Actor, director, philanthropist and the man redefining how the world understands masculinity, Justin Baldoni, has shared some powerful words about the #NotAllMen hashtag that’s all over social media right now.
It’s the hashtag that’s re-appeared following the death of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old woman who left a friend’s place in South London at about 9.30pm on March 3 and never made it home. A serving London police officer has been charged with her kidnap and murder.
“For the past week on Twitter, fuelled by the disappearance and as of today, murder of Sarah Everard by a UK police officer, women around the world have been sharing their stories of feeling unsafe in public and the various things they have to do in order to try to feel safe,” Justin begins in a message posted on Instagram.
He’s talking about how we walk home when it’s still light and always keep our mobiles on us and have our keys ready to be used as a weapon and avoid jogging with headphones on and making sure the garage door goes alllll the way down before we leave the house and the endless list of things we do, because quite frankly, we never feel safe.
“In response, the hashtag #NotAllMen started making the rounds on Twitter, with men arguing that it’s ‘not all men’ that are violent towards women. This pisses me off,” Justin continues.
View this post on Instagram
“Why is the reality that women face every single day so difficult to understand? If women feel unsafe, then LISTEN. It’s literally the bare minimum we can do,” he adds.
THANK YOU JUSTIN.
But he doesn’t stop there. He keeps going.
“Of course it’s not every single man, but I also know that far too many of my closest friends have been harassed, assaulted, abused and raped by men. And it only takes ONE man.”
Justin explains how unfair it is that the work to fix this is always put on women:
“We tell women to stay at home or have curfews because it’s unsafe instead of telling men. Women have to go above and beyond EVERY SINGLE DAY just to try to feel safe in this world.”
And he’s not wrong. How many times have we heard authorities tell us to re-consider how we act in the presence of men? How often are these words re-iterated to us at home, at school and in the workplace?
And how many times have we heard them tell men to not rape or assault women? How many times have we changed the dialogue around and made it about men and their behaviour? How many times have we heard them say, “hey mate, if you’re controlling and monitoring everything she does, that’s a red flag for domestic violence and you should pull yourself up on it?”
It just doesn’t happen, does it?
But Justin gets it. And I am in tears reading his message because he so desperately wants to change the dialogue too:
“So Men, instead of saying #NotAllMen, and getting defensive, we need to be saying #TooManyWomen, listening to women and having uncomfortable conversations with other men. Too many women face violence in this world (1 in 5 women estimated to be raped in their lifetime…and most often by a man) and as men, we MUST SHOW UP.”
“Be man enough to stand up to other men, to stand up for women,” he says.
View this post on Instagram
He urges men to educate themselves so we don’t have to convince them our experiences are real.
“The onus is on us as men to use our voices, our power, our platforms to hold men accountable so that maybe one day, women will be safe in this world.”
This isn’t the first time Justin has used his platform to be an ally for women and to help change the dialogue around what it means to be a good human. In fact, it’s kinda his thing.
His TED talk “Why I’m Done Trying to Be Man Enough” which has been viewed more than 56 million times on TED’s website and Facebook, and shared all over the world, asks men: “Are you brave enough to be vulnerable? Are you strong enough to be sensitive? Are you confident enough to listen to the women in your life?”
He also has a “Man Enough” web series where he discusses issues like toxic masculinity and male privilege with special guests. Plus he’s releasing a book of his thoughts called “Man Enough: Undefining My Masculinity” which is due out in April, 2021.
(Feature Image Credit: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock.com)