To the men who aren’t trash.

To the men who aren’t trash: I hear you.

You’re one of the good guys. You don’t hurt women. You’re not one of “them”. Are you?

I’ve asked this question to a few people and I ask it to you now too:

A baby is on the floor, alone and screaming.

What do you do?

The response from men and women alike showcases our mutual maternal / paternal nature, to nurture, care and protect… is this:

“I’d pick the baby up”.

We’d pick the baby up, and hold it close, rock the baby in our arms and talk to it: “Shhh, it’s ok, it’s ok. What’s wrong. I’m here.” Whatever we’d say – we’d lovingly engage. Because a baby is in pain. One of us. Another person. Our reaction would be to acknowledge the pain. And offer them, if not comfort – at the very least, acknowledgment.

What has broken my heart is to see the “good guys” reaction. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “Nice guys are part of the Patriarchal problem.” Because they are so fixated on their image of ‘niceness’ – so self absorbed and obsessed, that they notice nothing but themselves. It’s the world in relation to them. So consumed with indignation that they ignore the problem at hand.

The child screams. And these men say:

Hey don’t cry! Stop it! I didn’t do anything! Don’t cry at me kid! Stop wasting my time! I DIDN’T HURT YOU! How about all the good stuff I do for you kid? I’m a good person! What about ME! Me, Me, Me, Me, Me!

Would you consider, that while you didn’t make the child cry out, and it’s crying is not about you directly – you still need to do something to help?

If you walked past a person hurt and bleeding and crying out for help would you assist / call for help or say: “SHUT UP – I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG!”

Would you consider, for a moment, the possibility of saying: “I see you’re in pain. Can I help?

The #MenareTrash is a reactive scream for help. It’s the wounded women, a collective pain body. It’s a call for action. We can hear that? Do you? Or is it just too painful to listen to?

It’s probably the first time in your life that women have dared to negatively confront you. Would you consider that this kind of slander is commonplace for most of us?

From slut shaming to crazy calling to witch hunts, this hashtag is an opportunity for you to feel, for a minute moment, a fraction of what we feel and deal with daily. The painful reality of being a woman in a patriarchal society. The president of the free world is a man who “grabs them by the pussy”. Ours is a rapist. It’s fucked. And it’s not just ok that we are sick and tired and angry – it’s the first normal pain reaction that’s finally being voiced. It’s excellent. To continue the insanity would be to remain silent or to “Say it nicely!”. It isn’t fucking nice and we are fucking angry. It’s too much now. It’s not even close to ok. And it’s ok that it’s not ok.

You’ve been shouted at. It’s upsetting. First time’s are scary. We know. And it’s not nice to be called names. We hear you. It’s not you who is trash – but this does include you and requires you to do something, ok?

By sidetracking the cry for help into a personal review on your ‘good guy’ status you’re reducing the cry to junk status. You’re negating it – tossing it aside – throwing it away – discarding it. You’ve tried to turn the tables into “Men aren’t trash! This is trash! I’m not trash!

And do you know what you’ve done? You’ve trashed it. You’re perpetuating pain. Is that not a very trashy thing to do? A little bit? 

Since sharing the article, that I applaud Rumbi Goredema Görgens for writing, I’ve received many mixed reactions. Mostly from men who’ve made it about them.

One man wrote me a private message, “hey Lauren, Long time. Hope you well. Been seeing lots of posts lately about men. Wanna hang out some time and have a conversation about it? Maybe a beach mish or prom walk

I could kiss his feet for that.

Another friend, patiently listened to my painful rant as it poured out of me – what I deal with daily from men, professionally and personally. How I can barely take it anymore. And then he hugged me. He sat with me. He took me for lunch.

Another said “How can I help? How do I make this better? And we talked for hours.

These are great men. And not once did they lead by trying to prove that they are. 

These are the men who know that when someone is in pain, you pick them up. You don’t kick them when they’re down. You most certainly don’t make it about you.

We all want to heal. There is a lot of pain and it affects all of us. My gentle plea is that we all engage in the conversation. We share compassion for our sisters. This angry outburst has started the conversation which is wonderful. We needed to hear it. We need to feel it. Please, don’t make this about you. Don’t walk away from the women screaming out in pain. Instead, offer her your open arms and ask: “What can I do?” Because we are forever hopeful that you want to make it better and even though you’re scared because you don’t know how to make it stop, your heart is open and you really want to.

We all do.