The last few years have seen a surge of social programs calling on men to step up to the line to perform some pledge or action for the womenfolk. These have been launched by government agencies, pro-feminist not-for-profits and various social media personalities. The foci of these demands for action have related mainly to sexual assault, domestic violence, and employment opportunity.
The #HeForShe hashtag/movement/thing was a reasonably high-profile example of such a campaign from the second half of 2014. The links below provide a small sampling of some of the other campaigns that have been and/or are now taking place:
One Billion Rising, A Call to Men, #YouOKSis, White Ribbon campaign, Polished Man, Red my Lips, Beards Against Abuse, Walk a mile in her Shoes, What Men Can Do, Men Stopping Violence, and #LeanInTogether
Male Champions of Change (also discussed here, here and here) is a home-grown campaign which has now spawned a ‘Female Champions of Change‘ program. And no, the latter campaign was not intended to provide a corresponding support network to champion the welfare of men. Beyond Australia there is a similar program known as Men Advocating Real Change (MARC), mentioned in this article.
Most of these campaigns have been packaged on the basis of selling a message to the broader community that feminists want to be inclusive and work with men to address shared issues of concern. Perhaps feminists realise they now have a serious image problem, having been stung into action by developments like the #WomenAgainstFeminism movement. The problem though is that beneath the shiny wrapping paper, the nature of the various campaigns runs contrary to any notions of equality, mutual respect or inclusiveness.
Firstly these campaigns all seem to be promoted on the basis of overstating men’s responsibility for both causing, and solving, each particular issue. At the same time they underplay or ignore the accountability of women in contributing to the problem, as well as their own responsibility in relation to undertaking any necessary remedial action.
There seems to be a fundamental hypocrisy associated with a movement that claims that women are strong and equal, yet continually demands that men step up to address women’s apparently helplessness in the face of real or imagined adversity.
Secondly, it is telling that no similar movements have been proposed or created by women to support men. In fact, there is no sense of reciprocity whatsoever. Nor is there even public acknowledgement that men might need or deserve similar recognition or support. And heaven help the women who dare to raise awareness of the need to help men & boys (example).
It is, in short, very much a one-way street. Given the many areas of relative disadvantage for men and boys this seems grossly inequitable. The underlying factor here is a culture of gynocentrism, explained here, here and here.
Thirdly, and in what must be a soul-destroying experience for the ‘white knights‘ who flutter around these campaigns like moths to a flame, many feminists resent men who openly support these campaigns. Do read this criticism, by a feminist journalist, of an admittedly ludicrous initiative by male staff of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
And thus whilst we have one group of feminists demanding that men ‘help’ women, other feminists berate them for interfering in women’s issues and/or for seeking thanks/congratulations for being good. This is apparent, for example, in this Facebook post about a recent campaign known as ‘Red my Lips’ … peruse the bitter and angry comments by feminists and other ‘white knights’ directed at men behind the campaign – and men generally.
Change Makers, Indoctrination for Australian men seeking help in becoming a suitably compliant puppy in the workplace (December 2022) And no, there’s no equivalent training available for women.
Aggrieved Entitlement – women’s reaction to temporary loss of chivalry, by Peter Wright (27 January 2019)
Why haven’t the men of Hollywood spoken up? (11 October 2017)
It’s not enough for men to turn up. They have to do the work, by Clementine Ford (13 March 2017)
Men can stop sex-trafficking (20 January 2017)
Why do so few men turn up to hear women speak? (10 March 2016) Australia. And of course no reciprocal expectation on women to attend events addressing male issues (unless to pull fire alarms and disrupt proceedings). See also my related blog post here.
She for He – Part 1 – Introduction (9 March 2016) Video by Canadian Association for Equality
Most disturbing of all are those instances where men are called upon to aid and abet the indoctrination of boys in feminist doctrine as discussed at ‘We must stop indoctrinating boys in feminist ideology‘ (20 July 2015)
Consider next the example of the uproar over University of Tasmania’s ‘women’s officer’ (8 April 2015) Isn’t this also #HeForShe? Why aren’t the women cheering this fellow? Here’s how this story ended – yeah feminism! Further discussion and readers comments here and here
If men owe women chivalry, what do women owe men? (30 November 2015)
Catering to men’s rights is not the point of feminism (15 October 2014) Now that’s telling us! Silly me, I always though feminist was about gender equality
We have just seen Julien Blanc tossed out of Australia, a fellow that apparently makes a living running seminars on how to pick up women. I don’t support him or the whole PUA thing, but yet again I can’t help noticing that men were called upon to deal with him.
Still in Australia, ex-Governor-General Dame Quentin Bryce headed a Task Force on Family and Domestic Violence. Submissions to the Inquiry had just closed at the time this article appeared in the pro-feminist Guardian newspaper. It seems that those people who prepared submissions need not have bothered, as Quentin already knew that men were the problem and that the “the key drivers of change should be men and police“. That’s right ladies, no need to lift a finger, off you go and get yourselves a nice cup of tea whilst the menfolk cop all the blame plus the job of making things right.
Michelle Obama urges men at women’s summit to ‘be better’ (14 June 2016) Hmm, I wonder how she would feel if someone got up on a stage and urged black people to ‘be better’? But wait, don’t the klan do that already?
Ooh this is a bit
funny naughty – feminists might go blind if they read this
The three reasons I don’t support feminist equality campaigns (13 December 2015)
Why the #YouOKSis “White Feather Campaign” failed … badly (11 December 2014)
White House calls on men to ‘step up’ in sexual assault prevention (19 September 2014) also here
Finally, some blinding irony with the movement called ‘Men Speak Out‘ who “aim to engage men in the process of ending FGM and, on a larger scale, to end violence against women and promote gender equality through a human rights’ approach“. Bearing in mind, of course, the negligible level of interest/activity by feminists in ending the practice of involuntary male circumcision.
Specifically on Emma Watson and #HeForShe
Would any women here be interested in a ‘She for He’ campaign? Reddit discussion thread with further discussion here
The Reality of #GiveYourMoneyToWomen (31 May 2015)
Youtube video #1 concerning Emma Watson’s speech (23 September 2014)
Youtube video #2 concerning Emma Watson’s speech (23 September 2014)
Youtube video #3 concerning Emma Watson’s speech (23 September 2014) See feminist reaction in comments section
The five little words that betrayed Emma Watson, by Ally Fogg (23 September 2014)
Janet Bloomfield talks about #HeForShe (23 September 2014) YouTube video
Resurgence of feminists soliciting for male allies (25 September 2014) Reddit mensrights discussion thread
Emma Watson leads the retreat for UN feminism (25 September 2014)
Sorry, Emma Watson, but HeForShe is rotten for men (26 September 2014)
Four reasons I won’t be one of the men signing Emma Watson’s #HeForShe pledge (26 September 2014)
Stefan Molyneux on Youtube about Emma’s speech (29 September 2014)
Emma Watson and the future of feminism (6 October 2014)
#HeForShe was nicely summed up by ‘Mean0Dean0’ in a reddit discussion thread on the matter:
The very concept of “He For She” makes women look like helpless children. This isn’t even “She for She,” implying sisterhood and communal responsibility. This isn’t even “We For She,” which is one-sided and focused on a minority of victims of violence and social problems, but at least community-minded. “He For She” blatantly states that men have all the power (even when they don’t) and that women need men to do their work for them (even when THEY don’t).
It’s regressive and gender-traditionalist and feminist all in one, simultaneously telling women that they can be free to be doctors or lawyers or strippers on poles, so long as big strong men open up all the big heavy doors for them. It’s patronizing to women and insulting to men, and if a man had come up with the hashtag he would have been called out as a patriarchalist traditionalist chauvinist pig. “Let’s help out those less fortunate little ladies, eh guys? Guys???”
Emma Watson – classic hypocrisy (September 2014)
Elsewhere in this blog you might also be interested in: