Harvard expert breaks down the problem with the term ‘not all men’

Shannon McDonagh
Monday 10 May 2021 11:05
Celebrities
(Herspective/TikTok)

If it takes another 10 years before someone uses “not all men” in defence of violence against women it’ll be too soon.

Last week was a testing time for women across the country as developments unfolded about the alleged kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard as she walked home from a friend’s house in South London.

Debates of what it actually takes for women to feel safe decades after equality movements with that purpose show no signs of stopping - it’s an emotional time for many women processing this tragedy.

Some people have taken comfort in content made by Tiktok user Herspective, known otherwise as Evelyn Koh. The Harvard graduate’s deconstruction of why using “not all men” as an excuse is so counterproductive has reached millions.

The video was made around a month ago, but the timing of it appears to have helped a lot of people verbalise why that defence is so wrong right now. It speaks volumes that she feels she has to list her credentials in order to be taken seriously, but it is worth noting that she has two degrees from the university on the topic.

She explains three reasons why using that kind of language doesn’t help anybody, explaining how it boils down to a “pick me” attitude where men create a divide between the good and the bad to help their egos.

“But I’m not one of them. If you depend on me to protect you from male violence, you’ll be good”.

Evelyn expertly unpicks why the reaction boils down to tone policing women instead of productive action against those responsible for upholding patriarchal culture. Questions are raised about why stronger reactions are evoked from having conversations about the topic than the actual violence itself.

She covers so much ground eloquently and accessibly - you can view the video here.

People on Twitter have been discussing the repercussions of this psychology.

At numerous points #notallmenbutallwomen has trended as people share their experiences with gender-based violence and harassment.

For anybody in need of support call the 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808  2000 247 or find a local support centre via the Women‘s Aid website. There is also a webchat service available.

More: Sarah Everard’s murder sparks a larger conversation surrounding violence against women

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