire comic.
And yes, satire doesn’t come as easy to many. So while this comic tried using irony, many men took this up as the best possible response to any argument involving themselves and a woman. Not only would this be used to stroke their fragile male ego, but it also helped make any situation about themselves.
Am I generalising? Sure. Do you want to say Not All Men? I bet you do. But what does this phrase help achieve OR not achieve in this instance?
Whenever Not All Men is used to counter an argument, it’s for the following reasons:
- They don’t agree with it
- To point out that Reverse Sexism exists
- It helps take away the blame from them
- They just want any reason to derail a conversation or an argument
Coming back to what I stated before, men usually bring up this counterpoint every time a woman narrates an incident involving sexual harassment or assault. What does that do? Not only does it invalidate an individual’s experience, but it also prevents anyone from having a crucial conversation.
And why would anyone want that?
It’s So Easy
Derailed conversations have often led to various unsettled arguments, half-baked facts, and avoid situations if only someone listened.
One of the many things that tend to poke at these individuals is that feminists seem to make it sound a lot worse than it truly is. And because feminism has somehow lost its way in recent times, this terrible retort tends to make most misogynists feel like they’re doing something.
I last talked about the situation surrounding feminists and their ideas in Feminists Vs Feminazi, and the general idea was this hatred(?) various individuals had towards it. Not only does it seem unreasonable to most straight men, but the fairer sex doesn’t favour what it has now become either.
But we’re not here to discuss that. We’re here to talk about how straight men have managed to make everything about themselves yet again. And while that isn’t always the case, I’m not here to play devil’s advocate. These toxic men already do that.
Am I saying that I want everyone to trust one particular party in a situation like this blindly? No. But invalidating someone’s experience just because it’s bruising your ego isn’t any better.
He Hit Me
There have been many instances where an argument like this would occasionally come up. And if this argument has always been around, what made it resurface yet again? International Women’s Day.
Every year, on the 8th of March, the world celebrates all the women in their lives. And this is when most brands reach out to women and ask them what empowers them. Most of the times, we see campaigns highlight what things would be like if the world didn’t have any men in it. And as expected, most of the answers revolve around strolling without fear in the night, solo trips, wearing whatever they want, applying for that promotion, and so much more.
And while this does incredibly well with women, it’s the men who would comment: “You could still do this while we exist because #NotAllMen.” I’m sure that the campaign isn’t attacking every man on the planet, but it IS something many women have had to deal with. We know that not every man is this way. And we’ve had to reiterate this over and over. But why would any man feel like it’s an attack if they claim that they aren’t a part of the problem?
Apart from the hashtag, I often see many lose their breath over defending their stance, saying they’re a nice guy, or try to shift the narrative by saying “women aren’t any better”. But why feel the need to refocus everyone’s attention away from the problem? Is it necessary to push someone else down solely because you feel someone is pushing you in a corner? Doesn’t that seem extremely unnecessary?
Every woman has had to deal with a self-acclaimed “nice guy”. But shouldn’t that be a good thing? Unfortunately, any man who claims to be a nice guy would only do so because of some very misguided intentions.
While this isn’t a trope I’d want to encourage, it is a trope I heavily discuss because of how ridiculous it sounds. Now, if this happens to trigger your nice guy ego, look away because I’m not holding back.
We’ve become familiar with this particular trope through various movies, tv shows, books and more. And the only reason it is easier to root for the nice guy is because initially, every other character comes across as incredibly shitty in comparison. However, why are we encouraging various individuals to believe that the bare minimum would result in a romantic relationship or sex?
And while that does seem to be the underlying cause for various nice guys to appear out of nowhere. This trope is a lot more than just hopelessly chasing something that’s completely out of their reach. And this behaviour also gives rise to toxic traits like:
- Their skittish approach to achieve whatever goal they set their eyes on.
- Denial when it comes to reality.
- Worshipping whoever they happen to set their hearts on.
- On most occasions, they come across as entitled and downright sexist.
- And most importantly, manipulative.
Yes, we see all of these traits in women too. Nobody is trying to brush that under the rug. But it is often something many men take on solely because they’re not like other men. They’re sensitive, caring, smarter, and supportive, which seems to be the bare minimum. But they love bringing these things up to help you understand what you’re truly missing out on.
So, if you happen to come across a nice guy, ABORT MISSION.
I know I don’t have to justify how or why #NotAllmen is problematic. But we often find it easier to forgive someone because they are a friend or more. And it could be because of the nice guy trope, or we just choose to overlook anything they say.
However, if I agree with the statement, why does the hashtag bother me?
Every single time someone decides to use the hashtag, it does the following:
- It dismisses the experience of the victim
- They manage to steer the conversation in a completely different direction
- Instead of highlighting the conversation at hand, you’re bringing more attention to yourself
- It shows your unwillingness to change
- Allows you to stroke your fragile ego by shifting the blame
We know it does a lot more than just this. But instead of derailing the conversation, if people DON’T take offence, it would make for a better conversation. And I only say this because there have been various situations where it somehow always gets out of hand.
Yes, men go through just as much, and maybe they aren’t as bad as this particular trope makes it seem. But if you’re bringing out these issues ONLY when a woman happens to bring up her situation and the trauma with it, then you don’t care about either of these issues.
It doesn’t matter if you’re not like the men we’re talking about. But have you thought about how often YOU can be responsible for a woman’s discomfort? Regardless of how amazing you might be, that wouldn’t matter to a woman on high alert.
Your female friends could vouch for you, but all of that means nothing to a woman who doesn’t know you, even if you don’t come across as a threat. It’s ridiculous to take offence to this. It truly is.
But if that’s the hill you’re WILLING to die on, then we’re going to have a lot more to talk about.
And if we’re willing to accept our shortcomings, what’s stopping you from accepting yours?
Even though women are programmed to understand and respond to you accordingly, they will eventually run out of that.
What do YOU think about #NotAllMen? Let me know down below!
And if you’re interested in checking out more of my work, you can find it here.