What We’ve Learned From All The Men Who Disappointed Us This Year

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(Chelsea Guglielmino/FilmMagic)

As 2017 comes to a close and allegations of sexual assault abound, the world is forced to reflect sincerely upon the year’s happenings. Amidst potential Russian collusion, Harvey Weinstein allegations, multiple deadly shootings, and Richard Spencer’s existence, one thing is for sure: Men have proven to be wholly disappointing, yet again.

But something is different this year: People seem to care, even just a little bit, that women exist. The Women’s March brought hundreds of thousands of people to the streets in defense of women’s rights. Many of the men accused of sexual harassment and assault lost their jobs. An historic election season saw women win offices all over the country, and women voters putting them there.

If you’re not a white, cisgender, heterosexual man, you are probably feeling suspicious of all of this support. Like me, you are probably wondering when the current round of allegations will end and the next one will start, and the misogynists will be exposed yet again, like so many were last fall. (Hint: It’s already happening.)

So, as we launch into another year of inevitable absurdity, corruption, and, hopefully, some justice, let’s reflect on what we’ve learned from all the men who have disappointed us this year, and what we have yet to discover.

Now when your boss grabs your ass at the holiday party, some people might believe you.

But if your friend grabs your ass at the holiday party, you’re probably still going to have to cover that one up. After all, it’s only men in power who sexually abuse women, right?

Politicians, Hollywood filmmakers, journalists, comedians, and musicians are the only people guilty of sexual assault and harassment.

Did I miss any?

Creative geniuses are capable of wrongdoing, and can be punished.

Even if that genius is your boss who has treated you well since your first day, or your favorite director, or a comedian that helped you understand your role in feminism. And, even better — most people we assign titles like “creative genius” or “groundbreaking” can easily be replaced by someone who doesn’t systematically abuse other people. (Maybe even a woman!)

Men in charge are really good at multitasking.

Like, how else could they be spending so much time harassing and assaulting women — and sweeping all those allegations of such under the rug for years and years — all the while rising to fame, fortune, and power?

Some privileged white women will get justice now, but we’ll get to those other cases soon. We swear. We’re working on it.

After all, what’s a social justice movement without famous white people? It’s not that the privileged women who survived assault and harassment aren’t brave — but we should question how this all would have gone down if the most prominent voices came from women of color. (In fact, R. Kelly has for years been accused of crimes against young black girls and women that are not dissimilar from the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, but this hasn’t gotten nearly the kind of press coverage, nor the repercussions. Not to mention that the only actress Weinstein specifically responded to to deny her accusations was Lupita Nyong’o, who is black.)

Whether this year has pushed you to swear off men entirely or to forgive the crushing patriarchy in hopes of a monumental change, its lessons will undoubtedly become even more prevalent as we approach the anniversary of the Women’s March and prepare for midterm elections. At the end of the day, all you can do is raise the expectations for your friends, your representatives, and your idols, hold people accountable for their actions, and, above all else, believe and trust women.