So You’re A Man With An Opinion About Feminism And #YesAllWomen

If you were on Twitter last weekend, you probably noticed the #YesAllWomen trending topic. The hashtag’s purpose was to raise awareness of the effect of misogyny and sexism in the daily life of women. Here is an FAQ for men who’d like to jump into the conversation.

Awesome. You’re doing the right thing. Keep it up. The best ways for you to help are to use your privilege to amplify women’s voices, and stand up to sexism when you see it happening.

OK, cool, but you don’t get a medal for meeting the basic standards of human decency. To quote @weinmanj on the UCSB shooter, “‘I have never killed anyone for rejecting me and therefore I’m not part of the problem’ is a pretty low bar.”

The point is NOT that all men harass and abuse women. It’s that all women have been abused and harassed by men. Also, this is a derailing argument — you’re redirecting the focus away from women and their experiences and making it about you. Don’t do that.

Yes, they do. But the numbers don’t lie: Violence committed by men against women happens on an exponentially larger scale than violence committed by women against men. Over 90% of domestic violence against women is committed by men, whereas overall domestic violence against men is committed by men and women in comparable measures.

One out of six American women has been or will be the victim of attempted or completed rape in her lifetime, compared with 1 out of 33 men. Street harassment and catcalling is by FAR the most common form of sexual violence. Internationally, between 70 and 99% of women report being victimized, whereas reports of street harassment against male victims are so sparse as to be statistically negligible.

Yes, he did. Misogyny hurts everyone. And feminism isn’t just for women – it helps men too. A major focus of feminism is discrediting and dismantling patriarchy-enforced gender roles. You shouldn’t have to conform to the tropes of “traditional masculinity” if you don’t want to. Want to dance or bake or sew? Go ahead. Want to date women who don’t present as traditionally feminine? Feminism can help with that too. Feel like you can’t express your feelings around your friends? Feminism is for you.

The feminist movement has also helped make concrete changes that benefit men — changing the FBI’s definition of rape to include male victims, for example, and helping expand the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Economic empowerment of women is good for men, as they no longer have to be the sole breadwinners, and for national economies overall. Widespread access to birth control gives both men and women greater say in family planning.

There’s a very (very, very, very) small possibility that you’re right. And if that’s the case, they’re very lucky and very much in the minority. But it’s vastly more likely that AT LEAST one of them has been harassed or assaulted and just hasn’t told you.

Any number of reasons. She could be ashamed because society has taught her she was asking for it. (“What were you wearing?” is a question that gets asked to victims of rape and victims of catcalling alike, and it is never, ever OK.) It’s possible she’s internalized societal norms so deeply that she doesn’t know that getting catcalled at the bus stop every morning isn’t just something she has to grin and bear. Or it’s possible she just doesn’t want to talk about it. You’re not entitled to know every single detail of her life.

Or, just maybe, you’ve made an off-handed comment or off-color joke around her at some point and she put a little mental X next to your name: won’t be sympathetic to my experience. One in three women will experience domestic or sexual violence in her lifetime. Ever made a rape joke in front of a woman? In front of three or more women? Think about how that made them feel.

All this argument does is show that you value money and property as much as or more than you value women’s health, safety, and lives. Not a good look.

Human beings rise above and beyond their baser instincts every day — in fact, rising above your instincts is pretty much the entire founding principle of civilization. We are more than the sum of our biology.

Women don’t owe you their time, their attention, or their bodies. Women only owe you basic human decency, which is exactly what you owe them.

Six people are dead in California because of a man who felt entitled to sexual and romantic attention from women. No one’s laughing.

Feminists don’t like men who harass and abuse and discriminate against women. There’s a difference.

That’s an entirely baseless stereotype. Feminists don’t have more or less sex because they’re feminists. They’re just more likely to speak up when they don’t want it.

Take a few minutes to think about yourself and your views and examine why that might be. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

Grow up.

[jerk-off motion]

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