Tag Archives: sexual assalt

The Pixel Project

Recently, Responsible Men became an Awareness-Raising Partner with the Pixel Project.  I highly encourage you to take a look around their website and support them in any way you can.  One way Responsible Men is supporting the Pixel Project is by sharing information.  So, have a look at the information below:

The Pixel Project, a global Web 2.0-driven awareness and fund raising campaign working to end Violence Against Women (VAW), is proud to launch The Pixel Project Wall of Support on 8 March 2010 in honour of International Women’s Day.

The Wall of Support is a gallery of video endorsements from people worldwide who support The Pixel Project’s mission to get men and women to work together to end VAW. Endorsements are uploaded to YouTube and displayed on the Wall of Support galleries in the Community Buzz section of The Pixel Project’s website.

By showing a human face and voice with every endorsement, The Pixel Project hopes that this global chorus of voices against VAW will ignite conversation and focus public attention on the urgency of ending gender-based violence afflicting one in three women worldwide.

Each endorsement will be counted as an “action” towards UNIFEM’s “Say NO – UNiTE” campaign’s bid to raise 1 million grassroots actions against VAW by November 2010.

Guidelines for submitting a video can be found at http://www.thepixelproject.net/community-buzz/wall-of-support/. For further inquiries, contact Chrissie Moulding at info@thepixelproject.net.

I will be submitting a video soon and  I strongly encourage you to do the same.  This would be easy to ignore, but preventing violence against women is too important.  Please take a moment to show your support.  The Pixel Project has provided very clear instructions and even some assistance in writing the script.  All you have to do is record and post to YouTube.

Today is International Women’s Day and I can’t think of a better way for everyone, especially men, to show our love and support for the women in our lives. Let your voice be heard and speak out against violence against women!


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the app of my i

Sometimes a new “thing” comes along that causes a shift in our culture.  I don’t mean in the way that electricity or cars or the internet changed us, but smaller things that might seem less important, but that help plot the course ahead.  Often we don’t recognize these things in the moment. It is only in hindsight that we come to know these thing as cultural icons.  One of those icons is the Apple iPhone.

The iPhone has taken the country by storm and is only just beginning to show signs of slowing down.  There is a very good chance that you know at least 1 person with an iPhone…there is an even better chance that you know 7-8 people with an iPhone.  At it’s peak, Apple was selling a whopping 20,000 iPhones every single day.  Well over 4 million of them have been sold in all.

So you may ask yourself “what is so cool about an iPhone anyway???”  Many users will tell you that their favorite part of owning one is the applications or “apps”.  You can get apps that do just about anything you can imagine.  Some are tools. Some are games.  Some are novelties.  Many are very useful.  Some are just for fun. For example, take a look at the iBeer app:

Personally, I think that is kinda cool.  I’d much rather have a real beer, but I can see why people think that app is cool and fun to have.  Part of owning an iPhone is the competition for having the coolest apps.  That can be fun too.  Check out this popular one called Wobble:

I thought that was kinda neat when I first saw it.  However, it would be naive to think that Wobbling a pig’s nose is the most common use for Wobble.  If you do a search on You Tube for Wobble demos you will find the majority to be something like this:

Ug!  I am not sure who to angry with.  Should I be mad at Apple for approving this (and many other apps that aren’t “adult content” but objectify and sexualize women)?  Probably. In their defense, it is the users of the app that choose how they use it.  The app itself is not inherently indecent or inappropriate. Also, Apple has a fairly strict policy banning adult content.  However, they have nothing in place that bans the blatant objectification of women.

How about I point my lazers at the app developer?  Clearly the app was designed for making breasts wobble.  Even their own marketing suggest it…see:

wobble

I’d say that the developers are  a pretty good place to start.  However, they are a business and by definition are bound by the law of supply and demand.  There is a demand for this type of product, so they are supplying product to meet the demand.  That is what businesses do.  While it is horrible for them to profit from exploiting women, they aren’t stealing money from people.  Consumers of their content are freely giving their money to the developers.

So, I guess I am angry with all of the people (the vast majority of whom are men) who purchased this app.  Why can’t these men understand that every time we support a business that exploits women sexually we are reinforcing a culture that allows for violence against women to occur???  Why can’t men understand that things like this are more than just harmless fun?  Wobble, combined with the hundreds of thousands of other little things embedded in our culture that objectify and sexualize women, does massive damage to women (and men for that matter).  Ask any woman that has been physically or sexually assaulted.  Ask any child that witnessed or experienced abuse in their home.

Most people can see that one cockroach in your house isn’t a huge deal, but having thousands of them would be horrific and unacceptable.  Do you get my point? If you saw a cockroach in your home, you get out the bug spray and take care of it or you’d call an exterminator, right?  But when we come across things like Wobble or an ad for Axe Body Spray or a billboard for Skyy Vodka we remain silent and right it off as no big deal.  Well, it is a big deal. We have to speak up and we have to be more responsible consumers and citizens.  Tell these companies to stop exploiting women.  Educate men on how damaging these products are to women.  Support men in our efforts to change our behavior and our culture.

ACTION STEP:

Forward a link to this blog to 5 people, particularly men.  BUT – don’t treat it like any other forward.  I hate those and so does everyone else I know.  If ending sexism (and ultimately violence against women) is important to you, tell the people you are going to send it to that it is coming and that it is really important to you that they read it and pass it on to 5 more people.  Tell them face to face or on the phone (not in an email) and let them know that you mean it.  It is important that they hear your actual voice so they know this is personal to you.

We must build a critical consciousness around the root causes of violence against women in our society.  This will be a giant step in the right direction. What if we could get 1,000 people to view it this week or 10, 000 by this time next month or 100,000 in a year?  Think about the impact that would have.  One small action on your part could be enough to tip this issue toward gender equality.  I challenge you to make it happen.

Don’t let one rotten app spoil the entire bushel.  Take action today!!!

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Ignorant Like a Foxx

Have you heard the new song by Jamie Foxx (featuring T-Pain)? It is called “Blame It”. In case you haven’t I’ve got it for you right here, along with the lyrics so you can read along:

The official video

Here are the lyrics (unofficial)

This makes me sad. I have (or had) a tremendous amount of respect for Jamie Foxx as an actor, comedian and musician. He is incredibly talented without question. It is sad to see him write a song that promotes getting a girl drunk for the purposes of having sex her. Wait…there is another way to say that. Oh yeah…a song that promotes rape. Surprised at that? I am sure Jamie Foxx would be too.

You see, I don’t believe that Jaime Foxx set out to write a song that promotes rape. I bet he still doesn’t know that he wrote a song that promotes rape. In fact, I bet if you asked him about it he would look at you like you are crazy (perhaps the same way you might look at me if I were there right now). Before you rush to judgement or dismiss my words, hear me out.

This is a case of Jamie Foxx being ignorant. Before you get it twisted, ignorant means uninformed or unaware, not stupid. I am not insulting Mr. Foxx. I am merely pointing out that he, like so many male musicians, doesn’t realize what he is actually saying in those lyrics. He doesn’t know what damage he is doing by making a song like that. I think he came up with a catchy hook and a snappy tune that would have mass appeal to the part of society that has the power to keep him relevant and profitable. I also believe he is pressured by his record label, J-Records (owned and operated by Sony Music Entertainment) to write songs that are risque and a little taboo to create a buzz around his music. Being controversial sells records. This is not diverting blame to other places. Jamie Foxx needs to be held accountable for his role in this. However, he is not the only one that needs to shoulder the blame. We also need to take a look at Sony, the radio industry, MTV, VH1, BET, Ron Howard, Jake Gyllenhall, Forest Whitaker, Samuel L. Jackson, WalMart, Target, Amazon and many others. This song is part of a much larger system designed to generate profit at the expense of, and without regard to, women and people of color.

Do you know that Foxx performed the song on American Idol in April? Do you know that American Idol is the number one rated show for children 13 and under? What message is this sending to the teens and tweens that are fans of American Idol? Just in case it isn’t clear, I will tell you. The message for boys is that it is perfectly acceptable for you to get a girl drunk and take advantage of her when she is “loosened up”. For girls, the message is that if you have too much to drink then it is your fault if you are raped. For a 13 year old (or younger) those messages are very strong and sticky. This is the age when youth are forming their attitudes and beliefs about healthy sexuality. If the message they get is that drug facilitated sexual assault is acceptable, then we have a huge problem on our hands. Songs like this reinforce promote and gender inequality.

We cannot remain silent while musicians from every genre of music crank out song after song that sexualizes, objectifies and commodifies women. We have to send a very clear message to the entertainment industry that we demand something different. We can no longer support an industry that is willing to make their money off of the backs of women. We have created a culture that supports violence against women and that must stop. It is time we build a society that values women for their intelligence, insight and wisdom rather than their sexuality and beauty. It starts with an awakening. We must start talking about these issues publicly and we must inspire others to do the same. It is our job to throw a few stones into the water and create a ripple effect.

Jamie Foxx is scheduled to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on May 18. Please consider contacting Ellen DeGeneres and urge her to talk to Jamie Foxx about this song and the messages embedded in it. I don’t want her to cancel him as a guest. I would much rather see an honest discussion about the issue. While I don’t feel it is Ellen’s (or any other woman’s) responsibility to confront him, she is in an unique position to bring this issue up publicly. If you’d like to encourage Ellen to take action you can reach her on Twitter (@TheEllenShow) or through her website at http://ellen.warnerbros.com/. Sadly, Jamie Foxx has no contact information on his official website http://www.jamiefoxx.com. If you find a way to contact him, please put it in the comments or tweet it.

***If you are on Twitter, be sure to follow me @responsiblemen. Also, please use the hash tag #ignorantfoxx on any tweets related to this topic so that we can track our efforts. Thanks!

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The Real “Axe Effect”

A friend of mine always says “In life, you can make choices that give you more choices or you can make choices that give you fewer choices”.  If you are lucky, you have someone in your life that is helping you make those decisions.  However, it is far more likely you have been kicked out of the proverbial nest to learn to fly before you hit the ground.  Like most of us, you are left to make these decisions on your own.

 

So, how do we make decisions and where do we get our information from?  Our friends?  Our families?  A gut feeling? The answer to these questions is usually “yes”, but they are not the only sources.  One other I’d like to focus on is corporate America – the creators and producers of pop culture.  You might not even know who they are by name, but I am sure you are familiar with their products.  For example, you may not have heard of corporate giant Unilever. However, I bet you are familiar with one of their brands – Axe male grooming products.

 

Axe is a cultural icon as far as products go.  It is the number one selling male grooming product line in the world according to Unilever.  It is also one of the fastest growing brands in the Unilever family.  It is no coincidence that it is so popular.  Axe has gained it’s prominence by lots of advertising.  Sadly, Unilever subscribes to the old advertising adage that “sex sells”.  If you have ever seen one of their advertisements, you know that they try to sell Axe by making it seem as if women turn into mindless, sex-hungry animals after one whiff of any Axe product.  In addition, they show that even “average Joes” become irresistible to these beautiful, barely clothed women by the hundreds.  What is wrong with this picture?  

 

Advertisements, like those created for Axe, actually do some pretty hefty damage to both women and men by helping form unrealistic and even dangerous gender roles.  For women, their value and purpose in life are tied directly to their sexuality.  In other words, without their sexuality women have no value or purpose.  They are portrayed as sexual objects that are there to serve men’s needs and they are a dime a dozen. Women are also dehumanized by making them seem as if they are not in control of themselves or that they have lost free will.  

 

For men, these ads connect men’s value to their sexuality as well, but in a different way.  These ads reinforce the idea that as a man the more sex you have the more of a man you are.  In other words, they send the clear message that men are supposed to have sex as often as possible with as many women as possible in order to thrive in male culture.  If men do not adhere to this standard, they risk losing their social standing within male culture.   In the end, we are left with the same message that is echoed throughout society today.  The message is that men have all of the power and the only way for women to share in that is to be sexually available to men.  Also, there is a double standard.  Men are valued for having multiple intimate partners and women are devalued for the same thing.  In society, men who have had a large number of sexual partners are labeled as “studs” or “pimps” – both considered to be compliments.  In contrast, women who have had a large number of sexual partners are labeled as “sluts” or “whores” – both are obviously considered insults. It is this power imbalance between men and women that creates a culture of abuse that can lead to domestic and sexual violence.               

      

When we, as consumers, support companies like Unilever and others that engage in similar marketing strategies, we are collectively sending the message that the objectification and sexualization of women are acceptable practices. Effectively, we are paving the way for dating violence and sexual assault to occur.  Keep in mind that Unilever is certainly not the only guilty party.  There are a large number of companies that employ marketing campaigns which degrade women to sell their products.  Remember this the next time you go to buy something designed to make you smell better.  You might just realize that it stinks.

 

Want to let Unilever know how you feel about the “Axe Effect”? 

  

Visit their websites at: 

www.unilever.com 

www.unileverusa.com

www.ideas4unilever.com

 

Check out some of the Axe Print Ads:

 

AxeConfession AxeSharks

AxeJeans axe_grave

AxeWeddingCake AxeBathtub

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