An Open Letter to the (Good) Men in My Life

An open letter to the men in my life:


It’s a difficult time to be alive.


What with women ranting and raving on the streets, demanding your head to be slain and laid at their feet, plunging posters in the air that disrespects our tehzeeb, as they push for an overhaul of the systems in place and call for dismantling the patriarchy – it’s a scary time for a man to be outdoors without a female by his side to show his solidarity.


I can see all of you ‘good’ men scrambling for validation as you share the right posts and nod at the right cues and insist how you all respect your mothers and sisters the most. There is a sense of urgency to prove your innocence as you see your harmless comments sprawled across posters and find it difficult to scroll through social media without somehow being held accountable. It’s becoming highly uncomfortable to be a man and have an opinion because regardless of what you say, you will be thought as a part of the problem.


To all of you that are trying so desperately to create that segregation between them, and the good guys, I’d just like to share one piece of advice.


Stop.


Stop trying to run away from the dialogue by hiding behind technicalities and little white lies, for the privilege with which you have made it this far is all a part of perpetuating the same system that we despise. You may be the kind of guy that never touches without consent and always looks everyone in the eye, never demeans someone based on their gender or sexuality, and has always made sure not to stand too close to a woman waiting in line. Perhaps you are intuitive and sensitive, and perhaps the women in your life have even dubbed you as kind because you genuinely are someone who tries. Perhaps you personally have always done everything right, but you are still born with an extra part of anatomy that places you on the superior side of the divide.


Instead of wasting our collective time trying to prove how you are exempted from our glaring eyes, understand that this conversation is not about you at this time. Right now, we don’t need more men clamoring over our voices, drowning out our anger and hurt and fear with their incessant defenses about being a nice guy. Right now is not the time to talk to your daughters about how much their grandmother endured and still lived a happy life, nor is it a time to share tips and tricks that you think would give us some peace of mind. You were raised to believe that you were the king of the family, the head of the household, that you belonged at the front of the line, while the women exist to please and nurture you with their heads bowed and hands tied.


But there’s been a shift in the tide and if you do not want to be swept away in the inevitable storm, you need to step on the side. Right now is not about your voice, its not about separating the better men from the unruly boys; right now is about dismantling the entire systems in place that perpetuate violence and oppression against my kind. Instead of trying so hard to fall on the ‘right side of the divide’ and exerting all your energy in explaining how there are still nice guys, how about for once you let it be about someone else, and you learn to simply be an ally?