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The reasoning behind #MenAreTrash

05 Nov 2017

#MenAreTrash is a hashtag that originated on Twitter within the past year or so. It has been used as a way to critique men for their behaviour, whether it be for their mistreatment of their significant others in relationships, the presence of double standards or the harassment and assault perpetrated by men.

While the hashtag has often been adopted in a playful manner, some women have highlighted particular instances in which the phrase “men are trash” is definitely applicable.

Predictably, a handful of men have reacted to this hashtag as well as a person with lactose intolerance reacts to dairy products. Scroll the hashtag at any given time and you’ll see the typical reactionary tweets like “Maybe it’s the guys YOU choose” or “If men are trash what is your dad?”

Some men have been so annoyed they were spurred into creating their own hashtag in retaliation. Back in 2015, #WomenAreTrash was trending on Twitter on the UN’s International Day of the Girl Child. I only wish I was making this up.

If you’re prepared enough, check out the #WomenAreTrash hashtag in all its glory. It doesn’t look like it’s kicked off in the same way as the original but nice try fellas, E for effort.

On the other hand, there are men who understand the basis of #MenAreTrash and acknowledge that it’s the actions of other men that make this the truth.

These are the men that the world needs more of. Where are they hiding?

Why has this hashtag got so many men in their feelings? Let’s take a look at the context behind it.

The #MenAreTrash movement gained particular traction in South Africa. Stories surfaced of young women such as Karabo Mokoena who was found dead after being attacked by her boyfriend. #MenAreTrash served as a platform for women to vent their frustrations at such murders. In a survey conducted in 2016 that interviewed 2,600 men in northern Johannesburg, a staggering 56% of men owned up to beating or raping a woman in the past year before being surveyed.

But that’s not all. 70% of respondents believed that they have the right to tell their partners how to dress, control where they go and who their girlfriends could be friends with. If that isn’t entitlement, I don’t know what is.

One in five women aged 16-59 has experienced some form of sexual assault since the age of 16

If you look at rape and sexual assault figures in England and Wales, you’ll see that things are no different. One in five women aged 16-59 has experienced some form of sexual assault since the age of 16, with only 15% deciding to tell the police.

With attitudes to rape victims regularly consisting of “she was asking for it” or “she’s lying” it’s little wonder that the amount of rape cases that are actually reported to the police is so small.

Even the viral video #HurtBae is an example of how #MenAreTrash. #Hurtbae needs no introduction at this point, just watch it. The blank expression on Leonard’s face while his ex Kourtney describes her hurt at being cheated on multiple times isn’t something that anyone will forget. The egregious example of Leonard telling her to leave after being caught cheating is just cold.

When the context of sexual assault against women, ill treatment from a boyfriend or just plain male entitlement is considered, #MenAreTrash has become more than a hashtag; it’s a way to hold men accountable for their behaviour in a way that they rarely are. Rather than accepting that “boys will be boys”, the inherent trashiness of manhood is held up for critique and occasionally ridicule.

Twitter user @destinedzionxo sums it up perfectly in this thread.