I am a man and that doesn’t make me a monster.

Vollrath_4515

In recent months feminism and women’s rights have become more relevant in media today. from women have coming out with videos of hidden cameras in their undergarments to the accusations against Bill Cosby’s activities in the 80s, to Ray Rice and the NFL’s stand on domestic abuse. I feel that this argument for feminism has been very one sided and I’d like to take a moment and shed some light into how men including myself feel about this. I will tell you right now that if I in any way, shape, or form, come off as offensive – that I do not intend to come off in such a manner and I will try my damnedest to be as politically correct as possible in this rant.

I am all for equal rights. Whether it be race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or in this case, gender. I understand that women have not had the same rights as men for as long as we have. I have a tremendous amount of respect for women who broke the gender barrier like Hilary Clinton or Barbara Walters. I acknowledge that women have every right to be independent and should be respected all across the board. But where I draw the line is when a woman assumes I am this sort of monster under the pretenses that I am a man. It’s unsettling to me that women both my age, older, and younger, “Hate men,” because we are just assumed to be these misogynistic creatures who have no regard for women’s rights. This is so far from the truth, and I’d like to shed some light for a moment on some things that men like me have been going through over the past few years.

I wrote a story in my creative writing class where a teenager dates a girl who he realizes is a mean person who doesn’t respect him. He treats her as politely as he can but she doesn’t stop patronizing him for everything and therefore the conclusion of the story is he dumps her and tells her he’s done putting her on a high horse. I was then barraged by a classmate who accused me of misogyny for, “Making her seem like a bitch.” This really lit a fire under my ass because the point of my story was that women can be just as cruel as men in relationships. It doesn’t mean that either gender is wrong, it makes these people human beings. When I tried to explain this in my class, this girl would not stop saying how, “Offensive,” I was. Luckily I did have one girl in my class who openly disagreed with this girl and I gained a tremendous amount of respect for her. But its things like this that really upset me. Why am I accused of misogyny because I wrote a character who is a mean person who happens to be a girl? But now I’ll take you into a real world situation that wasn’t confined to a classroom or a story.

Myself, and other guys I know, who are in college, have come across this multiple times and it has to do with rape. It offends me that because I am 21 years old, I am, “At risk,” of raping a college girl my age. Yes, the statistics for rape are staggering. 80% of rape victims are under the age of 30. Every 2 minutes, an American is sexually assaulted. 2/3 of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim, and 38% of sexual assaults are committed by an acquaintance of the victim. (These and other statistics can be found at https://www.rainn.org/). These are indeed alarming numbers, and I think that both men and women should take proper precautions to avoid an awful encounter such as this one. HOWEVER, what really grinds my gears is that women look at me not as a human being. Not as a 5’8″ white boy from MA who loves films, Batman and the Red Sox; but instead as a potential rapist. It really grinds my gears that myself and other peers of mine have been told on a Friday evening, “Try not to rape anybody tonight.” A sentence like that to a person like me, someone who has never done anything to intentionally disrespect someone of the opposite sex, is unnerving. Yes, I will admit: I have made my fair share of misogynistic jokes; it comes with the sarcasm. Yet if someone has the courtesy to tell me that she is unsettled by a statement I made, I make it very clear to her that I meant no malicious intent and that I am sorry. That goes to any female reading this right now that I may have unintentionally offended. From the bottom of my heart, I am sorry. SIDENOTE: Not all sexual assaults consist of female victims. Those statistics up there include both men and women. Yes, women have, STATISTICALLY, been proven to be more prone to rape than men; but that doesn’t mean that men cannot be sexually assaulted as well.

So ladies, the next time you’re at a party; dance; or gala event of some sort; and a sharp dressed man comes up to you and tries to talk to you. I urge you not to assume that this man is trying to have sex with you and could potentially assault you. Instead think to yourself, “Here’s a man who is just trying to make conversation with me and if I’m interested, I will oblige; and if I’m not, then I will respectfully decline,” instead of thinking, “Here’s another rapist.” That doesn’t mean that EVERY guy out there is a nice guy, of course. You are going to run into a guy who is a little pushy and you have every right to say no; and if he keeps intruding on you, you get help.

So to all women out there. I urge you to recognize that myself, and other men out there are 100% supportive of equal rights, especially for women; but just because we’re men does not mean that the only thing on our minds is sex. I don’t look at women as an object, I look at them as a person. When I engage in conversation, I make eye contact and listen, and respond. Am I attracted to the female form? Of course, I’m human. Am I respectful, though? Without question.

Again, if this rant was unsettling for you in any way shape or form, I urge you to contact me in the comment section or send an email (Our address is in our contact page) and I’d love to further discuss this. Just remember: Women absolutely deserve respect in this world; but that doesn’t give them the right to disrespect men.

-Reed

@Were_Not_Sorry

UPDATE: I will say that no, I am not fully educated in this subject and I am making statements crafted from my own personal thoughts. As I stressed in the post, I did not mean to offend anybody or make any peers of mine uncomfortable in any way shape or form. What I was trying to say, really, was that it’s sad we live in a world where assumptions mold our character and moral base. It’s sad that women have to take necessary pre-cautions almost instinctively to protect themselves. It’s sad that some women out there believe that any man will sexually assault her. I stress the word some because not all women are like this, and feedback from that post has helped me see that. For not making that clear, I apologize. As I said earlier, this is all through the perspective of a college kid only dealing with his personal experiences. Media, especially the likes of Facebook where most people my age get their news, has really only shown one perspective of this ranging from YouTube videos to other blogs and I thought I could shed some light on the fact that just because there are horrible people out there like Ray Rice, doesn’t mean that everyone is like that. To all of the feedback, I cannot thank you enough because you have educated me today about these matters and I thank you. I only hope that the rest of you see that my words were heard and like your’s, that they are respected.

IMAGE: http://img5.foodservicewarehouse.com/Prd/1900SQ/Vollrath_4515.jpg

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