I appreciate you engaging in a real debate about this, but most of the things you are saying sound good at first blush, but really don’t hold a lot of water once you look at them more closely. But before we go into that, to answer your question about where did I get the idea that anyone was saying that men need to suffer. Well, it was from this sentence that you wrote, “The concept of ‘if we suffer so should you’ isn’t a healthy one,” Perhaps you were speaking in a more general sense, but since this thread is about this ad, I made the inference that you thought it also applied.

So, how would it be if Black people started telling other Black people to be their best selves, implying that they could do better? Well, that happens all of the time and always has. Think of Bill Cosby telling young AA men to pull their pants up; think of all the Black voices that are talking about the R. Kelly thing. I could link you a whole bunch of article from Medium alone about just that. Also, right now Black feminists are telling White feminists that they’ve been marginalized and largely excluded from the focus of the movement and that this is unacceptable. There’s a lot being said about it, very vocally — and for the most part, White feminists are listening and trying to do better rather than complaining about being unfairly called out. On to the next thing……

Men perpetrate nearly all violent crime, against both men and women. IPV as takes place in situational couple violence (as distinct from domestic terrorism) is the only outlier to this, although it is also an outcropping of living in a patriarchal society that values violence/force as a way to get your way and to subjugate others to your will. We get reinforcement every day from a wide variety of sources that the one who is the most ruthless is the one who rises in the hierarchy.

As was very clearly shown in the ad, patriarchal attitudes harm both males and females alike. So yes, when we start living in a culture where the social system is not built around a dominance hierarchy that requires specific behaviors, particularly of men, which negatively contributes to all of society, and that has men at the top of the hierarchy, then we can stop talking about generalization. I think you are falling into the trap that so many do, trying to look at social problems through the lens of personal identity. “I’m a man and I don’t do those things so I feel attacked when it’s brought up that other men do.” Meanwhile, men are the perpetrators and the anti-social aspects of socialization about how to be “a real man” are a large part of the problem in a society where men over-whelmingly have the most power and influence. This is why it’s appropriate to address men around these issues.

All of this outrage also serves to deflect attention from those we ought to be focused on, which is the victims (both male and female). This is my biggest beef with the push back to this ad is that it complains of being criticized, as if that were completely unwarranted. It fails to recognize that we do have substantial societal problems and that men being good role models for their kids and checking their friend’s behavior when it needs it can actually go a long way towards addressing those issues, because most of them have gotten so bad due to a culture of turning a blind eye, saying, “It’s not my problem,” or that “boys with be boys.” Every company that is going through major restructuring right now (CBS, Dallas Mavericks, Google, etc.) is addressing this component as their primary focus. Because most men aren’t harassers, but it only takes a few to make a terrible work environment if the structure of the company turns a blind eye and makes women (and others) the “problem” when they report.

And as I pointed out in my list of statistics, and as the ad pointed out, it’s not just women who get harmed by these anti-social behaviors. This is how we get such a high number of lonely, isolated, marginalized boys and men who harm either themselves or others.

This ad was ostensibly by men for men, despite the fact that it was produced by a woman. I would have no issue whatsoever with another ad being produced that shows how women often uphold patriarchal norms also and contribute to shaming of boys for not being tough enough, etc. But there’s only so much you can fit into one ad.

You’ve also not addressed how just about every ad targeted towards women since the advent of advertising has told women about how they are lacking and need to do better.

I definitely agree that there is room for improvement all around, but the bulk of our current issues do largely hinge on the social system called patriarchy, which is not only about men. Failure to recognize that and deal with it because it hurts men’s feelings is not a sufficient excuse in my book.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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