If you do not know by now, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore recently launched their “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls” Campaign through their organization the DNA Foundation. There has been a lot of media buzz surrounding the campaign and even some debate over how effective it is in addressing the demand that fuels the exploitation and trafficking of children.
When I speak at an event, people often ask; “What can I do?’ In addition to giving some practical ideas of how people can engage with ending modern day slavery, I tell people to bring what they already have to the movement. Contributing their education, vocation, life experience, talents, finances, etc., can make a difference.
I think Ashton and Demi are doing just that. They are leveraging their public platforms, influence, relationships, technology, and yes…even sense of humor to provoke, challenge, and shed light on an issue that few want to talk about. The Real Men Campaign is designed to increase awareness and get people talking. And yes…awareness alone is never enough. But it is something. And if that awareness leads to effective action then we are one day closer to ending the trafficking and exploitation of children. I agree with Emerson who said; “An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.”
Personally…I’ve never opened a beer bottle with a remote control. I’ve never shaved with a chainsaw. I’ve never made a grilled cheese sandwich with an iron. And honestly, if I snapped my ankle in half, coming down from a jump shot…I would probably just lie there in pain and not get up.
So…I’ve added my own thoughts to what I think a real man is:
Real men not only don’t buy girls, they don’t see ANY human being as a commodity or an object to be used for their own instant gratification.
Real men rebel against a culture that continually normalizes the objectification and exploitation of women and girls.
Real men treat women and girls with respect and champion gender equality, refusing to tolerate gender bias or discrimination.
Real men are proud of and not threatened by empowered women in their lives.
Real men raise their sons to respect women and girls by the way they treat their own wives, girl friends and daughters.
Real men raise their own daughters to be confident in the understanding that their value and worth (as girls…or as human beings for that matter) is based on who they are and not on their sexuality.
Real men empower their daughters to believe and know that they can be anything they aspire to be.
Real men love their daughters in a way that they grow up feeling safe, cared for, loved and cherished so they won’t have to look somewhere else to have those needs met, making them vulnerable to those with evil intentions.
Real men don’t abandon their families when the going gets tough or the “grass looks greener on the other side”, leaving their wife and children wondering what a “real man” really is.
Real men respect and appreciate vulnerability instead of take advantage of it.
Real men practice self-control.
Real men speak up, call each other out and hold each other accountable to all of the above.
Hopefully, campaigns and movements challenge and affect the way we live. And if we are ever going to see the end of the exploitation and trafficking of children, then men have to live differently. We have to LIVE like “real men.” And that’s the hard part. But that’s the part that will change everything. That’s the part that matters in the end.
The reality is that it’s easier to “walk it off” than it is to live a life worthy of being called a “real man.”
What would you add to this list? Finish the sentence: Real Men…
President & Cofounder of Love146