I’m proud to say that I, and many other progressive men of my generation, are joining in the fight for equality when it comes to women. However; with progress comes its own set of challenges. As more and more women step forward to speak about the sexism they face every day, or to share their own personal stories of sexual assault, more and more men are chiming in saying, “Hey, not all men are that way.”
It’s almost like a gender equality version of the All Lives Matter people trying to disregard the Black Lives Matter movement. And news flash men, you sound just as dumb when you say it.
A woman sharing her story, and saying, “A man did this to me,” or, “A man made me feel this way,” in no way has any bearing on you as a man. Unless of course you’re the one doing the assaulting, then you’re an asshole.
But when we as men answer women, in their time of stepping up and taking back control, by saying, “Hey, you can’t say that. That’s reverse-sexism” Then we are in essence doing the exact same thing as the people who violated them. We’re telling them their story doesn’t matter. Their feelings are invalid because you’re uncomfortable. And that’s wrong.
Look, I get it. It’s tough to sit there and feel uncomfortable; to feel gross, like you’re somehow part of the problem. But it’s from the gross place; that discomfort, that we can rise up and be part of the solution.
I spent most of my life as the poster child for ignorance. Not in a negative sense, but in the, “It isn’t happening to me, so allow me to place my head firmly up my ass and only focus on me” way. And like many people, I never really gave a second thought to issues outside of my own world. So, sexism, and other forms of social injustice never registered on my radar.
If someone were to ask me if I believed in equality, or if I supported women getting equal pay, and equal respect, of course I would agree. But, I wasn’t going to actively go out and fight for it. Because it had nothing to do with me, and as long as I wasn’t acting in a negative way, then I was doing my part. WRONG!!
One of the many benefits to meeting my wife is, I became WOKE in a hurry. In not so many words my wife (at the time a woman I was really interested in dating), in not so many words told me it was high time I woke up, pulled my head out of my ass, grew up, and to take a long hard look around at the world we are living in.
It didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it wasn’t until many years into our relationship that she shared stories with me. Stories about her own experiences of feeling scared around men; feeling like she was in a very dangerous situation, and made to feel scared and helpless by a man. This is a person who I see as one of the strongest people I know. Someone I would never guess was in a situation like that. See, but that’s the rub…those “situations” can, and are anything. From a spiked drink at a party, being groped while riding public transportation, or being catcalled when you walk down the street.
I have read story after story from friends and loved ones recently about everything from catcalling and mansplaining, all the way to outright rape and vicious sexual assault, and it all makes me sick to my stomach. This is no way to treat a woman. This is no way to treat a person. And it’s long overdue that men stand up and join the fight.
And, I’m not talking about just fighting for our daughters, sisters, female cousins, moms, or any other female closely connected to us. No, don’t be like fake outraged republicans who supported their candidate up until he said something bad about women. Stand up for all women. Be angry and fight for the 1 in 5 women you don’t know, and who will be sexually assaulted this year.
Because, until the day that All Women are treated equally, respected, and can feel safe, it’s on All Men.
This post originally appeared on Papa Does Preach. It is reprinted with permission.
Mike Cruse is the author and freelance writer behind the blog Papa Does Preach. Once he had lofty dreams to be a stand-up comedian or famous actor, but clearly didn’t make enough poor life choices to get there, so now he just bugs people on the internet. Mike’s has been named one of the funniest parents on the internet from the likes of Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, The Today Show; even Hoda Kotb said he was one of her favorites of 2016. Born and raised in sunny San Diego, Mike now lives in Virginia with his wife and two children, because clearly he loves them, or why else would someone do that? Follow along at PapaDoesPreach.com as he fumbles his way through this whole parenting thing. Also on Facebook.