Why Are We Defending Men?

TW: murder of women, racism, transphobia, police violence, verbal abuse, misogyny

The phrase “not all men” is trending again…in reaction to another man murdering another woman- this time the victim is a white woman, Sarah Everard, who was taken and murdered by a white man, a stranger, an off-duty police officer, while walking in London. A POLICE OFFICER, a public servant paid to protect us. (Wait for it- “Blue Lives Matter” will trend next, if it isn’t already…in fact women were thrown to the ground and arrested by other officers at the vigil for Ms. Everard in London, godDAMMIT).

So, a man murders a woman and the reaction is, “not all men.” Let that soak in. The outrage is not directed at the murderer or the system that supports male violence, or the fact that this happens ALL THE FUCKING TIME, the outrage is at the accusation (or observation?) that men hurt women. Men AND WOMEN protect and defend men for their crimes against us every day.

Women are sharing their stories on social media of how they were assaulted, were near-assaulted, or how, in fear and inconvenience, they had to go out of their way to avoid being assaulted…BY MEN, and the reaction is “Uh-uh, not me.” Men abusing, assaulting, and murdering women has BEEN a pandemic for…always? And yet, those responsible for this (and their defenders), those able to fix this, seem to shrug and say, “Well, sure, there are some bad eggs, but my God, not me! How dare you accuse me of being part of my cohort.”

We don’t need to defend men. The whole fucking set of systems defends men. We need to defend ourselves. Each other. Maybe it’s NOT actually OK that every woman you know has had to make a million decisions along the way to avoid being traumatized by a man?

We absolutely should not spend our precious, grieving, energy on petting defensive men to assure them that we’re…not scared of them? We are. Don’t blame them? We do. Their self-interest trumps our safety and well-being. Fuck that.

We say Black Lives Matter because we act like they don’t. It’s never meant all the rest of the populace’ lives don’t matter, it means we need to be reminded that Black lives do. We say men need to stop assaulting and murdering women because they do. It’s never meant that every single man has assaulted or murdered a woman, but it should be Ok to say that all women’s lives are affected by male violence. It’s a fucking fact and it needs to fucking stop.

BIPOC women have to deal with both male fragility/loyalty/violence AND white fragility/loyalty/violence, and it must feel even more impossible and terrifying a lot of days to feel safe, to have your truth heard, your lived experienced recognized, to feel like anyone’s doing shit about shit. And violence against BIPOC women (and trans women), is higher than that toward white women and yet prosecuted less, given less press time, etc. The fact that this story is getting so much attention feels likely to do with the victim’s characteristics.

If either “Black lives matter” or “men hurt women” statements make you feel defensive, investigate it. Do you find yourself thinking, “If they would just say it less angrily…I really don’t think the hostility is accomplishing anything….if you want us to be open to change, you can’t attack us….why are you all so angry, so mean…..I’m so tired of blaming everything on men, on white people….Are you a man-hater? Are you racist against white people?… You know, not all men..not all white people…we have to be careful not to accuse….we have to be careful, or we’ll swing too far…about those bad apples…”

We have to untame our loyalty to systems of oppression and violence. Today. Even if (especially if) we are part of them, we benefit from them, we’ve always only ever understood their rules as facts.

In this case, “twat” is being used as a bad thing. Graphic from here.

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Frank and funny, Sarah writes the hard stuff of marriage, parenting, woman-ing. Ravishly, The Belladonna Comedy, Pregnant Chicken, & more. Twitter: @sarahzimzam

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Sarah Z Writer

Sarah Z Writer

Frank and funny, Sarah writes the hard stuff of marriage, parenting, woman-ing. Ravishly, The Belladonna Comedy, Pregnant Chicken, & more. Twitter: @sarahzimzam

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