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  • Writer's pictureMcKinley

I'm Too Old for This

“There are always assholes in life. The talent is to try to get along.”

I’m not trying to get along with people who think my existence is worth less than their own. Who think that the existence of anyone else is worth less than their own. Who think that it’s a joke to punch down. Who think that they’re “not all men” while simultaneously participating in upholding violence and oppression of women, non-men, and marginalized genders.

“You’re too sensitive.”

I’ve spent too much of my life allowing toxic behavior to go unaddressed, and I’m at the point that I’m too old for this shit to continue. I will forever be “too” something for others. But I’d rather be too sensitive and able to stand up for myself and others than be walked all over.

I’m 27. I hope to have decades more on this planet, and I’m not planning to spend them allowing men I encounter to get away with abusive, misogynistic, patronizing, condescending behavior.

Today, I reported the behavior of a man in a position where he is responsible for certifying staff in CPR and First Aid after I walked out of the class. This was after he informed us that he hoped he wouldn’t “offend” anyone and to speak directly with him if we have a problem with something he says. Red flag.

When I worked at a domestic violence shelter, I became familiar with the wheel of power and control. This was originally made to reflect the power dynamics that can be taken advantage of by one partner within relationships, and has been adapted for other contexts such as the workplace (and specifically schools in a past post of mine).

Something that is said is that all women know another woman who has been abused in some way, but few men seem to know another man who has been an abuser. In heterosexual relationships, 97% of the domestic abuse that happens is perpetuated by men. This is not an accident.

“Not all men,” they say. Maybe not, but certainly enough. Enough that it is rare for men to truly, actively, consistently be disruptive of misogyny, misogynoir, and the oppressive nature of the patriarchy. It is rare for men to hold one another accountable and challenge these behaviors. This is not an accident.

All men benefit from the perpetuation of violence and oppression of women and non-men. This. Is. Not. An. Accident.

The bare minimum is not enough. We must collectively raise the bar for what we expect from men - all of us. How?

Empower ourselves. Familiarize ourselves with the language to be able to name and describe toxic and abusive behaviors. Disrupt it when safe: men, especially.

I am in a position where it is physically, mentally, and emotionally safe for me to report this man’s behavior today. That is not always true; in fact, it is rarely true that it is safe for women and non-men to be the disruptive ones.

So who is responsible and safe to do the disrupting? Men.

Men who say “not all men” but warn their daughters, sisters, and wives about how men are.

Do something different.

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