X: “I hate guys.”
Y: “Me too.”
X: “Guys are the worst.”
Well, I hate blankets. Blankets cover stuff. Blankets hide space.
Blanket statements hide issues. We unroll blankets statements and drape them over complex, deep and systemic issues regarding gender, sexism, miso....blah blah blah.
Okay, okay guys suck! But is it “guys” or is it the the institutions which breed these “guys”. Because let’s face it, although not all guys are terrible, all will simply just not understand some things. Why? Well, because the lived experiences of men and women are starkly different entrenched with different obstacles of varying densities.
Following the 2014 shooting in Santa Barbara, a 140 page manifesto along with a Youtube video created by the shooter, Elliot Rodger, were released. The manifesto and video targeted women and were littered with misogynistic and anti-female rage.
The hashtag, #AllMenCan, took off. The campaign united men who expressed their dual role as men and feminists. Men took to the Internet holding signs reading, “Women don’t owe you shit”, “real men don’t define themselves against women”, and “All men can be proud feminists”.
But, why are guys still the worst?
Even the ones who have the most genuine and sympathetic hearts toward female oppression, have not experienced the same experiences.
Malcolm Gladwell wrote a piece entitled Small Change: Why the Revolution Will not be Tweeted. The piece examines social media’s ability to allow, well everyone, to be “activists”. Social media enables users to advocate without physically advocating. This means those who are not very connected to a cause can forge a connection with a cause. This, Gladwell describes as weak-tie activism.
But what does this all have to do with guys being assholes?
No matter how many times someone will communicate their experiences as a female, a black person, a latinx person, a queer person, a transgender person, a person with a disability, the highest order response to the experience will be sympathy. The highest order tie to the experience will be a weak-tie.
It is not to say those who possess weak ties are not useful or strong allies. These advocates can use their positions of privilege to foment change in the arenas which they dominate.
They can raise awareness to the issues which affect others.
They can read every manifesto, declaration, journal and blog regarding feminism, intersectionality and all the “isms”.
Yet, the obstacles encountered and felt by those with different faces are different obstacles of varying densities.
So instead of “guys are the worst”
Maybe a more appropriate phrase would be “institutions which create gender and race hierarchies are the worst.”
That doesn’t have the same ring to it?! Huh?? It just rolls of the tongue with such ease or cheeese.
What about some hashtags: #INstitutionOUT #ReverseInt #DeconstructtheConstruct