Not All Men, But Still Too Many Men

[Edit: turning comments off. I figure nothing good is gonna come after 450 comments.]

A young man felt spurned by women and shot people because of it. He drove up and fired a weapon out of a BMW and committed murder, leaving behind a video and a manifesto about his rage against women. He felt rejected by them. He was reportedly a follower of MRA (Men’s Rights Activism), which is a group of men who are upset because they feel they have an unequal set of rights in a few key areas, which is a lot like a rich guy who is mad at a homeless guy because the homeless guy is standing in his favorite patch of sunlight. (The term “men’s rights” is roughly analogous to the phrase “white power,” and equally creepy.) Yes, we can talk about gun rights and mental health issues because neither are properly addressed in this country. But we also need to talk about the entitlement of men and the objectification of women.

Most of the men who read this blog are, I hope and assume, not entitled piss-bags who think that they are owed affection by women, as if that’s the role of women in this life, to be willing and charitable receptacles for our urges. To be punching bags and accessories. To reiterate and sound the horn just the same: women don’t owe you anything. Whether you’re an alpha male or a wanna-be alpha, some faux bro-dude bad-ass or some repressed alley-dwelling CHUD, it matters little. I don’t care who you are; your maleness does not entitle you to anything.

You may have been told otherwise.

Culture wants us to think that. That being a guy comes with a rider like we’re Van Halen demanding a fucking bowl full of green M&Ms or some shit, but I’m here to tell you, that isn’t true. It’s a myth. You’re entitled to nothing, and yet, ironically, you’re born with this pesky thing called privilege. And sure, someone out there is already mad I’ve invoked that word, that being a dude is hard on its own and privilege is an illusion and blah blah blah something about divorced men and prostate cancer, but just remember that the men go on dates thinking they won’t get laid, and women go on dates thinking they might get raped, punched, maybe killed. Remember that as a man you can say all kinds of shit and add “lol” at the end of it and nobody gives a shit, but as a woman anything you say might be interpreted as antagonistic and end up with rape threats or death threats. Remember that any seemingly safe space — train station, bookstore, social media, city park — is an opportunity for a man to catch a train or read a book, but is also an opportunity for a woman to be the subject of threat or sexual violence.

Remember that men get paid more, get to do more, get to be more.

I understand that as a man your initial response to women talking about misogyny, sexism, rape culture and sexual violence is to wave your hands in the air like a drowning man and cry, “Not all men! Not all men!” as if to signal yourself as someone who is not an entitled, presumptive fuck-whistle, but please believe me that interjecting yourself in that way confirms that you are. Because forcing yourself into safe spaces and unwelcome conversations makes you exactly that.

Instead of telling women that it’s not all men, show them.

Show them by listening and supporting.

Show them by cleaning the dogshit out of your ears and listening to their stories — and recognize that while no, it’s not “all men,” it’s still “way too many men.” Consider actually reading the #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter not to look for places to interject and defend your fellow men, but as a place to gain insight and understanding into the experiences women have. That hashtag should serve as confirmation that women very often experience the spectrum of sexism and rape culture from an all-too-early age. Recognize that just because “not all men” are gun-toting, women-hating assholes fails to diminish the fact that sexism and rape culture remain firmly entrenched and institutional within our culture.

Because if your response to the shooting is to defend men (or worse, condemn women) instead of speaking out against this type of violence and attitude, then you best check yourself.

This isn’t the time to talk about nice guys. Or friend zoning. Or men’s rights. Or rejection.

This isn’t the time to ride up as standard-bearers for the realm of menfolk.

You have privilege, so use it. You’re not a white knight, but if other men try to objectify women or talk down to them — step up or walk away. If you have a son, teach him about consent and drive home the point that the 100% of the fault in a rape case is on the rapist, not the victim. Help other men — you, your children, your friends — reach a place of empathy.

This isn’t about you. Don’t derail. Don’t pull that mansplaining bullshit.

Shut your mouth and don’t speak over them.

Open your ears and listen.

Open your eyes and see.

Thus endeth the lesson, gents.

459 comments

  • Brilliant post, Chuck, and one that I agree with 100%, and have been thinking about and railing about inside my head for a long time.

    I stand with you, shoulder to shoulder.

  • A quick note to all the guys on here who felt the need to explain, argue, act defensive or just play say “well I don’t do that kind of stuff” as if that makes it all ok (it does not).

    Has it occurred to you that in this instance it’s not about you? This is not about men, nor is the #YesAllWomen movement an attack on men. This is about women expressing the shit we all have to live with every day, and the amount of energy we have to exert on a daily basis to try and keep ourselves safe.

    This is not about you. This is about us. Please don’t make this about you.

    There is a huge problem with the world we live in, and the solution is for you all to please, as Chuck so elegantly puts it, “shut your mouth” and just listen to us. Listen, and try to understand.

    Because you have NO idea.

  • I do not know ANY woman who has not been catcalled, threatened, or loudly insulted and/or sexually propositioned MULTIPLE times in her life. I do not know any woman who has not, at least once, experienced legitimate fear of being harmed by a man. The fact that this happens to ALL WOMEN should be more than enough to make the blood of “not all men” boil with rage and the desire for righteous retribution against such sorry excuses for males, not the need to defend THEMSELVES.

    My father recently said he doesn’t like the way women “study” men, how we’re always trying to figure out what men are thinking and asking them what they’re feeling. He seemed to have the crazy idea that we do this for fun or because we’re just naturally nosy. I scoffed and when he asked me, “Okay, WHY do women do this?” I responded calmly with, “Because you kill us.” That’s right lads, it’s just a good old fashioned survival mechanism honed by thousands of years of evolution. Being “tuned in” to you is, simply, a strategy to keep you from slaughtering us. Not always terribly effective, obviously, but since we got totally ripped off in the upper body strength department we work with what we have.

    So thank you for this article. Thank you for being a man…not one of “those” men. Much appreciated.

  • You’ve got yourself a new reader. Thank you for being a voice of reason in a sea of utter madness.

  • For those women in this comment section that have shared their personal stories and feelings, thank you.

    I can be thick-headed sometimes. Heck, I can be immensely thick-headed. But hearing that there are people who are brave enough to speak about their trauma in the face of hypocrisy is touching beyond words.

    You have no idea how much speaking up helps idiots like me realize that gender inequality is more than just an employment quota. It’s a mindset that the majority of the country hasn’t reached yet.

    I’ll try to be more mindful of these issues and be more empathetic towards the people it effects in the future.

  • Grave imbalance in the world, by the overproduction of testosterone, arguably the most dangerous substance on the planet, leading cause of death on a mass scale for the past couple thousand years or more. Since the dawn of the adamic age, woman was made 2nd class citizen to men, by the collective male ego, and it’s narcissistic love for itself, manifesting as war, destruction, greed, violence, this is the male ego out of balance, out of touch with its own feminine energy, oblivious to the obvious, the Divine nature of the womb. Ying and yang, halves of a whole, neither complete without the other, such is the reality of the genders, our origin is Unity.

  • May 27, 2014 at 2:39 AM //

    thank you Chuck. thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Not an ounce of hostility.

  • Well put. The term “being a man” has so many negative connotations attached to it due to where we are as a society. This is a learned trait.Passed down from generation to generation. My dad Never spoke this way but my peers did and that is where I learned it. Being a man deems you are dominant, stronger, cannot be hurt easily and superior. I will do whatever I need to do to protect my family but so will my wife. I will put my children’s needs before my own but so will my wife. In a few years my wife’s salary will probably double my own. I feel nothing but pride! I have nothing to prove. I am a work in progress. I still may get loud in the house demanding to be heard or feeling I know better. But I’m still learning. I am never intimidated by my wife’s success. The smarter, stronger, braver, physically fit and financially successful she is, the more successful we are.
    We are not in a competition. I do not have to out-man any one else or be better than anybody but the person I was yesterday. Society and especially marketing says we must be better then the next guy. Buy more. Be more successful. It’s all a lie. A lie we are so conditioned to accept.
    Sorry for my rambling, just where I am this morning.

  • May 27, 2014 at 9:49 AM //

    So you chastise me me for being entitled , which couldn’t be further from the truth. Then you want me to use my entitlement that I don’t have? I do agree with educating your child though, teach them HOW to think not WHAT to think.

    I also love the allusion that there are no female rapists nor and male rape victims.

  • This is a repulsive article. You take one psychotic man who killed 4 men by the way and 2 women, and you blame the entire gender of men, that is dysfunctional. I find it repulsive how all of you have leaped on to be vultures of this tragedy to further your anti-male agenda. You talk to your fellow man like that? Not sure when you learned your contempt for your brothers but you have some major issues to move through and stop dismissing the suffering of men by highlighting women as being the only ones who experience rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment and so forth. Unbelievable. This is just purely hateful and you’re proud. Way to perpetuate the anti-male agenda. Good job.

    • It’s not an anti-male movement, way to miss the point. Good job. It’s about how ALL women, EVERYWHERE have, at some point in their lives, felt afraid, abused or objectified at the hands of certain, specific men, and how those experiences teach all of us the only way to stay safe is to stay afraid and cautious. I’ll quote Margaret Atwood here again: “Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them.” THAT’S what this is about. It’s about how unacceptable it is for females to have to live in fear our entire lives. OF COURSE not ALL men do bad things or even say bad things to women, but the point is that enough of them do for us to ALL be afraid, because we can’t read minds and can’t know ahead of time which ones will hurt, rape or kill us. Our only safe route is to fear them ALL until or unless we reach a point of knowing a given indidividual well enough that we trust he has no bad intentions. But even THEN, we’re not 100% sure and can’t be, because there are plenty enough news stories of husbands, boyfriends and even fathers who turned on their wives, girlfriends or daughters with murderous intent YEARS down the road. THAT’S what this is about. Get your head out of the sand and LISTEN. And read: http://www.vox.com/…/heres-why-women-have-turned-the…

  • I do not believe that men have more “privilege” than women do in our society, except for the “privilege” of not dealing with nearly as much sexual harassment in general. Which, I will say, is no small thing. But that’s about the extent of it. The wage gap is a myth: women with the same level of education, with the same jobs, *who works the same number of years* and the *same number of hours on the job* get paid more or less exactly what men make. These are fakes that are widely ignored.

    Sexual harassment is obviously a very serious issue, that is not going anyway anytime soon. All we can do is raise our children better. I also think that teaching civics should be a more important part of our school system.

    • The wage gap is no myth.

      The census has repeatedly shown that woman make 3/4 of what a man makes in similar role with similar background. And that’s just the iceberg’s tip in terms of what women are prevented from achieving in terms of the glass ceiling or education.

      — c.

      • I don’t believe you read my comment very carefully. Sure, women make about 3/4 of what men make. *However*, this is not true when you isolate for 1) same level of education 2) same job 3) same number of years on the job 4) same number of hours worked.

        Some of the things that account for women having a lesser wage is that many women choose to take time off work when they have children. This can halt income for lengthy periods of time, and also further has the effect of stunting the promotional climbing.

        Also, it’s simply a fact that on average men work more hours than women do on average. More hours = more wages.

        Another thing that impacts gender wages is that, *on average*, women tend to prefer jobs in which there are more secondary benefits, such as a job they enjoy more, as opposed to men, who on average tend to take jobs that earn the most money.

        Generalizing can be a dangerous thing, but all of these things are true on *average*.

        Which is why, going back to the original point: When men and women have the same level of education, the same job, the same number of years on the job, and the same number of hours worked, once all these factors are isolated for, the wage gap is something between nonexistent and extremely minor.

        This is the type of information you get when you read credible studies from economists, not political pundits who spin the facts.

        • And yet you provide no links or study names. So why should anyone here take your word for it that your assertions and so-called “facts” come from “credible” studies? Where did you get the “fact” that men simply work more hours than women? And does that “fact” take into account that salaried workers don’t get paid by the hour anyway, so it doesn’t matter how many hours you work when you’re on salary: you get paid the same. You also fail to take into account the glass ceiling, and the fact that women who DO temporarily leave the workplace to have kids are discriminated against when they return—often before they’re even hired or promoted, BECAUSE their supervisors fear they may one day want to be mothers. Men do not face this kind of discrimination, and therefore it’s far easier for them to prosper in their careers. Nobody assumes men must choose between work and career, but it’s something that society’s been debating about women since the 1950’s or earlier. If everything is so peachy and equal for women in the workplace, why are there so few female CEOs? Board members on Fortune 500 companies? Congresspeople? Governors?

          • There are far too many sources I could link you to in order . Here is just one article

            http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303592404577361883019414296

            Here is an article talking about the myth of the wage gap more generally.

            http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/01/no-women-don-t-make-less-money-than-men.html

            Is there *some* degree of discrimination against promoting women on account of the fact that it is perceived that they are more likely to eventually slow down in order to raise their children? They could be. Would that be unfair? Yes and no. From an economic standpoint, businesses have to make rational decisions based on data, which shows that on average women will work less. Although, I’m with you 100% in that businesses should not make promoting decisions on this basis. But perhaps whatever tiny wage gap that does exist may have to do with this. Or maybe not.

            With regards to the specific occupations you mention, you also have to consider that there are some biological differences between men and women (on *average*, everyone of course is an individual).

            Here is an example: 93% of prisoners are male. Which of the following do you think is more likely: that the system is *biased* against men, or that men are more likely to commit felonies? I would argue that men are more likely to commit felonies, due to biological differences.

            At the same stand point, there could be biological differences that contribute to men being more aggressive in the work place, and this aggressiveness leads to men becoming more likely to be CEOs.

            However, I am not going to tell you that there is no degree of discrimination whatsoever. I am sure that often times it is men choosing to higher other men over similarly qualified women. However, it is also ignorant to simply ignore that, to some extent, it is not *simply* a matter of bias.

            Same for politics: I would argue that there are less women in politics because there are more men than women who want to make a career out of it. Politics is a brutal profession. You have to make a career out of lying to the public just to make it. I know that I’m not cut out for the profession. So it may well be the case that there are a higher percentage of men willing to give politics a go than women.

            Please keep in mind, these are all *generalizations*. Groups are a somewhat artificial construct. The only true organizational level that matters is the individual person. *Generalizing* is dangerous in the hands of most people. But what is also harmful is this *absolute* degree of political correctness that has become so trendy. And, hey, severe political correctness is a heck of a lot better than the alternative (discrimination and hatred), but at the same time it causes people to ignore realities in favor of waving their PC banners.

          • I’d also add the extensive research of Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn at Cornell, or any of the literally thousands of papers that built off their work to reinforce their findings. Those findings, by the way, were that even after controlling their models for each of the factors you suggested, among others, there was still a significant disparity in pay between genders.

            Each of the supposed explanations you suggest seem to wave away the gender pay gap in simple, common sense terms, but that’s what makes zombie arguments like those continue to shamble long after the evidence is in. When the numbers are crunched (and, again, they have been, thoroughly, for the past 40+ years) they don’t remotely hold up.