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Why the “not all men” narrative is boring, insulting, and reductive

3 mins read

Trigger Warning: Contains discussion of sexual harassment and violence

After the news about Sarah Everard , social media began to be flooded with women telling their stories and sharing what measures they took to try and prevent sexual harassment from happening to them.

Soon after this news broke the hashtag of “not all men” started trending and many (including myself) are wondering why? It is yet another example of men refusing to listen to women and playing the victims themselves. There are plenty of reasons why this narrative is dangerous and here are just a few:

  1. Men are placing themselves not only in the victim role but at the centre of the narrative.

This is not to say that men cannot be victims of sexual crimes however the conversation right now is focusing on women. Especially given the statistic that 97% of women have been sexually harassed(survey from UN Women UK). The conversation is one that women have been having for ages and now we are being listened too.

2.Women know that not all men are sexual predators however we don’t know which men are sexual predators.

Walking home at night (as Sarah Everard was) or even just walking anywhere, we don’t know who has good intentions and who doesn’t so it has been drilled into us from a young age to take precautions and protect ourselves.

3.This isn’t an attack on all men but rather a moment to educate on what can be done.

Women calling out the behaviour of men that has led them to feel unsafe is not an attack, it is a plea to change your behaviour so we can feel safe. It the absolute bare minimum that women be able to feel safe, the bare minimum. If you’re up in arms about this because you perceive this as an ‘attack’ then maybe reflect on your previous and current behaviour. #Notallmen just serves as a shield from which to deflect from accountability and resist change.

Overall, men please just listen to what women are saying (and have been saying for years before) but don’t solely rely on women to use their harassment to educate you. It’s exhausting having to explain over and over again why the behaviour of men needs to change. It just does.

Image credit: https://femmagazine.com/not-about-you-why-notallmen-is-a-problem/

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