When women discuss feeling unsafe, experiences of sexism, or harassment, it is common for men to respond by parroting ‘not all men’, ‘not all men harass women’ or ‘not all men are violent’. The same happened when a girl took it to her Twitter to share how a man harassed her and bashed men generally.
As women, we understand that not all men rape. Neither are they all misogynists nor do they go around committing crimes against women. However, here is one thing all men do, i.e. they reap the benefits of a patriarchal system.
Yesterday, a girl narrated an incident where a man, a stranger, touched her from behind while she was getting medicines from a pharmacy. In addition to this, she mentioned that she slapped the guy, and bash men on the whole. Well, then it was only a matter of time that defensive men began pouring in their ‘not all men are the same’ comments.
Here is what the girl tweeted
Let’s take a look at how these men responded
According to this guy, she should have remained silent rather than making a ‘fuss’ about it.
He said, “Just because one man touched you, you are bashing all men. How is it their fault? A woman passed by me when I was getting medicine from a pharmacy. She walked by, touching me. I thought it was my fault but later found out that she stole 2000 from my pocket. But I remained silent.”
Well, there are many more similar responses from mainly, men. And after seeing so many men getting defensive, the girl later tweeted:
Let’s make one thing clear here. Being a man who is not a perpetrator of violence is not something that deserves a medal. They do not need to be showered with gratitude for not being a horrible human being. PERIOD.
Although it is understandable that you may not want to get lumped into a category of ‘violent men’ there is no need to defend yourself and make the discussion about yourself. Instead of saying ‘not all men’, which is unhelpful and distracting, it is okay to sit with your discomfort with being unaware. How hard is it to express empathy towards the victim?
Sure, not all men oppress women and good ones exist. But, in a patriarchal society like ours, women are oppressed on a daily basis. And the benefits of this society are reaped by all men, not a single woman. The bottom line is, ‘not all men’ is no longer an argument. In fact, it is an excuse for men to not let go of the privilege they are so used to.
In addition to this, these men need to realize that even if they themselves are not actively taking part in propagating patriarchy, they go around life wrapped up in the protective shield of the privilege granted to them by the gender they were born into.
So yes, this is what we women mean by ‘all men’, and this is why you should understand that saying ‘not all men’ serves no purpose. Hats off to this brave girl for slapping that man!
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