The fact that nearly all women who are raped are raped by men (and that 1 in 6 women are raped or have it attempted) does not mean that all men are rapists. It means that women are sick of this dynamic and of living in fear all the time and want this to stop. It means that we have a pervasive problem that is being, in part, maintained by a social system that is based in a dominance hierarchy. Historically (and presently) most of the people at the top of that pyramid of power and privilege are male and are White. Many times that place at the top has been used to harm others who are not — which is why it’s a dominance hierarchy.

When you separate you, the individual, from the social dynamic, perhaps you can see that it is not you, in particular, who are being blamed for anything that you didn’t personally do. Sweeping harm under the rug, as has so often been done in the past will not solve problems. In fact, it’s a large part of what has allowed the dysfunction and systemic abuse to be so rampant. You can’t just put icing over mud and call it cake. We need to shift our society to a more collaborating and caring one that works better for everyone, but glossing over real wrongs isn’t the way to do it. I’ll forgive most people most things if they will sincerely apologize and make a real attempt to not do it again. Someone who says, “Yeah, whatever — get over it” is going to feel the heat of my wrath instead.

It is not that we have created the patriarchy around us. Or the working conditions, or even the dominant culture. What we have done is colluded with it. We cannot mature inside a culture without having internalized aspects of it. Our ability to change our political environment begins with the understanding of how we have helped create it. Our consciousness is where the revolution begins. Fifty percent of the work we need to do is on ourselves. The other 50 percent is to focus outward and use ideas like stewardship to redesign the practices, policies, and structures that institutionalize what we wish to become.

“So yes, men have a lot of wounds, but instead of really looking at them and dealing with them, many of them lash out at the women (and others) who are pointing out that they are tired of being shit on. “Everything was fine until the feminists started agitating, until the #MeToo movement started whining…..” Meanwhile, everything was not fine at all — for women or for men.”

And to paraphrase my friend Lorelei Weldon, when we talk about what happened during WWII, we speak about the things that the Germans did, and we hold that country responsible, even though not all Germans were Nazis, and most of the German people also suffered during the war.

You cannot deal with societal dynamics by looking at them through the lens of individual identity, but that’s what you keep trying do. If you figured out how to stop doing that, I think you’d be happier.

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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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