Reclaiming #NotAllMen

Today the phrase “Not All Men” (often #NotAllMen) represents something pretty terrible. When feminists speak on the internet about the patriarchy, inevitably dudes will butt in with the phrase “Not all men!” to say, “Not all men are rapists!” “Not all men wish for inequality!” etc. I won’t go into all the details of why this is problematic because many better essays have already been written, like this one or that one.

But I’d like to reclaim this expression. I want “Not all men” to mean “I don’t want this thing to only have men.” For example, the programming team I work on currently has no female developers, so I want this team to be Not All Men, but include women (and people of any gender, too.)

I want casts of movies and TV shows to be Not All Men. I want people I see at conferences to be Not All Men. I want the CEOs and people in the news to be Not All Men.

To be clear, I know there are many women (and people of all genders) currently working very hard to achieve these goals, and I support that in every way. By reclaiming this phrase, I hope we can reinforce and help what’s currently being done. I hope the phrase can act as a reminder to us all that until we see teams of Not All Men out in the world, there’s still work for all of us to be done.

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