Don’t Mind the ‘Not All Men’ Brigade

On the blog, by Denise Mills

There’s a lot of talk of late about male violence and harassment of women. As a result, the “not all men” responses have been aplenty – it’s as though pointing out that these problems do not relate to all men means there isn’t actually a problem at all. Let’s just drop the whole uncomfortable issue and carry on then, shall we? The fact is, no-one ever said the problem related to all men. Making the “not all men” argument the focal point of conversation is diverting from the issue altogether. It’s a reaction from a few not-so-intelligent men and women to change the subject completely, and make it all about them.

Thankfully, the benefit of speaking out and discussing male harassment and violence against women isn’t to convince this particular tribe. If they can’t address the problem, how could they have the capacity to contribute to the solution? Rather, the #metoo movement is about giving women a voice. It’s about going against our normal response of “not causing a fuss” and “keeping the peace”, making sure we don’t speak out and get labelled a “loud”, “naggy” or “undesirable” woman.

More and more, as we speak out in our truth, we care far less about what other people think of us. And as we do so, we attract like-minded, more intelligent people (both men and women) into our lives. At least, that’s been my experience. Letting go makes room for better. Heck, if we continue to speak our truth, maybe one day we can even stand up and call ourselves feminists without worrying about the inevitable eye rolls from those who are pretty sure – since they’ve never personally experienced it – that sexism isn’t even a thing.

Might I remind you here what feminism actually is, since the word seems to be misunderstood by many (including some who actually claim to be feminists). Feminism is simply the controversial notion that women are entitled to the same economic, political, and social rights as men.

Annabel Crabb wrote: “I am a feminist because it bothers me that women are more than 50 percent of the population and more than 60 percent of university graduates but somehow only 3 per cent of chief executives.

“I am a feminist because it bothers me that a woman gets killed by her male partner every single week, and somehow that doesn’t qualify as a tools-down national crisis even though if a man got killed by a shark every week we’d probably arrange to have the ocean drained.

“I am a feminist because it bugs me that ‘working mum’ is a phrase I hear every day but I never hear ‘working dad’.”

Of course, this doesn’t mean we should hate men. Nothing good comes from hate and we must be careful not to create a “them v.s us” mentality. But it does mean we should freely raise our voices and speak our truth without fearing “some” men and women’s childish responses, where they make the topic a personal one.

The raising of women’s voices in regards to men’s harassment and violence against women has reiterated to me the importance of ignoring these “not all men” naysayers, and speaking out anyway – louder and prouder. There will be others who will hear us, who are empowered by our collective voices. And we will empower ourselves, too. This is why we speak.

The “not all men” brigade can roll their eyes to their heart’s content, but perhaps they’d be better off running them over a few statistics of the number of dead women out there, killed by partners and exes?




  1. I don’t think pointing out “not all” is making the issue about the self necessarily but rather separating the whole from being labeled by the problemed ones.

    If someone says the same thing speaking out against black violence and pointing out that their rate of violent crime is high (deaths daily), some may feel the need to clarify “not all” to avoid perpetuating stereotypes since most black people aren’t violent.

    The same thing goes for men, most of them are not violent so why focus on fixing the whole and not the broken parts?

    I can imagine it doesn’t feel great to constantly be reminded of how your gender sucks and you suck for being part of such a disgraceful group of people; and I can imagine that including “not all” in the dialogue encourages men to be part of the conversation.

    • ‘Not all men’ is an obvious point though, isn’t it? And at the very least it’s an unnecessary one, given the fact that it deflects from the situation at hand. Two women per week in Australia are killed by their male partner or male ex partner. I imagine the statistics are similar in other parts of the world. Yes, not all men. But meanwhile there is an epidemic we are trying to talk about.

      • It seems like it should be but unfortunately extreme feminists sometimes paint it to be a male issue when it’s a societal and mental health issue, violence always is. Another thing I think worth noting is the religious mentalities behind many of these incidents.
        Mainstream religions are known for their patriarchal doctrines and, particularly in less civilized/less developed nations, boys are raised to believe that they are the head, the leader, the ultimate say-so (not to mention that women are treated worse than house cats in all major religious scriptures), and this in my opinion heavily contributes to the violence and sexual assault that occurs. It shouldn’t be ignored that not only fathers but mothers as well have a responsibility to instill morality and common sense in their children so they dont grow up and think it’s ok to violate people they find attractive.

        Should “not all” be unnecessary? Sure, but is it always? Not so sure

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