Self-styled good men

Victoria Smith quotes Andrea Dworkin’s “The only good woman is a dead woman.”

Self-styled good men are very good at feeling sad about women that bad men have killed. They are not so good at thinking these bad men might have anything to do with them, let alone that the “epidemic” of male violence against women and girls might be the responsibility of male people as a sex class. They’re worse still at listening to women who might have an analysis — one built up over decades of feminist scholarship in addition to personal experience — into why male people, and not female ones, feel entitled to do what they do. These men are good at seeing women as victims, and crying about woman victims, providing these victims know their place and aren’t actually able to speak. The moment a victim speaks, she turns bad.

Unless “she” is a man, of course. Trans women are allowed to speak all they want, but women, no.

Men can describe us as fearful — poor, little fearful princesses, waiting for our princes — but the moment we name what we fear, this fear becomes an irrational phobia. Men can pity us fretfully walking the streets — a pity forever tinged with that manly sense of superiority — but the moment we ask for spaces of our own, we are selfish hoarders of privileges we don’t deserve.

We’re dinosaurs. We’re abusers of women who are men, who are infinitely more vulnerable and persecuted than we mere women are.

Even knowing the rules — having had them identified decades ago — you still have to ask what kind of man sits there, declaring he wants to do more for victims, after months of saying fuck all about the rape and death threats a female colleague has been receiving from members of his own party? What kind of man is that incapable of making the connections? A man who likes the idea of himself saving passive victims, but wouldn’t dream of putting his neck on the line for the sake of a woman who hasn’t yet been hurt, or at least not hurt enough to meet his passive victimhood standards. A man who treats female victims of male violence as the mirror reflecting himself back at several times his actual level of goodness and integrity.

Read every word.

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