Why saying #NotAllMen Harms Men
The silence of the majority of men about our collective impact on girls and women allows generations old abusive patriarchal systems to remain in place. Even though many men don’t support the extremist actions of the most abusive men who openly attack women politically, economically, and physically, boy do we get defensive when men are collectively called out, quick to claim #NotAllMen
Catalyst research shows that in the workplace 94% of men feel pressured by other men to live up to society’s “rigid masculine standards.” That’s patriarchy right there, telling men how to live our lives. We’re not free either.
Quoting Catalyst here: “Past Catalyst research has shown that many men want to intervene and reduce sexism — yet sometimes do not. The study also reveals that men with high masculine anxiety are likely to say they would do nothing in the face of workplace sexism.”
→Why are we men so quick to cry #NotAllMen? We are reactive to being told we’re collectively responsible because we also know we have been bullied and policed all our lives by the same patriarchal men who attack women. Patriarchy isn’t just about controlling women. It’s about controlling all of us.
#NotAllMen is how we angrily respond because we must find a way to live with our own responsibility for surrendering our moral agency to bullies long ago and living with the shame that created. We know the bullies are still watching us. We’re frozen/defensive in our silent stance.
Want to break out of the enforcement of what Catalyst, A Call to Men, Equimundo, Ray Arata call the Man Box, the bullying enforcement of retrogressive masculine norms? Do your men’s work with these organizations or with a group like Mankind Project USA, or Evryman.
Remaking Manhood’s podcast, videos, along with free sample chapters of our book The Little #MeToo Book for Men, which maps Man Box culture in just 75 short pages, are here: https://linktr.ee/remakingmanhood
The price we pay as men for allowing our dominance-based culture of masculinity to silence us is deep loneliness and disconnection. We’re so busy hiding those aspects of ourselves the don’t fit “rigid masculine norms” that we become strangers to ourselves, our partners, our kids.
Cigna Healthcare reports “more than half of U.S. adults (58%) are considered lonely.” Chronic loneliness has the same health impact as smoking. The isolation created by Man box culture, what NYU researcher and author Niobe Way calls our “crisis of connection,” is killing us and all those whose lives we impact.
Come in from the cold. Join the growing community of men who are creating a healthy masculine culture of expression and connection, of equity and community, of longer more fulfilling lives. We are waiting to do our work with you.
I began my men’s work when I was 50+ years old. Don’t wait like I did. Don’t waste decades of your life in the Man Box. Do your men’s work now.