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:

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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:

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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.