#NotAllMen: Problems from both Stage 2 and Stage 3

The recent deluge of sexual abuse scandals has reignited the debate surrounding #NotAllMen. In the unlikely case that you are unaware of this, #NotAllMen is a typical response from some men when “confronted” with women’s anger as they catalogue the myriad injustices they suffer.

Stage 2 men—rightly or wrongly—typically feel that women’s Stage 3 anger is directed at them personally. In response, these men usually intend to mean, “yes, we believe all these things are happening and that they are terrible, but we should remember that not all men are abusive.”

Stage 3 typically responds—rightly or wrongly—to #NotAllMen by claiming that it is dismissive of women’s experiences and anger. Indeed, #NotAllMen then becomes a Stage 3 response to Stage 2 meant to suggest that its users are abuse apologists (and trying to make the conversation about men, suggesting they are the victims).

In this scenario, Stage 2 certainly needs to find a way of listening to, accommodating and providing solutions to Stage 3 experiences and anger.

However, Stage 3 also has work to do here. It is an undeniable truth that not all men are abusive. When Stage 3 suggests that claiming #NotAllMen is dismissive of women’s experiences and indeed functions as an apology for abuse, it is clearly asking Stage 2 to submit to a set of “alternative facts” which common sense cannot accept. If Stage 3 wants Stage 2 to take it seriously, it must frame its argument in a more reasonable manner.

Moving beyond the mostly unconstructive back and forth between Stage 2 and 3 is part of the dynamic towards Stage 4 on The Five Stages of Masculinity.