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The hashtag #NotAllMen is a feminist Internet meme.[1][2] A shortening of the phrase "not all men are like that", sometimes abbreviated "NAMALT",[3][4] it is a satirical parody of arguments used to deflect attention away from men[5] in discussions of sexual assault, the gender pay gap,[6] and other feminist issues.

Origins and usage[edit]

Response to feminist discourse[edit]

The phrase "not all men are like that" has been in use online since the mid-2000s as a general defense of men.[4] It was used as a catchphrase among men's rights activists (MRAs) in response to online discussions of misogyny or sexual abuse which they saw as blaming all men as perpetrators.[3]

Jess Zimmerman writes that before 2013, "not all men" was absent from discussions of popular derailment tactics used in response to feminist discourse; in its place were phrases such as "'what about the men?' and 'patriarchy hurts men too'—pleas for inclusion, not for exemption".[5] Zimmerman also highlights a use of the phrase dating to 1985 in Joanna Russ's novel On Strike Against God,[5] where a character muses:

…that not all men make more money than all women, only most; that not all men are rapists, only some; that not all men are promiscuous killers, only some; that not all men control Congress, the Presidency, the police, the army, industry, agriculture, law, science, medicine, architecture, and local government, only some.[5][7]

Earlier use of the phrase have been cited to Charles Dickens in 1836.[8][original research?] Writing at The Awl, John Herrman lists additional uses of the phrase as far back as 1863.[4][9]

Popularization as a meme[edit]

Kelsey McKinney writes at Vox that the phrase "not all men" has been "reappropriated by feminists and turned into a meme meant to parody its pervasiveness and bad faith."[4] Both the phrase and hashtag "#NotAllMen" have been used as a satire of defensive reactions by men.[3] The first appearance of the meme in popular media was a satirical tweet by Shafiqah Hudson in 2013 that quickly went viral:[4]

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."[4][10]

The following year, the phrase was added to an image of the Kool-Aid man crashing through a wall,[4][5] a Tumblr page featured images in which a speech bubble with the phrase "not all men" was added to images from movies such as the shark from Jaws and the chestburster from Alien,[5] and artist Matt Lubchansky created a webcomic with the character "Not-All-Man", in which the "defender of the defended" and "voice for the voiceful" breaks through a glass window to interrupt a pink-haired woman complaining about men.[5][11] The comic was retweeted and reblogged tens of thousands of times, and shared by celebrities including Wil Wheaton, Paul F. Tompkins, Matt Fraction, and John Scalzi.[5]

Other #NotAllMen-related memes include references to Aquaman, Adventure Time, and Magic: The Gathering.[2]

2014 Isla Vista killings[edit]

#NotAllMen was already a Twitter hashtag before the 2014 Isla Vista killings, but it gained additional traction after the event, because of the hatred against women expressed by the killer.[12] In response to the "not all men" argument,[13][14][15] an anonymous Twitter user created the hashtag #YesAllWomen[16] to express that all women are affected by sexism and misogyny. This newly created hashtag was used by women to share their experiences of sexual discrimination and attacks on social media.[17][2][18]

Bengaluru incident[edit]

After reports of a mass molestation occurring at India's Bengaluru New Year's Eve celebration in 2017, #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.[19][20][21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ferdy, Tom (July 2, 2014). "Is there a misogynist inside every man?". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Ryan, Erin Gloria (April 28, 2014). "Your Guide to 'Not All Men,' the Best Meme on the Internet". Jezebel. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Zimmer, Benjamin; Solomon, Jane; Carson, Charles E. (2015). "Among the New Words" (PDF). American Speech. 90 (2): 214, 218–220. doi:10.1215/00031283-3130335 – via
  4. ^ a b c d e f g McKinney, Kelsey (May 15, 2014). "Here's why women have turned the 'not all men' objection into a meme". Vox. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Zimmerman, Jess (April 28, 2014). "Not All Men: A Brief History of Every Dude's Favorite Argument". Time. New York. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  6. ^ Denton, Michelle (2020). Feminism and Gender Equality. Cavendish Square Publishing, LLC. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-5026-5746-6.
  7. ^ Russ, Joanna (1985). On Strike Against God. Crossing Press. ISBN 978-0-8959-4186-2.[page needed]
  8. ^ In Dickens's 1836 novel The Pickwick Papers, Miss Wardle says, "Men are such deceivers", to which Mr. Tupman replies, "They are, they are [...] but not all men." —Dickens, Charles (1837). The posthumous papers of the Pickwick Club. London: Chapman and Hall. p. 74. OCLC 28228280.
  9. ^ Herrman, John (April 29, 2014). "The Adventures of Not All Men". The Awl.
  10. ^ Fiqah [@sassycrass] (February 20, 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). Archived from the original on March 5, 2016 – via Twitter.
  11. ^ Lubchansky, Matt (April 10, 2014). "Save Me". Please Listen to Me.
  12. ^ Carmon, Irin (May 24, 2014). "Elliot Rodger's war on women". MSNBC. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
  13. ^ Dempsey, Amy (May 26, 2014). "#YesAllWomen hashtag sparks revelations, anger, debate in wake of California killing spree". Toronto Star. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  14. ^ Grinberg, Emanuella (May 27, 2014). "Why #YesAllWomen took off on Twitter". CNN. Atlanta, Ga. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  15. ^ Valenti, Jessica (May 28, 2014). "#YesAllWomen reveals the constant barrage of sexism that women face". The Guardian. London. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  16. ^ Dvorak, Petula (May 26, 2014). "#YesAllWomen: Elliot Rodger's misogynistic ravings inspire a powerful response on Twitter". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
  17. ^ Sources:
  18. ^ Plait, Phil (May 27, 2014). "#YesAllWomen". New York. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  19. ^ De Bono, Arielle (January 8, 2017). "#YesAllWomen resurfaces in India in the wake of mass molestation". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  20. ^ Bhattacharya, Annanya (January 8, 2017). "#NotAllMen is not an appropriate response to a mob molesting scores of women in India's Silicon Valley". Quartz India. New York.
  21. ^ Borges, Andre (January 8, 2017). "People Are Furious at the "Not All Men" Response to the Mass Molestation in Bengaluru on NYE". BuzzFeed.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]