5 December 2018, Los Angeles, California, USA
I wsant to speak about the good men.
I want to speak about the very big problem I have with the good men, especially the good men who take it upon themselves to talk about the bad men. I find good men talking about bad men incredibly irritating, and this is something the good men are doing a lot of at the moment. Not this moment, not this minute, because the good men don’t have to wake up early for their opportunity to monologue their hot take on misogyny. They get prime-time TV and the late shows.
I’ll tell you what, I’m sick of turning my television on at the end of the day to find anywhere up to 12 Jimmys giving me their hot take. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the Jimmys and the Davids and the other Jimmys — good guys, great guys. Some of my best friends are Jimmy. But the last thing I need right now in this moment in history is to have to listen to men monologue about misogyny and how other men should just stop being “creepy,” as if that’s the problem. “If only these bad men just knew how not to be creepy!” Is that the problem? Men are not creepy. Do you know what’s creepy? Spiders, because we don’t know how they move. Rejecting the humanity of a woman is not creepiness; it is misogyny. So why can’t men monologue about these issues? Well they can, and they do. My problem is that according to the Jimmys, there’s only two types of bad men. There’s the Weinstein/Bill Cosby types who are so utterly horrible that they might as well be different species to the Jimmys. And then there are the FOJs: the Friends of Jimmy. These are apparently good men who misread the rules — garden-variety consent dyslexics. They have the rule book, but they just skimmed it. “Oh, that a semicolon? My bad. I thought that meant anal.” Sorry to the vegans in the room.
My issue is that when good men talk about bad men, they always ignore the line in the sand — the line in the sand that is inevitably drawn whenever a good man talks about bad men: “I am a good man. Here is the line. There are all the bad men.” The Jimmys and the good men won’t talk about this line, but we really need to talk about this line. Let’s call it Kevin. And let’s never call it that again. We need to talk about how men will draw a different line for every different occasion. They have a line for the locker room; a line for when their wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters are watching; another line for when they’re drunk and fratting; another line for nondisclosure; a line for friends; and a line for foes. You know why we need to talk about this line between good men and bad men? Because it’s only good men who get to draw that line. And guess what? All men believe they are good. We need to talk about this because guess what happens when only good men get to draw that line? This world — a world full of good men who do very bad things and still believe in their heart of hearts that they are good men because they have not crossed the line, because they move the line for their own good. Women should be in control of that line, no question.
Now take everything I have said up until this point and replace “man” with “white person,” and know that if you are a white woman, you have no place drawing lines in the sand between good white people and bad white people. I encourage you to also take the time to replace “man” with “straight” or “cis” or “able-bodied” or “neurotypical,” et cetera, et cetera. Everybody believes they are fundamentally good, and we all need to believe we are fundamentally good because believing you are fundamentally good is part of the human condition. But if you have to believe someone else is bad in order to believe you are good, you are drawing a very dangerous line. In many ways, these lines in the sand we all draw are stories we tell to ourselves so we can still believe we are good people.