So maybe I did paint with a rather broad brush in some places, but I was speaking again to cultural narratives rather than ever single man. Perhaps they mostly apply to the kinds of men who are up in arms about this ad. I have a wonderful husband who I have been with for nearly 30 years. I have another male partner and a son. I know plenty of good men who are just as you’ve described. I also appreciate the time you took to list all of the movies showing men as sensitive and 3 dimensional human beings.

And, as you likely know, Jordan Peterson has an enormous following and is hailed as a prophet in some circles. He has said that underneath all interactions between men is the knowledge that they can always fight it out physically, which he complains you can’t do with a woman. This speaks directly to some men not knowing who they are if they can’t resort to violence. We live in a dominance hierarchy. Whether it’s subtle or overt, we all, but particularly men, are always jousting for position within that hierarchy. And that’s what bullying is about; that’s what harassment is about. And, many men have never done either of those things, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not still completely intertwined within the social system that we live in.

What you say about the women you know not wanting to be characterized as victims is directly related to what I said about the demonization of that word. The CDC says 1 in 6 women will be raped or had it attempted; 1 in 3 will be subjected to some kind of sexualized violence. Cornell University just completed a huge and comprehensive study that also indicates that the overwhelming majority of women have experienced some kind of harassment by the time they are 17.

“There’s no suggestion that most men carry out harassment in the street, but occurrences are widespread.

In an online study by, 95% of respondents said they had been the victims of leering, honking or whistling and a large proportion have been groped or grabbed in public.”

Whether or not you personally know women who have experienced that is irrelevant. It’s objectively a huge and pervasive issue that is widely talked about and the fact that you still aren’t sure whether it truly is an actual issue is a major part of the problem. I say that not to attack you, but to point out that if a decent, reasonable guy like you doesn’t already recognize this as being an insidious cancer in our society, then it’s unlikely to be resolved any time soon.

Edit: Here’s some more quotes from the article above. Emphasis is mine:

“It stems from a broader culture of gender based violence,” says May. “To shift that culture it takes people standing up and saying street harassment is not OK because most people in our society don’t want it to exist.”

(It’s a pervasive part of our culture even though most people/most men don’t behave that way and don’t think it’s OK)

“Often times it’s not really about the women, it’s just about the men performing masculine acts for each other and establishing a pecking order amongst themselves. What is really going on is the dynamic among men.”

(In other words, dominance hierarchy)

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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