It’s more than likely that you have encountered the phrase “not all men” at some point in your life. Whether it was somewhere online or heard in conversation, it’s an often-recycled phrase peddled by men to refute the controversial issues of toxic masculinity, gender-based violence, and sexism.
A woman named Evelyn has gone viral on TikTok for sharing a helpful breakdown of the issues behind using the phrase “not all men,” and men online are actually thanking her.
Obviously Not All Men Are Consciously Problematic
People who have said the phrase “not all men” are usually trying to make a point that regardless of how awful and evil one man may have been, “not all men” are like that.
It seems a simple enough statement because at its core it’s true—not all men are responsible for doing the horrible things that women experience on a daily basis. But the reality is there are lots of men who do behave that way, especially when nobody is looking.
The Phrase “Not All Men” Is Actually Harmful To The Discussion On Gender-Based Violence
Saying “not all men” doesn’t eliminate the problem, it actually creates a few more. Even though it acknowledges that problems like sexual violence, misogyny, and sexism are real, the speaker shifts the focus to protecting his own character instead of listening to women’s concerns.
Evelyn further explains in her now-viral TikTok video “The Psychology of Not All Men.”
Evelyn Is A Harvard Graduate With Two Master’s Degrees In Gender Studies
Right off the bat, Evelyn makes one thing clear: She’s a decorated scholar with two relevant master’s degrees from Harvard. The woman knows what she’s talking about, so don’t even start.
She specifies that her educational background is in “gender-based trauma.”
There Are Three Sources That The “Not All Men” Behavior Stems From
According to Evelyn, there are three main sources that the phrase “not all men” actually stem from.
She explains what men who say the phrase are actually communicating to women and why it’s often poorly received—even if he had good intentions.
#1: Men Who Say The Phrase Are Displaying A Male “Pick Me” Behavior
Evelyn explains that the male “pick me” behavior is a mentality that has men believe “I’m not one of them, I’m one of the good guys.” She says this idea is “a total delusion.”
This is because in a patriarchal society (like the one we live in), every person regardless of their gender identity has internalized misogyny and sexist beliefs that require unlearning. It’s just how we were socialized as children.
#2: Saying The Phrase “Not All Men” Is An Example Of Men Needing To Control Women’s Voices
The second source is the “need to control women’s voices.” She asks people to notice how the phrase is actually “tone policing” women.
The problem is that men who say the phrase “not all men” have a greater issue with men being demonized than with women being sexually harassed, assaulted, or oppressed. It would be helpful if they directed their energy at the men who are giving them a bad name, instead of the women who already know that not all men are a threat.
#3: The Phrase “Not All Men” Is Directly Linked To The Male Superiority Complex
The third source the phrase stems from is “the male superiority complex.” Evelyn elaborated how men may understand that there are significant gender-based problems, but by saying “not all men” and offering himself as the “solution” to the problem, he is instilling a fear of independence in women.
It implies that the real solution to male violence or aggression is to always be in the presence of another man who is more “dependable.”
Her Breakdown Was Concise And Educational—Some Men Online Thanked Her For Bringing It To Their Attention
Evelyn’s video currently has millions of views and more than 18k comments. She has been overwhelmed by the messages she has received from men around the world who wanted to thank her for educating them.
One user writes: “Ok Evelyn, I used to say ‘not all men’ as a way to try and bring ‘comfort’ to women who seemed upset with men. But now I understand your [point of view].”
Her Ultimate Goal Is Education
You can watch Evelyn’s informative video in its entirety above.
It’s also worth checking out her activism profile @herspective on Instagram where she continues to educate people on gender-based conflicts.
“Feminism Liberates Men”
In this follow-up video, Evelyn says she’s received over 1,000+ messages from men who are thankful that she shared her perspective.
She reiterates that men are also victims of being socialized into a patriarchal society and that by discussing the importance of gender equality, men are able to change and develop their own perceptions of what “manhood” really means.