CityinThree

As a woman, I should not have to change my appearance to make you feel comfortable; I should not have...

As a woman, I should not have to change my appearance to make you feel comfortable; I should not have to justify myself if I refuse a man’s sexual advancements; most importantly, I should not have to live in fear of being attacked, kidnapped, raped, or killed because of how I choose to live my life.

If you are in any way active on social media, it is most likely that you have heard, read, or seen the hashtag #MenAreTrash on one or more occasion. This phrase has become an omnipresent term in popular culture as of recent, and people have a lot to say about it.

On its surface, this phrase addresses the misogynistic and sexist qualities intrinsically embedded in men, who are socially conditioned to learn this from young ages and accept as truth. These include feelings of superiority, entitlement, and authority over women. Here are some examples:

  • Referring to women as “hoes”, “bitches”, “tings”, “thots” or other derogatory terms

  • Using violent diction when describing your sexual experience with a woman, such as “I totally smashed this girl”, or “I hit it”

  • Shaming women for wearing revealing clothes

  • Shaming women who take revealing pictures, yet continually ask for such pictures from females you are pursuing

  • Shaming women who are sexually active, involved in sex work, or who generally are comfortable with their sexuality

  • Groping a woman’s body without her consent

  • Making advancements, whether sexual or not, towards a female and refusing to stop pursuing her if she has rejected you

  • Rejecting a female’s opinion or explanation on a topic, simply because she is female

  • Feeling the need to speak over a female or explain something to her in a derogatory or condescending tone, because she is a female

A fact that many are reluctant to address is the presence of sexual violence in this discussion, and more importantly, the gendered aspect of this violence. Here are some statistics on sexual violence in Canada:

  • It is estimated that approximately 1 in 3 Canadian women will experience sexual assault in their adult life

  • 67% of Canadians say they have personally known at least one woman who has experienced physical or sexual abuse  

  • 99% of sexual violence cases committed against women have a male perpetrator

  • Females aged 12 to 17 are eight times more likely than their male counterparts to be victims of sexual violence

  • 60% of sexual abuse/assault victims are under the age of 17

  • 80% of assailants are friends and family of the victim

 

From these statistics, it is relatively easy to recognize the main trend: women are significantly more at risk of being victims of sexual violence, and even more so at the hands of men.

 

The #MenAreTrash movement is far more than saying men suck, but it takes an intersectional approach into the gendered violence and social structures that are in place which inherently benefit males, at the disadvantage of females. Most importantly, this movement works to hold men accountable for their misogynistic and sexist actions, and raise awareness of how severe the effects of these gender-determined actions may be.

 

If you are a man and can honestly say that you do not exhibit any of the qualities listed above or those that are similar, I applaud you. However, your job isn’t finished. In order to help change the environment of sexual violence so deeply embedded in our society, we must first change ourselves and those around us. This means, the next time you see your boys catcalling a female, call them out. If your friend is rejected by a woman and is continuing to pursue her, call him out. If you find yourself going out to the club for the purpose of getting a girl drunk to take her home with you, CALL. YOURSELF. OUT.

 

It’s time that we address this prerogative of entitlement that men have been taught to accept and revere. Toxic masculinity is a real threat, not only to women but men themselves, and society in its whole. So reevaluate your morals, take a closer look at your friends, and most importantly, keep the conversation going.