Why the hashtag #notallmen fuels the fire for women

By Cierra Southard
April 29, 2021

These days more than ever, women are living everyday life in fear. 

Women are constantly making the conscious effort to not be abused or abducted all the time.

Adjusting their daily lives, whether that may be only running errands during the day, wearing comfortable clothing and shoes in case they need to run, constantly holding keys in their hand or avoiding going out in public alone. All in hopes to protect themselves from being attacked by a man.

The trending hashtag #metoo stems from a social movement against sexual abuse and sexual harassment. The movement broke the silence for all women who have survived and wanted to speak out about their abuse. 

Many men felt personally attacked by the #metoo movement, rather than focusing on the actual issue, which is violence against women.

Scroobius Pip, a man, responding to the hashtag. Screenshotted by Cierra Southard.

So along came another trending hashtag, “#notallmen.” 

The hashtag was the latest response on social media after the body of 33-year-old Sarah Everard was discovered in a Kent woodland after she disappeared while walking home alone in south London and was murdered.

This story hit home with women because Everard did all the things you are supposed to do: wore bright clothing, took the main road and called her boyfriend. Yet, she still lost her life to a man. 

The #notallmen hashtag is a response to men arguing that it is “not all men” who are violent towards women, proclaiming that they are not like these other men. 

This has ignited anger within both women and men. The hashtag insists that not all men attack women and it twists the narrative of those women who chose to speak out about their assaults and/or harassment. 

Women are now sharing the precautions they take when they walk alone. It has sparked uncomfortable conversations, with hopes that men will listen. 

Actor Justin Baldoni posted a Twitter thread on the topic along with an Instagram post.

Justin Baldoni’s Twitter thread about his response to the #notallmen hashtag. Screenshotted by Cierra Southard.

“We tell women to stay at home or have curfews because it is unsafe instead of telling men. Women have to go above and beyond every single day just to try and feel safe in this world,” he said. 

He continued, “So instead of saying #notallmen when we hear women share, we should shut up, listen and respond with empathy and compassion while acknowledging that the issue isn’t that #notallmen are bad guys or rapists. But that #fartoomanywomen will be raped in their lifetime. It’s not on women to fix this, it’s on men.” 

Jaeden Dungee, former senior business management major, said that men also need to have a voice towards women’s safety. “I think if more men joined the conversation to talk about women’s safety and why they have to do what they do, it would be the right step towards change.”

“Of course not all men are bad, but all women live their lives in fear hoping that they’re not the next victim. Do men fear women like women fear men?” he said.

Women are not saying that all men are bad and will be the perpetrator of violence against women, but not all men are making sure their other fellow men do not harm women. Not all men are engaging in conversations with other men about women’s safety. 

Many on social media have started a new trending phrase and hashtag, #notallmenbutallwomen. 97 percent of young women have experienced some form of sexual harassment. 

The hashtag inclined more women to come forward and tell their intimate stories of assault and confirmed what it was truly like to be a woman in today’s world. 

Blogger Georgie McCartney said, “the normalized behaviour of telling a woman that she is ‘blowing things out of proportion’ and then silencing her, is clearly not uncommon. The normalized behavior of women realizing they will have to wait until tomorrow morning to run an errand because it’s dark and therefore unsafe, is clearly not uncommon.” 

Alexandra Haddow’s response to the hashtag and why it should be #allwomen. Screenshotted by Cierra Southard.

The hashtag #notallmen misunderstands the anger women have. The issue that women are trying to express is the fundamental lack of respect that men have for women.

“This lack of respect leads some men to harass women, it leads some men to disrespect women, and it leads some men to hurt women,” McCartney said.


Cierra Southard

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