Bonding with Men is a Dangerous Game

On occasion I’ve been acquaintances and briefly friends with various men, but I’ve never had a sustainable or worthwhile relationship with one. Currently I have no friendships with men. Gender is a fluid construct and I try to avoid generalizations as a rule, but the common denominator for almost all of my trauma is men, and in my experience I can name no man who’s been in my life who hasn’t betrayed me in some way. There are toxic cycles of entitlement that crop up once the gender spectrum starts hitting hard masculine and this is a statistical fact. 

This isn’t a manifesto against men. This is a manifesto against the privilege men have to hurt people and avoid responsibility. Society has built a narrative that still allows men to be cooked for, cleaned up after, let’s them treat people poorly and not focus on personal growth. Men aren’t expected to resolve their traumas— they’re expected to repress them and let them explode and cause trauma to someone else. Any man that has been resistant to therapy should question if he is being selfish. 

How many boyfriends with anger issues have claimed they don’t need help? How many men have self identified as ‘one of the good guys’ and then taken advantage of someone? What percentage of right wing white supremacists are men? How many rapists and murderers? What percentage of domestic abusers? 

I’ve worked to be self aware of my trauma related social prejudices against men, I don’t treat them any differently than I do anyone else and I give as much respect as their behaviour deserves. My personal beliefs barely allow the concept of ‘men’ to exist but for semantic sake, these people who identify as men, shouldn’t be shamed for their identity but for their actions accommodated by their identity. I don’t treat men cruelly, but I don’t trust my safety with them. This self awareness of distrust has also led me to be less afraid of them, which they hate. 

I’ve found that men prefer people submitting to them in any situation. Before COVID, I was practicing standing my ground when walking down the street and a man would be oblivious of my personal space because I’m short, slight, and angrogynous. I wouldn’t allow men to take up space to my detriment. These actions could only be facilitated by having personal security, because, as I said, men hate when you’re not afraid of them and in my experience any challenge to or superiority over you can end in an altercation. These days I exercise my right to have a voice and challenge harm men cause by chastising guys who don’t abide social distancing regulations.

I’ve noticed if I call out someone other than a man for say, not wearing a mask or wearing one improperly, they’ll become defensive and snappy but that’s the end of it. When I call out men, nine times out of ten they’ll become physically threatening. These men who snap out of the blue live their life waiting for an excuse to hurt someone, waiting for the perfect antagonist to justify their urges to destroy. I can be polite as can be and he can seem like an otherwise decent chap if it weren’t for the mask hanging under his nose, and suddenly he’s saying he’s going to beat my queer ass. Speaking of, the homophobic bastard shouting at me from across the street has always been a man.

So I don’t trust them. If they’re behaviour aligns to a certain standard, they’ll have no trouble from me, but the overarching standard needs to be higher. There was a time I thought I was a man and I’ve experienced what it means to strive for the approval of men as a man and it’s a toxic cesspit. Men abuse men, men abuse women, men abuse nonbinary people— there needs to be accountability. This is an epidemic in its own right.

I would love to be able to be friends with men and I don’t discount my ability to some day manage. However, I’ve only succeeded in bonding with them if I lower my expectations of a person’s code of conduct, and no one can afford doing that. Men can be better. They can heal. 

I’m not waiting for them to do so, and you shouldn’t either. No matter your gender identity, the men in your life who are ignorant, toxic, selfish, they aren’t worth your pain. Don’t suppress who you are and what you believe in to enable their behaviour. There is support out there for cutting ties with these people and building a life where you don’t pander to the whims of male entitlement. If you are a man, consider the voices you’ve ignored and justifications you’ve made for certain behaviours.

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