The Slogans of the White Ribbon Campaign
White Fibbin’ supporters often defend their campaign by asserting they have a right to focus on the particular issue of protecting women from male violence, and if other people wish to focus on other forms of violence they are welcome to do so. Another justification offered is that it is a campaign started by men themselves and therefore must be ok.
Well, the White Fibbin’ campaign is supported financially by various government departments that do NOT fund initiatives specifically to protect the most frequent victims of violence in our society, MEN.
Also, take a good look at the main slogans used by the White Fibbers. An earlier one was “Mate, show you’re against violence towards women”. Clearly, the slogan shows no interest whatsoever in (the much more numerous) male victims of violence and neither does it acknowledge that women’s violence is worth being concerned about or indeed that it exists at all. Its message is in line with feminist ideology that simply targets and blames men for all ills, and in so doing it will be divisive for society and gender relations. The government departments who support the White Fibbers would consider the slogan highly unacceptable if directed at almost any other group in society. “Bro, show you’re against violence towards white people” would be blasted even if it came from a Maori group. Yet when it comes to damaging gender relations through denigratiing men, no worries, let’s fund it.
The more recent slogan of White Fibbers is “Are you man enough to stop violence towards women?” Sounds ok at first, but actually it insidiously conveys anti-male propaganda and is also self-contradictory. The anti-male propaganda lies in the implication that all men are violent towards women and in order to be a real man you must stop that violence. Weirdly, this also implies that the vast majority of men who do not commit violence towards women can never be ‘man enough’ because they have no such violence to ‘stop’. This is one of the inherent contradictions in the slogan.
Another damaging aspect of the slogan is that it labels men as violent which ironically is likely to increase male violence as men conform to the label being placed on them. That is one reason why stereotyping is so dangerous and unacceptable (except it seems when done to men).
If instead we interpret the slogan as encouraging men to stop other people’s violence towards women, another self-contradiction is evident. Sure, one could interpret this as encouraging men to phone the police or do other things if they see violence, but the slogan actually encourages them to ‘stop’ violence, not react to it responsibly. Stepping in to stop someone being violent will generally require a man to use (and to be subjected to) considerable violence himself.
A further problem with the slogan is that it is manipulatively denigrating, suggesting that men are inadequate as men if they don’t ‘stop’ violence whatever that may mean exactly. Denigrating manipulation is in fact emotional violence that if a man is alleged to use would cause the Family Court slap a protection order on him. “If you don’t stop violence towards women then you are an inadequate male” is really little different from a man saying to his female partner “If you don’t agree with my opinion you must be stupid (abnormal, frigid, ugly, insane or any other denigrating category)”.
The appalling reality is that the government departments supporting this nonsense are exactly those departments entrusted with the responsibility to promote ethical improvement in our society. The main supporter is the Families Commission. How on earth such gender divisive, male-blaming propaganda will be helpful to families is beyond us. Other departments where you will see White Fibbin’ posters include the Human Rights Commission. We didn’t realise that MEN don’t deserve the same human right as other groups to be protected from stereotyping denigration. Sadly, most other government agencies also display these posters, including WINZ, Courts and hospitals. This situation highlights the crucial need for a real Ministry of Men’s Affairs to curtail state-supported male-bashing and to protect men’s welfare. Instead though, we continue only to get a Ministry for Women that has already cost us over $100 million dollars. Men $0.