Today, 25 November, is White Ribbon Day, the international day for the elimination of men’s violence towards women, and we are asking our tāne and wāhine to challenge #outdated ideas about masculinity online.
Gender-based violence is endemic in New Zealand, with one in three women experiencing family violence in their lifetimes and the highest rate of reported violence towards women in the developed world.
“With COVID anxiety and severe pressure on violence prevention organisations, the vast majority of this year’s White Ribbon campaign activities are being held online, in small groups and at work,” says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann.
“We want people to Challenge the #Outdated and unhealthy ideas about masculinity. One way of doing that in a public manner, is to create a short video and post it on your own Facebook feed. In the video, tell people why you are challenging the #Outdated ideas associated with old school masculinity, and or tell us how you role-model the principles of healthy masculinity.”
White Ribbon has created a suite of online resources that you can share to help you. These can be found at www.whiteribbon.org.nz
“The reason we are focusing on masculinity,” says Mr McCann, “is that the underlying causes of men’s violence towards women are now well recognised by research as being linked to unhealthy masculinity.”
A report Men in Focus undertaken by the Australian national violence prevention organization, Our Watch, found that that men who conform to these outdated stereotypes – that men should be strong, forceful, and dominant in relationships, be tough and in control – are more likely to hit, abuse, coerce, and sexually harass women than men who see women as their equals.
The research also found that men who believe in sexual entitlement to women’s bodies or believe in rape myths are more likely than other men to rape women.
“If we are to end men’s violence, we need to focus on the attitudes that support violence,” says Mr McCann. “We can continue to build prisons and pick up after broken families, or we can change the attitudes that support violence to thrive.”
“So this year, we are asking men and women to have these courageous conversations. Film yourself, get your videos online and tag them with #Outdated or #WhiteRibbonNZ so we can all join in and have a conversation about what healthy masculinity should look like.”