March 25, 2021

Stop the Man-bashing Articles, Please. You’re doing More Harm than Good.

Misandry, for those of you who are unfamiliar (I was), is the female equivalent of misogyny.

Misandrists are female chauvinists, women who hate men.

I am not suggesting that all women who read and write on Elephant Journal are misandrists. That’s not the case at all.

I like to think most, and I certainly know that many of the individuals who read and write on Elephant Journal are kind, socially progressive, and open-minded individuals who care about equality. Oh, did you notice that all of those links go to the profiles of men? I am one of those men, too.

And we’re not exceptions to some rule that says anything with a penis must be a dick.

Our character flaws have little to do with our gender, and I can say with confidence that a few of these gentlemen are just as much feminists as many of the women who frequent Elephant Journal. I could even argue that some of them have done the most for the cause because they made this awesome Elephant Journal community that invites so many individuals to speak up and speak out about gender issues and equality.

I do not want the articles shaming certain types of men to stop; those assholes are assholes, and mistreating women is never okay.

I don’t want the articles about empowering women to stop or the ones reminding them to push back against sexist, patriarchal societal norms.

I also would love to see and plan to write more articles on how men can be better allies, including auditing their own behavior for areas where that patriarchal societal norms may have worked their way in–that’s important.

What I do want to see is for all of us to be a little more mindful with our approach. It is not fair to suggest that all men are monsters just because some are.

And if you’re reading this and thinking that all of the men you have interacted with are asshats, well, it might be time to start thinking about why that is (hint: it takes two).

Please, please, please don’t put words in my mouth. I would never claim something like, “it’s just as bad for guys.”

That’s just untrue. The number of women who have been sexually abused and what most women deal with on a day-to-day basis as it relates to fair treatment and societal expectations is beyond comparison.

But that’s the thing; it’s not a competition.

I’ve been cat-called, had unsolicited advances made, groped inappropriately, and objectified sexually by both men and women. I am not mentioning these experiences for purposes of competitive suffering—there’s no winning here. What I am saying is that I can use these experiences to empathize as much as possible and better relate to the many women who need more male allies.

Again, becoming an ally is just about impossible if I’m going to be labeled as an enemy for my anatomy alone.

There’s a difference between speaking up for equality and fair treatment and bashing an entire population because a subset of them may be deserving. However, the latter scenario doesn’t even allow for the possibility of change. In fact, it reinforces those toxic societal norms and roles that we want to escape.

Sometimes we can all use a reminder to assume less and expect more.

One of the things I value most about Elephant Journal is the opportunity to learn and grow through proper discourse and open dialogue. To keep those aspects of the community thriving, we need to make sure it remains a place where everyone feels welcome, regardless of their race, religion, or gender.



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