Men React To Disturbing PSA Exposing How Women Are Harassed Online
One of the most trending topics on the internet today is in response to a PSA - posted by @NotJustSports on Youtube - in which men are asked to read mean tweets out loud to the female sports reporters at whom the tweets are directed; and these are not the Jimmy Kimmel brand of mean tweets that we have all grown so fond of.
No, these tweets are scary.
The video begins lightheartedly enough but quickly shifts toward the darker side of internet comments. The men become increasingly more uncomfortable as the tweets get worse, employing the "c" word, degrading the women and eventually moving onto expressing rape and death wishes.
By the end of the video, just about every one of the men is ready to tear up. Not only are they horrified that they have been put in the position of having to say these things out loud to the women before them, but they seem to be genuinely disturbed by the content of the comments. Before they can even finish reading what's on the iPad in their hands, their faces have contorted in pain and disgust. The look of mortified realization that they must say the words on the screen in front of them is almost as powerful as the message of the PSA itself.
In a way, it was incredibly gratifying to see men react so viscerally to things that they have very clearly never read about themselves, and probably haven't read about the people that they care about. Because that's the exact feeling that so many women get when they read those things about themselves, despite constantly being told to "just ignore it" because they are "only words."
Thankfully, the video has been received with heaps of praise and recognition for the attention it brings to an issue that is so often dismissed as trivial. And some of the biggest supporters of the #MoreThanMean message have been men who either see their coworkers and peers treated this way, or who just cannot imagine ever saying or typing such awful things to someone else.
Of course, there will always be those that are unwilling to step outside of their privilege to acknowledge or understand that people experience discrimination and prejudice that they cannot relate to. There are countless men on various platforms every day who insist that women are just on a mission to be pitied; or that this is a nonexistent problem because "everyone gets bullied" and that we should all suck it up and move along.
Can I just say how sick I am of people using the "we have better things to worry about" argument for everything that doesn't happen to affect or interest them? I'd really like to know how many of these men have been raped or threatened with rape - online or verbally - in their lifetimes.
Of course, there is no chance in hell that the people who believe that these words are useless have ever been barraged with the kind of real life fear that women experience on a regular basis, so why would they understand what it feels like to be threatened and degraded online?
The thing is that this PSA is targeted at women because the online community of hatred toward them is a reflection of the dangers and discrimination they face in the real world. Yes, people of all genders and races face bullying and harassment online. No one is saying otherwise.
It's the same thought process that separates #BlackLivesMatter from the inherently close-minded rebuttal of #AllLivesMatter. Yes, all lives matter. Again, no one is saying otherwise. Black Lives Matter just happens to address the fact that black youths are being targeted at a higher rate, and their movement is merely a way to address that. Women are targeted on the internet at a higher rate, and with more wishes and threats of violence, than are men.
The dissenters may be loud, but the real power remains with the men who support women by merely encouraging human decency, rather than denying that its absence is a problem.
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