Many times, often enough for memes to be made on the topic, a conversation by women criticizing men, is interrupted by someone chiming in with the phrase “not every man.” Whether it’s the phenomenon of “mansplaining” or sexual harassment by men towards women, it seems inevitable that someone will jump in to point out that not all men are guilty of that behavior.

                Why it’s Annoying: Dialogue about the discrimination that women still face in society are finally starting to take place. Men face discrimination as well, but for this specific article, I am focusing on women. These conversations are important because discussion can be a stepping stone to change. Sure, not every voiced and discussed frustration about modern society will lead to great future changes, but it’s that woman’s voice and expression so who is to say that her voice isn’t important? The “not every man” can come out of hurt feelings or be a well-meaning gesture; a reminder that not all men are to be feared. However, this often doesn’t add to the discussion at hand.

                Why We Should Care: The generalization of a group of people is the root of discrimination. Centuries ago, patriarchal societies had generalized women as the weaker, more emotional sex and both men and women are still trying to get over the consequences. Remembering not to generalize is extremely important because equality isn’t achieved by turning the tables and making all men the bad guys. We, as a society need to generalize less, so women, next time you start a phrase with “all men” maybe it is worth it to check the way you express yourself to make sure that you aren’t generalizing. After all, even if you are mad a one or ten men, there is probably a good man in your life whether he is a friend, relative or significant other.

                It is ideal for all human beings to be considerate of one another. So before you jump into a conversation with the phrase “not all men” do consider that the person may just be having a tough time. After all, we are taught to generalize. And before you begin a sentence with “all men” consider the fact that you are making a gross generalization and which includes men who really aren’t in the category you are trying to describe. Instead, phrases like “some men” or “certain men” to avoid over generalizing.

Published by Irina Yakubin