What the "All Men" Argument Gets Wrong

Sean Goodman (UCLA)

Today I am going on a rant. I would have kept quiet about this whole situation as everyone seems to have an opinion about it (and rightly so), but there is something I noticed about Donald Trump's defense that no one has brought up.

The typical response from Trump surrogates over his disgusting comments is, "all men talk like this at some point in time." That is the biggest load of malarkey I've heard in a while, and I'm going to explain why.

I will call this the "all men" argument.

When I hear that "all men talk this way," what exactly do they mean by that? In arguing that, they are assuming that all men are:

1. Heterosexual. 2. Sexually promiscuous. 3. Individuals who lack respect. 4. Perpetuators of sexual assault. 5. Animals.

To elaborate further:

The "all men" argument ignores men who are a part of the LGBTQ community. This was the first thought that came to my mind when I heard this lackluster argument. Does heterosexuality encompass all that is masculine? No, because masculinity is not a monolith. Being attracted to women makes you no more of a man than being attracted to wealth makes you rich.

The "all men" argument ignores men who are celibate. This includes men in the priesthood, men who wait to have sexual intercourse until marriage, and men who choose celibacy for other personal and spiritual reasons.

The "all men" argument ignores men who respect their spouses. Let's remember that Trump didn't say this as a teenager, he said this as a married, 59 year old man. Even when I was a teenager, I knew I would catch hell if I spoke like that in front of my dad. That's because my dad respects his wife, my mother.

The "all men" argument ignores the difference between discussing sexual escapades, and sexual assault. If this hot mic conversation exposed Donald describing his past sexual escapades, many of us would be more forgiving. A lot of people, not just men, talk about the "fun times" they've had in addition to their sexual preferences. But Donald's language wasn't that of a, "I had a one night stand" narrative, this is an, "I can get away with sexual assault," brag that would not be tolerated among a large majority of people.

The "all men" argument perpetuates the idea that men are just beasts and acting on their primal instincts. This one takes the cake, and one that, quite frankly, I am sick of hearing. It normalizes the idea that "men can't be faithful because it's in our DNA to reproduce as much as possible." This idea is almost on par with the "survival of the fittest" misconception.

We are not just animals. Our frontal lobes have advanced astronomically from the days of early humans that to say such a statement degrades thousands of years of human evolution. If we were still animals acting on our basic instincts, we would have no time for developments in morality, justice, and altruism - to name a few.

And with that I will end with a quote from author Thomas E. Woods regarding human decency in hopes of combatting this flagrantly false argument:

"Our society does everything in its power to ensure that you wind up being a self-absorbed nobody fixated on gratifying your appetites. Be your own person. Rise above the herd, declare your independence from a culture that thinks so little of you, and proclaim that you intend to live not as a beast but as a man."

This article originally appeared on The Get On Up Blog.

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