#YesAllMen Must Be Part of the Solution

Published on by Victoria Pynchon.

I can't begin to describe the horror I, and everyone I know, felt upon first seeing this  photograph.

I know. I didn't want to see it either.

But we do girls and women everywhere a disservice if we do not have the emotional strength to witness the carnage created in societies in which women are powerless.

This is not an aberration and the longer we treat it as one, the longer women and girls worldwide will have to fear gang rape and death. This is just the far end of a continuum of violence against women everywhere. And that includes women living in the homes of your neighbors, family, and workmates.

We cannot solve this problem if we don't finally form a community of women and men who are willing to commit themselves to change.

Above are just a few of the statistics cited by Charles M. Blow in the New York Times this morning under the headline Yes, All Men. In response to his college-age son's comment that "we should all be feminists" Blow writes,

too often we believe that the plight of the oppressed is solely the business of the oppressed, and that the society in which that oppression is born and grows and the role of the oppressors and beneficiaries are all somehow subordinate.

Feminists have been trying to bring men into their ranks as long as I can recall - as far back as 1973 when I first became involved in the Second Wave Women's Movement as a full-time volunteer (under the domestic Peace Corps) at the Center for Women's Studies and Services in San Diego. We were successful in many ways, but not so much in our attempt to bring men in by convincing them that the liberation of women from out-dated and restrictive gender roles would also liberate them.

There's a new women's movement underfoot now. One powered by those who are at the forefront of every significant cultural change, our young people, boys and girls, men and women, who have been raised to believe we already have equality among the sexes. Just as my generation was raised to believe America guaranteed equality and justice for all back in the days of de jure segregation in the South and de facto segregation in the North.

The shock of reality, that what we've been taught is aspirational rather than accomplished, is the spark that ignites the next revolution of human consciousness.

If you'd like to join us, here are just two basic ground rules that will guarantee that you will be greeted with open arms: 

  1. Please don't interrupt a conversation among women about the bias, harassment or violence they have experienced by suggesting "not all men" behave in that manner. We already know that. We love men. We have husbands, some of us, and boyfriends, many of us, and those of us who have chosen women as intimate partners have fathers, uncles, brothers and boy-children. Exempting yourself from others of your gender is unnecessary and it stalls and often shuts down completely a conversation you could further by giving your own examples of bias, harassment or violence against women that you have witnessed.
  2. Ask how you can be of assistance.

That's it.

Join us! We're engaged in a movement we believe you'll wholeheartedly support once you understand that we understand "not all men are like that."

Published on by Victoria Pynchon.