Men, milk tea, and a dash of misogyny
Picture this: you are at a party searching for a drink when someone hands you a glass of cold, wintermelon milk tea with pearls. Then that person says that one of the many pearls swirling around that drink is poisoned. Would you drink it?
The obvious answer would be no. After all, why would you risk your life for a drink you know will poison you?
Now, let’s discuss this in the context of the “men are trash” rhetoric. We acknowledge that not all men are bad, but statistics tell us that there is at least one man who is. This pushes women to be wary of all men in order to protect themselves. Going back to the milk tea analogy, not all the pearls in that drink were poisoned, but one of them was. This would push you to throw the whole thing away because again, why would you risk your life for a drink you know will poison you?
Time and time again
A study by the Center for Women Resources (CWR) shows that one child or woman is raped every 62 minutes. In the United States, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) discloses that one out of every six American women has been the victim of attempted or completed rape. In the Philippines, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reports a 30.6 percent increase in rape cases in 2019.
These bone-chilling numbers, coupled with our predominantly patriarchal society, show that Filipino women, time and time again, have been subject to violence and oppression from men. These statistics shape the sexist and misogynistic landscape of the country, and thus give merit to the statement “men are trash”.
But what does this statement really mean?
“While it (men are trash) is not supposed to be understood in its literal sense, I think it is being coined as a term right now because of how men treat women, particularly on objectification, belittling women’s rights, and an overall disregard of women and their welfare,” says Alubijid Municipal Councilor Atty. Princess Kimberly Ubay-ubay.
A (wo)man’s world
The place of a man in society has, for the longest time, remained unchallenged. They took on the roles of the leader, provider, and protector. But as women slowly found their independence, these societal roles were made available to them too. Today, we see women as politicians, breadwinners, and leaders. However, there are still remnants of outdated ideas of manhood, causing a disparity between men and women.
“It is a challenge for me as a woman in politics having to deal with the multiple burdens of domestic and public roles hoisted on me, whereas the male only has to deal with his usually public roles,” says Ako Bakwit Inc. Chair Hon. Samira Tomawis-Gutoc.
A timely show of this disparity in our political landscape would be President Duterte’s recent remark on women not being fit for presidency, to which Gutoc responds that it is important to note that various women leaders from around the world have proven themselves fit for positions of power. “That would be a very arcade and old-fashioned statement,” she adds.
What’s a man gotta do?
“Sa usapan ng kababaihan, ang malaking champion po dapat ay ang kalalakihan,” says Gutoc, explaining that as men in our society have more advantage, they are called to be part of the solution. Ubay-ubay supplements this by saying that everyone has a role to play in changing the narrative, starting with talking about the issue and making it matter.
“Sexism, misogyny, and the ‘men are trash’ narrative are existing realities,” adds First Year Formation Program Professor Mr. Arniel Daluz. He says that as students of the University, we can combat this problem through the Ignatian value of indifference. “Indifference in a sense that this Ignatian value would challenge us to let go of our biases and prejudice,” Daluz explains. “After all, there is no such thing as a better sex, but rather a better person,” he concludes.
To some, “men are trash” is an unfair generalization. In the same way that not all the pearls were poisoned, not all men are trash. However, this rhetoric is not a jab to men as a whole, but rather to the outdated patriarchal system that continues to promote sexist actions that belittle, objectify, and shame women.
Yes, not all the pearls were poisoned, but just one compromised the entire drink. In the same way, not all men are trash, but just enough were that a correlation was made.C