Understanding #MenAreTrash

If you are a guy reading this, I understand you probably clicked on the link to comment 'not all men' because you are tired of being grouped in the same category as rapists, assaulters, sexists, misogynists, deadbeat fathers etc. And I get it, it is annoying when half of your species collectively target you/your gender for the actions of a few (million) men. Especially, for something you've probably never done and most probably won't ever do in your lifetime. However, before you head to the comment section, try to LISTEN FIRST then respond.
And for those of you who have never heard the phrase before or are new to the world of hashtags, #MenAreTrash is a reigning subject on Twitter and across most social media sites. The phrase has been popping in and out of our feeds for about 3 years now. And it centers around women scrutinizing the disturbing actions we have come to accept as a side-effect of maleness and patriarchy. The phrase roles up every bit of anger, frustration, hurt and pain in three words; with the intention of capturing your attention and inciting the same emotions that the person saying it feels. It is brash, it is unapologetic and it is undoubtedly accusatory. And the following are what you must know about MEN ARE TRASH.

#MenAreTrash Is Not Specifically About Men
Contrary to what you think #MenAreTrash is NOT specifically about men or the male gender. It is about toxic masculinity and a failed system, any system, including patriarchy, which allowed men to act against women without a strong sense of fear, retribution or repercussion. Every woman, and man, that has uttered those words knows that not all men are trash. Many have been raised by wonderful fathers; are surrounded by male siblings/friends that would protect them with their bodies if it came to it, and have fallen in love with great men. Yet, this hasn’t stopped these same wonderful men-to us- from being trash to other women. It is about a culture that has forced women to question every aspect of their being at every phase of their lives. A culture that expects nothing but its version of perfection from females. A culture that repeatedly made women examine their femininity, the type of women they want to be socially and the deliberate process they must go through to achieve that goal yet has nothing in place for men. Therefore, creating men who are winging it until they make it to maturity- in the process leaving a trail of emotionally, physically, mentally and or spiritually battered women and young girls.
Men are trash is about the underlining truth that fathers are the leading cause of dysfunctional children yet mothers are always blamed.  It is about FACEBOOK classifying ‘men are trash’ as hate speech but having difficulty removing videos of men assaulting, raping and maiming women. It is about all forms of women’s menstrual hygiene and sanitation products being taxed yet condoms, lubricants and Viagra are not (as if we can just choose to not have periods). Men are trash is about the existence of the top 10 most dangerous countries for women because our own men have made living in these (our) countries unsafe for us. The statement isn't about destroying or emasculating men nor is it about tarnishing the good ones; it is about telling men, as a collective, to rise up and be better. EVEN IF YOU ARE GOOD, BE BETTER because what is currently being done isn’t enough.

#MenAreTrash Doesn’t Cancel Out The Good Men Have Done

I recently got into two separate conversations with two men close to me, and both pointed out how the men are trash conversation seems to suggest that everything men have done is a problem. One pointed out that without patriarchy humanity wouldn’t have reached this level of advancement. And that is absolutely true. Life as we know it wouldn’t exist if our societies were built on matriarchy, and we can waste time romanticizing what could have been but the reality is men led us to what we are today, both good and bad. The issue is that patriarchy, capitalism and our cultural structures have been so focused on the progress/advance of ‘man’ that it has neglected to bring women along with them.

Justin Baldoni and his roundtable bring the male perspective to the conversation

#MenAreTrash Is Not ONLY About The Perpetrators
The rebuttal most believers of #MenAreTrash get is #NotAllMen. This basically means not all men are rapists, assaulters, sexists, misogynists or any other characteristic that is a menace to society. This is again a valid point because many men have not perpetrated these acts themselves yet almost all men have at least been in one situation where a male they know has acted against a woman, and said nothing. Enabling or not speaking out against your ‘guy’ because of "bro code" makes you part of the problem. Men who fail to stop or correct the actions of other men are accomplices to the act. So, when your friend shares a revenge porn video with you and you say nothing, you are part of the problem. When you laugh along with your guy who wants to playfully ‘beat her ass black and blue’ you are part of the problem. When you silently watch your friend call a woman a bitch for not giving out her number, you are part of the problem. When you walk away from the scene of a guy raping a woman in broad daylight because it has nothing to do with you, YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM. Not the same magnitude as the actor but a problem for women nonetheless. Therefore, always remember just because your actions are legal doesn't mean that it is not problematic to women and society.

In conclusion, while feminism is about taking action and creating change #MenAreTrash is the other side of the coin which focuses on calling out centuries of male bullshit. Not for the sake of change or improving anything- no, not for any of that. #MenAreTrash is about holding up a mirror at men-the good and the bad, the perpetrators and the enablers, the lawmakers and the law abiders- and saying 'under your watch, this is what you have allowed to happen to women, and men. And we will no longer sit quietly or stand politely and say nothing.' Because the unfortunate truth is #MenAreTrash wouldn't be trending and good men wouldn't need to defend themselves if the bad ones didn't outweigh them. So, if you find yourself questioning your actions, ask a woman before you become an example as to why #MenAreTrash.

Thank you for always giving me the space to speak and an ear to listen. If you want a more detailed, nuanced discussion about #MenAreTrash (or the trend of man bashing in general) check out the two-part videos by The GrapevineTV below. Disclaimer: Race is a key element in the discussion, therefore, viewer discretion is adviced.

Don't forget to leave your comments and questions below or just further the conversation by sharing your views on the topic. And please spread the word by sharing. xoxo


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