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?