It never fails. Something is posted by either a man or a woman (more often women) where there exists a complaint of some kind about a man. It isn’t long before a man comes along to say some form of the expression, “All men aren’t like that!”
Now I was guilty of this at one time. I get the reason for it. After all, if you don’t fall in whatever category, yet it sounds like you’re being forced there against your will, you want to defend yourself, correct? After all, it isn’t like a lot of women go through the trouble of adding “some” before it to indicate that it most certainly isn’t “all” men who do whatever it is they’re referring to. It just sounds stronger that way. “Some men” just doesn’t have the same punch, right? So yes, I always made it a point to say something about us “nice guys” to remind women that no…their complaint(s) don’t include the something like nearly 4 billion other men out there.
Even when the woman is careful about how she expresses the complaint to the degree that even though she did not specifically say “some” men, the tone of what she wrote makes it clear that her gripe is with one man or type of man in particular, some man always responds as if this is a direct attack on him and his character.
Here is why I feel like we as men need to STOP saying, “All men aren’t like that!”
Simply put…LIFE ISN’T ALL ABOUT US.
Let’s say a woman complains about a recent incident of being sexually assaulted. I would like to believe I don’t need to explain to anyone how horrific that is, but following some responses to this recent “Me Too” social media campaign, that clearly isn’t the case. But following this, a man comes along to say that “not all men” are like that.
At the very moment…why does that matter?
A woman is speaking of having been sexually assaulted. The absolute ONLY thing that will fix that is if she goes back in time and it never happens. Since no one has figured out how to do that yet, she is forced to relive the events of the assault. How does telling her that “every man isn’t that way” helping the situation?
Do you think she doesn’t know that? Do you believe she forgot? Do you feel that being slightly offended that she didn’t add disclaimers all throughout what she spoke about that “all men aren’t like that” somehow takes precedence over what happened with her? Do you honestly think that expressing this somehow make her feel any better?
For starters, I get that a lot of women out there simply stereotype men, which is the reason for the defensiveness. That isn’t right, either, especially since I’m sure those same women wouldn’t like to be stereotyped themselves. But if a woman is somehow convinced that men in general are certain ways, do you think this will change their minds, however accurate you may be?
However, there is a difference between a woman stereotyping men in general and one coming directly after you with something you don’t do. That is NOT what I am referring to here, and that is something I cannot stand myself. In that case, go crazy. She is directly forcing you into a category you don’t belong in, which is different than speaking in general terms. As my wife and I are both in the military and she is deployed to Europe right now, it also never fails that some woman or even a small collection of women do this, where one will assume that anything I do is only because my wife is gone; otherwise I would “never do it,” or that I would absolutely not know what to do with our children as though I don’t live here, or that I’m basically still going to be lazy and the house will fall completely apart, because that’s where their small little minds go based on the stereotypes that exist within them. In those cases, I shut that down quickly. Women have gotten upset with me over it, but I couldn’t care less. You’re on my turf now. You don’t get to come into my house and dictate anything. You want to believe men are this and that, that’s on you, but don’t force that thinking directly onto me or anything I do. Wrong answer.
But when a woman doesn’t place you directly there or is simply speaking about certain instances that have happened to her from men, it is absolutely no consolation to express that “all men aren’t that way.” For one, she isn’t stupid. I think most sensible women are fully aware that what happened with her is not sentiments nor behavior shared by every other man in the universe. But here’s the thing to remember. She was just let down by a man. In many instances, many times. Granted, it may not being the hundreds or thousands, but often, majority rules.
White males…if you go through a neighborhood in the inner city and see someone selling drugs on the corner, do you sensibly believe that every person in the entire neighborhood does this or is dangerous in that manner? For those of you who said no (because some actually believe this to be true), does that fact alone make you feel any safer to be near than drug corner? So someone running up to you and saying, “Hey, white dude! We’re not all like this!” doesn’t make you feel safer being that neighborhood?
If you had a bowl of let’s say, about 100 or so M&Ms, and I came along to tell you that 10 of them were poisonous, would you still feel safe eating them? No? BUT NOT ALL OF THEM ARE LIKE THAT!
It’s always laughable to me how we seem to have no trouble stereotyping others, but God forbid someone do that with us. And guys…how often do you speak up when fellow men stereotype women to say that “not all women” are the ways your fellow brothers speak of?
If you truly want to be helpful to the woman who speaks of her ordeal or complaints about certain men, telling her how much you aren’t that way does nothing to help. It certainly doesn’t take away what the other guy(s) did. Not to mention, that’s probably among the worst times to tell her how much you aren’t that way, especially right after she experienced a guy who was.
That doesn’t mean we are responsible for what other men do. Not at all. Again…if a woman comes at you in that manner, you have every right to defend yourself. No one should be held directly responsible for what someone else does.
But when a woman complains about a man in some way, it’s pretty insensitive and conceited to make it all about you. Do you seriously expect a woman who has dealt with being sexually assaulted to care more about your dinged up feelings of potentially being wrongly stereotyped than what she just went through?
Think about the worst thing a woman has ever done to you. Then think immediately afterward of another woman totally dismissing your feelings, along with saying, “Not all women are that way!”
I don’t care how tough you try to be…that would make you feel some type of way.
Think about that the next time you tell a woman who just experienced something terrible that “all men aren’t that way.”
Besides…she wasn’t really asking anyway.