If you’re like me, you have sufficiently hip social media contacts that you see the new memes fairly early on, but are not yourself sufficiently hip to always know right away how to parse those memes. Indeed, if you’re like me, you’ll need to see a couple of tokens of a new meme-type before you even realize that it is a meme-type.
Such it was for me when I first saw an instance of the “Not All Men” meme on a friend’s Facebook wall. It might have looked something like this:
I didn’t get it. Then I saw another instance:
Ah, a meme. I dutifully Googled the phrase. Here for my fellow non-cognoscenti is the useful explanation of the meme by Kelsey McKinney I found over at Vox.
In brief, the “Not All Men” meme is internet feminism’s response to that inevitable, boring moment in a conversation about gender inequities in which some man objects, “But I’m a man and I don’t do that.” McKinney helpfully details the history of the meme, explains the phenomenon the meme is skewering, and diagnoses exactly what’s wrong with the “I don’t do that” response. According to McKinney, it’s a variety of interrupting — perhaps a subspecies of so-called mansplaining — that derails the conversation.
To the reader who asks “So, what can I do?” McKinney advises:
You can not interrupt, because interrupting is rude, and use that time instead to think about whether or not injecting “not all men” is going to derail a productive conversation.
There. Now we’re all hip and in-the-know (until the next meme comes along).