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The Most Absurd of the "Not All Men, But..." Analogies

by Chris Hearn 2 years ago in humanity
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Sometimes, those who develop analogies don't put enough thought into them

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash

Sigh. "Not All Men".

It shouldn't be controversial to say that. It really shouldn't. Nothing is ever all one group. So, how did we get to the point where saying that "Not All Men" is a bad thing?? We have. Whenever the subject of, say, gendered violence comes up, there is a flurry of negativity around men. Then, when men say, "Hey, not ALL men"...well, the conversation just starts heading south.

Fortunately, some of those who say "All Men" have come up with a clever way to say "Not All Men." They've added a handy "but" before going into a terrible analogy as to why it is, in fact, "All Men." Here we go. This is from a Twitter user, who I shall not identify. And, personally, I think it is the worst analogy ever:

A male friend put it best: "look, *I* know I am a safe person, but no woman upon meeting me would know that. This 'not all men' bullshit is like asking women to trust a dozen doughnuts knowing one is filled with poison. They are gonna treat each one like it'll kill them."

Oh boy. Okay, not well thought through, at all. This is the kind of analogy that can justify no shortage of hate and discrimination.

Say we applied this fancy analogy elsewhere. Say we said this about Muslims. Or African-Americans. Hispanics. Asians. Pick a group. Pick any group. Women even. For sure, apply it to women as well.

If one fundamentalist religious follower blows himself up in an arena in Manchester, can we go and say, "We know not all Muslims, but if you have a package of donuts..."

Or, if a woman lies about being raped or sexually abused? Do we say, "We know not all women, but, you know, if you have a package of donuts..."

How about, "No, not every African-American will rob you, but, you know...donuts..."

No. We don't. We don't say these things. At least it's definitely not good to say these things. It's stereotyping. It's sexism. It's racism. It's anti-Muslim. And so on and so forth. And so many of the very same people using this analogy would be absolutely against it if applied to these groups. Oh man, the cancelling that would happen! Just imagine it.

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However, when we get to men, a gender that makes up, what, like half the planet, suddenly, this line of thinking becomes a perfectly acceptable narrative. How?? How do people not see the obvious hypocrisy? How many would be railing against this if were against a race or religious group, but accept and embrace it when it comes to an ENTIRE gender, specifically men??

And why, oh why, is it so controversial to point how problematic this line of thinking is? Saying this online will create a dogpile. A nasty, nasty dogpile. Mind you, that dogpile can kind of go both ways. After who knows how many responses to the above tweet, this was the response of the original poster:

Cool cool. Leave it to men to make a post about women feeling unsafe somehow about their hurt feelings. There was a point, and some of y'all missed it by a mile. Thank fuck for the block button.

Yes, the point is, if you dare try and challenge the narrative, men become the bad guys...again. Make a post about how all men are seen as potentially dangerous because of donuts or whatever and when a dude say, "Um, I think you might be showing your misandry here," guess who the jerk is seen to be?


Now, don't get me wrong. I know there are issues that we are currently facing as a society revolving around gender violence. The murder of Sarah Everard in the UK seemed to spark a new round of discussions and protests regarding the safety of women. And, there are many people who have very valid concerns about their safety and in no way should this take away from those fears. If a person wants to have those fears, then heck, have them.

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But, to look in fear at every single male based on a donut comparison? Seriously? That's a good way to waste a life living in absolute terror and fear because you don't want to get a bad donut. Imagine walking around thinking that you won't go into a shop run by Muslims or Jews because of the bad donut analogy? Imagine if you avoided people of other races based on comparing them to poison donuts? You would be limiting yourself to a wealth of experiences because you are living in fear, and stereotyping based on the actions of some in those groups.

Just a thought. Maybe this analogy isn't the best? In fact, one could even say this analogy really sucks. Maybe, just maybe, if you are thinking of using it, understand just how much it does suck, and the road you are going down when you use it.


About the author

Chris Hearn

I'm a 47 year old writer, amateur photographer and amateur dad living in Winnipeg, MB, Canada.

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