Men, Are We Listening Yet?


The #MeToos have spoken
The Silence Breakers have spoken.
The #TimesUps have spoken.
Oprah and Frances and Natalie and Barbara have spoken.

And over the past few months, millions and millions of survivors have spoken, too.

They’ve stepped from the shadows and the shame, they’ve risked ridicule and physical intimidation and character assassination and career opportunity.

They’ve willingly reopened their wounds and shown us their hidden scars, and they’ve placed a mirror in front of us so that we could see our full ugliness in the raking light of the painful truth.

Men, I wonder if we’re listening yet.

I wonder if we get it yet.

I wonder how many of us are still dismissing their testimonies, still rationalizing behavior, still denying any personal culpability, still choosing not to see what these women and men are asking us to see right now. 

My fear, is that too many of us are waiting for this all to blow over—instead of making sure that it doesn’t.

I’m afraid we’re imagining (and hoping) this to be another momentary hashtag firestorm; one that is fully ablaze in the moment but like so many others—destined to burn itself out and be replaced by a more palatable, less hostile national trend.

I watched the social media commentary on the Golden Globes, and I saw something that disturbed me even more than the parade of atrocities that birthed these brave and unintentional activists: I saw men expressing fatigue at it all.

I saw them suggesting ever so quietly, that the hashtags and the speeches and the shout-outs had gone on too long, as if the outrage had in their minds somehow long passed its expiration date and was no longer productive.

I sensed a subtle irritability at the inconvenience this all seemed to have become to them; that these heartfelt pleas and defiant proclamations had become little more than white noise they have begun tuning out. 

I even overheard some friends make sarcastic asides that seemed intended to make light of it all.

Guys, I really hope I’m wrong.
I really hope we’re still listening.
I hope we’re paying attention.
I hope we’re digging deeper.
I hope we have compassion left.

And more than anything, I hope we share the outrage of the #MeToos and the Silence Breakers and the #TimesUps, enough to stand beside them, enough to call out our own, enough to make sure this moment does indeed become a movement.

I hope we give a damn enough to lean into this messiness, to be brutally honest with the ugly stuff we need to own, and to do all we can to make sure that the stories of those surviving such horror become less and less frequent.

And men, please hear me: women don’t need us to listen or to care or to come alongside them, because they aren’t strong enough to push against this sickness without us. They are.

They don’t need our permission or approval or blessing to turn a very upside-down world right side-up. They are fully capable of doing that on their own.

They need us to listen right now, because really listening might move us, and that movement would renovate us, and that renovation will save us from the very worst of ourselves.

It will make us the best of ourselves.

It will help us hold on to our humanity.

Men, women are speaking powerfully and eloquently about who we are and who we might become. They are speaking of their inherent worth and demanding that we recognize it—and in the process we will embrace our own.

For them, for ourselves, and for the world and the legacy we’re creating in these days—we need to listen.  


22 thoughts on “Men, Are We Listening Yet?

  1. If some men are tired of women talking about it, imagine how tired the women must be of living it. And think about what that says about where strength lies.

  2. Amen. We aren’t going away. I suspect that a lot of men felt that way when women wanted to vote. Hoped they would just be quiet and go away. They didn’t then and they won’t now. I sense that women have begun to find their power. And for all you men out there who have daughters you should be happy that they have found it. Thank you John for speaking out. This old lady really appreciates it. Peace and Love to you,

  3. Straight men do indeed need to learn to listen.

    Straight men, you do not have a claim on women’s bodies. You do not have a right to our bodies.

    If a woman shares any aspect of herself with you, it is a gift. You don’t even have a right to your wife’s body. She is the one who says whether or not she wants to share it.

    Oh, I get it that you are tired of hearing it. You are tired of hearing of it because you don’t intend to listen or to change.

    Just as white people are tired of hearing POC tell them that white privilege exists, you are tired of hearing about your perceived straight privilege.

    Another thing I have noticed is how the middle class want to fault poor people when we mention that not once in any of the Democratic debates did the contenders ever speak about what they wanted to do for the poor but only went on and on about what they would do for the middle class. I’ve been called selfish by members of the middle class because I point out this oversight.

    People don’t want to hear about their flaws or where they fall short or about their incredible selfishness.

    White people have to get over white privilege. People ioving comfortable lifestyles have to accept that they oppress the poor.

    Straight men, you must listen to women because yes, you are abusive and you sexually assault us women.

    • Reading your comment I assume you are a black, underprivileged lesbian, or a hypocrite. Also, keep in mind that labeling a people and then wholesale condemning them doesn’t lead to change. You are silencing your own voice. You don’t want these people to actually listen to you. You just want to accuse them hoping guilt will be what changes them. And then there’s those that are in your afore mentioned groups who are not as you label them…they will not fight with you against the tyranny of the oppressors within their group because you just said they were just like the rest. So define “who” you want to listen and “how” you want them to hear you. You might just gain some ally’s in fighting with you against injustice and tyranny found in their groups.

      As a side…you also threw in the assumption that those who represent the opposite (gay, poor, etc) have no evil. Also doesn’t help in creating a helpful dialogue. But then again, I’m not sure you’re trying to be helpful but rather accuse or in your mind enlighten those strait white middle-class males enjoying any kind of comfort all, that all of them are nothing but a bunch of oppressing rapists who are emboldened by their white privilege and need to change. Which would make guilty not of being an agent of change but rather would make you guilty of reverse injustice, intolerant and a bigot.

      • tim wrote “Reading your comment I assume you are a black, underprivileged lesbian, or a hypocrite. Also, keep in mind that labeling a people and then wholesale condemning them doesn’t lead to change.”


        Thank you, Tim, every word you utter proves you are exactly the sort of person I addressed in my comments.

        Evidently, you are not one to listen to a woman when she tells me “no.”

      • It’s a good thing you can show all the pitfalls of a woman’s argument. Would you make the same assumptions if your grandmother, mother, wife, sister or daughter expressed these same opinions? You are trying to take control of the argument and assume you can because you are a white man. Congratulations on proving there is a real problem that white men don’t care about because they approach everything in their daily lives from a position of power. Recognize this and you will be a better person for it.

  4. I can’t decide if the women who say it is the fault of the victims are worse than the men accused – and yes I do know one who said just that – she blamed the women because they didn’t speak up sooner. Yes, she is a Trump supporter, and no, she was never subjected to abuse herself. While there are women like that, it is an uphill fight.

  5. John, I know you know this, but the men who already respect and cherish women have always been listening…still are. The ones who need to hear this message are thinking “Doesn’t apply to me.” What women need is for those of us (men) who get it to clean up our ‘male act’ in public. Stop ignoring it. But that will take much courage. I will keep listening… and acting, my male friend!

  6. This issue and the power behind it needs to be ongoing at least until everyone agrees it is mission accomplished.
    It isn’t far different from all issues concerning women and minorities. Even when laws are passed there are those who will keep on abusing and using others for their own ego fulfillment.
    Stay on ’em John!

  7. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. ….
    John, I’m a part of this as well….a country girl from northern B.C. Canada. Tears are in my throat and welling up in my eyes….I’m sending my sons your post…they are amazing young men but NEED to read this-a reminder! Don’t stop speaking out!! Let’s move forward……

  8. I’m a #MeToo, but it took my college-age son calling out men to their faces, telling them were the Rape Culture we live in, for me to even think about what had happened to me. Rape Culture – that was a new word to me. But, it was this 19 yr. old “kid” that helped me find My Voice. Thanks, Son.

  9. Huh–sounds like guys are getting tired of hearing these stories about how awful it is being harassed by men.

    Reminds me of something Jon Stewart said back in his heyday after Ferguson blew up, about whites getting tired of the race issue and how bad black people have it. I loved him for saying. “You’re tired of hearing about it? Imagine how f***ing exhausting it is living it.”

    Seriously, these men are tired of hearing about it? Then what are they going to do to make it so that this is a non-issue in our society, that millions of women don’t need to say #metoo anymore? Because we can’t do it alone.

    P.S.–if you want to see that portion of The Daily Show I mentioned, either YouTube search “Jon Stewart Race monologue” and look for the 10:39 video, or:

  10. Perhaps you should explain to men EXACTLY what constitutes sexual harassment….. I’m not at all convinced they know. I’m no spring chicken & have experienced it back in the day(s). No – never had a job threatened, but harassed nonetheless. Deliberately brushing up against a woman; patting her on the behind; openly gaping at the boobs (even so far as to say “step into my office where it’s cold”); etc. And NO, telling a woman she has pretty eyes, or complimenting her on a dress/her appearance is NOT harassment. Blatant oral & physical overtures IS.

    • I have been impressed by the openness and willingness of some accused men to learn. The few who said, “I thought I had consent, but I didn’t understand the power dynamic and that she could not say no,” or “I thought I had consent, but when I heard the way she tells it, I realise that I was so focussed on myself that I wasn’t even hearing those ‘no’ messages, let alone interpreting them and changing my behaviour.”

  11. Thank you for motivating the men whose support is essential to achieve gender equality. Otherwise, it will become “just a women’s issue”. If you haven ‘t seen Oprah’s acceptance speech on the Golden Globe Awards, it’s amazing. Here’s a link to HuffPost’s comment on women, but no men, being asked about gender equality on the red carpet: This article speaks to your comments very well.

  12. Hi, nice blog you have there. I have a small request, if you don’t mind. Since you can speak spanish, could you help me translate some mexican song i found?


  13. In Luke 12:4-7, Jesus told His followers not to fear those who can harm them because God is ultimately in control. God cares greatly about His followers when they experience pain and suffering. This stems from the watchful care God has for all of His creation. The Almighty who keeps the planets in their orbits is at the same time aware of a lowly sparrow that falls to the ground. Since He is even aware of what most would consider an insignificant event, how much more is He aware of the concerns of His children?

    As Jesus said,

    You are of more value than many sparrows.

    Jesus pointed out that

    five sparrows [are] sold for two copper coins. — Luke 12:6

    As for your value, Jesus died on the Cross to save you from sin and eternal separation from God. Having died for you, Jesus commits Himself to caring for you. He cares so much for you He even knows how many hairs are on your head.

    When you name Jesus as your Savior and honor Him with your life, you need not fear anything in this world. You can rest knowing God’s caring eye is watching over you.
    If you were to read the news headlines, you might infer that no one is in control of worldwide events, yet those who love the Lord know otherwise. Today’s verse speaks of God’s sovereign power over evil. After acknowledging His disciples would experience great tribulation, Jesus told them not to fear because He had “overcome the world.”
    Jesus knew the disciples were about to face life without Him and would endure persecution for His name’s sake. In fact, all of them, excluding John, would eventually give their lives furthering the gospel message. Likewise, Christians today still face pain and suffering due to persecution or disease or broken relationships.
    Yet God graciously uses suffering to compel you to lean into Him, to grow and refine your faith, to receive His comfort, and to keep your eyes on Heaven. Yes, you will experience heartache, disappointment, unfairness, and outright evil in the world, but do not despair because Jesus has overcome this world. When going through tribulation, you can take comfort in the promise of
    a new Heaven and a new earth… [where] there shall be no more pain. — Revelation 21:1, Revelation 21:4
    Psalm 23:6 says surely goodness and loving kindness shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. God’s goodness and mercy follow us like guard dogs. He is in complete control and He is good, so we can take comfort in Him and rest.

    The Most Important Lesson In life is to Learn to LISTEN with and open mind and see clearly when HOLY God is speaking , by others or relationships
    God is Holy and want his true believers to be Holy
    Trusting, Obeying , Following Jesus Christ and His Examples , Not the world around you .

  14. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. For speaking with a genuine love for all humans. I see Jesus in you. You give me hope. And I have been feeling hopeless for too long. Thank you.

  15. And today the women marched. We marched for pay equity, freedom from rape and sexual harassment, from toxic masculinity and the violence of patriarchy. We marched especially for the rights of women of color, so long neglected in this country. For LGBTQ justice, immigrant justice, workers’ rights and reproductive freedom. So powerful and potent to stand in solidarity with women all over the world!

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