By Brianna Bush
“Not All Men.” Let that phrase sink in for a moment. Yes, it’s exactly what you think–a sly remark that frees men from thinking about how we can lift women from the mentally taxing pursuit of walking down the street.
But this phrase is not the first time it has forced its way into this conversation. Unfortunately, it picked up speed after Sarah Everard, a United Kingdom native, disappeared when walking home after she visited her friend’s house. She was later found dead and it was uncovered that the alleged suspect was a police officer who was charged with murder and kidnapping.
There was outrage amongst people worldwide because it sparked testimonies and protests by women who have dealt with harassment when walking the streets of their own city. Recently, the #NotAllMen hashtag came into fruition and surfaced on the internet as a loophole for men, so that they can continue to lay back while women fear for their lives.
Essentially the men who deem the phrase “not all men,” are simply disregarding the unimaginable experiences women have coped with. Instead of being allies, they are brushing off this issue to steer clear of a guilty conscience.
“You may not be a bad guy, but you are still benefiting off of the fear that other men have instilled in us,” Ellie Wilson, said in her article, “It’s time to stop saying ‘not all men’: You are part of the problem.”
“This doesn’t even bring into conversation the issue with by-standers,” said Wilson. “These passive onlookers are happy to raise their hand and say that they would ‘never touch a woman’ but are quick to look the other way when it’s their own friends who are committing the crime.”
Once again we are seeing another movement picked apart by the very preparators that created the social climate that we live in today. And this phrase is not only selfish, it’s cowardly. “Not all men” users are in fact, relentlessly perpetuating patriarchy by undermining the roots of the MeToo Movement.
This was briefed by the TikTok influencer, Kennie Tatis, who denounced the phrase in his one-minute video, setting the record straight for those who are backing its continuance by stating, “Don’t change women, educate men.”
In a candid and much-needed breakdown of why all men should be supporting women he continues, “And you’re right, it’s not all men but you do objectify women. It’s not all men but do you assume someone is lying when they told you they’ve been sexually assaulted? It’s not all men but it’s probably you.”
Along with the audacity of #NotAllMen to be stirring controversy with the heavy hearts of the family and friends who lost Sarah Everard, the hashtag #97percent has been used in efforts to shed light on the severity of sexual harassment following her death.
“In early March of 2021, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women released a report that revealed that 97% of women in the United Kingdom aged 18 to 24 have been victims of sexual harassment in public spaces,” Pretty Honroe said in her article, “The 97 Percent Challenge That You’ve Been Seeing All Over TikTok Has a Lot to Do With the Murder of Sarah Everard.”
The hashtag #97Percent is proof that women are fighters, but evidently, that is not enough for those who believe the “not all men” conspiracy. It’s time that we call on the education system to teach the youth how we can address current issues and that starts with leaders telling them that we must respect, honor, and listen to women.
We must unlearn the dismissive rhetoric that puts women in danger because we are seeing a history where the patriarchy remains untouched which directly affects marginalized groups. When women and people of color are calling on you to make a change, listen, fill yourself with knowledge. Don’t sit back and give us a handbook on what we can do. Look within yourself, and find out out how you can make a difference in the scary world we live in today.