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#NotAllMen: the anti-feminist's biggest excuse

This opinion piece explores the significance of the phrase "Not All Men."

Kavyaa Shah and Yash Asudani

It is no surprise that as a part of feminist conversations, many men and women find it hard to accept the realities of our world and defend themselves and others in an attempt to avoid taking responsibility and accepting the blame. Feminists have been accused of being too aggressive and have been described by words like ‘man-hater, ‘misandrist’ and ‘feminazi’. The phrase #NotAllMen has emerged from such societal constructs and resolves to exclude men from any liability against their actions and actions of fellow men.

In past weeks the hashtag NotAllMen has gained significant attention and become a topic of controversy. The hashtag was used to defend the men who don’t mistreat women. When topics like harassment or mistreatment of women are discussed, the words “not ALL men” tend to be used in an attempt to defend the men that don’t mistreat women, despite the conversation discussing the men that do mistreat women. It’s a means of shifting the spotlight of conversation away from women’s experiences of genuine harassment to men defending themselves and shying away from being held accountable.

To a woman, all men may not engage in such acts, but they can’t separate the ones that do from the ones that don’t. Hence, while all men may not engage in such acts and may even be against them, saying “not all men” serves to discount the experiences of 97% of all women.

97% of women have experienced harassment in some form. Whether it is sexism in dress codes or sexual harassment, women all over the world have been mistreated due to years of ingrained prejudice.

The World Economic Forum stated it could take more than 100 years to achieve some form of gender equality. In other words, it is going to take a century for half of the world population to be treated like their female counterparts. This. Must. Change, and it is our responsibility to take this forward.

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