"Not All Men"

Ann Burlingham ann at BURLINGHAMBOOKS.COM
Thu Jun 5 03:50:57 UTC 2014

I thought this discussion of the concept and phrase "Not all men" was
interesting, from Time back on April 28th. The author is Jess ZImmerman. I
am always pleased to see Joanna Russ quoted, and the cartoon the discussion
is pegged from in excellent. From the piece, the cartoonist comments:

“I don’t recall a very specific instance so much as it was sort of
everywhere, very suddenly!” Lubchansky wrote in an email. “But instead of
this being something with a single origin, i think this phrase is unique
among this kind of stuff because it was actually coming from the mouths of
these dopes. Like some dummy would for REAL be coming at people talking
about racial or gender equality stuff, waving their arms and saying ‘UM

Zimmerman writes:

"It’s true that previous derailment favorites like “patriarchy hurts men
too” were paraphrases in a way that “not all men” is not. The demand is the
same — “please move me to the center of your discussion” — but “not all
men” is, in many cases, straight from the horse’s mouth; even an amateur
Reddit spelunker can turn up plenty of sulky or defensive uses of the

“Not all men” also differs from “what about the men?” and other classic
derails because it acknowledges that rape, sexism, and misogyny are real
issues — just not, you know, real issues that the speaker is involved with
in any way. The “not all men” man, at least in some cases, agrees with you
and is perfectly willing to talk about how terrible those other guys are,
just as soon as we get done establishing that he himself would never be
such a cad. It’s infuriating and unhelpful, but in a way it represents a
weird kind of progress."


Ann Burlingham
Burlingham Books
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