As of May 4, another literary male was taken down by the #MeToo reckoning. Furthermore, this year’s Nobel Prize for literature has been pushed until next year. A lot of people have a lot of opinions about this. If you can’t guess what mine is, you haven’t spent enough time on this blog. In the wake of #MeToo, toxic masculinity is still running rampant and Amanda Nelson–Book Riot editor, Twitter goddess–sums up my feelings pretty well in this tweet:
MeToo has come for Junot Diaz and there will be no Nobel this year because the committee is dealing with sexual abuse allegations, time for publishing to cancel men
— Amanda Nelson (@ImAmandaNelson) May 4, 2018
Of course, white male Twitter couldn’t handle this. How dare a woman with so many reasons to be angry actually be angry? Isn’t that anger just MISANDRY? Aren’t you angry feminists just MAN HATERS? #NOTALLMEN.
At things like this, I think we can heave a collective sigh. I know that I have sighed as many times as a moody teenager over the responses to this tweet alone. If you want to read them, feel free to click through the tweet and read them there. I’m certainly not going to give them another platform.
When an injustice happens against women, many men seem to have to make it about them. I mean, who cares that Junot Diaz is a sexual predator! He’s a legendary writer! Don’t ruin his career! Who cares about the women he’s preyed on and would continue to prey on? It’s the man and his career that matter here. Right? This is compounded by Diaz’s recent piece in the New York Times.
The main thing people seem to take issue with Nelson’s tweet is her hyperbolic statement that publishing should “cancel men.” At times like this, people, men especially, can’t seem to lend their understanding or sympathy. They refuse to look at why she’s mad and why she’s saying this, and go straight for the #notallmen.
With the deluge of #MeToo, the size of the problem of sexual violence and misconduct is abundantly clear. Each time someone is accused, women are not surprised. But when it’s someone that we looked up to, it hurts even more. Instead of showing sympathy and being an actual ally, these men go on the defensive. They make it about them.
We know it’s not all men. It’s obviously not all men. But it’s so many men we don’t know who to trust or look up to anymore. So men, stop making this about you. This is about the violence, disrespect, and coercion that women face everyday. It is about our experiences. It’s about about the way when each #MeToo allegation comes out, we question who we can trust and relive past pain and trauma.
Women are not worth less than a man’s career, but society continually devalues us. Patriarchy and toxic masculinity say that she’s probably lying and it’s not that bad. Take a look around. Take a look at all the men getting their comeuppance. Look at the massive size of the problem and tell me it’s not that bad. Not all these women can be lying. Not all these men “just made a mistake.” These men think that what they do is fine. They will keep doing it. They will abuse their positions of power and prey on women.
Instead of ranting on the internet (or at all) about how not all men are bad and how those poor men are suffering–try to actually be an ally. Listen to women, look at the reasons why they are angry, and be sympathetic.
And to all the women (usually white) out there taking the side of these predators… Check yourself. Find out what’s going on in the world. Walk in another person’s shoes. Stop being complicit in your own oppression.
What more? Check out my thoughts on Aziz Ansari and affirmative consent.
Beth O’Brien is a library assistant and book blogger. Born and raised in Atlantic Canada, she lives in picturesque Nova Scotia with her cat Edith. You can often find her rocking double denim with her nose in a book and a craft beer in her hand. Follow her on Twitter @fuelldbyfiction.