To the women who say ‘Men too’ to every post that doesn’t explicitly lay out in extensive detail the trials and tribulations of the male experience….
You were born into a patriarchal society. From your earliest days you were taught to centre men in every thought and every deed. Fairytales, movies, the media, your paycheque, the structural opportunities that weren’t available to you, and possibly even those closest to you, taught you that you are less valuable than men. You were taught that the best way to attain power is to associate yourself with a man.
I get it.
Here’s the thing you may not realise; some of us have broken through that conditioning. We see our value in its own right. We know our worth, not as an extension of the men in our lives, but as its own thing.
We don’t need to include men in every story because we have stories of our own. We don’t need to centre men in every thought because we have our own thoughts.
If you’re so concerned with being so inclusive why do you only ever say ‘Men too’? Why don’t you say ‘People of Colour too’ or ‘People with Disabilities too’ or ‘LGBTI people too’? Why is it always men?
Because you’re trapped in a patriarchal system that has convinced you that men must be at the centre of all things.
We are not going to forget men. We can’t forget men. Society is set up to ensure we think about them every single day. They’re in our homes and in our governments, in our workplaces, and in our shops. They designed the system and with your help, they’re maintaining it.
For thousands of years men have written history books, made laws, and created rights and privileges that referenced themselves only. They didn’t include women. This happened across the world in almost all societies. Men claimed their place and said ‘Us first. Our needs first.’ Women across the world were silenced, told their voices didn’t matter, or were unwanted, or unwelcome.
Women told their stories quietly amongst themselves. If they had any influence over the power that was wielded in society it was in secret, behind the scenes. Their ideas were whispered to the men in power who advocated on our behalf.
It’s only very recently in the history of the world that women have had the courage to stand up and say, ‘I have a story and I will speak. You will not stop me from telling my truth.’
Please remember this the next time you feel compelled to say ‘Men too’. What you are doing is unconsciously attempting to silence a woman who’s been silenced for too long. To remind her that her story doesn’t count if men don’t play the leading role.
Just because your story always has a man at the centre, doesn’t mean that’s the case for all women.
Because you can’t imagine a world in which men aren’t at the core of everything and because you don’t know who you would be in that world, women’s stories unsettle you. What you don’t realise is that you’re being used as a tool of the patriarchy to enslave yourself and you’re trying to keep us all there with you.
We will not be enslaved any longer. We have found our centres and men are not there. We are there. We sit in the heart of ourselves.
We didn’t forget men in our stories, we simply chose to centre ourselves. It shouldn’t be a radical act but in the world in which we live, it often is.