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As I type those three daunting, stigmatised words I can already feel the wave of hate coming at me so let me quickly clear the air. I do not hate all men. Far from it, some of my best friends are men – even though saying that sounds eerily alike Donald Trump claiming he has a “great relationship with the blacks”. However, I hate the patriarchy, and the toxic masculinity that has shaped the idea of what a man is supposed to be like in this day and age. When it comes to men, I believe they are guilty until proven innocent, because if I do not see it that way, I am putting my health and safety on the line. My experiences have taught me to hate the concept of men, because they have continuously proven to me that I cannot trust them, and I have had enough of it.
Now before you guys start screaming ‘Femi-Nazi’ all over the place let me give you some background knowledge. I had my 20th birthday just a couple of weeks ago and the 15 first years of my life, i.e. three quarters of it, I spent with an abusive man. My dad. Four years after getting out of that situation, I had moved countries and was finally far away from that scumbag, loving my life as a first year at uni, but it only took a little over two months of freedom until I was raped and brought back down. So yeah, I can’t say I’ve had the best relationships with men in my life.
Obviously, I am well aware that this behaviour is not a fair representation of all men, yet it is common enough for women to be wary. I’m not saying that I go into every relationship with every man I’ve met assuming he’s an abusive, raping, sexist asshole; lord knows I’d have zero friends if that’s what I did. Yet, whenever I meet a man for the first time, I won’t trust them until they prove themselves to be trustworthy. When somebody says they’re afraid of dogs after an attack even though they logically know not all dogs are like that, we sadly nod and understand, but when I say I’m afraid of men, I get ostracised. Women are still being preyed upon every single day, whether it’s serious assaults or micro-aggressions, we are still not treated as equals, and that is even worse for trans women, women of colour and any other female minorities.
There are women and non-binary people who without a doubt are horrible people too, but as an overall group, I do believe that men are trash. They are responsible for so much hatred, violence and hurt in this world. They are responsible for the majority of it, and so many of them don’t even realise the power they have and what they are doing with it. 98% of all predators in sexual assaults are men, and 85 000 women get assaulted every single year in the UK alone, and that’s only the reported ones, the real number is probably far higher. Men have never faced institutionalised, systematic oppression because of their gender, instead, their privilege continues to feed the toxic masculinity that is ever so present, and that doesn’t just harm women, but other men too. It is due to misogyny that men are continually pressured to be strong, to suppress their emotions and to prove their supremacy over all other groups of people. Men have been taught to stray away from anything typically categorised as female because women are seen as weak.
It is this system that allows men to continue behaving the way they always have. Sexism is so commonplace today that we see past it, and furthermore, we normalise it. Out of every 1000 rapists, 994 go free. We let these people go free because we’ve set a precedent that lets men get away with just about anything, if they’re rich and powerful enough. The president of the United States of America is an alleged rapist that has been recorded saying “grab them by the pussy”. The same thing goes for Hollywood and the #MeToo campaign. Despite the media storm it caused, Casey Affleck still won the Oscar for Best Actor in 2017 after facing repeated allegations of assaulting his female co-stars. When men see their famous counterparts go free, they are taught that they can behave this way without facing repercussions, which has fostered an environment where the average man is probably at least a little bit sexist. We all have our prejudices, but when you are a privileged, rich, white, cis-het man who has never faced discrimination, it is far easier to see past those prejudices and accept them as normal, and that is not okay. That is why these men in general are my least favourite group of people.
I showed a first draft of this article to one of my friends who immediately said that although he liked it, it seemed a bit like an attack, stating that “by saying that men must prove themselves you kind of create a minefield where men feel like they have to walk on eggshells in conversations”. This isn’t my intention, but I do think that men need to be more careful about what they say. Like I told him, it is not about walking on eggshells and making sure that every single word is politically correct or they’ll be hanged by a ‘social justice warrior’, it is about basic human decency and understanding that words have consequences. In using sexist language in everyday life and spouting micro-aggressions, you may not harm anybody right then and there, but you normalise harmful behaviour which, in turn, causes real violence.
There are so many men that I adore more than life itself, some of whom will probably be slightly offended at this article, but this is not about them, and I hope you can realise that. If you are a good guy, you shouldn’t feel threatened by acknowledging that a lot of your brothers are not. When I say “men are trash” I am certainly not talking about all men, I am talking about John Doe, and the concept of masculinity. I am scared of him. I hate him for what he has done to me, to my friends, my family and everybody else, including himself. I am hopeful that this will change but as for now, he is trash, and I am not afraid to say it. Neither should you be.