One of the true pleasures of writing online about dating, relationships and feminism (even when it’s peripheral) is the #notallmen crowd popping up every now and then to invalidate my opinions and experiences.
It’s like if I stand in front of a mirror and whisper “men are trash” three times, some little white boy raised on their mother’s blind praise will suddenly appear, like Bloody Mary herself. He’ll then bleat at me about how not all men are trash and then list all the reasons they themselves are not trash because one time one of their friends got drunk in their house and they didn’t feel her tits after she passed out, even though all of their friends did. What a hero.
But newsflash my friends, I know that all men aren’t trash. If I didn’t, I’d literally never have sex ever again, because shockingly enough, I am heterosexual. I have a boyfriend, who also has never felt a girls tits while she’s been passed out in his house – difference is he doesn’t think that’s good evidence that we aren’t currently living in an inherently patriarchal society.
Contrarianism is so pointless and unhelpful, that by using it as the basis of your argument, it immediately makes you part of the problem. You’re forcing me to entertain the idea that you (some man I’ve never met) would never do that, while completely dismissing the fact that A) I don’t know you, and B) I’m not specifically talking about you. Did I write “Jonathan Generic Smith of 123 Whiteman Lane is a piece of trash”? No I didn’t. So fuck off.
You’re taking what is a very real issue – that is the completely disproportionate abuse that women and non-binary experience at the hands of men – and turning it into something completely trivial. And this is why, even if you’ve never personally victimised a woman (to which I do have to ask “are you really sure?”), by arguing with me about what I’ve experienced, you’re actually doing more to convince me of the opposite. I’ve already decided that you aren’t as good of a person as you think you are.
You can’t even accept that sometimes men on Tinder are fucking gross because you specifically think that you aren’t fucking gross. How is anyone meant to trust you, when you won’t even listen to women tell the stories of strange men who followed them home from the gym? Why on earth would you think that arguing with me about my real and lived experiences is, in any way, going to convince me that you’re a better person than the people I’m talking about? How is silencing me and forcing me to explain myself to save your ego helping anyone?
You’re literally bullying someone for attempting to calling out the very people who are bullying them.
Our lives depend on highlighting this kind of behaviour, on trying to highlight the shit we have to live with everyday. We have to talk about this to try and protect the girls that come after us, out of sheer hope they won’t have to live with the nightmares of what happened to them a full decade later. We have to get men angry at the injustices we’ve faced because maybe the next time that strange man won’t stop at just following us home. We need men to hear these stories so they recognise we’re in danger and that our lives depend on something changing.
Your life doesn’t depend on you defending yourself like a spoilt brat who didn’t get a pat on the head for going wee-wee in the potty.
Help us fight the common enemy – the trash men. You don’t want me to think all men are trash? Prove that you aren’t. Stop and listen; acknowledge, learn, and educate. Prove that you are worthy of being an exception to the rules through actions. Share our voices without adding your own or silencing mine. Don’t expect me to praise you for being a decent human being. Instead, remember that 1 in 3 women will experience sexual assault of some kind in her lifetime (a statistic I am absolutely certain is under-reported). Remember this, so if a woman is standing in front of you, telling you that she’s angry at men, there’s probably a reason for that. That reason probably has nothing to do with you, so don’t go making yourself part of her reason. Make yourself part of her solution, by helping her to educate the trash men on how not to be her reason.
Because I’m not joking when I say our lives depend on it.
Have you had any experience with the #notallmen crowd? Tell me about it below!