Yet, most men care deeply about the women and girls in our lives. It pains us to hear that you stop yourselves from writing online, walking outside or wearing certain clothing because of the harassment and violence our gender heaps upon you. We’d rather it never happened to you, so we often pretend it doesn’t. We move from denial to anger at you for bringing it up, then from anger to bargaining–we question the statistics you cite, or distract with anecdotes of women who abuse men. We sometimes go through the whole Kubler-Ross cycle of death and dying before we’re ready to move to “acceptance.”
But some men do not seem to care about anyone but themselves. These men seem to take glee in making anonymous online threats, sometimes as part of a political movement that refuses to acknowledge men’s violence against women as an epidemic. Instead, they see men as the real victims–of feminism. Their self-appointed victim status gives them the right to call women names, threaten and intimidate at will.
For me as a man, the “acceptance” stage involves really listening to what women’s lives are actually like. It means getting sick to my stomach when I hear my friend Cristy Cardinal has been threatened, or admitting that I benefit from male privilege even if I don’t harass women online myself. It means that when I laughed at Bill Maher calling Sarah Palin stupid or a bitch, I made writing and life that much harder for Soraya Chemaly.
The “acceptance” stage also means I’m ready to do something positive. It’s not enough for me to simply not harass women myself–if I don’t raise my voice when I see this, I’m letting the Limbaughs be the lone voices of my gender. So I’m proud to be part of a growing movement of men who are listening to women, learning from women, becoming active bystanders and “aspiring allies.”
interesting comments on the article too
I've hit backspace or just not bothered to post in a conversation many times myself because of annoying losers