by Adefolami Ademola
With the way the ‘MENARETRASH’ hash tag has become a national poise, creating social media unrest, the age long rubric that advices us ‘not to judge a book by its cover’ has become an unfortunate reality in a country that boasts of a dose of rational sensitivity.
Before now, I used to have an erroneous misconception that most ladies on social media — especially on Facebook—, who seem intelligent in their posts and mannerisms, were genuinely sensible people. However, the recent wave of recurring hate hash tags against men clearly shows the gender insensitivity, moral deficiency, and intellectual ineptitude of some of these ladies, who have been wrongly saddled with the task of bearing a tag whose entirety they do not have enough intellectual wherewithal to manage.
Lately, there has been a mind-boggling trend of terrible absoluteness among Nigerians, especially on social media. These days, arguments, even harmless discourses, have become a festering ground for sordid invectives and dry elocutions, coated with flowery hate.
And without mincing words, it’s saddening that Nigerians, when they do not fully grasp the intricacies of a thing, event, someone or topic, are quick to sweep those things under the carpet of unsheathed hatred, even repulsive detestation.
For instance, the topic of sexuality has become a rendezvous for some uncouth Nigerians to flamboyantly express their loathing for people who, through no fault of theirs, do not subscribe to the ‘normal’ sexual orientation that they have.
Most of these trigger-happy youths are too common sense-starved to understand that we do not have the luxury of choosing how and who we love. These things just happen. Some even claim that it is kicking against nature. Really? Please spare me that escapist, lazy way out. How do we know that being homosexuals is not what nature wants?
We saw how people were lynched, criminalized, and shamelessly murdered in cold blood, just for being gay and not straight while our society looked the other way, even praising some of these beasts for a job well done. Well, for the christian fanatics who were so vocal about the killing of people for being gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender, I would have expected nothing less. Was it not also recorded in your ‘holy’ book that your own god—who pretends to love man but obviously does not— also called for the destruction of an entire community of people? So, of course, you were properly tutored.
Now that the hate campaign against men has become the general consensus among social media feminists, I am scared, not by the hash tags—I have seen enough unintelligent ones to last me a lifetime this year alone—but by the fact that some dimwit would pick up the smell of man-hate, like rabid dogs, and think of ways to do the female folks some good, and start killing men too. Recall that some unwholesome happening nowadays started from the glossy interface of Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.
I noticed this trend in 2016, at the Lagos International Poetry Festival. The passionate way with which some of the so-called intelligent writers described their hate for the male gender was, trust me, something to be considered for one of the Wonders of the World. It was raw, visible, and terrible. The visceral hatred harbored by women, especially popular writers prompted a piece I titled ‘BITTERNESS: THE NEW FEMINISM’, published in AKOMA.
I commiserate with the families of Karabo Mokoena, who lost her life, unfortunately to the horrid whim of one man. Just one man, but wouldn’t it be too excessive, far-fetched even, to put all men in one basket? Wouldn’t it be too insensitive, intemperate and unrestrained to see all men as animals, garbage, with just a penis and nothing more?
Some of us men have been dealt hurting blows by some women too. I was sexually molested by more than one woman while growing up. You do not know how it must feel to have your childish penis sucked by a lady of about 30 years. You have no idea how it feels to have a woman fondle your budding penis and force her tongue down your throat in the guise of a kiss. Some of us have been through worse scenarios. But you know what? We still hold our mothers in high extreme. We see our mums as goddesses that must be worshipped at every point in time. We do not take to social media space, transfer our pains and anger to our fingers, and type away on Twitter and Facebook, spreading hate hash tags.
We still like thoughtful humans, share beautiful moments with our female friends.
We have seen women sell their children for ridiculous stipends without remorse. We are angered by this news. We are pained that some women could be heartless, cold and inhumane, even to children. We’ve seen women poison their mother-in-laws because they do not want to be pestered by the caprices of a ‘nosy’ husband’s mother. Yet, we do not vent our spleen on our mothers, girlfriends and wives. We still shower them with affection. We do not design hate hash tags. We have been able to compartmentalize these things, and decided that these unscrupulous ones are examples of bad women. We know good women. We acknowledge and appreciate them when we see them.
We know women who killed their husbands to elope with their ‘side boos and baes’. These and many others are enough justifications for a nationwide hate campaign against women. But no! There is no need for that. There is no need to spread hate. Still, we do not hold these things against anybody ‘unlucky’ to be female. We think that that’d be cynical, irrational and highly uncouth.
In all shades of our existence as men, some of us have witnessed situations that, if expanded, could inspire us to create hateful and inciting hash tags too; like #WomenAreTrashCans or something more hilarious. We have seen prostitutes throw newly birthed babies into pit latrines—some even abandon them on refuse heaps, yet, we do not see our mothers as devils that should be stoned to death, we do not wake up one bright morning to creatively design a hash tag that is garnished with the flavors of hate, bitterness, anger, and the many other things that only ignorant feminists know.
A friend of mine always tells me that there are two kinds of people in the world: the good and bad people; whether male or female, christian or muslim, there are just two kinds of people. So, for the men who enact those performances of shame, like beating their spouses and raping innocent minors, those are the bad men while women who throw babies away are bad women. There are still good men and women everywhere.
But for most women, every man must take responsibility for the misdeeds of one man. Every man must be labeled trash because some men failed to be a human being. Every man must be subjected to every hate speech possible because some tyrannical men are animals. This, in the borders of humanity, is inhumane. It reminds me of the despotic god painted by christians, who decided to destroy the world because some part of it had sinned.
Men, in their millions, chastised the senate—a house of stupidity—when it came up with the barbaric idea of marrying 9 year old girls off to shameless, pot-bellied idiots called politicians.
Sometimes, it is good to think deeply about these things. We do not want to disrupt the peaceful coexistence that has followed the interaction between man and woman for centuries. We do not want to create chaos and anarchy because we decided to crucify every man for the ‘sins’ of some men.
Some of you didn’t even know that sexual violence against men has become more common than previously thought. According to a new study, men are often the victims of sexual assault, and women are often the perpetrators. Slate reports that, in the United States, men are raped almost as often as women.
Stemple, who works with the Health and Human Rights Project at UCLA, expresses that “the experience of men and women is “a lot closer than any of us would expect.” She concluded that we need to “completely rethink our assumptions about sexual victimization,” and especially our fallback model that men are always the perpetrators and women the victims.
Basically, absolute generalizations do not project the need for restitution. Rather, it reveals that conclusions, obviously hurriedly, have been made. As such, men too become defensive. And that, as we know, does not lead to the altars of settling differences. Instead, it creates a messy atmosphere between both sexes. That one woman was sadly killed by her boyfriend in South Africa does not mean that a harmless man in Nigeria should be blamed.
For me, asserting that #menaretrash is just singling out individual males and smearing them with the same brush. The #menaretrash movement is sadly about avenging soured relationships and borne from the scorn of bitter women. Just as I saw the bitterness in the eyes of some women in 2016, I still smell the smoking hatred for men by the new-generation of ill-informed feminists.
Before saturating the social media space with hate hash tags, women, especially vocal feminists, should know that some men too are being molested, harassed, raped and victimized by some other men. Are these victims too trash by the virtue of their being men? Logically, it’s a NO. Rather than regard all men as trash, women should note that some men are humans, also experiencing what some women suffer, while some are the real trash that women should face.
Maybe some religions favor men. Maybe the society even creates the illusion that men are superior to women. Maybe more. Many maybes. But then, most men did not choose to be favored by islam or christianity or the other foreign faiths that have infiltrated our communal sensibilities. We just came, like women, to the world and we met this shit.
Maybe men should do more to assuage women of their fears. Maybe they should lend their voices more to the plight of women. Maybe the women equality chase should be a collective effort by both sexes. Maybe. But one man’s crime should not be used as a mediocre standard for measuring men.
We must not generalize on this issue. It’s violating our rights of feeling free as men since it paints all of us as horn-infested, Prada-sporting devils. We are not all terrible beings. Some of us still possess some juice of humanity.
Not all #MenAreTrash.
Men who abuse women are trash.
Men who kill women are trash.
Men who beat their women are trash
Men who rape women are trash.
Not all #MenAreTrash.
Let’s not generalize…
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija