Masculinity has never been more toxic, and as a 25-year-old man, I now find myself forgiving the few militant feminists for believing that all men are monsters. It may be a viewpoint based more on venomous rage than fact, but it's also one that appears to be a fair reflection on the current state of affairs in Hollywood and indeed many other industries.
But let me make it clear: I am not perfect. I am a flawed individual, and like most other people, I have a tendency to be consumed by my own problems, goals, and self-worth.
Nonetheless, I also believe in being kind to your fellow human beings, and I have found that my relationships with women have brought out the best in me.
And in an ideal world, relationships should do this to everyone, not because it's necessarily romantic and sets you apart from the rest but because liking someone should also make you kind and caring to them, yet there are some who become enraged at the idea of simply being told no. It's as though they have to assert dominance and masculinity no matter what the woman thinks, because as an age-old phrase goes, "When a woman says no, what she really means is yes."
Sadly, it's precisely this kind of old-school, backward thinking that still permeates through vast swathes of society.
Just take the recent allegations levied against some of Hollywood's most influential players.
First, it was reported that the producer Harvey Weinstein couldn't keep his hands away from a bevy of aspiring and well-known actresses, and then Kevin Spacey's inappropriate behavior towards a 14-year-old boy hit the headlines. But famous, and powerful man that assault women and men and think nothing of it present only a fraction of the problem because sexism and inappropriate behavior towards women (an in some cases, men) is rampant wherever you go.
You only have to see a beautiful woman walking down a busy street before men honk their car horns, or wolf-whistle and laugh just because they don't know how to act civilly around an attractive woman. And that's not to say that flirting is wrong.
Far from it.
But flirting should be a mutual, two-way exchange, and the actions mentioned above are crass and creepy. They may not be illegal, but it's that everyday laddish mentality that disappoints me. And not only because it potentially gives men who don't want to wolf-whistle at women a bad name, but because I genuinely sympathize with women who have to face that kind of behavior the moment they leave their homes.
Heck, I've even had to hear stories from my own mother and ex-girlfriend about their experiences with men which are even worse than what I've just described.
So I keep asking myself: Where did all the good guys go?
Well, they're everywhere. I truly believe that. But they've been clouded out by the actions of an alarmingly high number of famous men, and I fear a certain number of women will soon view men- even the good ones- with extreme caution.
It's a shame because many men have so much love to give, and it's disconcerting as a young male growing up in what I thought was a more liberal, feminist-friendly culture to know that guys like Weinstein still exist.
Though as more famous men (mostly from older generations) make the news for their deplorable actions, this will understandably leave some thinking that today's men can't be trusted either and after reading about such awful things these last few months, I wouldn't blame them for thinking that way.