What if we gave men a 9 p.m. curfew?

A response to a Youtube/Twitter discussion on violence and gender.

Alyxandra Sego, Columnist

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I am doing something I thought I never would, talking about feminism. Disclaimer, I don’t identify as a feminist. Although I agree with the basic tenet of equality and opportunity for members of my gender, I feel the definitions, connotations and associations are too diverse for the simple label of feminism. I don’t reject the label because I think labels are always bad. Labels are only problematic when they categorize or represent something incorrectly, which I believe feminism has done.

However, that’s a topic for another day. Today I am talking about violence. Specifically how violence affects different genders and some of the miscommunications I have observed between those who might align themselves with feminism or Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs).

I was watching Youtuber, Tim Cast, in his video, “Life Would Be Great If ALL MEN Had a 9PM Curfew!” respond to a Twitter query that posed the question: “What Would Women Do If Men Weren’t Allowed Outside Past 9pm?” Women responded with tweets expressing how much more free and safe they would feel if this were done, and Cast responded with his concerns that the Twitter feed incentivized false narratives about violence and gender. Although Cast seems to be much more fair and inclusive of ideas that differ from his own when it comes to anti-feminist political commentators, I believe he missed the mark when it comes to discussions around gender-based violence, as do many men’s rights sympathizers.

Usually I see the conversation go like this: feminists talk about something women go through, and MRAs respond with “men deal with it too” or “they have it worse because of X, Y and Z.” It seems like Cast was following this same argument, citing data that shows how men are much more likely to be victims of violent crimes and homicides than women. However, his argument doesn’t account for how or why these crimes take place. According to the CDC, more than 50 percent of female homicides were committed by an intimate partner — typically a man — while male homicides include a broad range of reasons; it could be personal, gang related, a robbery, etc. Even Cast himself noted how he would feel concerned going out at night in fear of “getting robbed, getting mugged…” also notably by other men. However, not once did he mention what most women fear when they go out at night. It isn’t being robbed. It is being raped.

Most violence that women face around the world is because of their gender. We could argue all day how men deal with more violence, and it might seem like a gender-based thing on the surface. Men die much more from war, crimes, jobs and suicides. I full-heartedly agree that these issues should be talked about and dealt with. However, most of these cases do not fall into the same conversation that feminists are trying to have about women’s issues.

When groups like feminists talk about violence, they are talking about it through the lens of gender. And gender-based violence is an altogether different topic than violence in general. The United Nations defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.” Other humanitarian organizations recognize that other genders can experience gender-based violence, as long as gender or beliefs about gender has played a hand in the perpetration.

Whether or not women in the United States are justified in their fear for going outside at night or if men should be more afraid because they are more likely to be find themselves in violent situations, isn’t something that can be talked about lightly. One thing I do agree with Cast is calling into the question the reason for the Twitter feed. It isn’t clear why the question , “What if men were given a curfew?” was posed. It could be to give women a target to point the finger at or to identify the reasons why women feel the way they do. I personally don’t believe that the Twitter feed was suggesting a mandated curfew on men; however, there have been worse things put into law. Either way, having “us vs. them” narratives in these types of conversations are never good and neither is assuming malicious intent. Both sides have legitimate disputes and need to be carefully listened to and clarified.

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