As a single woman who’s looking for love, I spend a lot of time with single men. While I’ve met a lot of really great, lovely guys in the dating world, I’ve also met a lot of terrible, toxic ones. My personal experience combined with the endless news about the things men are doing in the world—delegalizing abortion, assaulting women in large numbers, need I go on?—makes me realize how much better the male gender should and needs to be doing.
Respecting a woman’s autonomy isn’t that hard. Seriously. Why should any man have a say in whether or not women should have the right to control our own bodies as we see fit? If we want to terminate a pregnancy, that’s our choice. If we want to take birth control, have sex or not have sex, get breast implants, gain weight, lose weight, whatever—it’s our choice. Not only should guys not have an opinion on this, they certainly shouldn’t get to legislate based on this opinion, and that’s exactly what’s happening. It has to stop.
The sense of entitlement has to go. So many guys seem to think that they are entitled to things—sex, power, deference—simply by virtue of being men. Because of this, women often bear the onus of having to deal with their often unreasonable and inappropriate behavior. A lot of guys believe that women owe them attention, a date, or even sex just because they exist and they want it. It’s really not cool.
Reacting with violence or force to get their way is not OK. When we don’t bend to their sense of entitlement, many men will react with attitude at best and extreme violence at worst. The UN estimates that up to 35% of women have experienced violence by a guy they weren’t even dating, while up to 70% have experienced violence at the hands of a partner in their lifetime. In 2017, more than 30,000 women globally were killed by their partners. I think those numbers speak for themselves.
The overwhelming emotional repression is causing serious harm. The fact that most guys aren’t raised to be able to experience and discuss their emotions in a healthy and open way isn’t just annoying, it’s causing serious harm. The lack of emotional depth or healthy coping methods leaves many guys with pent-up feelings that they don’t know how to handle and which eventually causes them to explode. This is a serious problem that we need to confront.
The “not all men” argument just doesn’t hold water. As I said above, I know for a fact there are decent guys out there—plenty of them, in fact—but some of them get offended when you mention the fact that a large number of their gender are seriously problematic. While it’s certainly not the good guys’ responsibility to answer for the behavior of others, it’s important for guys to recognize the culture of toxic masculinity we’re living in and to learn how to be good allies to women. If they really care about and respect women as much as they say they do, this shouldn’t be a lot to ask.
It’s not up to women to make up for men’s shortcomings. At the end of the day, it’s really not women’s responsibility to teach guys how to be decent, upstanding human beings. We’re not their teachers or their mothers; we simply want to be treated with consideration and respect. I love men and enjoy having them in my life, I just know they can do better and really hope they will.
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