#MenAreTrash has re-emerged, seemingly following the sickening murder of Karabo Makoena, 22. This was not an isolated event. 1 woman is killed every 8 hours in South Africa. Mostly at the hands of a man they know.
The news of her death and revival of this hashtag has spurred women to share their own stories of abuse and harassment.
Yes, women are angry.
But that doesn’t make what we have to say any less important. Because women are speaking out, on the subtle and life-threatening effects of patriarchy and the ensuing entitlement, violence and privilege it allows men. Whether or not they purposefully benefit from it.
The hashtag is literally dividing the boys from the men. Here’s why I’m not sorry.
I am glad that you are offended because it forces you to look past yourself.
The knee-jerk reaction to this hashtag is likely offense- and it seems many men have not gone further than this. One can argue that offense is only natural. Yes it is. But to continue to be offended, is choosing not to learn more about the issue. Because one would learn- the issue is not YOU as an individual. It’s not about you at all.
It’s about the women in your life, and the women you pass on the street. It’s about them saying enough is enough. If you are offended- truly hurt-at the wording, you truly are not listening.
I suggest instead of replying to justifiable anger with your own anger, and instead of defending your dignity, you address the anger, you be a part of the solution, you defend the dignity of the women around you from the men around you who ARE trash.
And you know they exist- they’re the reason you don’t trust other men around your boyfriend/girlfriend.
I am glad that you are offended. Because you might delve deeper to find out what you are offended about, and in the process, find yourself being empathetic or enraged as well.
I am glad that you are offended, because this is forcing us to talk about it.
Yes we could re-brand the hashtag to something less ‘man-hating’*. But then, would we talk about it, would it make headlines? Would men have reacted as strongly? Or would we just hide behind a meek, PC hashtag that we can post, share and never further discuss?
Why are men more offended by this hashtag (more vocal about this hashtag, and hashtagging at all about this) than they are offended by the actual rape and murder, harassment and violence that women are being subjected to, sometimes right infront of them by their own peers?
Why are you not more offended about that?
I am glad that you are offended, because it’s not my job to make you feel better about this.
It is not our job to make men feel more comfortable when we tackle these issues, it is not our job to make the cause easier for you to tag along with, it is NOT our job to convince you of why this is important, more important than your ego.
I do not agree that this hashtag is ineffective when our goal is unity. Because unity is not our goal- our goal is to make men aware that this is happening, and it is time to be better.
I do not agree that this hashtag will alienate good men- I have seen plenty good men take this as an opportunity to say this is not okay. One such man:
It’s not our job to make you feel better about yourself, or about this. It is YOUR job to join us, to be a better man, to tell off other men.
Or to count yourself as trash.
*if I had a dime for everyone who tried to demean a feminist cause by associating the economic and social empowerment of women with disenfranchising men… Well I’d start a school that teaches men and anti-feminist femmes that equality is not a loss to men but empowers everybody- and that kind of thinking is the problem. Because again, it’s not about men.
Image via Pinterest
Words: Zoya Pon