Should you be afraid of men?

On reddit recently*, the question was posed to a bunch of men: “What advice would you give a young woman?”  Commenter CalvinDeHaze writes:

Don’t be afraid of men. We’re not the sex-driven criminal maniacs looking to rape you in the bushes or molest your children. 99% of us are good people.

This is a more complex issue than it appears.

On one hand, the manosphere resents insulting advice like, “If you see a woman in front of you at night, cross the street to reassure her that you aren’t going to rape her.”  I get it, but…are you saying I’m a rapist?  And why should have to cross the street?

But on the other hand, it is nothing like sympathetic when a woman gets sloppy drunk and wakes up in a bed with someone she doesn’t remember.  “What did you think was going to happen?” is the refrain.

So which is it?  Are we slavering beasts unable or unwilling to control our urges, or are we just misunderstood good guys?

The answer is both.  

Men tend to vary more than women in…just about everything.  Intelligence, stature, income, strength, the list goes on.  We’re nature’s spins on the roulette wheel, while women are treasury bonds.  (For why, read Prof. Roy Baumeister’s excellent talk.)

So, yeah.  Most men are harmless.  But some—most likely few, but some—are not:they are vicious, evil men.

So, should men be treated as “slightly more threatening than harmless?”  If 99% are good and 1% bad, should a strange man be treated as 99% good and 1% bad?

Probably not.

Here’s why:  whom would you rather meet in a dark alley, one after the other: 99 harmless passerby guys and one rapist, or 0 men at all?

So, if we’re just dealing with strange men in alleyways, the choice seems clear:  avoid men in alleyways.  The vast majority of those men may be harmless, but they don’t make up for the horror that a small minority could inflict.

But let’s change the situation a bit.  You have one traveling companion with you in the alley.  Would you prefer to have your brother with you, or your sister?

Your sister is, I’m sure, a pleasant travelling companion, but in this specific situation…safer to have your brother with you.So our rule of “avoid men in alleyways” has to be amended: avoid strange men in alleyways.  If there are men you trust there, stay close to them.

Distinctions (*ahem* discriminations) must be made.  You cannot afford to treat “men” as a monolithic entity.  There are “your” men—ones you can trust—and then there are “other” men—ones who may be fantastic human beings, but you don’t know from Adam.  You should be especially nice to the former, as you rely on them, and regard the latter with more caution than the vast majority of them deserve.

 

 

*the most hilarious thing in the world to me: when mainstream news outlets quote random people on reddit.  Is the internet normal yet?

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3 comments on “Should you be afraid of men?

  1. […] would seem prudent for women to be somewhat cautious of men, particularity in certain contexts, but a generalized fear would be […]

  2. donalgraeme says:

    I think the reason why so many women takes this attitude, why they are so afraid of men, is because they don’t have any men they trust. Whether they were raised in a divorced household, or never had a father to begin with, they don’t have any men they can lean on. Without that history of dependable men in their lives, its no wonder these women are afraid of all men.

  3. […] my last post, Should You Be Afraid of Men?, I derived* fairly sensible behaviour for women as regarding […]

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