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Lapsed anthropologist-turned-burlesque performer and post-modern punk housewife/homesteader living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with a hunky husband, gorgeous daughter, adorable corgi, fluffy rabbit, and three clucking fabulous chickens.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Not All Men

As I was waiting for the bus one evening, a trio of muscular, obviously inebriated, young men sauntered up to me and slurringly asked if I wanted to come back to their place and "drink some alcohol". I froze, and didn't respond. After a moment, one of them said to the others "C'mon, she probably has a boyfriend." Because that would be the only logical reason for my non-response, right?

The fact is, I have no way of knowing if they were rapists or not. They were probably very nice guys who were just a little too drunk and clumsily trying to flirt. There's every chance that if I had gone with them, nothing bad would have happened. 

Problem is, I live in a culture that tells me that if I went with them and was raped or murdered, it would have been my fault. They were drunk, it was night, I didn't know them, I shouldn't have been so stupid. What did I think would happen?

AT THE SAME TIME it tells me that I'm a horrible person for assuming that they would hurt me, just because they're men. I'm a misandrist, it's not okay to assume that all men are rapists. Not all men are rapists. They were probably nice guys, and if they retaliate to my rejection by raping or murdering me, it's my fault for rejecting and bullying them.

It's my fault. If they rape or murder me. Regardless of circumstance.

This is not something that women can fix alone. We need men to fix this with us. We need you to teach your sons respect and the concepts of bodily autonomy and sexual agency. We need you to demand comprehensive sex ed, so that women aren't valued solely for their sexual purity and viewed as single-use items. We need you to call out your friends on misogyny, even when there are no women around to hear it. We need you to stand with us and demand justice, so that a man who drugs and rapes his unconscious wife for years, films it, and confesses, doesn't get off with no jail time.

Not all men rape. Not all men murder. But all men have a responsibility and obligation to stop the ones who do. We need our male allies to tell other men who make rape jokes to stop. We need our male allies to care enough to stand up to other men who express misogynistic views. We need our male allies to get that so many women experience rape, assault, and intimidation at the hands of other men, instead of getting angry at women who say they are afraid of men.

Please don't decide that this isn't your problem because you don't hurt women. Please don't decide this is only your problem because you feel offended when women say they are afraid of men.

I'm going to keep paraphrasing Margaret Atwood, because the importance of her words cannot be overstated:

Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them. #yesallwomen

Further reading from Slate:

From Feministe in 2012:
"When the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject, it trivializes misogyny.

When the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject, it conveys the message that whatever men want to talk about is more important than misogyny.

When the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject to something that’s about them, it conveys the message that men are the ones who really matter, and that any harm done to men is always more important than misogyny.

And when the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject, it comes across as excusing misogyny. It doesn’t matter how many times you say, “Yes, of course, misogyny is terrible.” When you follow that with a “Yes, but…”, it comes across as an excuse. In many cases, it is an excuse. And it contributes to a culture that makes excuses for misogyny."

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