Not all men

["Not all men", when used as a meme, is] a sharp, damning satire of a familiar kind of bad-faith argument, the one where a male interlocutor redirects a discussion about sexism, misogyny, rape culture, or women’s rights to instead be about how none of that is his fault.

—Jess Zimmerman[1]

Matt Lubchansky's character "Not-all-man".[2]

Not all men (also in longer format not all men are like that) is a shibboleth, attempt at rebuttal, and fallacy used by sexists to derail and silence discussions on misogyny. It also exists in a more generalised snowclone version: Not all x. As well as having been turned into a meme by feminists.[3][4][5]

A positive?

Jess Zimmerman, writing in Time, claims a pattern of progress can be inferred from the usage of "not all men", as opposed to "but men" as a derailing tactic:

“Not all men” also differs from “what about the men?” and other classic derails because it acknowledges that rape, sexism, and misogyny are real issues — just not, you know, real issues that the speaker is involved with in any way. The “not all men” man, at least in some cases, agrees with you and is perfectly willing to talk about how terrible those other guys are, just as soon as we get done establishing that he himself would never be such a cad. It’s infuriating and unhelpful, but in a way it represents a weird kind of progress.

Lubchansky agreed that the shift from “but what about men’s problems” to “not all men are like that” paralleled his own gradual development into a decent human. Perhaps men arguing on the Internet (though not all men!) follow a developmental path that echoes an individual man growing a social conscience, which in a very simplified form goes something like this:

  1. Sexism is a fake idea invented by feminists
  2. Sexism happens, but the effect of “reverse sexism” on men is as bad or worse
  3. Sexism happens, but the important part is that I personally am not sexist
  4. Sexism happens, and I benefit from that whether or not I personally am sexist
  5. Sexism happens, I benefit from it, I am unavoidably sexist sometimes because I was socialized that way, and if I want to be anti-sexist I have to be actively working against that socialization

Is it possible “not all men” rose to prominence when the level of online discourse moved from stage 2 to stage 3?[1]

See also

External links