It was supposed to be a day promoting the rights of the 1.1 billion girls around the world. So why did the hashtag #WomenAreTrash trend in South Africa?
The majority of tweets for the UN’s International Day of the Girl Child spoke about the worrying global statistics concerning child marriages and the necessity for a level playing field when it comes to education opportunities.
And then, there were tweets like this:
@JustKholii_ tweets: I want a man who can cook. I want a man who has money. I want a man who works out. That time you’re fat and doing nothing. #WomenAreTrash
Many that signed on to Twitter this morning were surprised by the hashtag #WomenAreTrash.
@KonkeMax tweets: Haw and then? Are we having misogyny for breakfast today? #WomenAreTrash
@Angelita8S tweets: How is #WomenAreTrash trending on #InternationalDayOfTheGirlChild ? A day we are meant to be addressing gender inequality issues!
The origin of #WomenAreTrash
It all began, seemingly spontaneously, on Monday with the hashtag #MenAreTrash, where some listed why men treat women poorly.
One Twitter user whose thread led to much discussion is Sadie Torquato from Johannesburg. @SadieWiggles tweets: Gonna start a thread of threads on why men are trash, and why it has so little to do with relationships.
So if it’s not a personal vendetta concerning relationships, what was the point of Torquato’s thread?
Speaking to us, Torquato explained that this was more than a personal rant, and the issues centred around “sexual violence and patriarchal capitalism”, and the need to value women as equal.
“I wanted to expand people’s thinking beyond that women are simply ‘bitter’ about personal experiences. I wanted to show men that being a good person doesn’t make you any less of an ‘oppressive centre’. I want to remind them that as long as they don’t fight to dismantle inequality they will always be trash”.
However, Torquato’s desire to bring attention to existing inequality between the sexes in South Africa, ruffled a few Tweeter’s virtual feathers. One was
Tweeter Kholisa Skweyiya from Cape Town, who responded using a counter tag #WomenAreTrash.
@JustKholii_ tweets: You always say, ‘I don’t need a man to make myself feel worthy.’ We don’t care. Why you using us to make you feel better? #WomenAreTrash
Skweyiya told us: “It isn’t about how terrible women are, but how ignorant they are when it comes to them always being right and never wanting to be wrong.
“Some, not all, look for errors and faults in men instead of being willing to accept that they’re wrong”.
Skweyiya said there’s a double standard at play.
“Some women feel like because men are ‘men’ they should be able to take the slack and criticism from them without receiving it back. Once a man insults or gives their view on how they feel about how the woman treats herself or the people around her, it is considered abuse and unfair treatment in my country”.
Skweyiya says that he recognises that Torquato’s thread highlights how some women are controlled by men. He told us that “abuse on boys” doesn’t receive equal focus, and often goes unreported due to worry that victims may not be seen as “masculine” if they report it.
Others felt that the tags had deflected conversation and that there had been a missed opportunity to have a respectful discussion.
@Tebz__ tweets: The best thing we could’ve done as men was to step up and be better, instead yal went and proved that men are weak with this #womenaretrashImage
@suis_incroyable tweets: So #WomenAreTrash is trending. Come on! So womxn express their pain caused by patriarchy and misogyny and this is our response as men?
However, some on social media said that the tags confirmed the issues of inequality raised by International Day of the Girl.
@MPILLIONAIR1 tweets: #WomenAreTrash if this is how you see your mom,aunts,granny & girlfriend than continue with this Hashtag……
So how does Torquato, whose thread triggered much of the debate, feel about the debate meted out at her words?
“I’m not surprised by the reaction because the feeling of the hegemony always takes priority,” says Torquato.
“It’s only a pity that many of the people responding this way don’t see the irony of how they’re supporting the theory”.
Culled from http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-37621269