The phrase “Not All Men” started popping up in my Twitter feed, usually with baffling pictures attached. I had no idea what it meant until a Washington Post writer tweeted a link to Vox, Ezra Klein’s new site that explains the complex world to the dim and befuddled. It’s BuzzFeed listicles for grad students. Title: “Here’s Why Women Have Turned the Not All Men Objection Into a Meme.” Keen to learn the alchemic mysteries that turn objections into memes, I started reading.
Over the past few weeks, the meme “not all men” — meant to satirize men who derail conversations about sexism by noting that “not all men” do X, Y, or Z sexist thing — has exploded in usage.
There’s a graph that shows it had, indeed, exploded in usage. There’s usage all over the place; mop please. What is the “not all men” meme, you ask? It’s a sarcastic way of
depantsing the plaintive bleat of some men who respond to generalizations about men by saying “not all men do that.”
Well, we can’t have that.
Without reading any more, I suspect that the meme “Not All Men” has exploded in usage because there are a lot of people who don’t want anyone to carve out exceptions. The article lays out the basics:
A man is an adult male of the species homo sapiens. To clarify, “adult” here does not mean someone who’s able to pay their own rent, or treat others with respect. Adult simply means that this male has gone through puberty and is no longer a boy.
Some additional notes about men:
• A man is someone who pays his female employees less.
• A man is someone who interrupts a woman when she’s in the middle of saying something.
• A man expects his wife to do all the cooking and cleaning.
What’s that you say? Not ALL men pay their employees less? Not ALL men interrupt women?
Thanks for pointing that out. You’re who this meme is about.
Most men, at this point, have no interest in being beaten about the head with reminders of their awfulness, and move along to Jalopnik, where like-minded individuals are criticizing cars. But not all men. Some men read on with excitement, anxious to learn how they are not like all men because they don’t say “not all men.” There might be a prize at the end! A candy-flavored ball-gag, perhaps.