In response to #MenAreTrash on International Men’s Day

International Men’s Day takes place every year on 19 November. The phrase ‘men are trash’ is one of the things it hopes to address. 

A simple search of ‘men are trash’ on Twitter brings up a whole host of angry tweets, some in defence, the majority not.

 

 

The idea of ‘men are trash’ is a relatively new one to social media. Even Mark Zuckerberg in July answered the question around it being considered hate speech on Facebook. Zuckerberg explained this line of reasoning, saying: “So one is, gender is a protected category. So substitute in your mind while you’re thinking through this, what if this were ‘Muslims are trash,’ right? You would not want that on the service.”

Earlier this year a spokesperson for Facebook told the Telegraph: “We understand how important it is for victims of harassment to be able to share their stories and for people to express anger and opinions about harassment — we allow those discussions on Facebook. We draw the line when people attack others simply on the basis of their gender.”

However, articles and blog posts have been written to defend the term. In an article titled ‘What Women Mean When We Say ‘Men Are Trash’‘ by the Huffington Post, the phrase is “pissed off anger and frustration and hurt and pain all rolled up and squashed into three tiny words”. The argument is that the ideas around masculinity aren’t evolving fast enough.

It’s a plea to start talking about masculinity, defining new constructs, adding more definitions to the pot and being less one dimensional about what it means to be a man.

The #MeToo movement brought a lot of things into the light, not least the anger women have been feeling around certain men’s actions for decades. And while much of the movement took place over social media, so did the conversation around masculinity and gender. The phrase ‘men are trash’ has simply become a warcry for those who are fed up with harmful male behaviour. In response, many men on social media have come to resent the generalisation, with some starting the #WomenAreTrash hashtag.

 

But what does this mean for International Men’s Day, which itself has received backlash?

Organisations like International Men’s Day UK, which is overseen by the Men and Boys Coalition, use the 19th November to highlight the need to provide more support from men and boys, and to help alter this negative portrayal. 

What can you do to celebrate International Men’s Day?

International Men’s Day is celebrated around the world in various events like seminars, conferences and even a pub quiz.

We reached out to the Men and Boys Coalition, International Men’s Day, International Men’s Day UK, Dads4Kids, the Feminist Society at the University of Greenwich and the Feminist Society at the University of Sussex but received no response.

Words: Hannah Wilson