I can honestly say that I’ve never been ashamed to be a man.
But it seems I should be, because I’ve been told so quite often.
Sure I’ve been embarrassed by the overtly machismo men often display around each other, or for the supposed benefit of women they are trying to impress. I’ve been disgusted by how men think and treat women, publicly, privately, in social media and other places. But I’ve never been ashamed before.
Now before I get to my point, I want to make things perfectly clear.
I’ve never EVER thought of taking sexual advantage of a woman. I’ve never hit, beat, or abused a woman. I’ve had verbal altercations with women, but to my knowledge I’ve never verbally abused a woman. Any verbal confrontation has usually gone to the woman anyways because I’m not good and verbal confrontations. I have been puzzled, confused, frustrated, and angry when dealing with women, but I’ve also had great times with women, sharing wits, thoughts, feelings, and more (that’s not a brag either, I’m a gentleman and prefer not to go into detail). In my writings, I tend to prefer strong female characters, just like in my TV series and movies. The main women in my life are strong and, even if I don’t always agree with them, intelligent and wise.
I am by no means perfect. I, like any normal person out there, make mistakes, say the wrong thing, say things not realizing the gravity of my words, or how they were perceived. But over all, from what the women in my life, who actually know me, I have told me, I’m a decent guy.
Yet, I’m still an evil, inconsiderate bastard and potential rapist.
Because I’m a man.
Normally, I’d just say “Pfffff” and move on…
But the psychopath that broke the camel’s back was Elliot Rodgers. He not only put a name and face to the grossness of misogyny, but he made YouTube videos and a 140-page manifesto outlining how his life was ruined by women not loving him and instead loving “popular people”. He didn’t realize that he was social inept, self-centered, had serious mental issues, and was angry and afraid of the opposite sex, thus probably making him kinda creepy around women.
Or, as some articles and blogs would seem to imply, “A man”.
The thing is, there are men out there who are fucked in the head! They can’t control themselves around women. They fear women, so they lash out at them. They blame women for all the ills in their life. They feel superior to women, and will do whatever it takes to ensure their superiority. They see women only as sex objects to please them. The list can go on and on for all the wrongs men have done to women, from the dawn of time to Friday, May 23rd. In those cases, men are evil.
BUT NOT ALL MEN!
Recently, phrases like “rape culture”, “Slutwalk”, and very recently #YesAllWomen have popped up, all with well-meaning purposes.
The so-called “Rape Culture” stems from the feminist idea that links rape and sexual violence to the culture of a society, where it is normalized, excused, tolerated, and even condoned. Some examples include victim blaming, sexual objectification and trivializing rape.
First off, if someone is raped, it is rape, not some insane, manipulative ideal created by some white, male Republicans in America. If one person didn’t want to have any kind of sexual relationship with another person, and that person forced themselves upon you, that is rape. Although sex is the primary tool of a rapist, it isn’t always about sex. It is about power and control. For men, taking that power and control via sex. For women, it is via manipulation and lies.
Here in North America, I believe there is a culture of violence, where rape is a tool to enact that violence. But it also seems that a very broad stroke is made, blaming all men for the acts of a brutish, ignorant, fearful group. Joyce E. Williams, co-author of “The Second Assault: Rape and Public Attitudes” said, “the major criticism of rape culture and the feminist theory from which it emanates is the monolithic implication that ultimately all women are victimized by all men.”
Like blaming all men for being rapists, blaming women, or their style of dress, for being raped or assaulted is a gross act. Rape affects the person for the rest of their life. If they are convinced by society that them wearing something provocative was the cause of what happened, they will continually live with that, second-guessing themselves, or questioning their choice of lifestyle. That is a horrible way to live.
But using the term “Slutwalk”, having the participants dress in their most provocative fashions to prove a point isn’t the way to go. To me, it just seems to be a method at getting back at one stupid remark made by a Toronto police officer. One of the strong women I know had a take on this. She said that women should wear whatever they feel comfortable wearing. But, they should also be aware of their surroundings, where they are going, if they are with friends, or alone, but most importantly, they must be aware of themselves. You only become a victim if you act like a victim. It doesn’t necessarily mean having fight training. It means being strong, self-assured, and mindful. I think those kinds of words of wisdom, that kind of education, would go further than strutting down the street.
After Elliot Rodgers’ killing spree, a twitter user created #YesAllWomen, a hashtag for women to bring issues of abuse, harassment, rape, and other forms of assault to the forefront. Supposedly, it is also retaliation for “Not All Men”, an argument that says, while assaults against women are real and a problem that must be addressed, not all men are guilty of such acts just because they are a man.
The #YesAllWomen movement is powerful, and needs to be seen and addressed. For some, it is a reminder that such barbaric men exist. For others, it may be a realization that their behavior is crude and uncalled for. For me, it brought to light the depraved depths at which men can go, especially for those on Twitter who applauded and cheered on Elliot’s YouTube videos and manifesto. I’m sure some may have responded, not understanding the reality of their bile-filled words. But sadly most knew and relished in it.
Maybe I’m naive, or live in a sheltered, blessed life where the men I associate with are not misogynistic. I thought the growing negativity towards men, all men, was valid. Men had wrongly dominated women for so long, women had the right to fight back. But Elliot’s vileness has shown me something more disturbing. The gaping gulf that still exists between men and women. A gulf that isn’t being closed by either side.
Men still do evil, vile things to women. Women seem to want to put all men into that evil group.
Men need to open their eyes and see the reality of their actions, no matter how minute. They need to condemn misogynistic actions within their circle of friends, co-worker, and colleagues. They need to understand.
Women need to stop using the same kind of tactics that men used to gain control. They need to speak out when something happens to them that is so clearly despicable and wrong. They need to stop other women from using rape and assault as a means to exact vengeance on men, so that when someone cries rape, people will listen! They need to understand that men want to understand, but need help to do so.
Maybe the hashtags #YesAllWomen and #NotAllMen could be used to unite the two sides, so that men could understand the fear women feel, and that women can understand that not all men are to be feared.