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#NotAllMen is an expression commonly used as rebuttal to generalized statements and prejudice.[1][2] It is also a feminist Internet meme.[3][4] A shortened hashtag version of the phrase not all men are like that,[5] it is sometimes abbreviated NAMALT.

A Time magazine article on the subject states that "Not all men" was previously stated as an object of frustration, but in early 2014 it became usually used as an object of mockery. Intended to counter generalizations about men's behavior, some critics claim the phrase deflects conversations from uncomfortable topics, such as sexual assault.[6][7]


Vox states that the phrase "not all men are like that," as a general defense of men in gendered criticisms of their behavior, has been around for more than a decade.[8][a] Before 2013, "not all men" was not seen as a derailment tactic; the most common strategies cited by feminist bloggers were "'what about the men?' and 'patriarchy hurts men too'—pleas for inclusion, not for exemption".[6] Jasmine Bailey says the "not all men" argument "seemingly began as a sincere way to counter feminist arguments".[10] #NotAllMen, however, is often impugned by feminists. The #NotAllMen Twitter hashtag was tweeted as early as 2011. The first viral tweet with this phrase, which was not yet a hashtag, was a satirical tweet by Shafiqah Hudson in February 2013: "ME: Men and boys are socially instructed to not listen to us. They are taught to interrupt us when we– RANDOM MAN: Excuse me. Not ALL men."[8][11] The stereotypical "Not-All-Men", barging into a conversation criticizing male behavior, was caricatured in a comic by artist Matt Lubchansky on April 14, 2014.[6][8][12] Lubchansky's comic was quickly retweeted and otherwise shared by several male celebrities including Wil Wheaton, Paul F. Tompkins, Matt Fraction, and John Scalzi.[6]

2014 Isla Vista killings[edit]

#NotAllMen was already a Twitter hashtag created by the Twitter user Sassycrass before the 2014 Isla Vista killings, but it gained additional traction after the event, because of the hatred against women expressed by the murderer, Elliot Rodger (although only two of the six casualties were women). In response to the hashtag #NotAllMen, an anonymous Twitter user created the hashtag #YesAllWomen, to express that all women are affected by sexism and misogyny, even though not all men are sexist. This newly created hashtag quickly became used by women throughout social media to share their experiences of sexual discrimination and attacks.[13][4][14][15][16][17] Following the killing spree, the attacker's Internet activity was described as misogynistic, and hatred of women was cited as a factor in the killing spree.[18][19][20][21] In the wake of the killings, some Twitter users pointed out the fact that "not all men" are like this, or would commit such crimes.[15][16][17]

Bengaluru incident[edit]

After reports of a mass molestation occurring at India's Bengaluru New Year's Eve celebration, #NotAllMen began trending on Twitter. This drew an angry reaction from women, with many Indian feminists and women strongly criticizing the hashtag while responding with their own hashtag #YesAllWomen.[22][23][24]


Kelsey McKinney of Vox states, "The phrase has been reappropriated by feminists and turned into a meme meant to parody its pervasiveness and bad faith."[8] #NotAllMen-related memes include references to Aquaman, Adventure Time, Magic: The Gathering, and the Kool-Aid Man crashing through a wall to exclaim "not all men".[4] An explanation of the NotAllMen hashtag came from Hillary Di Menna of This Magazine, who claimed that: "Saying 'not all men' is not helpful. We need to listen and we need to reflect".[25] Slate writer Phil Plait wrote that the hashtag was

not an unexpected response. However, it's also not a helpful one. Why is it not helpful to say "not all men are like that"? For lots of reasons. For one, women know this. They already know not every man is a rapist, or a murderer, or violent. They don't need you to tell them. Second, it's defensive. When people are defensive, they aren't listening to the other person; they're busy thinking of ways to defend themselves. I watched this happen on Twitter, over and again. Third, the people saying it aren't furthering the conversation, they're sidetracking it. The discussion isn't about the men who aren't a problem. (Though, I'll note, it can be. I'll get back to that.) Instead of being defensive and distracting from the topic at hand, try staying quiet for a while and actually listening to what the thousands upon thousands of women discussing this are saying. Fourth—and this is important, so listen carefully—when a woman is walking down the street, or on a blind date, or, yes, in an elevator alone, she doesn't know which group you're in. You might be the potential best guy ever in the history of history, but there's no way for her to know that. A fraction of men out there are most definitely not in that group. Which are you? Inside your head you know, but outside your head it's impossible to.[26]

However, The Times of India writer Sumeet Keswani argues that the statement "does not serve to derail the feminism movement; it seeks to draw the line between feminism and misandry."[1] Helen Pluckrose of Areo magazine also defended the phrase,[2] saying,

If we genuinely oppose prejudice on the grounds of identity, rather than seek to elevate certain identities and disparage others, there is no shame and much worth in pointing out when negative stereotypes are applied to men.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ It has been used as early as 1836 in author Charles Dickens' book The Pickwick Papers, in which, in response to the statement "Men are such deceivers" by Miss Wardle, Mr. Tupman replies "They are, they are, but not all men."[9]


  1. ^ a b Keswani, Suweet. "Why #NotAllMen is part of the feminist movement, not against it". Echoes in Ennui (blog). The Times of India. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b Helen Pluckrose (2018-09-16). " 'Not All Men' is Not a Fallacy. It is Humanism". Areo. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  3. ^ Ferdy, Tom (2 July 2014). "Is there a misogynist inside every man?". The Daily Telegraph. London, England. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Erin Gloria Ryan. "Your Guide to 'Not All Men,' the Best Meme on the Internet". Jezebel. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  5. ^ Malik-Hussain, Mina (June 2, 2014). "Clapping with Both Hands". The Nation. Karachi, Pakistan. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d Zimmerman, Jess (April 28, 2014). "Not All Men: A Brief History of Every Dude's Favorite Argument". Time. New York City. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  7. ^ Martin, Michel; Chu, Arthur (May 30, 2014). "Jeopardy Champ Arthur Chu On Nerds, Entitlement And Elliot Rodger". NPR. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d McKinney, Kelsey. "Here's why women have turned the "not all men" objection into a meme". Vox. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  9. ^ Dickens, Charles (1905). The Pickwick Papers. Munich, Germany: Hueber. ISBN 978-1718847675.
  10. ^ Bailey, Jasmine (May 25, 2014). "What's up with the #YesAllWomen and #NotAllMen hashtags?". Springfield News-Sun. Springfield, Ohio. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  11. ^ Shafiquah Hudson [@sassycrass] (20 February 2013). "ME: Men and boys are socially instructed to not listen to us. They are taught to interrupt us when we- RANDOM MAN: Excuse me. Not ALL men" (Tweet). Retrieved 18 January 2015 – via Twitter.
  12. ^ Lubchansky, Matt. "Save Me". Please Listen to Me. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  13. ^ For coverage of this topic, see the following sources:
  14. ^ Valenti, Jessica (28 May 2014). "#YesAllWomen reveals the constant barrage of sexism that women face". The Guardian. London, England. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  15. ^ a b Plait, Phil (27 May 2014). "#YesAllWomen". New York City. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  16. ^ a b Grinberg, Emmanuel (May 27, 2014). "Why #YesAllWomen took off on Twitter". CNN. Atlanta, Georgia. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  17. ^ a b Dempsey, Amy (26 May 2014). "#YesAllWomen hashtag sparks revelations, anger, debate in wake of California killing spree". Toronto Star. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  18. ^ "A Killer's Manifesto Reveals Wide Reach Of Misogyny Online". NPR. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  19. ^ Carmon, Irin (24 May 2014). "Elliot Rodger's war on women". MSNBC. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  20. ^ Dvorak, Petula (May 26, 2014). "#YesAllWomen: Elliot Rodger's misogynistic ravings inspire a powerful response on Twitter". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
  21. ^ Buxton, Ryan (May 29, 2014). "Elliot Rodger's Misogynist Manifesto Is 'Familiar' To All Women, Professor Says". Huffington Post. New York City. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
  22. ^ De Bono, Arielle (8 January 2017). "#YesAllWomen resurfaces in India in the wake of mass molestation". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney, Australia. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  23. ^ Bhattacharya, Annanya (8 January 2017). "#NotAllMen is not an appropriate response to a mob molesting scores of women in India's Silicon Valley". Quartz India. New York City.
  24. ^ Borges, Andre (8 January 2017). "People Are Furious at the "Not All Men" Response to the Mass Molestation in Bengaluru on NYE". BuzzFeed.
  25. ^ Menna, Hillary Di (2011-04-03). "Gender Block: SlutWalk Toronto 2014". This Magazine. Retrieved 2014-07-15.
  26. ^ Plait, Phil (2014-05-27). "Not All Men: How Discussing Women's Issues Gets Derailed". Slate. Retrieved 2016-06-17.

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