Men Should Get Our Best Behavior, Too

What is good for the goose…

I am a feminist. I am a firm believer in equality.

I won’t stand for being marginalized or targeted because of my gender. I will not tolerate a double standard when I see it. Men shouldn’t either.

Being a woman does not give us the right to unfairly treat men because of their gender. It makes us no better than what we fight against.

We become angry when broad generalizations and assumptions are made about women. Yet, we do it to men.

I recently read an article by an author who claimed that a man had mansplained to her in a comment on social media. I vehemently disagreed with her analysis of the situation and stated so.

Had I been a male and expressed my disagreement, I can only imagine a crevice would have opened in the floor and sucked me right in.

What bothered me was the entire article explained what this man was saying, what his thoughts were. If there is mansplaining, there is femsplaining. I’ve been called out on it before.

I wrote an article about the controversial Gillette ad. In the comments, a man shared why he was upset with the commercial. I invalidated his feelings.

I wasn’t refuting facts. I wasn’t calling attention to misinformation. I flat out told him what he felt was wrong. I femsplained his male childhood.

I was an asshole. I got called out and deservedly so.

Photo by Ricardo Mancia via Unsplash

I have become pretty well trained in spotting misogyny. Suffice to say, not every negative comment from a man is misogynistic. Not every one is an act of aggression against us because of our gender.

We need to think long and hard before we throw around words like mansplaining. If I were a man reading that article, I would be horribly confused. I would see that any sign of disagreement with a woman is going to be taken as an attack.

Let’s teach men what inexcusable behavior is but let’s be clear with our examples. If we don’t, learning gets lost. More harm is done than good.

I once had a man, in a comment on an article, explain to me why I was having a hard time with men on dating apps. He explained in a 1,206 word comment that I was not contacting the right men and I was feeling frustrated because I had set a standard too high. I never said that. I didn’t feel that. He told me that if I started seeking more blue collar men, I would find better success. I had never mentioned the type of man I was seeking online. That was his assumption.

He referred to me as “you women” twelve times.

It was very clear to me that his explanation of my situation was steeped in gender bias.

That 1,206 word diatribe was solid mansplaining. Disagreeing with someone and defending your own stance is not mansplaining. It’s explaining. Period. Assigning a gender based term to it without justification does nothing for us other than make us look like women who cried wolf.

I don’t want a man to shy away from disagreeing with me out of fear that anything he said would be construed as sexist.

What I want is someone to careful select their words in order to ensure their intent is in line with my perception. This goes for both genders.

We need to think before we jump to a conclusion about someone’s intent.

We are asking men to be better humans. We need to do it, as well. If we don’t, we perpetuate the notion that being treated in an unfair manner because of your gender is justified and acceptable. It’s not.