I’ll be honest, I think about stickers when I start seeing men crawling around women’s Twitter feeds with their “Not all men” replies in response to a woman’s very honest and vulnerable tweet about being sexually harassed. Surely, these are men who need to be given a sticker that reward them for not raping women.
I honestly don’t give a flying bowl of dicks if I offend Matt Damon and his crew of Celebration Men with this post, because these are the kind of delicate men who apparently need the most stickers. With all the criticism that gets tossed around these days about “kids these days” needing participation trophies, the reality is that men are the people who need these trophies the most. They need to be back patted and have their cheeks pinched in order for their egos to be inflated enough and their tender feelings to be assuaged, just so they are assured that we are not talking about them, the innocent ones. We, the women who have actually been victimized need to have the truth patronizingly explained to us, repeatedly throughout our spaces in what is most-assuredly logical and obvious tones, that not all men abuse, rape, harass, and victimize.
Well, no fucking shit, Sir Lancelots of social media. We know that. We are not talking about you, but here is your pencil — good job not raping anyone today. Why the hell are we going to recognize and celebrate anybody for not raping someone? This is like congratulating people at parties for not murdering someone that day. “Oh hey, Dave! I know you just landed that huge marketing account, but what really matters is that you didn’t murder anyone today. Not like last week, wow, that was unfortunate…”
It should be obvious that a person is able to go about their day without violating another human being. We are talking about basic decency that entails acknowledging that another individual is an autonomous person with rights to their body. You want us to congratulate you for doing something that we should just be able to do? I mean, I would praise my children for things like this when they were little: “Did you pee in the toilet? Wow! Good job! Let’s go get a treat!” or “I’m so happy you got your panties on under your pants. That was good work!” Now I’m expected to praise grown men for not harassing women.
While you are sitting at your Good Boy Desk, squirming with your hand raised and shouting, “Oh pick me! Pick me! I am not an abuser!” we are sharing our own unique and personal experiences with men who did not earn their gold star that day. These were men who were, in fact, rapists and who did, in fact, rape us. So spare us your not all men when we are talking about our experiences with these particular men.
You want your sticker? Fine, here is a sticker that will tell the world that you are not a creeper.
Have a pencil that you can use and show off how you valiantly don’t harass women. But ask yourself this, why is it so important to you that insist on having one? Why must you clearly delineate yourself from men who participate in evil?
It’s because you know there are so many amongst you.
Instead of trying to defend yourself by insisting that not all men do these things, how about you admit that yes, men do these things. Instead of jumping in with the patronization, how about you actually listen to what victims are saying. Hear our words and then watch the actions of those around you. Are you really helping anyone except for the rapists, harassers, abusers, and victimizers when you demand to be acknowledged?
Think about it.
All you do is perpetuate a culture of silence when you demand your praise. When you whimper and whine for your trophies, and expect us to pat your head and say, “Good job, you didn’t abuse anyone this month” what you’re really saying is, “There aren’t that many rapists anyway. And if there aren’t that many of them, how can there be that many of you?” What you’re also saying is, “Look at how many of us great guys there are! Great guys don’t do the things you’re talking about, so what bad guys are you hanging out with?”
We won’t be silenced. Maybe not all men understand this, but most men figure it out pretty damn fast.
So listen, we already know not all men do the things we’ve experienced. But we do know the kinds of men who do; and they’re the kind who ask for stickers and pencils.
Participation trophies are false achievements, and we all know it. And we can spot the men who want them a mile away.