I’m compelled to write this following the recent Harvey Weinstein allegations.
Admittedly we haven’t heard this much on this occasion (or at least I haven’t), but a phrase that is often repeated when a sexual predator is found out is “not all men.” The not so subtle subtext to that is that hey, come on, we’re not all like that, most men are ‘good guys’, so women you’ll just have to learn which ones to ignore.
But I’m going to call that out as bullshit.
It’s bullshit because it puts the onus on women to learn / cope with / avoid the ‘bad guys’ and it doesn’t challenge or try to stop the men’s behaviour.
It’s bullshit because even without blatant sexual assaults there is a lot of behaviour by many men that women find threatening, uncomfortable, invasive and just downright icky. The ‘not all men’ mantra stops men from challenging or questioning their own behaviour.
But it’s mainly bullshit because while it is true that not all men are sexual predators it is true that all (or nearly all) women have a story that is about, at best, inappropriate sexual behaviour by a man towards them, but very often is about downright sexual abuse.
And men, you don’t have to have a wife / daughter / mother to be appalled at this – be appalled because it is wrong.
– – –
Just over 12 months ago I wrote a similar post to this after Trump’s admission about “grabbing”. It’s amazing that it needs writing again.
Last year’s post (which you can read here: Men – it’s time to get angry) was inspired by a Twitter conversation asking women for their first sexual assault – not the only one, because the female author of the tweet knew that most women had suffered multiple assaults. You can still see the thread here: https://twitter.com/kellyoxford/status/784541062119456769.
In last year’s post I talked about four things that men (actually anyone, but I was directing it at men) can do:
- Step up
- Step in
Unfortunately it’s still appropriate and I suspect that there will be many more of these stories to come out in the future.