The age-old question and the age-old debate: Are all men the same? God, only a girl can hope not. Like many other women, I’ve had my fair share of dealing and interacting with d-bag men. From street catcalling and lack of respect in dating to even family members that just perpetuate old, harmful “traditions,” men almost always get away with seemingly anything they want. Are they all held responsible for these toxic acts? Does silence or nonaction equate to complicity? Should all men be to blame? Let me expand more on these.
The “all men” part of this discussion is exactly what it sounds like, generalizing. It makes a blanket statement to apply to everyone with that one characteristic — that of being a man — and answers a predetermined question, if they are trash. Because of society’s belittlement of women and their emotions and its unfair tendency to always dumb down the standards for men, not all men are always held responsible for their actions. Old toxic excuses like “boys will be boys,” “that’s just the way men are/act,” etc., all contribute to the unfair and unjust legitimization of this poor excuse of what it is considered to be a man. Because of men’s ability to just acquire a hall pass every time they mistreat someone, women have begun to subscribe more to the “all men are trash” belief, because quite frankly most men have gained (even in a slight form) from society’s nature to cater to and defend men.
But what about men who don’t explicitly try to be bad people? The unfortunate reality is that although some men don’t intentionally hurt or use others, when it comes to speaking out against other men that do gain or take advantage of society’s unfair nature, most of the time they will not hold each other accountable. In society, it is one thing for a woman to call a man out for his shit, but for a man to call out his own friend? That’s unheard of. These men are often those that know the difference between right and wrong — hence their control over their own actions — but are frankly too lazy to care more when it doesn’t regard them. This is why they won’t call out their friends when they very evidently notice the difference between them and their counterparts. This complicity is what further drives women to again believe in the “all men are trash” idea because when something/someone is very evidently in the wrong, these men will nine times out of ten turn a blind eye.
This all comes down to the essence of the original question — so, are all men trash? Depends on how you choose to look at it. Personally, at this point in my life and with the men I’ve encountered thus far, I’m optimistic and wait to see the day when a man will surprise me and not follow the crowd; one that can put his head and his heart first rather than fall subject to his ego’s need for other men’s twisted notion of acceptance and be conscious enough to say something when something is wrong.
Because I still have a lot of life to live and people to meet, I don’t believe all men are trash — but many of those I’ve encountered thus far would fall under the two categories, meaning that I’ve met and dealt with many trash men in my day. Now I just wait in anticipation to be proved otherwise.