I want to talk about men.
There continues to be an onslaught of social media posts hating on men, and I get it. Right now, we have very little reason to hold men in high regard. Just when we think it can’t get worse, each day we are presented with more evidence of how abhorrent men in our country have acted; proceed to act. I could go into details, but we all know them. I could recite statistics of women who have been victims of abuse, violence and rape but we know these too. I could tell you how many women die each week at the hands of their partner but knowing these numbers won’t change anything.
I understand the anger. I am angry too. I have every reason to be angry. I have every reason to hate men. I was the victim of sexual abuse and rape for most of my childhood; have since suffered physical, emotional and verbal abuse all from men who said I could trust them. Who said they loved me. Who are respected by all who know them. Their lives go on; I will carry the trauma for the rest of mine.
But I saw another post today that said there is no such thing as a good guy and my reaction was this: enough.
Because I also know good men; men who are doing the work, men who advocate for women’s safety and rights and equality, men who would never hurt a woman, men who are asking how they can do better and actively taking steps to do so.
I know what it is to be loved by a good man; to know without a shred of doubt I am held safe, protected, valued, cherished, adored, seen as an equal, and above all – respected.
I know what it is to have raised good men; to stand in awe of my two sons who have grown into young men I am so immensely proud of. Young men who will walk a girl home safely and not take advantage of her. Who will protect her. Who will respect her. Who will treat her with kindness. Who will honour her needs and boundaries and no’s. Who understand how women have been dehumanised and objectified through porn and our hyper-sexualised society and who choose to rise above this culture and value women.
I understand the fallacy of the good guy. Every guy who has hurt me has been one. But there ARE good men who do not belong in this category; who deserve to be recognised, who deserve the same level of respect, value and honour we demand from them. There ARE good men working damn hard to change the culture toward women and fighting for our fundamental rights and saying, “Hey mate, that’s not cool,” when sexist jokes are being flung around the bar on a Friday night.
Yes, we have a right to be angry at men who deserve our anger. Dare I say, however, this is #notallmen. We aren’t fighting against a gender, we are fighting against a culture and THAT is where our anger needs to be directed. We must recognise the difference between feminism and misandry; that the core of feminism has always been the belief that people should have an equitable place in society regardless of their gender. It is equality we seek, not the rise of one gender at the destruction of another, and we must remain mindful of this.
To the good men out there doing the work: you are seen, you are valued, you are appreciated and you are needed. Thank you.