Buhle Mbonambi asked women what they would like men to change/stop doing
Zama Nene, Pretoria
I don’t even know where to start; this is out of control now. I think the conversation should stop pointing out what women should do, it should now be about men. Clearly something’s wrong with them. The conversation has to start somewhere – in churches, at home, schools, the workplace. Figures of leadership with influence need to speak about this as well. We have a whole department of women and children and its silence is worrying. I feel like men have this entitlement thing, like they own us and they can treat us anyhow. They need to stop thinking we owe them our time, attention, conversation or responding to their advances and our bodies. The need to learn core values like respect, kindness, compassion is so key. We have a long way to go and I hope this conversation won’t die down.
Nontobeko Tshabalala, Addis Ababa
The bar is set incredibly low for men and I don’t understand why men are comfortable with that. It also always seems as though they view themselves as selectively one-dimensional, as though because they look after their children, they are automatically good people. That’s not how it works. My father being a great dad doesn’t exclude him from being a man who benefits from a system which oppresses me. Because of that our fathers, brothers, boyfriends will display problematic behaviours which aren’t an indictment on them personally, but rather proof of how the patriarchy which was set up for men by men, is damaging to them too. Understand that the threat doesn’t begin when the comments or the stares are happening, understand that the culture is toxic and destructive. Patriarchy, misogyny, rape culture; all these are things which allow men to speak inappropriately to girls and women. Patriarchy’s biggest and most effective tool is our silence. It relies very heavily on that for it to continue its dominance. This is why the push back to #MenAreTrash is predictable because women are no longer silent about their unhappiness and we are collectively articulating their fear.
Holly Wasserfall, Durban
It is important for all of us to understand that the #MenAreTrash hashtag does not accuse all men of being “trash”. Instead it was created to draw people into a debate about the “state of emergency” over the way women and girls in South Africa are being brutally abused and murdered.
It forces men to take a long, hard look at themselves and evaluate their own behaviour towards women.
It also makes them look at the men they surround themselves with and hopefully encourages them to speak out about behaviour that perpetuates the culture of abuse and rape.
It is time for men to stop being defensive about this issue, stop denying that we have reached a “state of emergency” on this issue and start being a part of the solution by holding their peers accountable for their behaviour if or when their friends act in a way that promotes the culture of abuse and or rape.
Stop being benevolent, call your friends out on behaviour that is hostile or threatening towards women. Stop referring to women as “bitches”. Call your friends out for being inappropriate with women in public spaces. Call your friends out on sexual harassment.