Why We Can Support Both #MeToo and #NotAllMen…

…and why we should

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I have a soft heart. #MeToo has always hurt for so many reasons. But there’s something else at play and its damage can be far reaching.

I’ve spoken out against men who make unwanted advances against women and taken up against the violence women risk in saying no.

In case you missed it…

I am repulsed by the mere thought that we live in a society where “boys just being boys” and “locker room talk” is an excuse for assault, whether verbal or sexual, against women.

All of this notwithstanding, I still believe in the good guys.

I am incredibly fortunate to have had the experience of knowing and working with truly amazing men. I serve on an international Board of Trustees on which I serve. The board is predominantly male.

They let me drink whiskey and smoke cigars with them like I’m one of the guys but they stand when I enter the room, never fail to pull out my chair for me, give me their jackets when I’m cold and hold umbrellas over me when it rains. They respect me, ask my opinion and value it, challenge me and support me.

I have male friends that respect boundaries and treat women well. They are not disparaging. They believe in equality. They speak kindly. They are protectors without us even having to ask for them to be. In a nutshell — they have our back.

Men like this are treasures and they are everywhere. We can’t lose sight of that.

I firmly believe in punishing bad behavior and praising good behavior. I get concerned that the good ones get beat down with the bad. It’s manshaming. What kind of message do we send to the good men of this world when we lump them in with predatory aggressors? Thank you for your kindness, but you lose anyway?

What are we telling an entire generation of of young men? Are we truly encouraging them to grow up to be real, emotionally whole men or are we telling them, “Look kid, no matter what you do, you’ll always be a bad guy.”

My fear is the self-fulfilling prophecy. If these young men think their marked before they start, why even bother trying.

Earlier this week, Monica Hesse wrote a piece for the Washington Post about how the good men out there should be pissed and should rally to defend themselves.

Women, I think we need to carry that flag too. I don’t think that we should let the good ones get swept away in the tidal wave of the bad. Further, manshaming is a broad brush stroke and we have be pissed when it has been used on us. We have fought against double standards and should fight this one too.

I don’t think that supporting the #MeToo movement and #NotAllMen is a matter of cognitive dissonance.

Simply, I don’t think it needs to be a conflict. I’m not concerned that supporting both is going to result in us being required to turn in our “woman card.”

There needs to be a peaceful coexistence. I believe in a culture of reciprocity. There is common ground. We just need to stand on it.

Written by

Flaming pinball, nerd, music lover, wine snob, horrible violin player. No, I won’t stop taking pictures of my drinks. vanessaltorre@gmail.com IG: vanessaltorre

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