He leaned over to me and whispered, “You’re beautiful.” My jaw tightened; my cheeks flushed red. I was in complete, utter shock that someone could say such an unexpected, impulsive, horrible thing to me. I decided right then—I had had enough of men.
I dusted off my yellow sundress as I stood up firmly. And as I began to turn away, I looked down at him once more, adjusted my halo and told him, “Beautiful is a lazy and lousy way to describe me.”
Freeze frame. How did we get to this point, people? I took some creative liberties because I love the drama, but that anecdote is a pretty spot-on interpretation of a Pinterest quote I saw one of my female followers repost with praise-hand emojis the other day. It made me wonder—why are we so mean to men?
No, this isn’t a rant about feminism or reverse sexism. And no, I’m not saying most women hate men. I’m simply looking at the state of the union between men and women and asking—on our journey to empower women, have we lost respect for men?
Amid fourth-wave feminism, where women are speaking out against sexual harassment, men are finally being held accountable, but it also leaves the good guys as collateral damage.
While we should keep encouraging women to fight back against abuse and misuse of power, I argue that we also need to remember that it is more important than ever to show that we value good men. Refusing to recognize that men are often falsely accused of sexual misconduct and siding with women accusers just on the premise that they are a woman is not progress—it’s just see-sawing abusive power.
Because if we insist on abandoning respect for men, then we’re choosing to abandon the goal of complete equality—putting women on a pedestal of power that is destined to fail, just like it did for the men.
We can reverse this by starting small, by rejecting to continue to support the stereotypes that demasculinize good men in our lives—the ones who strive to be admirable members of society.
Let’s stop treating good men in our lives like Disney-channel dads, who are out-of-touch breadwinners whose personality seldom extends beyond their “dad-bods” and passion for televised football. Let’s stop treating them like emotional punching bags whose value is only equal to their bank account.
Let’s start reminding them that we appreciate them for being good men, for pioneering the new generation of men who support women in their fight for equality.
Because c’mon, is this the best a man can get from us?