Interesting observations and points! Sure, nobody likes to think of themselves as a monster, and undoubtedly many men and boys who put women “in their place” don’t realize they’re doing it.

But sometimes the misogynist doth protest too much. As a gay man who can “pass,” I’ve often been in the company of straight men joking and telling stories about women. The themes are often overtly misogynist, overtly controlling, and deeply disrespectful.

Occasionally I might see a man disclaim, “Not that I’d treat my own wife/girlfriend/etc like that,” shuffling uncomfortably for a few seconds before the joking starts right back up again.

Men know. They get it. Many men, anyway. I have a feeling they’re the ones quick to reply, “Not all men.”

In fact, I know one specific man exactly like that. He’s the first to come out with “Not all men” when he hears stories about sexism, but when he’s with “the boys” he’s as sexist as all get out. And when on a business trip, he’s the first to cheat on his wife, who definitely doesn’t think she’s in a poly relationship!

As an aside, the “not all” phenomenon applies to homophobia as well. When I write about Christian institutions popularizing toxic societal attitudes about LGBTQ people, I almost never hear a Christian say, “I’m sorry. You’re right, we must work hard to change.” Instead, I hear almost always, “Not all Christians.”

When I point out that reliable data show that almost all Christians in the US are homophobic or support homophobic theology, I get either no response or an angry response.

Not all men? Of course not, but many men, and that’s the point.

Why not say, “I’m sorry, you’re right. We must work hard to change?”

Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com

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