Not All Women: A Post-Mortem

(Sebastian Siah / Shooting Gallery / Getty Images)

I wasn’t going to write about this. I swear, I was going to bite my tongue and let the whole thing blow over, which it mostly has. This was my only tweet on the subject:

Picture 5

I was going to leave it at that, but YesAllWomen tweets are still trickling in and I am still seeing crap like this floating around:

Picture 4

I’m not even going to touch on the news story that sparked the YesAllWomen thing, because I already mentioned it here and it really isn’t relevant to what happened afterward.

I am a woman who was raped as a child and as an adult. I was a prostitute. I’ve been taunted, harassed and had men try to stick their hands up my skirt. I’ve had coworkers make obscene and unwanted sexual remarks repeatedly until I quit my job, because I didn’t know what else to do. I’ve been called a lesbian and a bitch because I spurned advances. I’ve been beaten, subjugated and nearly killed by the bare hands of a man. If anyone has a right to chime in on how men are monsters, it’s probably me.

I won’t though, because not all men are the same. For every monster, there are tenfold good, decent, honest men who are being attacked by this pseudo-feminism for no damn reason. It is not fair to them. YesAllWomen forced men, all men, into a corner where they could not defend themselves without being called out as misogynists. If any man dared respond with NotAllMen, women jumped all over them as women-haters.

Not all women are the same either, and not one of you can speak for me. I did not give you that right. None of the tweeters and likers and sharers can speak for me. By using “all” in the hashtag, you lumped me in there simply because I have a vagina, too. I don’t want to be a part of your generalizations. You averaged all men and all women, and I don’t appreciate it one bit.

As this brilliant advertisement for points out, “liking isn’t helping”:

(Sebastian Siah / Shooting Gallery / Getty Images)
(Sebastian Siah / Shooting Gallery / Getty Images)

It takes more than tweets and Facebook posts to make a difference. Over a million of you chimed in with your experiences, which is fairly impressive, but there are over three billion women in the world. When you spoke for “all” women, you didn’t. You spoke for those of us in the first world with access to Twitter.

Women, like the one in the advertisement above, who are living in war-torn countries or not allowed to go to school or dying from starvation, or watching their children die of diseases we cured decades ago because they cannot afford or have no access to medical treatment, did not speak up. They have more important things to worry about than saying, “I have a boyfriend” instead of “no” to a man hitting on them. Oh, boo hoo. You lied to make your life easier.

What did you really accomplish with all this tweeting besides making many good men feel like assholes? Did you make any difference? Did you change anyone’s life for the better? It’s highly doubtful.

Don’t get me wrong, gender bias and inequality are damn good conversations to have, but that was not the way to do it. That was not the appropriate forum nor was it the right message to send. “We’re all victims and they’re all monsters” is not only a gross oversimplification, but it’s flawed finger-pointing, not the basis for a discussion.

The YesAllWomen/NotAllMen debate did a disservice to both genders and the genders in-between. Not all men are monsters and not all women choose to live as victims. Please, let’s keep the subject open to discourse, but do it without assigning blame next time. Gender wars accomplish nothing. Instead of women’s rights, let’s fight for equal rights for absolutely everyone, everywhere, all the time.

59 thoughts on “Not All Women: A Post-Mortem

  1. I wrote a post last week where I tried to address this…but I didn’t publish it. Mainly because I got someone else to read it, who I knew would give honest feedback, and I started to second guess myself. I felt that maybe I was being too hard on people and their intentions after all. I used “slacktivism” a lot in that post, and made reference to not wanting to pat people on the backs for doing the right, human thing to begin with, only this time with hashtags.

    So, thank you for writing this after I chickened out. I will add that I think this whole movement has been focused on the wrong issue. Yes, equal rights are necessary to everyone, but I think the mental health discussion went mostly unaddressed…again. Equality for all should be obvious, it’s MH issues that need to be brought up more often and not hidden away.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes and yes. Once again, in the wake of a mass shooting, the attention turned away from the real culprit, the shoddy state of mental health services, and towards gun control and to this ridiculous YesAllWomen nonsense. And, again, nothing changed.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. brilliantly articulated – “I don’t want to be a part of your generalizations. You averaged all men and all women, and I don’t appreciate it one bit.” we are all unique (stupidly obvious, I know, but people can’t seem to get this through their heads) – every ONE of us is comprised a million different attributes and experiences that makes it ultimately impossible to truly ascribe key attributes to large groups of us…yet, people do it any way. and truly, the only way to effect change is to freaking DO something. yes, social media has given us unprecedented abilities to rally and to communicate, but ultimately it means nothing, unless those “troops” are organized and motivated to action.


  3. It’s a fight I’ve been trying to win for too many years. I don’t go on twitter much, but even I heard about all this and wondered why they were not talking about the real issues? Bashing each other, men vs women crap is not the way to make things right. So I let it go. Not the best solution either, but it was either let it go or vent and I usually vent in private.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is magnificent. Thank you for stating it so eloquently. Balance. We need balance, not endless violent pendulum swings between oppositional positions.

    I am, as always, in awe of your ability to approach this topic with such a sage and reasoned stance, given that your lived experience would give you every reason to be angry and combative.


    1. To be perfectly honest, what irked me the most was my own reaction. It got me thinking, “you don’t know shit about oppression,” instead of a more righteous, “hells yes!”


      1. I have seen first hand the kind of reverse oppression that happens when we start pointing fingers and labelling entire groups of people as “the bad guys.” Frankly we need more thinking and less righteous cheering.


  5. What? You don’t like being painted by the broad brush of generality? That’s silly, since we are all the same. We’re all God’s chillen, right? Or is it that all men are from Mars and all women are from Venus. And all Martians are alike and all Venutians (is that word) are identical.

    Of course, I’m the exception that proves the rule.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Goldfish I don’t really agree with you on this one. For me #YesAllWomen is about having the conversation. I realize good men are feeling bad. I am only a little bit sad about thay.
    Because we, as women, are daily put in a position where we must figure out how much danger we are in at all times.
    Not all men are dangerous but when the man is a stranger we cannot know that in a glance.
    I am not overly interested in their point of view. I am interested in them listening to what we have to say.
    And this # is prompting women to discuss subjects they have been silent about for too long.
    I understand where you are coming from. I think you have some valid points. As a whole I disagree with your point.


    1. I’m all for polite disagreement. I don’t disagree with the conversation, but the execution of it.

      I am lucky to have this blog where I can talk about my past openly and honestly. Not all women have that option.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That is fair.
        We are also probably engaged in different forms of the conversation. I avoid a good amount of the vitriol from both sides.
        While #yesallwomen resonates with me – i font believe all women are doing ot well.
        #notallmen just ticked me off


  7. I’ve bared dipped in on both Facebook and Twitter these last weeks so I had actively seek out what the heck this was all about. It’s disgusting. This is a perfect example of why this country is in shambles. People so quick to jump on any sort of extremist “logic” to divide PEOPLE as a whole instead of focusing on removing the divides that already exist. I hate that “femnazi” line of thinking.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying some valid points weren’t made in the little bit I saw but, as you said….generalizations. What about the women that molest and, ultimately, rape young boys? They have vaginas too so they get a pass in this brilliant hashtag? Interesting.

    And the whole “Like” thing? 1,000% agree. So many people have jumped down my throat for making similar statements. Piss off with that less-than armchair activism.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wouldn’t go that far. I was afraid that if I wrote a post like this that it might be taken as an anti-feminist slant. It’s not. I very much agree with having the conversation. I just wish we did it with less name calling.


      1. That’s the point though, isn’t it? Choosing sides -> Division. Name-calling -> Choosing sides. Generalizations -> Name-calling.

        However, looking back on my comment and thinking about it now, it’s human nature to generalize, divide, sector off and segregate. There will always be a reason. All Women, All Men, All Black People, All Mathematicians, All Geeks, All Stay At Home Moms, etc etc etc. Very few want a true conversation, they want submission on some level or another.

        By the way, “femnazi” is a term I’ve plucked from females who were self-proclaimed as such (and proudly so), hence the quotes.


        1. You’re right. It is human nature to generalize, divide, sector off and segregate. It’s our first instinct, born of survival. Yet, we can overcome it if we choose. We can shrug off first impressions and delve deeper. There’s no reason to hate entire groups.


          1. I agree but the hurdle is larger than simply thinking different. It may be a matter of serious rewiring.

            For example. I saw a lot of people say they want a conversation about the #YesAllWomen and rape culture and apology and gender discrimination. Okay. However, they don’t really want that. They want to sit down with the opposing side and list the reasons why they are wrong, that side concedes and the world is a better place…in their favor.

            I am NOT saying this is you, either, whatsoever, by any means. It’s something I have seen and experienced and it comes to the question of how do people honestly sit down and open up to statements, ideas, possibilities that go against their feelings on a matter SO obvious to them? Some matters are a lot easier to apply that to than others but we can’t even get through the more simple ones!


            1. Good point. I’m not sure how it’s done to be honest. I just think that generalizations and finger-pointing are never good solutions. It needs to be more a discussion rather than just idle jabs.


  8. Goldfish, I put my comments on hold. Not because I was ‘on some fence,’ but because I felt I had nothing to proffer.
    Now, maybe I have discovered something to offer.
    Then again, maybe not. Because your readers have spoken marvelous to me.
    I will say this about that: You have set me to thinking, and that means much to me.
    Thank you for that.


  9. I disagree with ALL generalities, it puts people in a box. I hate living in a box. I, too, was abused as a child and harassed as an adult. It still doesn’t mean that ALL men are bad, I happen to know some very nice men. Nor does it mean I trust all men, I don’t. Nor do I trust all women. Trust is earned, not gender based. Thanks for the post, I love it when you speak your mind!


    1. Agreed. I find it very curious that humans are so quick to make judgments of each other based on perceived differences, but when it comes to an issue like this, they’re more than willing to throw us all in together.


  10. I minored in Women’s Studies in college hoping to grasp an understanding of why many women (including my own mother) “choose” to stay in abusive relationships. One thing I discovered is that sometimes a woman has no other choice.


      1. Hearing (reading) those reasons from someone with personal experience has increased my understanding more than any of the classes I sat through in Women’s Studies college classes! I am terribly saddened by what you had (and are still having) to endure.


  11. I don’t allow anyone to make me feel like an asshole without my permission… it takes two to make guilt trips effective. Luckily, since I’m not on Tweeter and don’t watch the news, I was oblivious to this whole “movement”. Now that I know about it, I shall roll my eyes and carry on…


  12. This is such an insightful piece and I think everyone should read it. I don’t know if you have read it but the novel “Sold” by Patricia McCormick speaks a lot to what you are saying, you might find it interesting despite it’s tragic story. The novel makes a point, similar to yours, that their are many women worse off in this world.


  13. Thanks Goldfish. I was starting to think that pehaps the female gender had given up on us males. Perhaps rightfully so.


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