Not all men are made out of sex and bourbon, but most of you are. Not all men are delicious, but you’re still my favourite breed of human. Not all of you are witty or sharp or fun to glitter bomb, but you’re usually at least one of those things. Not all men are respectful of women, but you definitely outnumber the bigots. Not all men are principled, but not all women judge an entire gender based on a few bad apples. Not all women are unaware that men, too, are abused. We’ve heard you. We don’t respond with “not all women,” so please hear us.
When we speak about our fear, we know that it’s caused by a minority. We know that not all men are abusers. Not all women need to be reminded of that because not all women blame an entire gender for our fear. Most of us already know that it’s based on risk, and not on the characteristics of every man.
Not all complaints about rape culture deserve to be dismissed. Not all cries for empathy are baseless. Not all explanations for why we’re sometimes fearful are misandrist. Most of the time, such writings are responses to male irritation over our well-formed boundaries, so please stop telling us that not all men are sexist. We know.
The question is do you know that not all fear is misandrist or irrational? Do you know that even though not all encounters with men are traumatic, there are enough of them to make us scared every day?
I have a bee sting allergy. Being stung buys me a hospital visit, even if I have an Epipen on hand. I’ve not been stung for over a decade, so I know that not all bees sting in all situations. I also know that bees are responsible for much of the food I enjoy at dinner times. That doesn’t change the fact that I must be wary of bees when I see them, because if I get stung, I can die. Not all stings come from bees, but bees are especially dangerous for me, so I get antsy when they’re around. That is a rational response.
You wouldn’t tell me “not all bees”, so why “not all men?” Keep your dismissal. Not all women need to hear it.