Men are trash.
Earlier this week, I was that guy.
A friend of mine was telling me about an interaction she had with someone we both knew, an interaction where she felt belittled and diminished by that person, most likely because she was a woman.
I responded, without thinking:
“I’m surprised; he’s always been so nice to me.”
I didn’t mean to diminish her experience, but that’s exactly what I did, and for that I am sorry. My interactions with that person had no bearing on her experience, on how she felt, on the way she was treated—my interjection was wrong, and I am ashamed of myself for it.
Here’s something I’ve come to realize over the past few years: men are trash. No matter how much we think we do the right thing, our position of privilege often means that we act poorly and we need to be called out for those actions.
This sentiment from Ali Suliman in The Fader captures it well:
Men are trash, and we need to listen to women when they flame us with the truth about ourselves. It’s only when shitty behaviors are confronted that true personal behavioral change begins to takes place.
I will continue to try to be better, to check myself and my privilege, to hold myself and others accountable for my and their shitty behavior. When I fail, call me out: I need to feel uncomfortable. We all need to be called out for our actions when they hurt, diminish, or marginalize others, no matter how hard we may be trying otherwise.