Friday Firesmith – Not All Men

Friday firesmithOkay, guys, it’s time for us all to sit down and have a talk. Things are getting awfully weird out there and someone has to step up and put an end to it. That would be us. If a woman wants to join the military she has about a fifty-fifty chance of being sexually harassed or raped by a man in uniform. The odds of a woman being sexually assaulted on a college campus are one in four. If a woman is murdered the odds are her husband is the person who killed her. We’re not treating women very well, guys. And it has to stop.

There’s this knee jerk reaction we men have when we hear about this; “Not all men are like that” and it’s true, we are not all like that. But the question is this, what are all men doing about it? What are you doing about it?

Take a look at this video.

Okay, you’re not one of those men. You wouldn’t do anything like that, right? I’m good with that. Doing nothing wrong is something we all need to do more of. Now, watch the video again, but this time pay attention not to the men who are doing things wrong, but instead watch the men who are doing nothing right.

That’s right. Doing nothing is just as wrong as doing something wrong.

Not one man, not one, did anything to stop what was happening to that woman. Were you one of those men? When you’re in a group of other guys and one of them does something that you know, you know, is hurtful to a woman, do you put it down as playful or maybe harmless? After all, words don’t cause harm, right?

But look at how many words that woman has to carry. Look at every waking moment of her day she’s knows some idiot is going to say something stupid but not one of you are going to stand up for her. Not one of you “not all men are like that” men are going to step up to the guy walking beside her for two minutes and say, “Not cool, man, really, that is not cool”.

How long are we, as a gender, going to allow this to go on? We work out at the gym together, we drink beer together, we work at the same jobs together, and whether you’d yell at a strange woman on the street or not, you, and I, aren’t doing enough to stop it.

Your mother isn’t safe, your sisters are not safe, your daughters are considered to be fair game for this sort of thing because you never protected someone else’s daughter from it. It may not be all men who are doing this but it has to, has to be, all men who step up and stop this sort of thing because hoping that women can change us has proven to be less than productive.

Man up. They deserve better from us.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.



36 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Not All Men”

  1. Mike, you’re right about the piggish qualities of our gender. I’ve been aware this video has been circling the net, but today is the first time I viewed it. My internal dissonance revolves around the actual filming of this girl. How many of those men were playing to the camera? So these guys see a camera crew walking backwards, recording this woman. A certain percentage of those guys have a propensity to show off, and the camera certainly helps them act like jerks. Figure out a way to film this on a hidden camera and see if the results are exactly the same. I’m in no way, shape, or form condoning the actions of these cretins, I’m just questioning the method used to obtain the results.

    • It was hidden Paul. The person in front had a camera in a bag facing her that is the whole point. I think you would find more men would behave if they thought they were being filmed not less. Regardless it is a practice worth changing.

    • Paul,

      There was a guy walking in front of her with a hidden camera. If you Google the process involved you’ll see that in no way did the men who were videoed know they were.

      However, that said, it’s a damn fine observation to make about the whole thing, even if it’s wrong, it’s good to point out it was.

    • Chick,

      No everyone will or does. There are those who question why she was alone, or the way she dressed or the way she walked.

      Not all men ask these questions, but far too many.

      • The sad thing is, a woman SHOULD be able to go alone anyplace, but no longer can. Some of the men who start the behavior sway the others into a sort of pack mentality. (Then they wonder why they get called dogs) If there are enough men who are strong enough to stand up to the ones who behave badly, you can make a change. This is how it starts. Remember when we couldn’t vote, then someone stood up, remember when gays had to hide? Then someone stood up. Remember when there were different facilities for blacks and whites? Then someone stood up.

  2. There is a “movement” called DASH that I’m very excited about. DASH is Dating Abuse Stops Here.
    Please visit. I’m 53 yrs old and was abused as a dating teen but never knew it, I think we all were. Take a look and see if you can help, I’m passing out pamphlets at the farmers market.

  3. Well said, Mr. Firesmith. This week has made me realise how alone women are in the world these days. It is weeks like this that make me realise that we have to be our own heroes. It makes me sad.

  4. Been there, done that, knew the guy, told him he’s an asshole, no discernable effect.
    So confront a stranger on the street because he catcalled another stranger on the street? Nope, not gonna happen.
    I’ve found guys that mouth off toward women are the type who would immediately be in your face defending their macho-hood. If I’m going to risk getting cut, or worse, it would have to be over a physical assault.

    • It’s a shame that it’s that way. If more men WOULD stand up for women there wouldn’t be such a stigma for doing it, and the “macho” persona would be the one who looks like a shitheel, not the other way ’round.
      What a shame that the good guys of the world get trampled while the twats get away with whatever they like.

  5. About half the guys that say something to her are saying something positive. Only 3-4 creeps and possibly a couple of dangerous guys wanting to follow her. I don’t see it 100% negative. She should be proud of what she looks like and what better way to know than taking a walk down of street with lots of loitering men.

    • Gee, Pop, that isn’t the most ignorant thing that’s been said today but the day is young.

      Nothing anyone said on that video is positive. How a woman looks is not who she is.

      Annnnnd where she walks is where she has to the right to walk without having that sort of thing happen.

  6. What I don’t get is that this was done in one of the rudest and most prone-for-this-behavior places on Earth. New York City. Now everyone is going apeshit about how “men treat women” because of this idiotic movie. Seriously? If this woman walked the streets of Memphis then she wouldn’t hear more than a couple of these during the entire trip. Don’t go labeling men because of what you see in New York City. It’s STUPID. If you go to the latrine then you’re going to find crap. But I guess most people missed that very important detail.

      • Poor excuse for what Mr. Firesmith? As they say in Real Estate, what matters is Location, Location, Location. Want to address the problem? Go address it where it happens. Does it happen everywhere? I don’t think so. I have yet to witness ONE catcall where I live. I guess the men in the South still care about chivalry. You could be a man and wear a tutu in prison! Do you know what would to happen? You’re going to get raped! Because… Location, Location, Location.

  7. duuude, I think Mike is right on. It may be more extreme in some places than others, but it happens pretty much everywhere. Men need to let other men know that it’s not OK. If a woman complains, she just gets more catcalls. If a man does it, the guys might not stop, but it will make them think.

    • Using location is like telling people “You’re going to get mugged in that park so the solution is not better protection it’s to stay out of that park”

      Surrender in both cases is a form of cowardice. In this case, we men are telling women that there are places we’re not man enough to protect them from other men.

      And that is bullshit.

      • Look, don’t confuse cowardice with wisdom. If you two want to confront some guy in NYC and teach him a lesson, then be our guests. Just don’t forget that he’s likely to be armed and won’t take too kindly of you being on his face, whether or not you think that what he did is B.S. Let’s see how all that courage works out with a .45 pointed at your face. Telling your friends to knock it off is a much wiser idea than approaching a stranger and trying to “set him straight” with a better-than-thou attitude. That’s just foolishness in the wrong part of town, and yes location makes the world of difference.

        • So, if this were a civil rights case would you tell someone, “Look, there are just some places blacks ought not try to vote because the people there really aren’t going to put up with blacks having the right to vote?”

          Either women do have the right to not be harassed and we ought to do something about it or they only have that right when we’re comfortable with them having that right.

          Location is cancer. If we allow the rights of others to be defined by geography then we’ve defined rights as something other than what is always right.

  8. Your posting has made me a bit ashamed. I have known some of these creeps, and my usual action is to just avoid them and to hang out with men who are not like this. However, that does nothing about the problem that women face from them.
    I am going to start some confrontation, to do my part to end this. Will I get pushback from those people? Sure. But after enough other men confront them, their actions will begin to change. I won’t be able to change any of them, but if enough of us take action we can make a difference.

  9. It DOES happen everywhere. It’s happened to me my entire life. Since I was TWELVE YEARS OLD. Think about that for a moment, you guys who are saying you shouldn’t bother doing anything about it. I was a CHILD and getting cat called and having men pull their cars over to try to “talk” to me on the street. I, and most women I know, have had to live most of our lives dealing with this crap, all the damn time. One of the reasons I first got a pit bull was because while I know they are sweet, loving dogs, many people are afraid of them, and I wanted to be able to walk my dog down the street and not get harassed by guys. I wanted to feel safe in my own home, now I have TWO large dogs who live with me. If I could take a big dog with me everywhere I went, maybe I wouldn’t feel so vulnerable out in the world. And Mike knows me well enough to know that if a woman like ME, a strong, independent, take no shit, I will fuck you up woman like me STILL feels vulnerable out in the world, there is a very deep problem.

    Understand that this is not an isolated problem. It is part and parcel of the much bigger problem of women living in a culture that makes them feel vulnerable. That they know is a culture they have a very high chance of being raped, assaulted, or killed BECAUSE they are female. Being cat called when you’re walking down the street, you are constantly being reminded that any one of those guys could and may try to take it further than a cat call. And believe me, those “nice” words aren’t really nice, because those guys aren’t saying them to EVERYONE who passes them, only women they’d like to fuck. THAT Is what those “nice” words really mean, that is their subtext…”I’d fuck you if I could”. Next time you see a woman being cat called on the street, remember that. Pretend those are the words you’re really hearing…”I’d fuck you…” and remember that that is exactly what SHE is hearing in that stranger’s tone, and then put yourself in her place and maybe, just maybe you’ll start to understand why we woman are so fed up with cat calling.

    And if we women can stand up to men cat calling us, and I do, all the time, and put up with the threats of violence that we sometimes receive when we tell a man to stop it, to fuck off, to leave us alone, then what kind of wussies are you men that you can’t?

    Thank you, Mike, for doing this. For speaking up and speaking out for us. It is only with the aid of men like you that maybe women can finally start feeling safer walking down streets in their own neighborhoods, across the country.

  10. Dude, men often don’t see women getting cat called because when a woman walks down the street with a man, she is then seen as his possession and other guys, the type of guys who cat call in the first place, will “respect” the man enough to not cat call “his” woman. Because these are men who see women as objects of possession. And if a woman is out in public by herself, they figure she’s “free game” and will then harass her because there is no man present who already “owns” her.

  11. And btw, when you don’t help us stand up to cat calling…cat calling is not all that we women are threatened with. Women have been KILLED for rebuffing men’s advances. That is what we’re dealing with out there, and if other men don’t step up and help us with this problem, then I guess woman who are braver than men will have to keep standing up for ourselves and risking our lives to do so.

  12. We cannot solve this problem:

    When we choose to say Boys will be Boys, or Men will be Men.
    When we allow rapists back on the High School Football team since winning is more important.
    When we allow athletes more “privilege” because winning is so important.
    When Corporate America refuses to pay equally for men and women.
    When People hide behind religion that promotes a woman’s place is behind the man (1 Tim 2:12).
    When People hide behind religion that believes a woman is the source of evil and must be covered.
    When People listen to religious leaders that say a woman is a man’s treasured possession.
    When Politicians attack women and women’s rights to garner votes.
    When talking heads call a woman a slut for speaking up and asking for women’s rights and the right to reproductive health or birth control.
    When protecting a distinguished professor who has tenure.
    When protecting a career minded military person, or a distinguished officer who should be believed above the victim.

    We will always do this because it is far more important to vilify the victim and place the attacker on a pedestal.

    Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, and Argentina all have some of the highest integrity, greater tolerance, the highest college educated citizens, the most racially tolerant, the least number of citizens who follow a faith, income equality, better and lower healthcare, and an overall higher standard of living than we do in the U.S. because these countries believe in the value of its citizens.

    Even Russia offers higher education for free and most citizens obtain some form of a degree.

    I also believe that we should make a stand. If not now when?

    Thanks for this one Mike and thank you Jon for hosting this one.

    That is All

  13. I agree something should be done. But, allow me to relate a story that happened years ago. I had got off work at midnight and stopped at a liquor store for (at the time, Smokes) when I came out of the store I heard a commotion on the side of the building. And then some yelling and screaming. Looking around the corner I saw a woman getting the hell beat out of her.I also happened to have been jackin’ weights for sometime and could bench press 450 lbs. I figured I could pretty much handle what ever came my way for maybe 8 out of 10 times. So when I offered assistance I was sure I could handle this low life easily. And this is what happened. I body slammed the guy to the ground and she starts yelling that I’m hurting him. SO SHE jumps on me flailing away..Go figure. I know this isn’t the usual thing for most of the time. But It kind of makes one think about helping out again.

  14. jburge, that was a domestic dispute, that wasn’t a man unknown to the woman accosting her. Domestic abuse puts the victim of the abuse in a similar mind frame of a person suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. That was not at all the same sort of situation as a woman being cat called on the street or assaulted by a stranger.


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