Men possess a fundamental misunderstanding of and hatred for women’s experiences and pain. It is inherited, it is taught, it is passed on. And because they will never understand, they try to paint themselves as victims of gender to escape the branding of “oppressor.” And it will never, ever, work.
We’re all victims of the patriarchal system we live under. We are all victims of either racial bias, homophobia or class violence, but men will never be victims of gendered violence or oppression. They just want to be.
And always, women suffer. Women pay the price. Women get hurt. Women die.
Who gets hurt from men being incapable of separating their anger from other emotions? Women. Who gets hurt from men feeling rejected? Women.
No matter the pain they suffer, they won’t take it out on each other. They respect each other – not us. The gendered insults they use carry a deeper meaning when directed at us.
There is the constant double standard that they can have a sex life, and no one questions it or needs to know about it. But, they all have to know about yours. They have to shame you for it. No matter what you’ve done or what you haven’t – you are a sex object. You are reduced to nothing more.
And they care. They walk you back to your dorm at night. They let you borrow a hoodie when you’re cold. They comfort you when that guy last semester overstepped and did some things he shouldn’t have. Of course, they care.
But, there’s still the label of “slut.” They still insult you every time you open your mouth. They still blame you for what happened, at least a little bit. You know this because they said it to your face.
They don’t even view us as people. They never have.
All the “great” thinkers have professed their distaste and disdain for women. From Aristotle to Nietzsche, they have written about our defectiveness and weakness in not being men.
They want us to exist for them. They want us to please them and serve them and care for them. Most men will not say this to your face. Most men don’t even realize they hold these beliefs. But, they do. From childhood, it has been ingrained in them that they have intrinsic value because they are men. They are better because they are men. They can get away with more because they are men.
They’ll joke about repealing the 19th Amendment, not realizing the suffering women had to go through just to obtain it. They’ll joke about women belonging in the kitchen, not realizing that women have died for refusing to “belong” anywhere. They’ll joke about how you’re a bitch or a slut, not realizing that for centuries these insults have been used to insult your foremothers for seeking liberation.
Do they not realize? Or do they just not care?
Because we tell them. Over and over and over. We write about it, we sing about it, we shout and yell and scream about our pain. And they do not care.
Not until it affects them. Once our pain invades their spaces, once it creates a voice for itself that demands to be recognized, then they are angry. They begin to self-victimize. They say they can’t cry. They say they can’t hug each other. But, it is not women who stop them from doing these things. It is other men.
Countries all over the world don’t have the same toxic ideals of masculinity that Western countries do, and yet they still violently oppress and dominate women.
We bend over backward to defend men that claim to be victims of their gender. We defend the incel movement as men that are deeply affected by their self-hatred and their sadness. Except, they take that sadness and self-hatred and make women suffer for it.
According to John Hopkins, women are two times as likely to have an episode of major depression as men. And, women of color are half as likely to actively seek help for it. And yet, despite these numbers, it is men who use their mental illnesses as excuses to carry out acts of violence against us.
Elliot Rodger killed six people in 2014 all because he was angry that women rejected him. Men on the internet agreed with him. They defended him. They made him the figurehead of the ignored and the rejected.
Elliot Rodgers walks amongst us every day. They take their anger and self-hatred out on us. They kill us for it.
If your reaction to a woman telling you about her experience and her pain at the hands of men is to respond, “Not all men,” you are self-victimizing. You are making her pain and her experience about you. You are actively putting an end to an attempt at progress.
No women means “all men.” We don’t know all men. We can’t speak for all men. But, all men benefit from being men. All men benefit from the patriarchal system we live under. All of them. Every last one.
I am showing you my experience. I am handing you my pain and begging you to understand that we are not your enemy.
And if you are angry at me, if you are angry at women – you’ve missed the point.