“Men are trash.” It’s one of my favorite go-to lines. Your man is acting up? Men are trash. Some guy was following you too close for comfort? Trash. Another rape? Murder? Yeah, that’s a big ol’ dumpster of complete garbage.
It’s a unifying statement for women all over, but not everyone is on board. In fact, the opposing viewpoint of ‘not all men’ is continuously gaining traction. But of course, this is to be expected. Trash men aren’t going to raise their hand gleefully and claim their garbage title. I’ve adopted the idea that if a man says ‘not all men are trash,’ chances are pretty high that he is indeed, trash.
I believed this was the most logical explanation until recently when two of my close guy friends expressed ‘not all men’ sentiments to me. I trust them enough to be friends with them, so, of
Men aren’t just trash to women, they’re trash to each other as well. When a man stands up to sexism and violence against women, he runs the risk of a threat ricocheting back to himself. Men fear other men, and that’s when ‘not all men’ begins to serve as a deflecting mechanism. You can’t be scared if you don’t claim there’s anything to be scared of.
It wouldn’t even matter if not all men were trash. There are enough dangerous men out there to give me absolutely no reason to have blind faith in any man. In fact, one in three women will experience violence from men in some form. That statistic alone should be more offensive than ‘men are trash.’ The sad truth is if I’m walking alone at night and a man is approaching me, he is automatically a threat. My first thought isn’t ‘oh, he might be nice.’ It’s ‘what are my escape routes?’ and ‘how can I defend myself?’ In these situations, which are a constant reality for women, our safety trumps your ego.
And if you don’t think there’s enough reason for women to hold this fear or can’t picture the statistics, then you’re simply not listening. Our stories of sexual assault, domestic violence and harassment are everywhere. If you’re not witnessing it, you definitely know someone who’s been through it. But if you can’t listen to women, you can’t believe women. And if you can’t even have faith in their stories, we’ll never come close to fixing the problem.
Men are used to talking over women, so it’s easy to get defensive and blurt out ‘not all men’ as a knee-jerk reaction. You want your ‘not all men’ fantasy to become a reality? I’d recommend you start with closing your mouth and opening your ears. When you stop silencing us, you might finally get the point.