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Let's talk about men. Not all men (get it? It's funny because it's not funny), but definitely a significant number of them. How did a movement that is about empowering women get hijacked by men with victim complexes? How did men manage to make yet another thing that isn't theirs all about them? It was never about them or "men's rights" or "meninism" (I almost can't even type either phrase because they're so ridiculous), but they've made it about them, so let's talk about it. They asked for it.
I want to preface this with the following: I am in a healthy, stable, happy relationship with a wonderful man. He also agrees with everything I'm about to say. He's not the kind of man this applies to, and he condemns the men it does apply to rather than getting defensive over something he's not even doing. He's doing it right.
I don't hate men, but I am tired of taking the blame for them. I'm tired of the type of men who blame women for *everything*. If a woman doesn't want to date or sleep with some guy, she's "friendzoning" him and she's a bitch or she's a tease, and at no point does this kind of man consider that maybe he's the problem. He doesn't remind himself that she's a human being and she's allowed to make choices for herself. He "forgets" that just because he feels sexual or romantic attraction doesn't mean she does and she isn't obligated to reciprocate his feelings. So when she's not interested, he busts out the "F" word.
Let's just do away with that term right now. "Friendzone." There is no such thing. The "friendzone" is an imaginary place created by entitled men who think that paying any attention to a woman means that woman is now obligated to engage in a sexual and/or romantic relationship with him. This kind of man doesn't value having women as friends because they view women as objects and nothing more.
Listen carefully (read carefully, whatever): no woman on Earth is obligated to reciprocate the affections or respond to the attention of a man simply because it is directed at her.
These men are not as nice as they think they are. They hail themselves "nice guys" but I invite you to really listen to the way they talk about women. It's bitter and entitled. These men think that they earn points by doing nice things for [girl's name] and when it doesn't get them what they want, they lash out because that "nice guy" was never really nice.
These men are not as date-able as they think they are, and at no point does this kind of man choose to look inward and ask if he might be causing his own problems. Instead, they place blame because placing blame is vindicating, and vindication means they don't have to improve themselves as human beings. So it's always our fault when GenericBoyName McSadStatus can't find another human person who will engage with them physically or emotionally.
The unfortunate truth is, we can't even be nice or polite to random dudes without getting hit on, and then these same guys wonder why women everywhere are so icy and unwilling to have a conversation with men we don't know. The irony here is that these men are usually the same men who don't want to share locker rooms or bathrooms with gay men or trans men, because "they're afraid of getting hit on." So, let's set aside the fact that gay/trans does not mean attracted to you, nor does it mean devoid of proper social behavior and human decency. Now let me ask those men, does it make you uncomfortable that someone might view you in a sexual light when you're not trying to be sexual? Think about that. Take as much time as you need.
If we're polite to a strange man who approaches us and we give him an inch, he takes a mile. Next thing we know, we're being followed home and have to threaten a guy with an ass-kicking from the male relatives we know aren't home and hope he doesn't call our bluff. Men are terrifying and we shouldn't have to check that behavior. Those "Not All Men" crusaders should. If "Not All Men" truly is *not* ALL men, they need to check other men when they see/hear their problematic behavior instead of whining to us about how they're different.
The kind of man I'm talking about here doesn't respond to even the most sound argument if it comes from a woman, but they respond to being reprimanded by other men. If it's truly "not all men" who are the problem, they have to be part of the solution by way of their actions, not just their words. Otherwise, I just see apologists for the kind of toxic and dangerous behavior that sparks these conversations in the first place.
I hear stories all the time about women being called bitches or being told we have an attitude, or that we need to smile when we're not receptive to the attention of some dude. What I don't think most men realize is being "bitchy" and "rude" to strange men is the only way we can feel safe in a world where men are constantly harassing, hitting on, following, pestering, touching, abusing, and attacking us. I asked my old roommate once to think back to the last time he felt unsafe walking anywhere alone, and he realized at that moment that he never has, but I did every day.
Not everyone is problematic and dangerous. That's valid. Not everyone is sexist. That's also valid. But *all* women have been harassed or attacked in some way by a man. Every single woman on Earth. When you start to ask what age we noticed men notice us, the answers are sickening. 16. 14. 13. 12. 10. 6. Younger, even. That's part of how #MeToo got started. A Tweet asking women how old they were when men started sexualizing them.
It may come to be that men everywhere view me as a militant feminist killjoy, but better that than being complicit in dehumanizing myself and others by saying nothing. You have to see women as actual human beings if you're going to build a healthy relationship with one. Shocking, I know. Again, take as much time as you need, but if you're being a sexist piece of shit in the meantime, don't count on me to lose my voice.
We are done being silent.