This article is long overdue. Before I go into details let me just say MEN. ARE. ABSOLUTELY. COMPLETELY. ENTIRELY. TRASH.
Of course I will elaborate and explain but before that let me few life incidents. I apologize in advance for a few uncomfortable details, but that’s unfortunately the point of this article.
I was in sixth std when I was touched inappropriately. My mother being just 5 feet away from me didn’t stop the grown 24 year old man from groping me in public. The 13 year me was so embarrassed and afraid that a public scene will be created that I never told my mum until it was late. I was groped again in 8th std. In a swimming pool. By a 40 year old man. Of course by this age girls have learned to thwart advances by stern, angry glances or by calling out to parents “accidentally” to let an assaulter know that they are not alone. But of course if warnings and angry dismissals worked, 40 year old men wouldn’t be touching 15 year old girls in the first place! After a couple of more “accidental hand brushings” I stopped swimming altogether.
No girl is swept aside secretly and taught these defense mechanisms. Ask your wife, sister, girlfriend, grandmother. They’ll tell you this constant state of vigil is instinct and genuinely, intrinsically developed as you grow older.
I grew up eventually. Like every other girl. Successfully evading child molesters. Wohoo.
When I was working in Bangalore I always preferred traveling by bus instead of cab. Because the chances of getting raped in a vehicle of 15 people are far less than a cab. But of course 12 or 22, 40 year men will find a way to touch you in public. Afterwards, I did what every strong, independent, adult female would do. Changed my route and never took the same bus again.
But you know, that’s how the world is. Full of gropers and molesters and there’s nothing you can do about how strangers will behave with you, right? You can be careful at best. Learn martial arts. I mean obviously it is a girl’s responsibility to learn how to fight molestation, right? If she isn’t doing that she’s clearly lazy and wants to get attacked, right?
But not all men are assaulters and rapists and molesters, Juilee you’ll say. I mean surely you have male friends.
I was 21, when a drunk colleague INSISTED on dropping me home after an office party. No amount of avoiding could shake him off. 3 excruciatingly long uncomfortable hours later, which involved me placing my laptop, handbag and any object I could find between us, to stop his advances, I reached home safe. yay!
I was 23 and clear enough to explicitly state I wasn’t interested, when I had to shut my door in a friend’s face because he refused to leave my house after a dinner party (long after others had left)
Not that it matters but in none of the cases was I drunk. Infact I was consciously sober because experience has taught me when men are not in their senses it’s imperative that you should be. Yet in all of the cases I am the one who ended up being unsafe.
These are just minor instances. Instances that you can bear to read and I can type out. I cannot even begin to write about other repressed incidents or the hundreds of inappropriate texts, statements, comments made by good friends, colleagues or strangers on the internet. Like a “good friend” casually asking me ‘what is your opinion about one night stands?’ or ‘Do you believe in friends with benefits?’. Or a friend casually commenting on a certain body part in my Instagram picture.
If this makes you uncomfortable, good. That is the point of this article. If this makes you even half as uncomfortable as having to live it, I can hope you will get my point.
I am not writing about these assaults and incidents to point out all men are molesters and rapists. Ask any women and she’ll tell you she has been assaulted atleast once in her lifetime. It is such a common thing, that women genuinely dismiss some incidents, for lack of time and energy. It is truly hard for men to fathom what we mean when we say women are in a constant state of vigil. A woman is continuously, consistently and constantly running calculations in her head about how she’s least likely to be raped.
“If I am going to a social event after 7, who is going to be there with me. Is there a female likely to be present? How am I going to get home? Should I take a cab and risk rape by a stranger or should I trust the colleague I barely know to drop me home and risk rape by a known person?”
I am writing to tell you, women have hundreds and millions of defense mechanisms already in place to constantly identify, avoid and evade assaulters and creepy men. And yet they get through, again and again, over and over.
“About 85 percent of sexual assaults reported by women are perpetrated by someone known to the victim”
Public incidents of strangers groping you, you have no control over. But you can control who you are friends with, choose to hang out with, choose to put your trust in right? And yet after millions of checks, assessment and analysis of people, women still face the things they do. Mind you, the colleagues and friends I mentioned weren’t people I just met. These were extremely good friends, people I have known for many years, people I trusted and thought I knew.
There are literally millions of other gaslighting incidents, uncomfortable dates and just general douchebagery that I am skipping for lack of time and space but the point I am simply trying to make is #Menaretrash is not an overnight hashtag that came up because a millennial girl’s ex cheated on her. Most of us have loving fathers and caring brothers and genuinely decent friends, colleagues and lovers too. We know not all men are horrible. WE ABSOLUTELY KNOW. We also know women are not always the victims, sufferers and preys. Neither do we claim so. Bad people exist regardless of gender. Women are as equally vile and evil, and problematic individuals need to be called out irrespective of the gender. #Menaretrash doesn’t in any way mean that women are not. Neither is it a sweeping generalization.
That hashtag is, however, for the millions of assholes who make the already difficult process of trusting men harder by abusing the trust put in them. That hashtag is for the hundreds of “nice guys” who will do anything to get into a woman’s pants. That hashtag is for every shitty “friend” who made a woman uncomfortable. That hashtag is for those hundreds of inappropriate comments disguised as “healthy flirting” or “compliments”.
So when a woman says Men are trash, it’s not about one incident, one shitty colleague or one fuckboi. It is about the hundreds of layers of survival skills and conditioning that we broke, to put our trust in you, which you chose to abuse. It is the years of accumulated frustration at constantly assessing and running the calculations in your head and yet missing out on identifying assholes. It is about the exhaustion at letting your guard down after constantly being careful only to be reminded why it was up in the first place.
The hashtag is not a sweeping generalization and nor can it ever be but after millions of casual inappropriate comments, unwanted advances, sexist jokes and continuous objectification we deserve a harmless hashtag to rant, at the very least no?