A man and a woman standing on a fading bridge

Not all men…

We started this rallying call and hashtag to speak out against the rampant sexual and physical abuse of women at the hands of men. It was urgent to call them out because men were and are literally killing us.

Are men actually trash?

This statement has become one of those blanket statements that we throw out on social media to call out all negative expressions of masculinity.

We were a big group at a birthday lunch and I wasn’t paying close attention to the conversations. But then, I heard it.

But not all men are trash and it’s unfair to group us all! It doesn’t allow us to have a conversation that can help bad men change,’ he said.

Even without context, it was already clear the direction this conversation was going. As soon as ‘good boys’ start talking, they became more concerned with their goodness, and that of their father and his father before him, being acknowledged instead of speaking out on the very many trash things that men need to stop doing so that women can live their live safely on this earth.

‘Okay, fine, you and your family are great I guess. But why don’t you call out the not so great men?’ I asked, silently wishing I’d continued to mind my own business. 

It was getting exhausting having the same repeat discussions, trying to explain that this wasn’t attacking anyone’s grandfather’s moral fiber. How I, we, were actually tired of explaining to men that their trashiness was no longer going to be tolerated. I mean let’s be honest, if the trash men actually cared about women’s opinions, they probably would recognize their humanity and not harm them in the ways we kept hearing about and experiencing. 

But I don’t know any guys who do these things. My friends are respectful to women. But these one liners taint all our reputations.’

He still couldn’t wrap his mind around the fact that this wasn’t about him. 

‘I don’t know you well enough or your friends. I however know lots of women. I literally do not know a single woman who’s made it to their late twenties without being sexually abused or sexually coerced by men. The fact that you’re more concerned about your reputation instead of doing the work to look within the circle of men you know and call out this harmful behavior is just another way that men, like you, are completely trash.’

That was a sure way to make the rest of the meal tense and uncomfortable, but tip toeing around the feelings of good boys isn’t going to protect women from the dangers that men posed on our lives.

More men need to acknowledge the fact that they ARE trash – whether as who they are personally, or who they associate with. They need to call out their trash friends who think that taking a woman on a date guarantees him access to her body.

They need to call out their uncles who hug little girls for too long whenever they visit during Christmas. They need to call out their colleagues who use ‘mentorship’ as a way to prey upon the interns. We are tired of having the same discussions. Tired of begging for our humanity to be recognized. Tired of living in a world where in fact, trash men surround us all.

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