Recently, there’s been a lot of conversation about men being, well, trash. So much so, that a #MenAreTrash hashtag has been formed on social media accompanied with brief details about some of the horrible experiences women have had with men or some of the things men have seen happen to women. Unfortunately, a lot of men have not taken this hashtag lightly, and have felt the need to respond in a rather obtuse manner.
Instead of using this as a learning tool, men have taken another opportunity to live up to the hashtag. Many of them have spitefully expressed most of these women deserved their experiences, quoting they should have been “smarter.” Some have even gone as far to retaliate with a #BlackWomenAreTrash hashtag, because you know only black women say #menaretrash *rolls eyes*. Mix that with black women always being everyone’s scapegoat, it made sense as a great response to the narrow minded men that were offended by the initial hashtag. Also further proving why men are trash.
The #MenAreTrash tag was started by women to candidly discuss the experiences they had with men in order to ensure other women they weren’t alone in the struggle. It was intended to create a safe space for women who experiences are often invalidated. Something I appreciated as a woman; I’ve personally encountered men with tumultuous behavior and felt that I somehow was the cause of it. Seeing other women share their similar situations was comforting.
Society places a large amount of pressure on women to stay silent about the trash behavior of men. We are expected to accept men’s bad behavior as the standard for how men behave. Hence sayings like “boys will be boys.” We are internalized to feel men are not behaving badly, they are simply just being their normal selves, and you being the woman should just adjust and learn to adequately deal with it. This tag was women saying “enough is enough,” and we are demanding change.
It’s no secret that most men still believe a woman’s sole purpose on this earth is to be subservient to them. Alot of them believe women have a place, and that we are not our own persons’. Men have been conditioned to feel our lives are solely based around fulfilling their needs. There isn’t a day that goes by where a tweet is floating around twitter expressing what a women can do to improve her odds of gathering the attention of men. From the way we conduct ourselves to how we dress to even how intelligent we are, men feel these are things they should have sole control over. This way of thinking is not only detrimental to a woman’s subconscious, but if we do not comply or conform to it, can ultimately lead to our deaths.
Too often we read headlines about women rejecting the advances of men, and the men feeling so hurt by this, they harm or murder the woman. That is the outcome of what happens when we continue to normalize irrational heteronormative behavior of men. Society continuously brushes off women expressing how “cat-calling” or “being picked-up” is destructive to us. Women are told we should be flattered that we were deemed attractive enough to want to be “picked-up” in the first place. Nevermind the fact that most women align this type of behavior with trauma and not flattery.
Men have being conditioned to see women as property, which greatly contributes to rape culture. Most men view being a sexual predator as no big deal, seeing that they are taught to be the conquerer in every situation. They do not view their unwanted advances as sexual assault, seeing that this patriarchal idea of heroism determines their masculinity level. As a result of this mentality, men feel no remorse for this traumatic behavior. Often leading to victim-blaming or slut-shaming. Teaching women that the cost of wearing certain clothing or behaving in certain manners is men being entitled to their bodies.
This unfortunate behavior also determines the hierarchy of women. As a result of this patriarchal mentality, men are taught to perceive certain women as better than others. Women that assimilate to this social system are more protected and cherished. Meanwhile women who refute it are no longer viewed as feminine, and viewed as being equally masculine as men. This belief can also have deadly consequences for women. Take the situation of Sandra Bland, an educated black activist who often spoke her mind, because she did not comply with the white male officers who stopped her, they caused bodily harm to her leading to her death. They viewed her as masculine due to her immense knowledge and assertive response and physically handled her as if she was another man. Her story is just one of many like it, and once again those men felt little to no guilt about what happened because it all could have been avoided if she would have just stayed in her place.
So how we change this behavior? Well, this hashtag is a great way to begin. It starts a much needed dialogue between men and women. Men can begin to see the faults in even slightly thinking this way and what can happen to women because of it. I’m sure some man, somewhere is reading this feeling “Well I don’t think like this, so I am not apart of the problem,” but that way of thinking is the problem. Just because your behavior is not as extreme as others, does not mean you are still not as problematic as they are. Have you shared your knowledge with other men? Have you called your friends out for even slightly engaging in this destructive manner? If the answer is no, then you too are just as harmful as the men who are trash. It’s time for men to start calling out their brethren for their deplorable behavior. Men will effectively hear other men and be able to get through to one another.
I do believe we will begin to see a shift in men very soon. Women have grown to a place where they feel comfortable enough to express to men their wrongdoings and are holding men accountable for their damaging behavior. Like everything in life, this transition of our society will take some time. We have centuries of deprogrammimg to do, on both men and women. I have hope that as a people we can change. I look forward to the day when trash men are truly the minority, and men everywhere feel comfortable enough to call themselves a feminist. However, until that day comes women everywhere feel free to use the #MenAreTrash tag. We will stop using it once men give us a reason to stop.
To the men who don’t get offended by the hashtag, because they know they aren’t trash, I want to say thank you. You guys get it, and are appreciated. Now please share that energy with your fellow man, our lives literally depend on it.