Helping Guide a Friend Away From "#NotAllMen" Without Losing Friend
April 29, 2018 12:13 PM   Subscribe

If you specifically have a friend you don't want to lose who you know is not holding the opinion with bad intent, and thus you are specifically looking for material that is explanatory and avoids the anger around this topic (well-deserved!), and said friend is open-minded and has changed their mind on various things before, what reading pieces would you forward to him regarding why the "wait a minute, not all men" response is bad?
posted by WCityMike to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
The "Shcrodinger's Rapist" essay is a good place to start
posted by Jon_Evil at 12:46 PM on April 29, 2018 [11 favorites]

Probably more abrasive than you want, but this?
posted by perplexion at 1:06 PM on April 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

I like Jon_Evil's link above, because it frames the situation in a way that a man may genuinely have never thought of before, and it doesn't assume that Men are Assholes, it just exposes them in a somewhat lighthearted and digestible way to a train of thought that might be completely foreign to them.

I might also approach this a little bit Socratic-ly (Socratically?) and next time he says "not all men" try to ask him why he feels the need to say that and work around to why saying that offends some people. Help him "get there" himself, don't just lay on him that he's wrong because you are the arbiter of what's right.

The thing about setting out to change your friend's opinion -- about this, or about anything -- is that nobody likes to hang around with people who are constantly thinking/saying "I'm right and you're wrong, here's why." That's annoying. That's not going to make him change his mind or understand why Not All Men offends and upsets you. It's probably just going to get his back up and make him think "goddammit even my *friends* are spouting this nonsense!" (Note that I don't think it's nonsense, but I'm trying to put myself in his position.)

I had a wide-ranging social/political conversation a few months ago with a friend, in the course of which I said "Yeah, I'm starting to agree with the Republicans on that one." She snapped back "Well, if you're going to be a Republican I'm going to have a hard time being friends with you!" That was *so* off-putting and really made me not want to be around her, because it was disagreement approached with an air of superiority and dismissiveness. It shut the conversation down instead of furthering it and helping us understand each other's positions.

I don't mean to assume that you would handle your situation the same way, but my 2 cents would be to take special care NOT to be preachy, but rather to make this discussion a true conversation, learn from what he's saying even as you are trying to "teach" with what you're saying.
posted by mccxxiii at 1:29 PM on April 29, 2018 [5 favorites]

The metafilter discussion about the Schrodinger's Rapist article is also really good.
posted by alphanerd at 1:51 PM on April 29, 2018

Would it be easier for him to read a "not all white people" explanation instead? The part about derailing conversations is applicable to all Not Alls.

The most succinct explanation I've seen, though I don't know who to credit and I don't have it right enough to search, was something like "not literal all, but enough that you either need to be Team This Isn't A Problem or Team Work Needs To Be Done, which one do you want to be?"
posted by Lyn Never at 2:44 PM on April 29, 2018 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: > Would it be easier for him to read a "not all white people" explanation instead? The part about derailing conversations is applicable to all Not Alls.

Yeah, anything combating any "Not All" would be useful ... I suspect he'd react similarly on a "not all white people" issue too. Thank you for that link too!
posted by WCityMike at 3:10 PM on April 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

In the Schrodinger's Rapist thread, this comment by MeFite Nattie about some of her early run-ins with predatory men is absolutely pheonomenal. Maybe just reading this alone would make a dent.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 5:09 PM on April 29, 2018

The Schrodinger's Rapist thread is a good one, albeit not so easy for me to read anymore due to the cringeworthiness of some of the things that men said in it. I remember reading it when it happened though, and that it was one of the big episodes that pushed me personally from being vocally #notallmen toward being someone who realizes that while yeah it's literally true that not all men are rapists, saying so is seldom a relevant or helpful contribution to a discussion about misogyny or sexual crime. I could feel my mind changing in real time as that thread unfolded.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:15 PM on April 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

5 helpful answers to society's uncomfortable questions... By cracked, interestingly enough
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:28 PM on April 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

Does he have any fears of types of animals or insects? Like spiders, or snakes, or big dogs? Because not all spiders and snakes can or will harm you. But some will. ENOUGH of them will. Enough of them have the ability to kill you. So therefore you're going to be extremely cautious around a snake or a spider until you can confirm that it is a safe snake or spider. Or you may only take a chance when a spider or snake is in a safe environment - like at a zoo behind a wall or with a handler. You wouldn't just walk around in a spider and snake infested walkway. Or you may just not want anything to do with snakes or spiders because the risk is just too much.

It's honestly the same thing. People are dangerous, and more often than not women are the victims of violence perpetrated by men. We have been trained to fear them like a snake or a spider.

Also, if he said "well, I can tell which spider is dangerous!" Then I give you Hobo Spider v Giant House Spider. One is poisonous. One is not. (That's a fun game when you have a spider infestation.)
posted by Crystalinne at 11:53 PM on April 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

Consider the possibility that this person may feel that you are are not allowing them to defend themselves against guilt by association due to being accidentally born male and/or white. For example, if this presumably white person is not a racist, but you find it unacceptable for them to say that in any conversation about racism, then consider that the friendship may end in conflict, and that may not be the best solution to this issue. That being said, you have every right to choose the friends and behavior you find acceptable and maintain your friendships in any way you see fit.
posted by cnc at 11:33 AM on April 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

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