If you mindlessly scroll through your social media feeds on a regular basis, especially Twitter, you have probably read or even used the viral phrase “men are trash,” or some variation of it (e.g.,”niggas ain’t shit”) at one point or another. This seemingly trivial yet actually controversial claim is the epitome of the current phase of third-wave feminism driven by the age of social media. In using social media as the main tool of influence, feminism is now more ubiquitous than ever. A single tweet, although restricted to 140 characters, has the power to attack hyper-masculinity and challenge sexism.
In case you really are not familiar with #menaretrash, here are some sample tweets in agreement and explaining the idea:
We call men trash because they DON'T respect women but carry on I hope he dms you https://t.co/2UXEacBbHw
— s (@lalevantine_) July 23, 2017
men hate to hear us say "men are trash" but it continues to be proven true that y'all are the biggest threat to women. do better. https://t.co/Lz1M9ZRFZz
— nañi (@pettyblackgirI) July 22, 2017
But for every tweet claiming “men are trash,” there is a tweet (usually by men) opposing or challenging it:
Her: all y'all niggas ain't shit
Me: maybe you attract ain't shit niggas
— Nosa Isabor (@NosaIsabor) February 16, 2017
Question: do y'all think seeing "black men are trash" hurts or affects young black kids in a negative way if at all?
— Pastor Bluntaround (@SINice) July 20, 2017
Because practically everything on social media is turned into a meme these days, it seems like people are more inclined to either take offence too easily to the confrontation of social issues, or not take these issues seriously at all.
R. Kelly got a whole cult. Usher paid a woman to hide that he gave her herpes. Kevin Hart apparently cheated on his pregnant wife. Damn pic.twitter.com/dahjSy43X7
— Karls (@karlanoellee) July 19, 2017
As the above tweet states, this last week it was discovered that R. Kelly is keeping a group of young women in what can most accurately be described as a cult, Usher paid a woman over a million dollars after infecting her with herpes, and Kevin Hart was caught getting questionable close to another woman (edit: this has since been proven to be false). Oh, and since that above tweet was posted, OJ Simpson has been granted parole (reminder: after serving time for a hotel room heist, NOT the “alleged” murder of his ex-wife…).
These are all allegations, of course, (although I’m 110% sure that R. Kelly does have a cult and that OJ did it), but, as I have said before, celebrities are just an exaggerated reflection of ourselves and our society. So whether these allegations are true or not is not important to those of us not living the life of glamour. What is important is that, sadly, all of these scenarios are a reality for many other female victims out there.
Here’s what else has been reported in July 2017 so far. A Chinese woman died after being forced by her husband to have four abortion in a year because she kept “failing” to conceive a boy (her husband divorced her while she was ill). An American study on female homicides shows that around one in three women a day are murdered by their partner. Senate is set to cast first vote on a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. There have been several acid attacks in London in a frighteningly short period of time. Oh, and Jay-Z released 4:44, so NOW we are allowed to believe that he cheated, despite Beyonce releasing a whole album about it over a year ago.
Solange: beats Jay Z in an elevator for cheating
Beyoncé: says Jay cheated on Lemonade
Jay: "I cheated"
— struggles & sass (@20SomethingSass) June 30, 2017
So yes, claiming that “men are trash” is an exaggeration, and maybe seems a little harsh, but does a single phrase trending amongst millennials really measure up to actual statistics which reflect the lives of a countless number of women daily. The hashtag was not created as a form of hate. No one is saying men don’t struggle, and the point is not to target every individual man (so give up with the “not all men” retort). The hashtag #menaretrash was created as a means of raising awareness of the struggles of a marginalized group by forcing the privileged, i.e, the opposing group, to recognize their current power and their ability to change the status quo. Rational women are not generally thinking “down with all men.” All we want is the end of sexism, misogyny, and abuse, and to substitute these concepts with equality and respect. Let’s be honest, at least the controversial hashtag has us talking.
Regardless of your opinion on #menaretrash, let’s finish off with some women empowerment.