No, no. You’ve given ample evidence that you are seeing the complexity of this problem. I didn’t say, or mean to imply, that you are the target of my criticism.
We’re just talking here. And I am unburdening myself of my weariness at how some — not all — advocates for social justice see this problem in simplistic terms, and use language that is not sufficiently inclusive.
I alluded to the fact that heterosexual men are socialized differently, and that difference tends to push us towards silence perhaps more than other categories of humans. One can read that idea in several ways: men are to blame if they aren’t organizing themselves against maltreatment; or the culture into which they were socialized is to blame for it.
Probably it’s both. We are all responsible if a problem is perpetuated from generation to generation.
Playground bullies are well tolerated in most schools; and there are plenty of adults of both genders and all sexual orientations who regard the victims as wimps. Right-wingers, in particular, like to cling to an idea called ‘Social Darwinism,’ which holds that losers deserve to lose, and they may as well get a head start on it during childhood. Never mind that ‘Social Darwinism’ didn’t come from Darwin, biology, or science. In fact, the idea owes far more to de Sade’s writings than to Darwin’s.
One of the facets of contemporary civilization which alarms me is the ease with which we resort to violence to gain advantages, and how ineffective are the measures we take to curb that violence.
But men don’t organize advocacy movements much against violence, either, excepting among racial minorities (who have it much worse, on average). The movements which do materialize against abusers of all types are mostly among women, LGBT and minority groups.
When we are choosing language with which to describe our cultural problems (and these *are* problems), we must not presume that men’s silence should always be taken as approval of abuses. Silence has other roots. And I suspect that the perpetrators of atrocities in our civilization are not always the ones who are silent. They can be quite loud, boastful, and in our faces with advocacies of their own. It’s easy to find examples: KKK, neoNazis, White supremacists, militia movements, ARA, gangs, and police. While there are some women included in these social organizations, they are overwhelmingly heterosexual men. They use threats routinely, and some use violence just as routinely.
What worries me here is that the silence of many men will be taken as enthusiastic endorsement of the status quo. That would be a grave oversimplification.
But I’m not accusing *you* of making that mistake. I’m just expressing a desire out loud for using inclusive language. People from any group can be harassers (though the problem is skewed by gender); and people from any group can be victimized by harassers. Even men.
I get that you grasp this concept easily. You have a nuanced view of the problem.
Not everyone who speaks about it does.