I’ve never liked writing articles about Feminism or politics in general. The reason being I don’t think I’m well-versed enough in the literature to share what I believe would be a well-rounded and informed opinion. A lot of what I believe is based on feelings alone, and unfortunately when you’re trying to have a debate with someone that doesn’t tend to go over too well.
Sometimes though, I’ll come across an article where the author appears to have done their research and it correlates with my own experiences and I feel the urge to share it. Usually I do this privately and individually via Facebook Messenger with friends I know will appreciate it.
This happened late last week. I came across the article, 6 Reasons “Not All Men” Misses the Point, Because It’s Derailing Important Conversations. Those six reasons spoke to me. I’ve tried to articulate all of these points in the past to my partner and some friends and this article had them all laid out in a tidy list with backlinks to further reading.
I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve had to say, “I know you’re not a bad guy, and I know none of your mates are, either – you’re missing the fucking point” so I thought hey, maybe they’ll finally get it.
A girl can dream, can’t she?
I shared it with a few people and I got chatting with my friend Emma about it in more detail. I said I wished I could share it on my Facebook wall but I wasn’t sure I could be bothered dealing with the anticipated fallout. I fully expected a couple of male friends to comment and I didn’t want to have to argue with them on a public social forum. Fighting for a cause is exhausting.
In the end, though, I decided that’s crap. If all the suffragettes and feminists before me had decided it was all too hard, where would I be now? So the absolute very least I can do is share a post on a social feed where the majority of my followers are feminist anyway. What does it cost me? Not a hell of a lot.
Fighting for what you believe in is exhausting, and that’s what I spent Friday afternoon doing.
There were three men that posted disagreeing with me, the most persistent of which I don’t believe even read the article.
I was “educated” with made-up statistics about how sexual assault has increased since the widespread advent of Feminism.
I was asked: “If I point out a female stereotype, the feminist will reply ‘that’s not all women,’ so why can’t men do the same?”
I was told that by promoting the interests of women, Feminism was therefore trying to bring down men. We should instead focus our energies towards Egalitarianism.
I’m not going to waste any more time explaining why I disagree with these opinions. In the end, my final response was simply, “By all means, please continue proving the article right. #NotAllMen.”
While this was going on, I was also having a private conversation with another male friend via Facebook Messenger who is also a feminist. I remember saying to him on Friday, “Even when other men say, ‘These women are your mothers, sisters, daughters,’ it still doesn’t sink in that they’re real people.”
The Feminists are the other “crazy” women that they don’t have any interaction with. So when a woman they do know starts sharing these views, she must be drinking the Kool-Aid. They then immediately feel the need to “remind” the women how “nice” they’ve always been to her.
I am friends with so many men. I enjoy their company. I share a lot of the same interests. Feminists are not men-haters. In fact, the article clearly expressed that some women are just as guilty of debunking feminism. It actually upsets me when I realise that the men who hold these views – who commented on the article I shared – are my friends.
I can’t say I don’t understand where it comes from. Feeling as though your identity is being attacked is a very personal thing. Plus I’m not perfect. I’ve been there. When I was a kid, I was a by-product of my parents and quite homophobic. All through high school I used the word “gay” as a synonym for “lame” like most teenagers and never thought about the people I was upsetting. My biggest shame, though, was when a large group of us were walking to the train station after school and yelled homophobic slurs at a relief teacher we all suspected to be gay. I never said anything personally – but I was still a part of it and I didn’t stop anyone.
It took me a few years to realise that he was a person who we had made feel unsafe and it wasn’t “just a joke” that he needed to get over.
Frankly a lot of the men in my life are not bad people. They don’t go out of their way to hurt women. They don’t deny that there are pay inequalities. They know that domestic violence and sexual assault against women are real issues. But the moment it’s being “shoved in their face” they feel the commentary on a personal level, rather than recognising it as a discourse on society in general.
Patriarchy is so ingrained in Western culture to the point where sometimes if I’m speaking with a man, particularly a man I know who is well-educated and that I respect, I lose sight of my own beliefs. Maybe he’s right. Maybe this particular issue isn’t a big deal. I mean, look how far women have come, so why am I getting upset about this?
That’s why we need articles like the one I shared. We need to be reminded that these issues are real and we need to continue fighting for them. We need to keep the discussion open so real change can occur.
So I’m done being quiet. Even if that means all I keep doing is sharing articles and talking about it. It’s a small step, but they all add up.
Maybe one day my guy friends will realise what I’m saying isn’t about them. Maybe one day they’ll realise we already know it’s not all men – just like the article said.