And why you should stop saying this.
The New Year began on a horrifying note for several girls in Bengaluru when their night turned into a bad dream as they were grabbed and harassed while 1,500 policemen fail to make a move. Even as the incident sparked outrage across the country, with women from all cities tweeting about it, the city’s administrators continued to blame everything and everyone except for the molesters.
As the conversation on Twitter started getting momentum, another section of people take part to make one thing clear. In case you were forgetting that, they wanted everyone to understand that #NotAllMen are spoiled predators who make it difficult for women to breathe in this messed -up society that places the onus of not being sexually assaulted on them.
Soon after, #NotAllMen started trending on Twitter, because men wanted to make sure they were absolved of the blame, while a couple other men and women were done with this bullshit argument.
This isn’t the first time men have come up with such a ridiculous reaction to an incident where the culprit of a sexual assault was a man and the victim a woman.
In fact, even when women bring up instances of sexism in regular conversations, their male companions jump in with ‘I have never done that. Not all men are perverts.” Their first instinct is never to hear the woman out, or try to understand what she experienced. Even in a discussion that has nothing to do with them, they want to make sure everyone knows they haven’t ever raped or grabbed anyone. What they don’t understand is that literally no one cares about that.
Nobody said anything about all men being monsters to begin with. That is a discussion men started with their ill-informed hashtag. No woman has ever tweeted #AllMen while talking about sexual harassment.
Every single woman knows that not all men want to hurt her, similarly as every single woman knows that at least one man has. That gives her the prerogative to be furious, to tweet about it, to talk about it, and to worry about being harmed by other men. That’s it. That’s all women are doing, including when they’re tweeting about the Bengaluru incident. They’re angry that a bunch of women cannot go out on New Year’s Eve without getting molested because some men’s idea of a good time is sexually harassing them. That’s what they are talking about. They are not talking about how every single man on this planet wanted to hurt those women. Then why are random men trying to prove their sainthood because they’ve never raped anyone? How is that relevant to this incident?
What do the #NotAllMen-ers want? A medal for being decent human beings?
Because there is no conceivable reason you should be hijacking a conversation women are trying to have about their safety and rape culture with your useless hashtag. Are men so self-absorbed that they think everything is about them? Because when women talk about feeling oppressed or unsafe, they’re not attacking men, they’re attacking rape culture and patriarchy which are not gender-specific. Do men think their super defensive reaction to anyone complaining of being sexually harassed by a man is the solution to this humongous issue?
The supporters of #NotAllMen often forget that while they might not be a rapists, by derailing a conversation about women’s safety they are gaslighting women, dismissing their feelings and concerns, and perpetuating rape culture. Now, every time a woman wants to talk about being mistreated by a man, should she also put a disclaimer that she knows #NotAllMen oppress women? Is that how fragile a male ego is, that it needs the assurance of not being attacked even when it’s not being discussed?
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