Moving Beyond “Not All Men!”
Seriously…the joke, if there ever was one, is finished. Done. Finito. Ultimo. Vorbei. Eindigde. Τελείωσε.
Not a Medium story about dating, happiness, relationships, or marriage goes by, it seems, not a tweet is posted, not a comment about the social dynamics that we humans of today endure is spoken, without some guy coming around like some sort of fairness police to chime in the painful, cringe-worthy, and downright detracting statement that we all know and love — “not all men!”
When did this happen? More importantly, how did this happen? How did we men get to a point where, on a whole, we’re so soft that we can’t let a person vent or grieve, express themselves, or discuss any sort of distinction between the sexes without suddenly being spun into a fit of not-so-delicious, pure, unadulterated, toxic maleness?
Why are men today taking everything so personally? Why do they feel personally and individually attacked at the mere mention that other men might be less-than-okay guys to hang around. This isn’t even getting started with the rape apologists, which is also somehow now a thing; imagine that, men, again, on a whole (not all men!), have become a sex that simultaneously communicates, seemingly ad infinitum, that not all men are bad, but somehow, sexual assault is to be expected, rape isn’t that bad because it’s not quite working in a Chinese factory, and women shouldn’t have the same rights to bodily autonomy that we guys do. Men complain that feminism is unfair to them, that it’s patronizing, that it makes decent men feel like bad men…
When did talking about rape become such an attack on men? Funny, because, here this whole time, I thought that criticisms against rape were an attack on rapists. Yet, many men never seem to be able to NOT conflate the two. I don’t feel this, at all. When I see a woman expressing frustration with men in general, I understand that they aren’t talking about me — I empathize. Is that the difference? Is there a lack of empathy?…an inability to allow people their space and to speak their piece?
If men didn’t feel that discussions about rape and sexual assault were attacks on all men, they wouldn’t, in fact, feel the need to chime in, “Not all men!”
- Hint: The statement, “Not all men!” implies either a guilty conscience or an unhealthy and hypersensitive reflex, you can only choose one.
I also think that many men have been attacked by the more toxic feminists out there and have felt the brunt of the more enraged bunch of feminists who’ve chosen to shame decent men unjustly, sadly…yet, I don’t personally experience the need to say those ridiculous three words that seem so reflexively impulsive to so many others.
I’ve never been inclined to scream through my keyboard (or in real life), “NOT ALL MEN!” It’s simply never happened, and I can’t help but wonder why. How am I different from you? Help me…help us…to better understand you, if you’re a decent man who’s out there and says this whenever the conversation comes up. Help me understand because literally every time someone says, “Not all men!” and I proceed to scratch beneath the surface a bit with the good old Socratic Method, and the ‘decent’ man screaming, “NOT ALL MEN ARE BAD MEN!” prove, almost immediately, that they aren’t at all decent men, but angry, resentful, and bitter men, men with a bone to pick, and the exact type of men whatever conversation being had has intended to criticize. Help me understand. I’m listening. Seriously. If you don’t want to talk abou this publicly, I can be reached on Twitter — message me at any time.
I just want a sensible, calm conversation and some level-headed examples of someone who gets deeply offended by these topics, someone who can manage to compose themselves for more than four and a half minutes after encountering one without — BOOM — a big explosion of fury. In closing…
Honestly, I think it’s time that we men hold each other up, cheer each other on in our healthy habits, and help each other out when we need it, and that starts with some good old fashion brotherly love, the type of brotherly love that calls one another out on our bullshit, and the type that accepts the criticism of others and strives to make a change so that we can be the best men we can be.
So, if you’re with me, I suggest we all start by finding a woman we’ve been less than nice to, someone we’ve treated unfairly, maybe someone we cheated on, someone we borrowed money from and never paid back (don’t act like you haven’t) and we go to them with no other pretenses than to apologize to them…we make our amends and we walk, returning to our lives. This is step one. This isn’t an exchange, don’t expect anything out of it, just do it to make things right and leave it at that. Here’s an idea, most phone companies will allow you to pay the bill on an account without signing in or accessing the account, maybe go pay her phone bill anonymously…don’t call her, don’t mention it, don’t even tell her it was you, just do it and let it resonate with you for a couple of days and let me know how it feels. Trust me on this, you’ll feel a lot better about yourself, life, the world and all things in it, after you do.
So, what would it take for you to feel powerful again? Secure, confident, effective, vital, and potent? What would it take to make you feel whole? Because I believe that we men can get there, and it starts by ditching the reflexive sensitivity and embracing our strength, our stoic endurance, and our pride — the things that healthy masculinity are made of.
© 2019; Joe Duncan. All Rights Reserved