I keep seeing people on social media posting this “men aren’t trash, women just need to choose better men,” shit, and I wanna unpack this because, honestly, I’m tired.
Let’s use deductive reasoning to point out how idiotic this rebuttal is. If I say “men are trash,” and your response is, “Choose better men” you are agreeing, that men are indeed trash, I just need to do the work to find the non-trash men (You’ve made my point and have yet to make yours, but let’s keep going). Not only are you refusing to hold men accountable for the shit they do, but you’re also placing the onus of maintaining a healthy relationship on the woman. Read this carefully:
It is NOT up to women to ensure that the relationship is healthy and balanced. Women are not the gatekeepers of morality and we should not be tasked to do all the emotional labor. Men need to be held accountable.
Take a minute to think about the gay, aromantic, or asexual women who are not interested in men, yet are still berated, harassed, assaulted, and KILLED by men. When they say, men are trash, they are not speaking in a romantic sense. So whatchu talmbout Willis?!
Stop telling women to “choose better” as if we’re out here choosing which men get to put us through the shit we go through that makes us say MEN ARE TRASH! We’re not choosing shit. We’re existing alongside men, being oppressed, expressing our frustration, and somehow taking the blame for the men who are oppressing us. Y’all gotta stop!
Keep in mind, when we say “men are trash” we are not ONLY talking about romantic relationships, so telling us to “Choose better men” is pointless, and proves that you are not listening. The fact that anyone, would immediately assume that women are talking about romantic relationships, again, proves the statement to be true. Choose better men? Why? Are men known to be selfish romantic partners or something? Hush.
When we say, men are trash, we mean all men, in all ways, are trash. Listen to us before you interrupt us and talk over us to tell us how to navigate our oppression. Shutting the fuck up is vital.
Quick basic breakdown: Men are a part of a social system – Patriarchy, in which men hold power in society and have the ability to oppress women. Within this system, men have created and continue to perpetuate oppressive norms to assert their social power. This power has provided all men a privilege that is inherent within their manhood, whether they mean well or not, therefore all men benefit from this system, hence, MEN ARE TRASH.
Reducing an oppressive social system as invasive and complex as patriarchy to ONLY romantic relationships is an insult to the women who have fervently fought and died for their freedom, and will continue to do so in the future. To reduce the way women fight patriarchy, a system that affects our entire lives, to only romantic relationships is ignorant and ahistorical, stop it.
Women interact with men outside of relationships, we see men everywhere we go! Men being trash extends beyond their involvement with their significant other.
When women say, men are trash, we are talking about our fathers who abandoned us, we are talking about the male relatives who we were told to never be alone with, we’re talking about our co-workers who co-opt our ideas and receive full credit, we’re talking about the random men who call us all kinds of bitches when we refuse to give them our phone number. The men that rape us, and then blame us! The men that gaslight us! The men that lie to and on us to save themselves. What about the men who only value us for our ability to suffer? Or the men who interrupt us to explain something that we already know? We are not in relationships with all of these men, so what about them? How do we avoid choosing them?
When we say, men are trash, it’s more about the power that is provided to men via patriarchy and how that power affords them the privilege to oppress and berate us, while we take the blame. Choosing them has absolutely nothing to do with it, and even if it did, framing it as a woman’s “choice” completely absolves men of culpability. Now, if you wanna talk about why women choose to put up with certain shit from the men we are in relationships with, that’s fine. However, I would also assume that you wanna talk about the way that patriarchy influences the way women value themselves? If not, shut up.
If you yell “CHOOSE BETTER MEN!” you’re aware of how selfish and exploitative men are in relationships, but instead of telling men to “be better” you’d rather tell women to “choose better,” try not to be so willfully dense all the fucking time. As if women aren’t held to stricter and often unreasonable standards in their romantic relationships. Then when men finally mature, and realize what they’ve done (if they ever do) it is usually at the expense of the women in their lives, (see: Jay-Z, 4:44).
If you are in a relationship with a man who loves, supports, encourages and respects you, sis I am happy for you! I promise I am. I wish you the best and you deserve it. However, just because your man is good to you doesn’t mean that he isn’t shitty to other women he interacts with on a daily basis, that he is NOT in a relationship with, it doesn’t mean that he wasn’t shitty to the women in his past relationships, it doesn’t mean that he hasn’t stood by while other men were shitty towards women and said nothing. “Men are trash” is indeed a blanket statement, but it is also complex and cannot be reduced to only relationships. Doing so, is ignorant and deserves to be called out.
I, like all women, interact with men on a daily basis. While I understand the need to assimilate for survival, I would not be acting on my best judgment if I didn’t call that shit out, and I have found that it’s best for my sanity and safety to pick and choose my battles when calling men out on their shit. I’m not one to use the phrase “men are trash,” because I’d much rather tell men specifically what they’ve done or what they’re doing, and how fucked up it is.
Regardless, it’s important to understand the reason behind MEN ARE TRASH, and actually LISTEN to women, because I can guaran-damn-tee you that we have a valid reason, and a plethora of examples.
Shut the hell up, and LISTEN to us!