How To Respond When Someone Says “Not All Men”? 10 Things You Can Say!Time to shut 'em up!
As women, we spend a lot of time dealing with problematic and creepy men. There’s enough data to prove that women can’t feel safe around men as a whole, irrespective of whether they know these men or not. According to the 2018 NCRB data, 94% offenders in rape cases are known to the victim and are family members, friends, live-in partners, employers or others. And as per WHO data, 1 in 3 women across the globe are subjected to either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lives. And yet this world is full of people saying #NotAllMen. I’m sure many of you have heard MEN say “Not all men” and as infuriating as it is, it’s never easy to respond to things like that. Troubled by the exact same thing, I decided to list down all the ways that you can respond when someone says #NotAllMen. But before that, let’s take a look at what #NotAllMen is all about.
What Does “Not All Men” Mean?
As per Wikipedia, #NotAllMen is short for “not all men are like that” and is used as an argument to deflect the attention away from men in a conversation or debate about sexual assault and other feminist issues. This hashtag and term were popularised by Men’s Rights Activists (as if men don’t have enough rights already) in response to the feminist discourse about misogyny and sexual abuse among other things after they saw that men as a whole were being held responsible for being the perpetrators of crimes against women and oppression of the gender. In fact, feminists had to respond to #NotAllMen with a hashtag of their own to highlight the experiences of the women. #YesAllWomen was used to bring attention to women’s experiences of sexual assault, molestation, eve teasing, casual sexism and more while criticising #NotAllMen for diluting the conversation. TBH, this term is often used by people to dismiss women’s experiences, dilute the conversation about women’s issues, deflect attention away from women’s issues and make it about men while shutting them down.
So, How Should Women Respond To Not All Men?
In an Instagram stories thread about people who say “What if the genders were reversed?”, Otherwarya aka Aishwarya Subramanyam suggests laughing at men who say things like that. Come to think of it, wouldn’t it just infurate a man to see a woman laugh when he says “not all men”? Yep, that’s what we’re aiming for.
2. “But Enough”
Sure, not all men are rapists but there are more than enough men abusing women, men, animals and whatnot that we cannot help but not trust men as a whole. One good apple doesn’t make the bad apples turn good.
3. “Yes, All Women!”
A good way to respond to “not all men” would be to point out that while “not all men” are abusers, all women have experienced abuse of some or the other kind.
4. “Are You Trying To Deflect?”
#NotAllMen is how people dilute the conversation about women and make it about men. The second women talk about the abuse they face, men say things like “so do men” and if we talk about our rights, they say ‘what about men?’. I mean, y’all have a voice so go and use it instead of complaining. Do not make it about men and accuse a woman of being a “femi-nazi” when she’s just stating facts.
Also Read: “I Don’t Get Paid Like Deepika Padukone”: Vikrant Massey On Gender Pay Parity. Same Energy As ‘Not All Men’!
5. “So, Who’s Abusing Women?”
I genuinely wonder, if it’s “not all men” then who’s abusing women, other men and animals? Is it the aliens living amongst us? Or is everyone just imagining men abusing women? No? It’s men? Yes? So?
6. “Okay, Bye”
TBH, when someone says “not all men” and is not open to having a conversation or debating about it, it’s best to just let it go. It’s just not worth it. Walk away from the conversation.
7. “You’d Know If You’d Listen”
The second a woman says ‘men don’t let us talk and always interrupt us’, chances are that a misogynist will interrupt her by saying “Not all men”. Thank them for proving your point and remind them that they’d know that it is all men if they’d listen.
8. “So, You Know About Women’s Experience Better Than Them?”
Only men have the audacity to mansplain women’s experience to them. Sure, buddy. You know more about being a woman in this patriarchal world than women themselves. I truly wonder where men get their audacity from!
9. “And Your Point Is?”
No, seriously. Just ask them what’s the point that they’re trying to make. Do they expect women to be more trusting and serve them their trust on a platter?
10. “Do You Want Brownie Points For Being One Of The ‘Good Guys’?”
A while ago, I came across a video from a psychologist who broke down male pick-me behaviour and said that “not all men” is essentially male pick-me behaviour. This person is essentially trying to say that not all men are like that and I’m one of them. So, should we give you brownie points for being the “nice guys” who became “nice” by dismissing women’s experiences and deflecting attention instead of taking accountability?
Also Read: Marital Rape: Smriti Irani Says Not All Marriages Violent, Not All Men Rapists. We Think The WCD Minister Is Missing The Point
So, What Should Men Say Instead?
I’ll share the same piece of advice that I recently gave a friend while debating “not all men” argument with him and giving him Feminism 101 lessons. Just don’t say anything at all. Women simply need to be heard and if you feel the need to say something, tell them that their experiences and feelings are valid and they’re right to not trust all men because there are too many bad apples out there. Let them know that they’re heard!
Sanya Malhotra explains why ‘not all men’ is not a good argument. Watch the video.