Good Men Are Worthy, And It’s Not That Hard To Be A Good Man (My Response To WhatKatySaid)
This morning I was scrolling through twitter and I saw a few people I follow responding to a blog post. The post, written by Twitter user WhatKatySaid is titled “Men Are Not Worthy…Well You’d Think That By Reading My Timeline Anyway.” I encourage everyone to click the link and read that post before reading mine as it puts mine into context; although I will summarize parts here, I think everyone should read the entire thing first.
I read the post and disagreed with most of it, but I was going to leave it alone. People are entitled to their own opinions, and can tweet about whatever they want. Just because my opinion might be different than Katy’s doesn’t inherently make me “right” and I understand that. But, as I was scrolling through some replies as I was genuinely curious to see how people were reacting to the post, I noticed that Katy was commenting on how quiet the women the post was “aimed at” were being and how they have “said zero.” Another user commented that the people it was aimed at would never say anything because Twitter is an echo chamber, also noting that the “Sisterhood” probably didn’t like the blog.
Although Katy and I don’t follow each other so I understand the post was in no way aimed at me personally, I am, I guess, the “type” of person the post was aimed at. And since it seems to be dialog Katy wants, and since other random people seem to find it funny to mock us for being in an “echo chamber” I thought I would respond. To be clear, this is just to provide the opposite perspective, and not to shout at Katy that I am right and she is wrong; I might feel very strongly that she is wrong (and I do), but I understand that we are all allowed to have our own opinions and to tweet about whatever we want.
So with all that being said…
One of the early paragraphs in Katy’s post reads:
What has led women the become so uptight over the 4 years I was out of the game? Why do men have to jump through hoops to even get a text back? Women who have been single for months, even years, so desperate for love it consumes their lives but so wedged up their own backsides they seem to think all men are a**holes and not worthy of a second in their company?
Although I disagreed with the way this section is worded (since when do men have to jump through hoops to get a text back? Most women I encounter are waiting on men to text them…waiting a bit too anxiously, if anything), I thought maybe she was going to go down a valid route. Sometimes women are simultaneously desperate to find love but also do give up on men for the smallest thing. I think it’s good to have standards, but I think we could all be a bit more open minded. I thought maybe I might find portions of this blog I agreed with.
With the next paragraph, I quickly realized that was not the case. The following sentence of Katy’s blog reads:
I’m an anti-feminist and it’s not because I hate women, last time I checked, I was one or not that I don’t want equality because again I want nothing more across the world but feminism is no longer about equality and girl power, it’s now become a motion to silence and belittle men.
People who claim that feminism as a whole is not about equality don’t actually know what feminism is about. Feminists do want “girl power” but also want equality, and frequently fight for things that men benefit from as well, from things in the work environment such as paid paternity leave, to things within our social structures such as ending stigma around men discussing their emotions. Is there a small group of women who label themselves feminists that take things to an extreme and do purport to hate men? Sure. But to tar all feminists with the same brush when the majority of them are not that way is somewhat ironic when contained within a blog that is telling women not to tar men with the same brush. A bit of hypocrisy if you ask me.
A few paragraphs later, Katy notes,
The #MeToo thing going around the internet currently, as great as it is, what actually is sexual harassment, I mean I’ve had a man feel my ass before on a night out, or ask if they can touch my boobs… did it piss me off? Yes! Did I threaten to break their hand? Maybe… Did I feel harassed? No!
If she didn’t “feel” harassed, that is fine. I am not here to tell anyone their feelings were invalid. However, is that harassment? Yes. Is it something men should ever be doing to women in bars? Fuck no. Just because it maybe didn’t bother her personally, doesn’t make it acceptable behavior that women should just ignore. Telling other women their experiences were not that serious is part of how this has gotten to be such a major problem in our society today.
Katy claims that “Men having to constantly defend themselves, always on edge just incase they happen to glance in the direction of the wrong woman.” She claims that men don’t approach women in bars anymore because they are worried about being seen as a predator. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do think some good men enter some situations at a disadvantage because women have negative views of men in their mind. A man can’t go without texting a woman for a few hours without her assuming he is ghosting, for example, because that has been her experience in the past. However, to blame that fact on the women and not the men is ludicrous. If men would stop asking women to touch their boobs in bars, maybe women would be more open to men approaching them. It is not hard to be a kind, respectful man and approach a woman with class and dignity. If MEN would call out their fellow men for bad behavior, maybe these problems wouldn’t run so deep. But to blame women for negative outlooks toward issues that ultimately were created by men is misguided at best.
I know there are good men out there. I’m friends with them. They’re in my family. My friend Allison wrote a great post about “good men.” They’re everywhere, and it is unfortunate that sometimes no one believes they are anywhere — but no one believes that, because of men who are not good. Let’s work on making the shitty men into better people and not on making women willing to put up with shit.
Katy then goes on to say, “Since when have women been unable to break away and just have a giggle, if you’re talking to someone on the internet or via Whatsapp you tend to like them, so why would you find any minor sexual comments anything other than a compliment? Why would you then lambaste someone for being a little cheeky in frankly a very very miserable world! Someone you’re actually interested in I’ll add….Women constantly say why are all men d*cks, why do no men ever treat me right, thing is.. the good ones that are more nervous will be put off by you being so uptight, they’ll be nervous around someone so full of themselves, I mean how do you look after a woman who seems to think they’re Beyonce? I know if I was a man I couldn’t be arsed.”
Why would you find any minor sexual comments anything other than a compliment? Well, Katy, some women don’t want sexual comments from strangers. Some women would like a man to get to know them a bit first and build up a rapport before moving into sexual chat. Others are fine with it right away — to each their own. It is fine for people to be on a search for a partner whose chat style matches theirs, and Katy does indeed allude to this point. No one is meant for everyone. But to tell women they should receive rude or vulgar messages from strangers as “compliments” is a bit ridiculous. It is not that hard to be respectful to women, and it is not outrageous for women to demand respect. It doesn’t mean we “Think we are Beyonce.” To tell women they should accept bad behavior just because they’re “Not Beyonce” is terrible advice. I tell ALL my friends, both male and female, to value themselves more and make sure they aren’t getting messed around or treated badly. Within the past month or two a male friend told me about a situation going on with a woman and I told him that I wanted him to be careful, that he was smart/funny/attractive/etc. and deserved better than the situation that this woman was putting him in. Do I think my male friend is Beyonce? (Or in this case would it be Jay-Z?) No. Like all of us, he is a very flawed person, but on the whole, a decent person who deserves better than shitty behavior (and women can, frequently, perpetuate certain types of bad behavior.) I would never tell any friend, male or female, to just accept what they can get just because they are “desperate for love.”
It is not that hard for men to be respectful to women. And we know that these men exist. We know there’s men out there who don’t send sexual messages within the first three messages on a dating app. We know there’s men who try to keep their word and don’t ghost. We know there are plenty of “good” men, and we aren’t “Beyonce” for waiting until we can find them, and for holding all men to that (not even very high) standard that we KNOW they can achieve because we see it every day in our friends and family. Equally, we know there’s plenty of “bad” women. Women do plenty of things wrong in the dating realm, and I will be first in line to admit that. The difference is, I’m not telling men to accept that behavior from women.
It’s not that hard to be nice. It’s not that hard to hold off on sexual chat until you know someone is into it. It’s not that hard to be respectful. None of this is really that hard, and no one should be talked down to or told that they are the problem or that they are “desperate for love” or think too highly of themselves just for holding people to the most minimal of standard. I am telling ALL OF US, men and women, to be the best we can be, to treat each other with kindness and respect, and to call out bad behavior when we see it. Because, ultimately, that is what feminism is truly about — more equality and fairness and better situations for us all. It is sad that Katy, and all the people applauding her post, can’t see that.