Not All Men? Well, actually…
Last month, I wrote this provocative little number about male “feminists”. Basically, my article centered on a series of questions, prompting men to do some introspection as to why they call themselves feminists.
After writing that article, and (mistakenly?) reading the pissed-off responses on various social media outlets, I learned a valuable lesson: women should never question men, ever. Even though the vast majority of all violent crime in the world is committed by men. Oh, and don’t forget that all the most destructive industries in the world — e.g., industrial agriculture, necrotechnocracy, sex trafficking, the military industrial complex, etc. etc. .… are dominated and directed by men.
Women are expected to politely ignore that fact, that very-verifiable and universally consistent fact, because men don’t like being reminded of the fact that their sex class is demonstrably, undeniably, indisputably, globally and historically more violent than ours. They do this shit, or they passively watch other men do this shit, and then they have the nerve to get offended when women are suspicious of them.
So what happens when you state this obvious fact, this reality, this truth, that males as a social class are more violent than females at grossly disproportionate rates, worldwide, regardless of race, religion or class? Men do what they’ve been conditioned to do when someone says something they don’t want to hear: get angry. Boy, do they know how to get angry! It’s like scripted or something. Every damn time a woman tries to talk about male-pattern violence, even when she’s polite as pie, here come teh menz in droves to shut her up with sandwich jokes and suck-my-dick’s and you-fucking-cunt’s and I’m-gonna-kill-you-in-your-sleep’s. Sadly, most women cave to this. Because, yeah, male anger is terrifying. Try to talk about male violence, and males will inevitably shut down the conversation with… more male violence. #LOLgic
If I cared at all about what men think of what I’m saying, I’d probably be following-up on that last paragraph with a reassuring “I DIDN’T SAY ALL MEN ARE VIOLENT! I SAID MOST VIOLENCE IS PERPETRATED BY MEN! SO IF YOU’RE NOT VIOLENT YOU HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT :) THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU :) :) :) sopleasedon’tkillmeplease”
But fuck that, I won’t say that, because I don’t care. Go ahead, get mad. If you’re the type of dude who can’t handle it when some barely-known writer on Medium (hi) states this fact, that violence is generally a male phenomenon, then you’re exactly the kind of dude I won’t waste my time on. Reality is not up for debate, sorry. And no amount of asking if I’m on my period, joking that I must also be “suspicious of potted plants,” or labeling me a “dick-hater” is going to alter that reality, or even make me stop writing about it. That political gaslighting shit might work on other people, but this face stopped working on me years ago:
Still reading? Thanks. ’preciate it. Now here’s what I actually want to talk about:
Men aren’t the only people who get all offended-in-their-pants when confronted with the staggering statistics on global male violence. Women get offended, too. Judging by some of the handmaiden-y responses to my article, it seems some (read: straight) women fear that I’m asking them to dump their boyfriends and live on a lesbian separatist commune. Don’t worry, I’m not. Yet.
What I am asking us to do (“us” = female feminists) is try a different approach to feminism.
Mainstream feminism has a habit of focusing on female victimhood. Like so:
- 1 in 6 women will be raped in her lifetime
- 1 in 4 women will be abused by an intimate partner
- Women make ____ cents of every white man’s dollar (the number varies depending on the woman’s race, disability status, etc.)
- Women are unfairly and inhumanely represented in the media
You’ve heard it all before, you don’t need me to repeat it here. And yeah, it’s important to acknowledge women who are beaten, women who are violated, women who are impoverished. Someone needs to be the voice who makes their stories known.
But one problem with victim-centered rhetoric is that it’s easy for anti-feminists to exploit when they don’t want these conversations to happen. “Men get raped/beaten/murdered too!” And it’s true. They do. It’s way too easy to derail a conversation about victimhood because victimhood is easy to turn into a competition. (Oppression Olympics, anyone?)
Another problem with mainstream feminist rhetoric is that it portrays these women-victims as though they exist in a vacuum. Like they came out of nowhere. “And then suddenly this woman with bruises all over her body just kinda, materialized, from thin air! It was so weird! Whoa, look — there’s another one! And another one! Where are they coming from?”
Give me a break. Let’s stop pretending violence just happens to women, or it’s just the way things are, or that we don’t know where women’s collective injuries are coming from.
Commence the dreaded questioning process!
- “Women are raped” — yes, but by whom?
- “Women are beaten” — yes, but by whom?
- “Women are impoverished” — yes, but by whom?
- “Women are unfairly represented in the media” — yes, but by whom?
- “Men get raped/beaten/murdered too!” — yes, but by whom?
It’s okay, you can say it. It’s men. If you’re going to talk about the victims of violence, you need to talk about the perpetrators.
I understand why women don’t want to challenge men this directly. We share this planet with them. And there aren’t many things scarier than the prospect that half the human population can’t be trusted.
Also: we love men. We don’t just love men, we loooo0Ooooo00OOooooOOOoo0ove men. They’re our brothers, our fathers, our uncles, our sons, our friends, our partners, our mentors….
But, as James Baldwin so strikingly put it, “If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.”
Naming the problem doesn’t make you a man-hater or a bitch or a cunt. It makes you aware. It means you’re sane. And let’s face it, feminist or not, polite or not, as long as you’re a woman, they’ll call you misogynist slurs anyway. As Mary Daly put it, “I know that I will be punished just as much for being an itty-bitty feminist as for going the whole way. And so I go the whole way.”
Let’s go the whole way, shall we?