tag-lineThe ManUp campaign has hit Ireland. If you feel uncomfortable with the message, but not sure why, perhaps this will help.
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ManUP, is multi-source funded and supported by the national broadacster, tv personalities and sports stars...but what is really being said in the szunami of media coverage?
Before getting to that, it must be recognised that it is extraordinarily popular.
A cynic might say that is to be expected, seeing as the ManUp site is relatively well funded and promoted by all media outlets, so getting your face or business on that website provides you with (almost, except for minor costs and sweat equity) free publicity, and a warm fuzzy feeling that you are using your business/face/fame to do some good - giving something back to the society which hold you in such high esteem.
Well, if you can see past the mellifluous sarcasm, there is a point being made, but is it really important? If the cause is a good one, who cares if a little ego massaging or free advertising is given in exchange for support?
Indeed, who cares? - certainly not Harry, but that is beside the point. It's not the popularity which is the problem. Exchanging advertising/ego massage for support has a long and noble history and there is nothing wrong with it. It didn't escape the attention of Sir Geldof, and where would Band-Aid have been with out it?
So, no, that's not the problem. The problem goes a little deeper that that, as Jimi Hendrix used to say, but this is no loner Highway Child - this is a nationwide campaign on print, digital, audio and visual media, soon to be arriving into your corner shop, taxi, bus, cafe or billboard. This is not happening elsewhere, there is no bubble you can create for yourself, this is your society talking directly to you ... and with a rather impressive loudspeaker.
It is saying that men, ALL men, are responsible for domestic violence. This includes violence against children, as it clearly says in the posters, headers, tag-lines and literature. Somehow, it is only men who can put a stop to it, and that is to be achieved by men policing other men ("cut this out, or else...", with your chest puffed out).
Well, here's a news flash - Men already do that . The fact is that this sort of behaviour is already censured - socially, legally, morally, religiously - across the full social spectrum, and probably has been since time immemorial.
Do men really have permission to carry on with this type of behaviour (as described in the website, radio ads, etc)?
Absolutely not. I cannot think of any instance where this kind of behaviour is publicly accepted, so why is there a need to remind the country?
Aha!, you say, but there is a need, because this happens behind closed doors, away from public view. And there lies the clue - it happens behind closed doors precisely because it is so shameful and unacceptable.
Do you think that abusive men (and they do exist, that is the tragedy), who are already so aware of society's dissaproval that they do it behind closed doors, are suddenly going to respond to such a message. Is it simply a case that they didn't know? This really stretches credulity beyond breaking point.
Is it shameful for a man to hit/verbally abuse/intimidate a woman? - Yes, of course it is,
but is it shameful for a woman to hit/verbally abuse/intimidate a man?, well, apparently that is perfectly alright - it happens in public all the time (and in cinema, radio, tv, theatre, song and literature). Not only does it happen all the time, but it is often applauded, and sometimes laughed at.
That says more about our society. If anything, there needs to be a campaign to tell women that it is NOT OK to abuse their partner or children. At least that would have a ring of truth to it.
Why is it presumed that our society (Our MEN) need to be reminded not to abuse women and children, when the vast majority do not?
Whatever is going through the mind of the person(s) responsible for such an outrageous accusation cannot be healthy. In order for these kinds of assertions to be valid, and to justify why such an advertising campaign is necessary, you must first accept the framework in which they operate - ONLY men are responsible for Domestic Violence, ONLY men are violent towards their partners, ONLY men are abusive towards children.
These assertions are patently untrue.
home-page/link buttonCampaigns like the ManUp campaign (although well funded, and supported from Authority) create a narrative, or story-line, where complicated human interactions are polarised into one singular notion that men are bad and women are good.
There is good and bad in all of us, for sure but the refusal to accept that that life is messy, that humans are complicated and that solutions are not one-liners are sure signs of a bigoted or ideological mindset.
It may be getting to the point where "good men" are coming to the realisation that nomatter what they do, they will always be castigated as evil.
It is perhaps beyond the point where Men will tolerate having their identity defined by these ideological and hateful ideas.
That is something we should not allow to happen, because it hugely damaging to society as a whole.
Domestic violence is something we should all strive to eradicate from society (while knowing that perhaps it may never be possible), but Shaming, Degrading, and Damaging the self-image and identity of all men is not the way to do it.
If you are a woman, and you care about the men/boys in your life, object to this type of aggressive attack, question it and complain about it.
If you are a man, perhaps you may already feel that there is something uncomfortable and vaguely insulting about the ManUp campaign. You are not alone.
However, perhaps you're embarrassed to say so, or perhaps you feel that there is a greater good which you are willing to sacrifice your own image/identity for. Noble as that sentiment is, is there perhaps some duty of care to children, particularly boys and their identity?
Ask yourself WHY. WHY do you feel that you cannot object to the ManUp campaign - imagine any other demographic attacked in such a way and you'd be outraged.
Simply thinking upon that question will tell you a lot about yourself and your society.
(other personalised banners are currently in the editing room)
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