In light of the recent UCSB shooting, I'm sure many of you have been seeing the #YesAllWomen hashtag popping up on Facebook and Twitter, as well as other media sites. Basically, this trend's purpose is to promote discussion concerning sexual assault and misogyny in our society, rape culture and why it's a problem. Originally, this all began as backlash from men who became defensive and upset when women started talking about the horror and fear Elliot Rodger created in America. #NotAllMen are rapists, #NotAllMen are bad and mean and hate women; so basically women, please shut up about your problems, because it doesn't concern all of us.
Perhaps not all men assault or disrespect women, but YES, ALL WOMEN have been assaulted or disrespected by men. The best visual explanation I've seen on the internet is this:
"I hand you a bag of M&Ms and I tell you to take as many as you like. But just a warning; about 10% of them are poisoned. Now, are you gonna to touch any of those M&Ms?"
We all love M&Ms (men). But come on dudes, can you really blame us for being hesitant to trust anyone with a penis when so many have done us wrong? I love men as much as the next girl, but like all women, I too have been assaulted and demeaned and disrespected and objectified. It makes it hard for me to believe that the next guy isn't going to be like the last. It's a fear I live with every day, and I shouldn't have to.
A really good friend of mine wrote some thoughts about this whole debacle, and I like his perspective. Sometimes, mansplaining can be really good. Give him a read:
My Opinion On This “Not All Men” Bullshit Going Around
Note: If you’re lazy, just skip to the bottom paragraph. If you’re not, keep reading. Nerd.
If you have social media, you've surely seen this raging argument between misogynistic douche bags and basically every female on social media. In a few words, women have used the recent UCSB tragedy to launch a twitter campaign highlighting some issues they’d like to see addressed in our culture. Men, on the other hand, have missed the point of the campaign completely and decided to focus on what’s really important. Men! Now they’re crying all over the internet, “But not ALL men are rapists! I’m certainly not a misogynist! Respect me! Validate my humanity!” I find this whole debacle troubling.
Men: What the fuck, bros? If you’re seriously taking a feminist campaign, applying it solely to yourself, and then attempting to deny that a problem exists, you’re a fucking embarrassment to our shared gender. The whole point these lovely women are trying to make is that there is a poisonous pattern in our society that breeds these hate crimes. Rape may be down since the advent of online pornography, but it is still far, far too common. The mere fact that most young women prep for college by buying pepper spray and rape whistles should clue you in on how systemic this is. Of course not all men are rapists. Every person with half a brain realizes this. You don’t have to explain. Chances are that every “feminazi” making these wide generalizations knows a man or two. Heck, they might even be related to one! I promise you, they know there are good men out there. The problem is that, though there are many good men, there are still too many terrible men lurking in the shadows.
Here are some thoughts on how we, as a gender, can distance ourselves from being associated with hate crimes against women:
- Read up on feminism! Check out what actual women think about things! You may not agree with everything, but the vast majority of feminism is just women asking for their fair shake. Trust me, you’ll like it.
- Encourage responsibility. I’m not talking about women being ‘responsible’ for preventing rape. I’m talking about men being responsible for preventing rape. Hey man, if a lady doesn't want to do it, that’s her choice. Don’t coerce her. Don’t intimidate her. Don’t stick your penis inside her. Accept it and move on. If you hear about some dude doing any of the above, I highly recommend buying a good wooden baseball bat and then using it to beat that rapist piece of shit’s head in. Take a girl with you and make it a date!
- Forget the ‘friend-zone.’ I get it. You think your forming a relationship and it turns out it was a bust. It sucks. But that girl doesn't owe you jack shit, just like you don’t owe that girl from 7th grade who followed you around and wrote your name in her notebook a thousand times. Relationships don’t work that way. Don’t force a relationship.
- Watch your thoughts! Avoid demeaning pornography! Use respectful language regarding women! (Personally, I avoid the ‘b’ word. [Bitch. I’m referring to the word bitch.])
- In doubt, treat a woman the way you’d want a boy to treat your sister or mother. With love and respect. Respond to anything else with the same ferocity you’d respond to a mistake made by your sister’s senior prom date. You know the one. With the douchey haircut. Fuck that guy.
In short, women are pretty cool, guys. They’re like men, but they generally smell nicer. Feminism is all about treating them with respect, and certainly not sticking our dicks anywhere they aren't supposed to be. It’s not that hard. If I can quote Nick Offerman, “Be cool, man. Don’t be an asshole.” Carry on.
Welcome back, illiterate ingrates! Basically what I said was: if you’re arguing “not all men are rapists,” you’re a fucking moron. We know. What we’re saying is there are too many rapists, and society is at least partially to blame. So shut up, stop being a jackass, and do your part to make the world safe for women.
Special thanks to Samuel Moynihan for his contribution to this week's post.