3 January 2021

Good' man: I'm talking to you

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A lot of men tend to get defensive whenever the subject of gender is raised. male dominance. "We are not all like that" 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 this enough? Of course not.

First of all, it must be acknowledged that, regardless of their actions, men enjoy the privilege of being male.so that decent behaviour on their part does not undermine the patriarchal system. Wanting at all costs to prove that they are different from the masses, or that they are not to blame for the actions of their fellow men, is a clumsy attempt at dereliction of duty that they use to feel their conscience is clear. In short, they try to get out of it. To question one's privilege is to have become aware of the unjust world in which we live, but, as I wrote above, that 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: Is there any point in narrating your 'feats' when your privilege remains intact, and is endorsed by the negative behaviour of a hundred other men? No. The approach is wrong. If you are aware that you have a privileged status 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 to the four winds. Focusing on you and your "good" behaviours will not make you look better or different, but rather egocentric people who pay lip service to equality and respect, while in practice they continue to stick to their socialisation.

Any misogynistic action of a man involves everyone else: those who keep silent, those who laugh, those who show indifference, even those who intervene to reprimand him. "Not all men". ('not all men') is a slogan used by men to deny their responsibilities whenever they could make a difference by blaming their friends' macho comments or helping a woman victim of male violence. This slogan is contrasted with the above mentioned 'good men', anxious to prove to women that they are different, when in fact should make their spaces and, above all, their fellow human beings better.

Vincenzo Postiglione


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