Guys. Can we all come the fuck down to earth for a hot second. I’ve been back and forth on this #MenAreTrash debate in my mind over the last few days to the point of headaches. I read a really well-argued article yesterday on everydyfeminism.com that made me think again about the argument I had been constructing on how generalisations such as #MenAreTrash only perpetuate grave social injustice. The article is eloquently written and I agree with and understand Khan and Fabello when they say,
“Here’s the truth: Most of the time, when we generalize and use the word men, what we’re actually referring to is the effects of patriarchy. What we’re actually intending to communicate when we say “men are horrible,” for instance, is “the ways in which men are socialized under patriarchy, as well as how that benefits them and disadvantages everyone else, sometimes in violent ways, is horrible.”
I get that #MenAreTrash isn’t as simple as all men are trash and we hate them, and social media doesn’t really accommodate the hashtag #ThePatriarchalSystemThatHasEnabledInherentViolenceWithinMenAndTheOpressionAndAbuseOfWomenIsTrash . I’m still not a fan of the particular hashtag being used but it is what it is. Nandi Madida said on the subject, “I cannot endorse that #MenAreTrash as I was raised by an amazing‚ loving father. What I will say is that some humans are trash.” I agree with her and I know the people who truly understand what this cause is about do too. There are 2 main reasons I think it’s a problem though:
Firstly, There are a lot of, honestly, fucking ignorant people who jump on board with any cause that’s trending because they’re sheep, or they’ve got their eye on some feminist that they want to bang or they’re under the social pressure of not being perceived as the feminist they feel they are if they don’t. I do believe extreme statements in the hands of ignorance are dangerous. Many people are using this hashtag without fully understanding its meaning and not actually caring to take the time to understand.
Secondly and most importantly, we’re bitching about our male-centered society by revolving an argument AROUND males.
Trust me, it’s not like I haven’t had trash experiences at the hands of men. Unlike Nandi Madida I cannot say that I was raised by an amazing, loving father. I was raised by a misogynistic narcissist who has destroyed every woman to ever cross his path. Well no, he didn’t raise me. My mother raised me and he was just in the background causing shit. He destroyed my mother and I can never forgive for that.His intensely patriarchal upbringing instilled the mentality that his trash behaviour is subsequent to. But you know what stands out the most to me from those nights he would be blind drunk and kicking down the door of the room my mother locked herself and me in? What stands out in my memory is how on those nights she would bundle me up in her arms and go straight to my grandmother, who’d always give me ice cream and Smarties in a glass bowl and the two of them would drink sherry and cry and then eventually laugh at how he’d passed out with a Nandos chicken leg in his hand. And I would feel perfectly content in the protection of the matriarchs who raised me. For me, the strength of women in those moments that men are behaving like trash overpowers and this needs to be our focus. I have been in love with a sociopath who claimed to be a feminist yet would also push me down every time he was angry at me, who threw me out of his bed when I was too restless and told me to sleep on the dirty wooden floor in the passage outside his door, who lied to me and manipulated me when all I ever did was adore him. But when I look back on that relationship I have no anger and resentment towards him. Any anger I have from that experience is towards myself for putting up with it, for accepting his violent power over me. And bear with me, I’m not victim-blaming here, I’m just so fucking sick of trying to force men and women who perpetuate the violence embedded by a system to see the problem, of wasting energy on fury and aggression instead of getting to that point of “what-fucking-ever, I’m done with you, I’m going to paint my nails and start a revolution now”. Trying to open people’s eyes to the type of person that ex of mine was behind doors and searching for a way to hold him responsible and prevent him from treating other women that way was a waste of my time. We need to actively stop taking their shit. We need to create an environment where all women have the strength and support that they need to walk away, to protect themselves, to use their energy creating the life they want for themselves instead of wasting it on fighting men.
Look I know I may sound far-fetched and reality is complicated. I know my experiences do not measure up to tragedy the likes of murder at the hands of masculine violence and I cannot begin to emotionally comprehend falling victim to such tragedies. I mourn for the women who have lost their lives to domestic violence, I mourn for their families, their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. I mourn the system that enables such abuse and I mourn for the small everyday abuses that oppress women yet go unpunished and unacknowledged. And yes it must be fucking called out, but reappropriation and self-empowerment lead to far more change than aggression.
We recognise and try to fight the social injustice patriarchy has bred, yet here we are, talking about men. The same people who spell “womyn” are trending #MenAreTrash. Men are jumping on the bandwagon to show how super woke they are by trending #MenAreTrash. Yoh I’m bored of talking about boys and giving them yet another excuse to talk about themselves. It’s actually fucking terrifying how embedded into society patriarchy is that we can’t even speak up against the problem without it being entangled in the masculine. Yes indeed men need to take responsibility but ladies, we will have more power if we unite to empower ourselves rather than slate men.
Instead of answering with fury and aggression I want us to make use of the eloquence and diplomacy we are capable of, use the educations our grandmothers fought for us to have and fight for the end of patriarchy by reaching all of our potential, our goals, dreams, ambitions, realising our right to happiness, equality and respect IN SPITE of the patriarchy. They say the best revenge is to be your best self, to come back stronger every time you’re beaten down. They say the most powerful insult is to ignore your attacker, they become powerless when they are not validated with acknowledgement.
To the people who are endorsing #MenAreTrash, I urge you to ask yourselves if you’re doing it for the right reasons. If you’re being true to yourselves, if you really understand what it’s about or if you’re just following a trend or jumping at the opportunity to say something aggressive because you’ve been hurt. If such an aggressive statement is going to be used, it needs to be understood and used with tact.
I’m going to paint my nails and start a revolution now. X