“Not all Men” I said and I meant it once upon a time, but not anymore.
I always felt it needed saying that whilst, yes some men are so fearful of Women they have to weigh them down at every turn, it’s not the case of all men. I was taught from an early age that ladies are equal, skin colour, religion and any other sub category doesn’t make anyone willing to work for something less entitled to have it. So my “not all men” comes from a family, more importantly a Mum, that have quietly championed equality, the odd insensitive joke and crass comment aside when ‘push came to shove’ no one was any less deserving of the best fairness that could be offered. They would stand against it inequality when they saw it and taught me to do the same. I felt it some kind of duty to remind these ladies making accusatory remarks about men, that while they might feel alienated and demeaned by men, not all of them think this way so change will come.
As with many things that have the best of intentions this ‘noble quest’ was flawed, only I couldn’t see it. I maintained a stance of “not all men”, going so far as do it more, because after all “why should I support a cause that isn’t willing separate me from the oppressors they scorn?”. I would argue with every kind of feminist that I came across, pitching the notion that to alienate ‘good men’ for their presence was surely going to backfire. Not because women aren’t capable, but because the men keeping them down lack enough empathetic intelligence to have their minds changed by feminism, men would have to be a trojan horse in the single minded psyche of misogynists.
Eventually I abandoned my “crusade”, the deeper I went the more warped feminists were. It became more about vengeance than equality and started to cloud my thoughts on feminism. I began thinking about waiting on a time when a more inclusive alternative would rise like a mountain, forced up by the opposing forces surrounding it. My belief in equality never tired, but I became transfixed on the platform of delivery. Modern feminism I felt was hypocritical, it’s to at risk of becoming the monster it’s fighting. To many “third” and “fourth wave” type terms, the narrow mindedness made the water to easily muddied by the few who do seek vengeance for oppression that runs far deeper than high heels and quips about driving ability.
Then one day I was hit in the face by a pan. A greasy, filthy pan that leaves it’s mark on your skin and seems to be everywhere once you notice it, leaving you craving a thorough scrub, preferably with a wire brush and industrial strength acid. Trawling though the world of social media I had been looking for pages that would give me up to the minute, accurate news that I could cross check almost in realtime, that meant following news agencies, writers, artists and journalists alike. I noticed a fair amount of ‘hub ub’ surrounding Lilly Allen, she was being lambasted for visiting “The Jungle” in Calais, specifically for saying to a young person their that she was sorry her country had failed them. Every opinion she tables is met with the sort animosity I wouldn’t expect the lowest forms of social life to endure, comments about her miscarriage that cut me deep, let alone her! Then Tucker Carlsons news program featuring Lauren Duca hit the Twitter waves, again the comments being levied were vile and a sort of misogyny I thought was long gone, it is 2017 after all. I started to follow more female journalists, writers and academics, apart from variances in words the sentiments were still the same, women are lesser and men have the role of keeping them in their place. Then came the regularity of casual barrier crossing in the sexual sense, inappropriate touching on the underground, high heels being forced as part of uniform, manoeuvred into a vulnerable situations and propositioned forcefully, so on and so on and so on regardless of fame or fortune. A never ending cycle of daily small to large events that show misogyny isn’t dead, but lurking, shamefully waiting for each moment to reach out a lecherous hand and make contact. One story that really caught me was of a fifteen year old girl who started to ride the underground to work, one morning a man stood close to her on the platform, she didn’t think much of it, nor would I in fairness. For what ever reason they silently parted their mentally distant ways and she found her back pocket slimy and wet. The ‘man’ had used the crowded platform and close proximity to ejaculate into her back pocket, the first lady she spoke to was apathetic, it happens was the sentiment. Her first experience of independence similar to the scale she will experience ‘in the real world’ and she gets it tainted in a way few could have predicted, I suddenly saw why “not all men” carried no favour or merit.
“It happens” was the catalyst for a U turn on modern feminism and my, all be it nothing exceptional, stronger backing. Having a child and getting covered in sick is something that “happens”, cooking dinner and getting covered in grease is something that “happens”, getting wet because you forgot an umbrella is something that “happens”. Being a young lady and having some swine cum in your back pocket is not something that should just “happen” and be belittled or ignored. Going to work and being brushed aside in favour of a male counter part shouldn’t be shrugged at, tabling an opinion and having it ignored because your a woman isn’t something to scoffed at, being labeled a whore because you’ve had an abortion isn’t something to be swept aside and being payed less because of a different set of genitals isn’t something to begrudgingly accept. “It happens” is one of the terms used for cases of domestic rape when the law wasn’t so involved, its archaic and a sign of how little we as humans have really progressed, it’s a pathetic endowment of ‘us’ if we can sit back and let it carry on. I realised that whilst I am “not all men”, that makes no difference when a woman is faced with a barrage of ‘those’ men. It offers no help to the person being targeted and simultaneously has the potential of giving an escape route for the aggressor. The “it happens” of a man being caught under the umbrella of “all men” is a far less relevant than the “it happens” of sexual assault and oppressive sexism women are experiencing today, everyday. If you are saying to a lady arguing a case of misogyny that their statement has no merit because “not all men”, then your belittling the real life event that has created the need for it to be said. Ultimately you shift the focus away from women back onto men and how even when a woman is right she is still wrong. The biggest lesson I learnt was that however much I might have a point, it’s not bringing anything to the table that will effect change, the statement is simply like lighting a BBQ in the woods while firefighters are tackling a forest fire.
It’s true that there are some real batshit crazy women that will do and say things for attention or greed, but that is no different to the world of men. Every human entity regardless of sub category has it in them to be beautifully compassionate or a degrading shit! The one thing that can be clung to is that change can happen, but water doesn’t boil without enough heat. This pan is big, thick and regularly has chunks of ice dropped in for good measure, the water will boil and it when it does we can all share the warmth of the sweet tea it’ll make, but if “she puts the kettle on, men can make the tea”.