You don’t have to tell someone else about their oppression experiences (mansplain) in order to sympathize or make them feel heard and seen. This is what I keep saying — listening, I mean really listening to someone else with no agenda but to receive them, is incredibly powerful and healing. It’s a big aspect of what I do in my coaching practice.
And I’m not saying this to be antagonistic, but every single thread we’ve come across each other on where a woman is just trying to speak about what it’s been like to live in the world she lives in a lot of men, including you feel the need to minimize that, explain it away as overreacting or wallowing in victimhood or whatever. None of these women have ever said that men have it easy or that nothing bad ever happens to men. They are simply trying to have the experience of being seen and heard, and perhaps for men to begin to grasp just how high the level of systemic abuse they’ve always had to deal with since they were young girls.
The CDC and The World Health Organization both say that violence against women is a public health emergency. I was reading an article this morning about Larry Nasser and how that abuse went on for 20 years, with 499 known victims. Those girls repeatedly told their parents, their coaches, the police, the gymnastics association, etc. And no-one fucking did anything! They pooh-poohed it all away because he was an important man who was always friendly to everyone. And in the face of that kind of world, when someone says, “You really should have been more assertive,” it just adds salt in the wound. It’s the dictionary definition of adding insult to injury.
So, I think you are beginning to understand the difference between your personal experiences and a larger societal dynamic. Your painful experiences count too and those also deserve to be heard and seen. Just not in response to someone else talking about theirs. It’s not a contest. One doesn’t cancel out or negate the other. The way forward is to learn from each other. Not to say, “what happened to you isn’t really so bad,” or whatever other dismissive and marginalizing things that some men tend to say.
Men do need to examine their own oppression, because they are also victims of the patriarchy. But what they need to realize is just that -it’s the social system that is the problem, rather than turning the tables and blaming women, which is what MRAs do. You said yesterday that you were starting to remember bullying at the hands of other boys. That is a part of the oppression of the dominance hierarchy and the performative nature of constantly having to joust for position in a patriarchy.