This is for the gent who wants to give up his trashiness (and the rest of you). The trash endorsed by your mum, dad, sister, friends and pretty much all the media you have ever consumed to be a sack of sh*t. The one who perpetuates femicide and rape.
There's hope, chana, we can be better.
Step One: Check. Yourself.
OK magenge, ng'cela ukubuza, when you write "stop killing our sisters" on your hand, take a picture of it and post on Instagram, who are you talking to exactly? Who is meant to receive the grand message you have sent out into the universe and what must they do with this "command"? The truth is you need to have that conversation with yourself bro. YOU need to stop killing our sisters. Yes, you without the criminal record. Yes, you who has never raised a hand at a woman. Gasp! Indignation! Outrage! Tsek. There is not a single man in the world that can assume a position of any authority in our oppression of women. Check yourself. Take the L.
Step 2: Accept that you are trash and trash is you
Now, when you check yourself, don't look for evidence of wrongdoing. Check yourself for the extent of your f*ckiness, friend. The first step is to acknowledge that you are complicit. If you don't know 'how' you are guilty it doesn't mean that you are not. It only means that you have little to no self-awareness. Or that you have the emotional intelligence of a six year-old child. Find out how you have been a part of perpetuating femicide and sexism.
You are guilty of the oppression of women until proven otherwise in a never-ending trial-by-jury called life. The jury is made up entirely of women. The trial doesn't end – even in death. At your funeral, all of the women you know will gather to share their stories of your trashiness in your absence. A positive assessment from these women is the best that you can hope for. But this can only happen once you're dead.
Let me reiterate. There is no version of this story where you are the hero. Women are – and will always be – the true champions of the cause against their own murder, rape and harassment. We are the perpetrators. Simple. For God's sake, please stop feigning outrage when in fact you are sitting in the dock.
I repeat, bafwethu, do not check "whether or not" you are part of it. You are. There has to be at least one way that you are. There are probably several. If you believe that you are innocent, you are not. You are simply ignorant of your f*cki-ness.
So now that you know the truth – you are trash – things are going to get uncomfortable. You will feel sick to your stomach. If you don't feel somewhat nauseous, you're either not paying close enough attention, not listening or both. Please revert to step one.
Step 3: Think about your trashiness
As you grow increasingly aware of how ridiculous you are, you will begin to feel stupid. It's OK. That's a good place to be in. Now you can move on to the step of getting a bit smarter, if less trash.
So what happens now?
You must be honest with yourself
During Apartheid, white liberals sat in Yeoville coffee shops jerking themselves off in conversations about why Apartheid is such a bad thing, all the while being served pots of tea by exploited black waiters and underpaying their own black workers in their homes or office complexes. This is why white liberals are annoying. They are notorious for making matters of life and death for black people a matter of 'progressive discourse' – while taking no steps in their daily lives to end black suffering. Nobody listens to the white guy who starts a sentence with "You know my dad fought against apartheid too."
Don't be like white liberals. Be honest about how far your trashiness goes. It's in the detail, chief. We see you.
So you believe the rape and murder of women is ABSOLUTELY WRONG but find women making marriage or relationship proposals a bit awkward? Or perhaps you think a girl posting a selfie of her butt on Twitter as an invitation to DM her? If any of this is true, you actually have a rapist's mentality. Trash, my n-word. You hold a belief that squashes women's agency – their ability to self-regulate, bro.
Here's why. Not being the only one that can make a marriage proposal in our relationship takes away your ability to set parameters designed to 'earn' her your proposal. As though a marriage proposal from you is such a great thing. You are a sack of sh*t if a woman having equal agency in your relationship makes you uneasy because it undermines the sense of control you have over her. You believe it's OK for you to have the power to decide what her options are. That is trash. That is patriarchy. Because either of you should be able to decide when you want to get married. Both of you must always have equal agency. See what I mean? Onto the next.
Step 4: Embrace your trashiness
Be yourself. Sorry to dig into the tired platitudes here. But don't be a sack of sh*t packaged as a lollipop, be a sack of sh*t. Really. Be a trashy sack of ass. You already are. Please do not pretend to be anything else. Allow yourself to assess the impaired logic of your own instincts, beliefs and behaviour when no one is watching. You will be surprised how much of what you believe is 'cool' is inherently oppressive (read 'trashy').
Tap into your innermost instincts – this is where the patriarchy is safely stored in a hard-drive called your mind. Dig in deep and see what comes out. Seek the inner sack of sh*t that lives in you. It's like a diagnosis. You will never how to treat a malignant cancer if you don't know where it is and how big it may be. The good news is there is humble joy to be found in the opportunity to clean your sh*t up. This is men-are-trash chemotherapy. So seriously, be yourself. Tap into your trashy instincts and act on them. The sooner you can diagnose the extent of your trashiness, the sooner you can begin treatment. Then...
STEP 5: Just listen
When you inevitably make a mistake, listen my brother. A number of months ago I didn't quite grasp the basic principle of listening. Now I'm single. But that's not the point. The point is that you mustn't look for a discussion or a conversation. Nah. Internalise what you hear from women. Sit with it. Let it ferment. Don't assume there is any plausible reason why she shouldn't be offended by what you have to say or do.
The only time you can speak is when you ask her how your actions harm her emotionally, spiritually or physically (even ask about whatever appears to be a no-brainer to you) and think about why she has said it – not whether or not she had the right to.
STEP 6: Let it burn
When she begins to spill the details of how much of a sack of sh*t you are, it's going to hurt. Yes, even the women who truly love you are going to tear your delusions of innocence apart. You see, they are pissed off. You will feel attacked, you will feel small, you will feel humiliated. But you must be humiliated because you are part of the problem. The humiliation is a good thing because that sharp sting you feel is the patriarch inside of you taking a punch in the gut. That's what you need to alter your behaviour. Expect to be humiliated for your trashiness for the rest of your life because –
... did I mention that being trash is chronic? There's no cure, bro. Treatment is a process. Three years ago I stood in a room full of really smart people and claimed to be a feminist. The words, "Hi, I'm Lee Molefi and I'm a feminist," actually left my mouth. That's peak trash. I cringed just typing that out. I wasn't even remotely feminist when I was 23. Nor am I today. And while I have made progress in being a better human being toward the women around me (you'll find out how much at my funeral), I can never claim to be "one of the good guys". How narcissistic of me to believe that I can be the judge of how much suffering women endure as a direct result of my existence. SMH. Trashy. I do not have the luxury. Neither do you.
STEP 7: Shut up
Stop tweeting #menaretrash in a flimsy attempt to mansplain how much you understand the situation and deflect blame onto others. Just work on yourself – follow the thread and see what you can learn and unlearn in the process.
I have a proposition, if you have CCTV evidence of yourself tangibly dismantling patriarchal norms, then you get to use the hashtag ONCE. That's incentive enough – if women will allow this. I'll put out a Twitter poll asking. The misrepresentation of self through hyper-discourse is an unfortunate side-effect of living in the information age. Don't be a part of the fake news machine, bro. Y'all know how we create virtual personas -– avatars, if you will -– online that do not accurately reflect the lives that we truly live. Social media is a gift and a curse in this sense. So, please don't come out and pretend to 'understand' by tweeting and retweeting #menaretrash. You are fooling no one.
STEP 8: Learn. unlearn. Call-out a friend. Repeat.
Damn straight, all men are trash, but luckily not all men are tone-deaf, it seems. Check out a friend of mine. He underwent a visible and credible process of unlearning and learning. I'm proud.
Billy Cosby, my n-word. Bill Cosby.
Note that he publicly expressed his opinion, and after listening to the women around him, grew to understand that he was simply unaware of the stupifying levels of his own ignorance. He then – credibly – changed his opinion based on new information. This is growth made visible. This is what the process of unlearning and learning looks like. It will require you to change your opinion. Maybe Nhlakanipho can tweet #menaretrash once. I don't know. This is if women will allow.
Soon, he began to call out the n-words he knew at Step One.
Still trash though. Lol.
STEP 9: We go back to step 1. ALL of us.
PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS A PROCESS. NOT A DESTINATION.
You don't 'get it'. If any man claims to 'understand' that men are trash – he doesn't understand how deep the rabbit hole goes and must revert to step four. Even me.
Don't be that guy, bro. All talk ONLINE, no action IN REAL LIFE. That's trash. And pretentious. And annoying. And very uninteresting. Do you. Be a piece of sh*t, take the resulting events on the chin, listen, internalise what you hear from women, change your opinion and then continue on with the assumption that if you work hard enough, one day you may be less of a trashy sack of sh*t than you are today.
I really wrote this to remind myself that:
How 'woke' you are is directly proportionate to the number of times you think, "damn, I still ain't seen sh*t. I could be a better - or less trashy - human being."
It's OK. When this happens, all you have to do is revert to Step 1.
PS. Written By Trash For The Trash He Shares Beers With.
Research References: My Ex-GF (Yeah Seriously) And Eight Women I Know.
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