Some more thoughts on the #MenAreTrash hashtag i visited over here.

Clearly #MenAreTrash has got people talking, which again is a good start, and hopefully people are looking deeper than just what feels like an offensive tag to some. So here are some follow up thoughts i wrote on FB:

Here’s a thought [not mine] – if we men are more upset by a #MenAreTrash hashtag than we are about the crimes committed against women in this country, then THAT just might be the point.

Dejavu back to painting burning at UCT and people being outraged by that but okay that thousands of people’s sanitation is a bucket in the room that they sleep or a potential death walk to a communal toilet hundreds of meters away from their place of residence…

Whether or not #MenAreTrash is a valid tag or not, the fact that we aren’t going absolutely nuts about the levels of rape [estimates from 1 every 26 seconds to 1 every 36 seconds] in this country says a lot.

And while even doing a little bit of research on the stats and feeling completely helpless in terms of ‘What can i do to make a difference?’ well i guess it starts with a #NotOnOurWatch mentality…

For example, anytime anyone jokes about rape on social media or Twitter they will be interrupted by me letting them know it’s not okay… one of the stipulations on my Hashtagging game is no comments against marriage [there is certainly enough of that] and no Bill Cosby type references as just one way of addressing that whole area and we refuse [as a team of 15/20 of us from more than 6 different countries] to like/forward anything that relates to rape/sexual violence or anything about that whether meant as a joke of not.

It’s about saying something when someone makes a comment at a braai or a joke. It’s about doing some research on Rape Culture and educating yourself a little about that, that for example when someone is raped, we don’t instantly go to “Victim shouldn’t have been wearing X” and rather start with “Perpetrator shouldn’t rape!”

We are part of a culture that has made joking about sexual violence both acceptable and encouraged and that is one way we can make a difference and actually shut things down from the get go.

So before you get overly offended by a hashtag, make sure this evil offends you a heck of a lot more.

My friend Kerzia added this comment:

Awesome!!! I totes agree and love this #notonourwatch !!!!

If I could add a few more examples that unconsciously demerit/downgrade women:

For a woman you do that well (I often respond with compared to who?)

You throw/run/kick like a girl.

Women can’t be in positions of power because they are too emotional

It’s a man’s job

These are a few examples how often in general convo we put women in last place before they even begin and put men in a position of power of women instead of next to men as equals.

And then Sello added this:

So we had a discussion at our young adults meeting at church. Just on what the hash tag is actually saying to men and the role men should play in dealing with our trashy behaviour.

We strongly condemned the counter #NotAllMenAreTrash and asked the ladies for a perspective on their experiences relating to men and how it affects them now.

Twas an eye opening experience for guys that have abused ladies and for ladies who had been abused and stayed in the relationship.

This feels like such an important conversation to add to the race conversations we’ve been having [South Africa and rest of world] and i hope we will continue to dig deeper instead of being scared or angered off by a confusing/emotion-causing way that this conversation was started/framed.

Just as tbV and i are becoming more aware of the spaces we find ourselves in, in terms of whiteness and diversity, so we need to all become more aware of the voices and treatement of women in our spaces – in conversations/treatment/jokes etc. Let’s be listening harder, learning more and stepping in.

[For part I on #MenAreTrash, click here]