I released a video where I touched on the fact that Gillette released a new commercial that directly addressed toxic masculinity, asking men to do better and the reaction that a lot of people, mostly men, had to it.
As it turns out, I have a lot more to say about it because, well, it’s made people lose their goddamn monkey minds. This is an ad that is literally just saying “hey, men can do better” and people are acting as though this was the announcement that XY chromosomes have been made illegal and having chest hair means that you’re going to get rounded up to camps.
When I first saw the advert I felt impressed by the tone and expression. Yes they must have known calling out toxic masculinity was going to have a big backlash but they did it anyway. Hopefully knowing how important it is.
The accusation that this is an attack on men and manhood is kind of absurd on its face. Because we see a lot of traditional positive masculinity in here. We see dads barbecuing over the weekend with their kids, dads propping up, teaching and encouraging their sons, nurturing their daughters. We see the guys calling out bad behavior and ending fights and showing respect for others. And we see fathers protecting other people and — importantly — teaching their sons to be brave.
It’s a little disingenuous to say that this is an attack on men when the point of the entire ad is all but literally spelled out for you:
It was slightly sad to see Siren a dating app where females get to browse profiles and ask questions of males in a safe enviornment; is no more.
Its a shame as it really was one of those dating apps I had hoped would gather the attention for good reason, bumble seemed to eclipse it for reasons I’m unsure it deserves. They certainly were blogging and saying all good things. I was just waiting for it to come to the UK and of course Android.
Here at Siren, we like to consider ourselves feminists, and on the surface, it might be easy for us to claim to be a ‘feminist dating app.’ After all—we’re a tech company founded by fierce, empowered women of color, aimed at fostering intimacy and undermining the culture of objectification that runs through so many dating apps. But is this enough?
In light of current national and global political circumstances, we feel it is incumbent on us to declare that no, this isn’t enough. Feminism is an ongoing process, not a special club or a badge to wear with pride. So here are a few of the ways we are challenging ourselves to earn the title “feminist dating app,” and as always, we welcome your feedback on how we can better fulfill this mission.
Great words and I had planned on blogging about this much earlier in 2017, especially point 5.
MEN CAN BE FEMINISTS, TOO
We get it—all this talk about empowering women can be intimidating for men. Does our emphasis on the struggle for women’s liberation mean that we hate men, or respect them any less than our female, or nonbinary members?
On the contrary. We’ll be frank: men, we need you, too. There are conversations that will never catch on with the culture at large without male allies amplifying our voices, and let’s be honest—sometimes you guys are sexy as hell, to boot!
So if you are a man who dates women—or would like to—we’re glad you’re here, and we have created resources especially with you in mind.
I need you working with me and me working with you on how we raise our sons and teach them to be men – that it’s OK to not be dominating – that it’s OK to have feelings and emotions – that it’s OK to promote equality – that it’s OK to have women who are just friends and that’s it – that my liberation as a man is tied to your liberation as a woman.
So profound a point and ever so elegant and simple!
I don’t quite know when it happened to me, but at a early age I could see and smell the macho hierarchy bullshit. It generally drove me a little nuts. I mean how dare people tell me I can’t have female friends who are not simply potentials. This honestly was said to me multiple times over my life. Either they are potentials or they are not worth investing time in! Seriously! This warped view for what? The dream of being alpha king kong of the jungle?
1. noun [alpha male of the group or alpha male other guy]: a socially comfortable male who competes with a pickup artist for a woman or interferes with a pickup artist’s game.
2. verb: to remove a potential male competitor—through physical, verbal, or psychological tactics—from a group of women. Also: outalpha. Origin: Tyler Durden
Some key points of the macho bullshit…
Don’t cry or openly express emotions
Do not show weakness or fear
Demonstrate power control
Show aggression and dominance always (be the alpha)
Do not be “like a woman”
Do not be “like a gay man”
Make decisions, do not ask for help
Don’t ask questions?
View the oppose sex as property or objects
You can see this stuff play out in books like the game. Its something I have battled against many times, as I’ve seen too many good men around me hold themselves to similar rules, unknowingly buying into/clinging onto some type of old fashioned/myth of what makes a man?
I hate certain situations when I don’t have the energy to battle against this macho bullshit or manbox if you prefer? I feel like those Manchester couples at Salt and Paper in Eyespy, wanting to say something but not having the energy or enough fight in me to do so. I’ve taken a slightly more manipulative approach now, as that doesn’t put me directly into competition/conflict with their own view. It takes longer but I’ve seen glimmers of a break through.
Sex, in particular, is an important part of “being a man”. Sexual conquests (and believe me, that word is chosen deliberately) are part of how men establish and reaffirm their manhood. The need to “get” sex is all-encompassing because the more of it you have, the higher “status” you have as a man.
But on the idea of how to stem the toxic masculinity I found this interesting when considering what I said earlier.
With all this in mind, we’re forced to ask just how we can start fixing men and repairing the damage done by toxic masculine ideals. And the answer is to speak up. The answer is to push back. The answer is to take responsibility. The answer is education.
We need more men to step up and be counted. We need more men to call out others for their shitty behavior, to refuse to let sexual assault be “get some action”, to intervene when we see harassment or assaults going down regardless of the gender of the victim.