It’s brave to write about this! This definitely needs to be part of the conversation. I’ve had male friends (who experienced this sort of thing from women) trying to write off all of #metoo as hypocrisy and hyperbole, either because they experienced this and didn’t mind it, or because they experienced this and did mind it, so they think the gendered way we talk about it is bullshit.

My take is we need to be honest about this (here, I got off my chest a similar thing I did to a boyfriend), because men know we’ve all had our moments, and the point isn’t needless demonization; it’s figuring out how to change things so people can feel safe and loved and sexy and happy. But also, almost all women have experienced way worse.

I had a male friend tell me, “It’s all bullshit, because this one time a woman I didn’t know came up and kissed me at a party, so I was sexually assaulted too.” He meant it as the end of a conversation, when instead that could be a conversation starter, about how we’re sometimes blind to our own transgressions, but also, okay, so listen to some women’s stories too. And then there’s usually a, “Holy fuck, I didn’t realize it was like that for you.”

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Empathy for the win! Published in Gen, Human Parts, Heated, Tenderly —Feminism, Sexuality, Veganism, Anti-Racism, Parenting. She/They darcyreeder.substack.com

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