Not all Men.
It’s the phrase we hear time and time again, albeit in a very narrow set of circumstances. It’s never used, for example, when male commentators opine on how men are better drivers than women, or men are great at reading maps.
*insert your own tired stereotype here*.
No, for some reason, those that screech #NotAllMen! never seem to take issue with those such generalisations or sweeping statements.
But when women talk about sexual violence and harassment, as they have done in their droves since the Harvey Weinstein allegations came to light, you can bet your bottom dollar that men will queue up to take issue with it.
Here’s how it usually goes:
Woman: I’ve been shouted at in the street, groped in nightclubs, assaulted on the tube and was raped by my boyfriend.
Man: Actually, I think it’s important to make clear that not all men are like this. Most men would never behave in such a terrible way. I certainly wouldn’t. Isn’t it a bit sexist to tar all men with the same brush?
The #NotAllMen brigade don’t sincerely think that women talking about the violence we’ve been subjected to at the hands of men are under the impression that every single man on the planet has behaved in a similar way.
That would be, well, a bit silly.
If nearly every woman you know has faced sexual violence or harassment in one form or another throughout her life, then us asking why ‘’men’’ continue to perpetuate this culture, shouldn’t be controversial.
Yes, we KNOW that not every single man is responsible. Yes, we KNOW that you would never do that; and you’ve reminded us enough, thanks.
So #NotAllMen doesn’t clarify anything. It doesn’t add to the discussion or develop it in any way. All it does is derail and dismiss the lived experiences of women and girls. And what the men who leap to remind us that ‘’not all men are like that’’, are actually saying is, ‘’I’m not like that.’’ Or to put it another way, they are…