Sunday, August 7, 2016

Launching Men's Issues Content

I saw this comparison image on social media a few weeks back. My first reaction, "guy on the left has a funny hat, I bet he's bald." I then started thinking about the pony tail -- seemed odd -- especially with that hat.

I changed my previous hypothesis to "maybe he's in music, maybe he's a producer." I then found myself asking is she with him for him, or is this some power trade situation?

I knew the two photo comparison was a setup before I even read the captions. The second photo reminded me of a Dove advertisement and the focus around highlighting beauty of average women over models. Guy in the second photo looked like he was in music too, maybe he was a drummer in a band... Then it hit me, I fell for the trap. And while the captions are intended to be ironic and funny, it put a magnifying glass over a double standard in how we view physical beauty.

Exploitation vs. Empowerment
It also was a reminder of stereotypes and messaging we hear today. Left photo the female is obviously physically out of his league so he must be preying on here. Right photo the opposite is true, the message is around female empowerment and a celebration of who you are. No such celebration for the heavy guy with the hat and ponytail.

Always thought "No Ma'am" was an unnecessary parody. The group was over the top to show irony of the topic. Ironically there is no prominent Men's Right's groups at a national level working with states, colleges, and local communities. 

If Al Bundy was a blue collar men's issues ambassador, then Dr. Helen Smith PhD is the white collar ambassador. Ironic one of the leading voices on men's issues is female, a point she raises in her book "Men on Strike."

Men on Strike Book
American society has become anti-male. Men are sensing the backlash and are consciously and unconsciously going “on strike.”

If Marty McFly gave Al Bundy a DeLearn ride to 2015 I'm not sure if Bundy would be freaked out, or shrug it off as times being exactly what he expected. In Men on Strike, Dr. Helen Smith, PhD outlines the challenges of shifts in society, including many of the unintended consequences.

From American society has become anti-male. Men are sensing the backlash and are consciously and unconsciously going “on strike.” They are dropping out of college, leaving the workforce and avoiding marriage and fatherhood at alarming rates. The trend is so pronounced that a number of books have been written about this “man-child” phenomenon, concluding that men have taken a vacation from responsibility simply because they can. But why should men participate in a system that seems to be increasingly stacked against them? 
As Men on Strike demonstrates, men aren’t dropping out because they are stuck in arrested development. They are instead acting rationally in response to the lack of incentives society offers them to be responsible fathers, husbands and providers. In addition, men are going on strike, either consciously or unconsciously, because they do not want to be injured by the myriad of laws, attitudes and hostility against them for the crime of happening to be male in the twenty-first century. Men are starting to fight back against the backlash. Men on Strike explains their battle cry.

Achieving equality, through balance of opportunity, has long been an important topic I've followed as a novice and enthusiast. I first wrote about the topic over a decade ago during my MBA. I recall covering the topic marketing and modern masculinity in a term paper. The research was very eye opening. In many ways this was a primer to understand the often polarized society we live in. It doesn't need to be that way. Unfortunately men tend not to be as vocal, organized, or expressive communicating outrage as a collective group.

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