This Movement Wants Men To Speak Up Against Harassment Toward Women


Here are two pretty common truths: sexism is real, and most of the time it is so ingrained into us from an early age that if often feels normal to engage in this behavior. It’s fair to say the majority of sexism victims are women, but men are also susceptible to being caged by narrow societal definitions of masculinity that make them fear overstepping these boundaries – “be a man”, “don’t be a pussy”, “you hit like a girl” – any of these sound familiar?

So if sexism is something that happens to us all, doesn’t it sound like a genius and no-brainer idea to come together to tackle it? Sadly, there is so much enmity in society, fueled by images we see in the media and entertainment between men and women, it can be hard to think for ourselves about what is the right way to treat one another.

But if we look within the greater movement to eliminate gender inequality, there are some fantastic initiatives which are igniting conversations and change in an awesome way. The UN’s He For She movement has become a breakout solidarity organization where men have been called upon to fight for gender equality as it affects them too.

Another men’s organization called MenEngage was formed to redefine what masculinity should really mean, away from the damaging concepts that seek to degrade women in the process. Now we can give a standing ovation and slow clap to yet another group of men who are proving all the cynics wrong when it comes to engaging the male species in the fight against harassment and sexism toward women.

Soul Pancake, a Los Angeles-based company co-founded by ‘The Office’ star Rainn Wilson (also the co. responsible for the rad ‘Kid President’ show), has a web series called ‘That’s What He Said’ where they gather a group of diverse men and film their discussions on various topics such a masculinity, violence, fathers and sons, and dating.

We can’t say enough great things about this series, which allows viewers to be the proverbial “fly on the wall” listening in to the way a bunch of dudes talk about topics they normally wouldn’t in front of us. One of the videos we really loved was the episode about women, where each of them shared why they think sexual harassment is such a big problem, and what their role as men is in the fight against it.


“I get shocked every time I speak to a female friend of mine who said ‘oh yeah I’ve been grabbed, I’ve had to be rescued by a friend’, what do you guys think that’s about?” asks the moderator as the video begins.

“I think it’s about women’s bodies not being their own,” answers one man. We could literally just end this post after that statement, because hearing it said in such a matter-of-fact way by a man makes you stop and realize just how recognized the inequality is.

The same guy who answered, who you can watch in the video below, goes on to say how speaking to women in a derogatory way in public was less about the girl, and more about the image he felt he had to portray to them men around him.

Another contributor at the table admitted there is an obliviousness among men to the subtle everyday types of harassment women face, that they don’t.

“Some people use the world privilege that I have of being able to run Griffith Park at night or at dusk with no shirt and not even trip on it. Then [I see] a woman with her flash light, and sweater in the same park and I’m like ‘she’s being weird’ when her experience of that event is completely different,” he said.

The notion of men understanding their privilege simply because of their gender is an important starting point in understanding how sexism fundamentally and disproportionately affects women.

The same guy who talked about male privilege mentioned one of the most controversial videos from 2014, made by an organization called Hollaback, which portrayed a woman walking around New York City for 10 hours (condensed into 1 minute) where she was harassed endlessly by strangers despite not responding to or inciting any of the behavior.

“When the catcalling video came out a lot of the response was ‘you know what, just turn around and tell the dude to shut up!’. But it’s completely different for men,” he said.


Are you getting the picture here? These men realize that their experience and knowledge of harassment is vastly different to that of women, but the good news is there are men who know they have the power (and privilege) to do something about it.

“Unless women talk about it we aren’t aware, so it’s important for women to talk about it, and guys like us to talk about it and admit to minor infractions so that everyone can be more aware,” said another man, which is a huge statement and kudos to all the women and activist organizations who continue to raise their voices on a daily basis.

There are so many important revelations being discussed by the men in this video, including the notion that women grow up being taught sex is something they “give”, where as men grow up thinking sex is something they “get” from women which in turn fuels their actions, motivations and can give way to dangerous behaviors.

With these discussions, the men also acknowledged that they have a crucial role to play in ending misogynistic mindsets and changing the culture.

“I think it’s looking into ourselves and our own history and wondering where that joke comes from or what the root of that opinion is. And in order to combat it we need to find it and address it, and then consciously shift our attitude and behavior, which is really hard,” admitted one guy.

We could write about this discussion all day, but we think it is best you take a look for yourself to find out how you can engage the men in your life to be part of a significant cultural change. No one should have to tolerate harassment, and no one should be a bystander either. Thank you Soul Pancake for creating this powerful series and showing the world that men are not just the narrowly-defined, misogynistic, idiots that we often see in the media. Here’s to the REAL men who don’t use their gender as a weapon to demean women, instead recognize equality as something far more powerful and beneficial to work toward.


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  1. Pingback: Pioneer Inventor Marie Van Brittan Brown Designed The Very First Home Security System - GirlTalkHQ

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