Why Women Say “Men Are Trash”: Women’s Resistance and the Origins of Patriarchy
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Politics and Activism

Why Women Say “Men Are Trash”: Women’s Resistance and the Origins of Patriarchy

Women are not groaning at the inadequacies of men for no reason.

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Why Women Say “Men Are Trash”: Women’s Resistance and the Origins of Patriarchy
Wikimedia Commons

A common refrain heard in the disparate halls of Twitter discourse from women is, “men are garbage,” “men are trash,” “never trust men,” etc. To us men, particularly cis men, who are hurt, repulsed, angered, or otherwise offended by these kinds of statements, I ask you—what the f*** are you doing to change that? Now, enough words have been wasted on what the underlying meaning of such a broad and sweeping generalization is, so I’d like to take your time to talk about where this “misandrist” attitude came from.

I also include quotes around the word “misandrist” to signal to you, my dear readers, that that term is an invention to counter “misogyny” pioneered by feminist thinkers. Misandry does not exist in the same way that “reverse racism” does not exist—men as a group under White supremacist capitalism are oppressive, exploitative precisely because the structures our predecessors built are made in order to profit off the emotional and physical labor of women.

What does it mean for women to labor on behalf of men? Why do we allow this to continue? I know in my personal life I still need to do more work to carry an equal burden (and that is itself only a small piece of the fight to dismantle patriarchy. Women are beaten down, assaulted, harassed, and when they seek mental and physical treatment for this (never mind regular disease not caused by these factors), they are ignored and belittled. It only makes sense that rape and domestic violence are vastly underreported. Women rightly generalize us men as garbage because far too many men are the problem and are not actively committed towards the solution—dismantling the structures that exploit women to benefit men. Even if you don’t believe these structures exist, scientific investigation in the field of anthropology by way of Marxist-feminist interpretation proves that patriarchy arose to control an untapped labor force—women.

To unpack that statement a little, socialist feminists such as Maria Mies and Rosa Luxemburg descend from Engels’ analysis of how patriarchy was built once agricultural societies started flourishing in Mesopotamia. These women recognized and interrogated how working folks who go unpaid are the foundation of capitalism as we know it today—thus patriarchy, and its toxic mentality of misogyny, serve as functions of it in order to keep women oppressed. It is important to note, seeing that liberals frequently smear socialists as ineffective or themselves exploiting the people we claim to fight for (a projection on their part), that traditional Marxism has not treated the question of women’s labor as seriously as is necessary in order to push forward on women’s liberation.

In spite of this, I still believe that Marxist-feminism is the best way for men (especially cis men) to unlearn our individual and collective entitlement to the time and space of women in our lives. I’m not certain that we can educate men, even us men already committed to the fight for women’s liberation (thanks to, again, the labor of patient women), out of misogyny. Masculinity under patriarchal capitalism is ingrained into us all our lives, and we are taught toxic behaviors and those behaviors are enforced with societal rewards. If women are to be free, men will need to divest from the power society unjustly gives us.

If you only have one takeaway from this, hear me—the next time you hear a woman say “men are trash”, or you think about telling a woman to smile, maybe you’re arguing with your partner and you’re out-shouting her, don’t. Stop and be silent. Listen. And this isn’t just for you all—I have work to do myself. Be better men. Dismantle patriarchy.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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