“Good” man: I'm talking to you

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Many men tend to get defensive whenever the topic of male dominance. “We're not all like that” they repeat in unison. They report anecdotes of their "good deeds" towards women, claiming that they have never attacked them verbally and/or physically, that they have listened to them, that they have treated them as people. But is it enough? Of course not.

It is first of all necessary to recognize that, regardless of their actions, men enjoy a privilege linked to the fact of belonging to the male sex, so decent behavior on their part does not undermine the patriarchal system. Wanting to demonstrate at all costs that they are different from the crowd, or that they are not to blame for the actions of their peers, is a clumsy attempt at deresponsibility which they use to feel with a clear conscience. In short, they try to get out of it. Questioning your privilege means having become aware of the unjust world in which we live, but, as I wrote above, it is not enough. Privilege continues to exist and men continue not to suffer the discrimination and violence to which women are subjected.

So the question is: does it make sense to narrate your "exploits" when your privilege remains intact, furthermore supported by the negative behavior of a hundred other men? No. The approach is wrong. If you are aware that you enjoy a privileged condition compared to another category of people and you want to reverse this situation, the first thing to do is to continue to behave like decent people, without flaunting it from the rooftops. Putting you and your "good" behaviors at the center will not make you seem better or different, but rather egocentrics who in words promote equality and respect, while in fact they continue to remain faithful to their socialization.

Any misogynistic action of a man involves everyone else: those who are silent, those who laugh, those who appear indifferent, even those who intervene to reproach him. Not all men” (“not all men”) is a slogan that men use to deny their responsibilities every time they could make a difference by blaming their friends' chauvinist comments or helping a female victim of male violence. This slogan is opposed by the aforementioned "good men", eager to demonstrate to women that they are different, when instead they should make their spaces and, above all, their fellow men better.

Vincenzo Postiglione


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