Opinion

Extravagant Exaggeration?

If you have been perusing twitter in the last few weeks, you may have stumbled across this hashtag: #menaretrash. It’s an interesting and sad state of affairs.

Webster defines “hyperbole” as an “extravagant exaggeration”. For example, saying it’s “raining cats and dogs” outside just means it’s raining extremely hard. There are no actual dogs and cats falling from the sky. If there were, I would run outside to catch some puppies. Puppies are adorable. But I digress…

I thought I would define the word hyperbole before I use the following hyperbolic statement: Men are trash. I am pausing for dramatic effect and ashy fingers…

Let’s all be clear. Men are not literal trash. They really aren’t. However, lately, the violence and ill treatment of women have rendered the group known as men to well…trash.

As long as I have been a woman, women have been mistreated by men. This mistreatment ranges from sexual harassment, rape, domestic violence, verbal abuse to good old fashioned cat calling or “hollering”. When I was a young girl, in middle school mind you, my friends and I shared stories of boys “hollering” at us and then either rude comments or actual items were thrown if we didn’t acknowledge them. And let me repeat: this was in MIDDLE SCHOOL.

If you have been perusing twitter in the last few weeks, you may have stumbled across this hashtag: #menaretrash. It’s an interesting and sad state of affairs. The sad part about this hashtag is that the REASON for the hashtag isn’t causing outrage in men; it’s the fact that men are outraged that there IS the hashtag. Hmmm, does this sound familiar (#blacklivesmatter anyone)? Men have come out of the woodwork to say “not all men” or “not this man” as if that negates the fact that women are telling REAL stories of how they have been treated horribly by men. So, just so we are clear. The HASHTAG seems to be the problem, not the reason behind it.

According to the UN Women website, here are a few frightening statistics:

  • 35% of women (or roughly one in three women) worldwide have experienced sexual violence either from an intimate partner or a complete stranger.
  • Nationally, 70% of women have experienced sexual and/or physical violence from their intimate partner.
  • In 2012, a New Delhi study found that 92% of women reported having experienced some sort of sexual violence in PUBLIC in their lifetime. The same report found that in their lifetime, 88% of women have experienced some sort of verbal sexual harassment (which includes unwelcome sexual comments, whistling, leering or making lewd comments).
  • Based on data from the European Union, 34% of women with health problem or disability have reported experiencing sexual or physical violence by a partner in their lifetime; as opposed to 19% of women without a health problem or disability.
  • Approximately 120 MILLION girls worldwide (a little over one in 10) have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual act in their lifetime.
  • The most common perpetrators of sexual violence against girls are current or former husbands, partners or boyfriends.

The stats I listed above focused mainly on sexual/domestic violence. There are a few others regarding genital mutilation and child brides. Even the few I listed above are not only staggering but shocking. These statistics only reflect the events REPORTED. Imagine what the numbers would be if the statistics reflected ALL cases of sexual/domestic violence.

With that in mind, and all of the cases recently reported of women being shot, killed, raped, assaulted, burned alive, thrown from cars, blamed on killing sprees, it is no wonder women say #menaretrash. It’s frustrating to be a woman, sometimes. I will admit it. The more frustrating part of it is watching all of the black men getting really, really, really upset that women are saying this. Actually scouring the internet to find “trash women” to say “oh but #menaretrash, right”? *inserts eyeroll emoji*.

When people of color make statements saying #whitetrash or anything disparaging about white people, these same men say “yup” and “that’s right”. Even though they know, ALL white people aren’t trash or horrible human beings (I know many a white person who is in fact not trash). So, they have no problem with the trash hashtags as long as it doesn’t come knocking at their doorsteps. These same men will explain until they are blue in the face what #blacklivesmatter means (which can be rewarding when the person gets it and futile when they refuse to) but will disregard #menaretrash because it “hurts their feelings”. A hashtag hurts your feelings? Imagine being a woman who was raped and no one cared to find you justice. Yup, not even in the same lane.

I found this good explanation of the hashtag by Jesse Vhasy Resoesoe. He is a young man who lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, which of late has a SERIOUS epidemic of cases of women being assaulted, maimed or murdered. As I am typing this, I saw a video of a young woman getting BEATEN with a 2×4 by a man.

trash

So for all of the men out there saying #notallmen, it is essentially the same thing as saying #alllivesmatter when someone says #blacklivesmatter, #translivesmatter, #nativelivesmatter, #asianlivesmatter or #brownlivesmatter.

It’s counterproductive for men to discount the hashtag. If you don’t like the hashtag, make it your business to be the change that women need to see. Because the same guys saying #notallmen are the same ones who will walk PAST a man beating a woman, walk PAST a man raping an unconscious woman or wouldn’t dare to correct their friends for calling a woman a b****, whore, slut, tramp, c***, trick or any other colorful colloquialism.

Guys, just think about it.

 

 

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