on rape culture and how we talk about men

Originally posted on Twitter.

whenever men are outed as harassers there’s always the subsequent conversation of “well how am I supposed to approach women then,” and, disregarding the people who are just there to be dicks, I find that so many people on the left don’t dive deeper into that reply

because what I hear when men say that isn’t “I am going to find my future wife at barcon, how do I introduce myself”; what I hear is “rape culture has codified how men and women relate in a way that assumes predation as its default, so how the fuck am I supposed to engage at all”

what I also hear is men who aren’t neurotypical asking for an etiquette guidebook, because ableds will be ableds, and the shame box for neuroatypical men just squeezes tighter and tighter

and this is why nonbinary people get completely subsumed into a gender binary in these discussions, because it is all built on rape culture that reifies a gender binary, and that benefits from erasing variation

imo this is also why abuse, predation, and harassment among queer people does not get reported, because once again, it does not fit the narrative neatly of man vs. woman (please read carmen maria machado’s memoir in the dream house for more of a deep dive on this)

and you know what? straight men see this. straight men see that queer people are friendly with each other in a way that straight men can’t be. and you know what I’m realizing? lovebombing, friendly flirting, all of that is sooo the norm in queer spaces and is rarely questioned

the dudes and the people read as such are right here. they don’t get a pass when rape culture dictates conversations. rape culture will give that pass if a queer woman crosses boundaries and flirts and harasses because either the behavior can’t exist or destabilizes the binary

it’s not *just* toxic masculinity. it’s not *just* patriarchy. it’s not *just* sexism. it is all of this, and cissexism, and transphobia, and coloniality, and more! it is all predicated on assuming rape culture as unchangeable

“men are trash” or “people suck” are just woke ways to give people passes and ignore the deeper foundational issues. yes, people do bad things. but also, “men are trash” is a self-fulfilling prophecy

and the whole “throw the whole man away”? same vein. yeah, I know we’re fed up with men. but is the solution to flatten out the complexity that each human embodies? we benefit more from seeing the complexities for what they are

marginalized people are fed up because we’ve had our experiences invalidated, our identities denied, our voices silenced, our realities pigeonholed into narrow stereotypes.

are we gonna do this to men too?

“men” is not synonymous with cishet man. “men” includes trans men, men of color, bi men, gay men, nonbinary men, all kinds of manhood and masculinity. and even if it’s a cishet man? still a person.

I am simultaneously a feminist, womanist, and men’s rights activist. yes, I will claim the last one. because oppression and rape culture hurt us ALL. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US. and because I love men and believe they can do better.

people ask why people are willing to date and love men on here like it’s a joke. but I love men bc they have been some of my best mentors and friends, who have led me through growth I couldn’t have accomplished by myself. I love men because I see their shared humanity and pain

I love men because they have experiences I am locked out of, and I cannot complete my understanding of the world without theirs. I love men because I believe all of humanity can achieve greatness. and that cannot happen if I assume all men are trash.

I will conclude this thread by saying that this is why I write fiction, including erotica. because I believe that we can have societies and cultures where gender is simply another variation and not an axis of oppression. and for that to exist, it has to be imagined. dream bigger.

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