Culture

When we replace “The best men can get” with “The best men can be.”

For many young men, learning to shave can often feel like a rite of passage and a sign of physical maturity. While much has been written about the negative impact of sexualized and derogatory advertising on women and girls, advertising can also influence how young men view masculinity. Razor manufacturer Gillette’s new ad has sparked an important conversation about addressing problematic masculinity head-on.

“By holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behavior, and supporting a new generation working toward their personal ‘best,’ we can help create positive change that will matter for years to come,” Gillette president Gary Coombe said in a company press release about the ad.

Through the ad, Gillette celebrates healthy masculinity and offers an important reminder that ending sexual violence in one generation will require everyone—including boys and men—to practice safety, respect and equality in our everyday situations.

What’s more is that Gillette’s bold decision to publicly champion these values through an ad speaks to the responsibility that companies have in creating change and demonstrating that prevention is possible. Organizations looking to join this important cultural movement should take note of three steps that Gillette took when launching this ad:

Review advertising and branding standards  – Gilette announced that it will be reviewing its public-facing content—ads, images, and words— to ensure their standards fully reflected “the ideals of Respect, Accountability and Role Modelling.”

Champion social responsibility – Gillette has taken a firm stand to lean into their values and not issued a retraction. They are taking on social change as a part of their organizational values and looking at the ways they can contribute to changing social norms around what being the best a man can be means.

Support and invest in non-profit partners – Gillette has partnered with the Building A Better Man project as well as The Boys and Girls Club of America and has declared their intention to donate $1 million over the next three years to US charities that engage young men and boys to prevent violence.

The Gillette ad has sparked an important conversation about healthy masculinity, and RALIANCE hopes Gillette will continue to play an active role in encouraging boys and men to be the best they can be. 

What Bernie should have said about allegations of sexual harassment on his campaign

We’re in a watershed moment for sexual violence prevention, but there’s so much left to do. Every day, in politics, sports, corporate America, Hollywood, and around the world, we’re reminded of how our culture falls short of treating sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse with the seriousness they deserve.

In 2019 and beyond, RALIANCE will be highlighting all the ways in which we still fall short of supporting survivors — and how all of us can do better to help end sexual violence in one generation.

The New York Times recently detailed sexual harassment, demeaning treatment, and pay disparity allegations from staff members on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. In an interview earlier this week on CNN, Anderson Cooper asked Sen. Sanders how he would ensure this doesn’t happen again.

Sen. Sanders acknowledged human resources missteps and offered an apology to those who felt mistreated. He then went on to tout his 2018 Senate re-election campaign in Vermont, where mandatory training and an independent firm handled reports, as a “gold standard for what we should be doing.” Sanders closed by reaffirming that he didn’t know the extent of the issue during the 2016 election due to being too busy campaigning.

In the #MeToo era, plausible deniability is simply not enough. Sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse are widespread societal problems that require fearless leadership and action. We expect more of our political leaders, especially those seeking the highest office in the land.

Here are four things we wish Bernie had said.

“This inappropriate behavior does not reflect my values, or the values of my platform and campaign. As the leader of that campaign, the buck stops with me, and I am ultimately responsible for establishing a work environment that promotes the safety and well-being of all employees.”

“Sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse have no place in our workplaces, and it’s on all of us to look out for each other. That starts with training and awareness, but it doesn’t stop there. To end sexual violence, we all must work to build a culture based on mutual respect, safety and equality.”

“We have put in place transparent policies, procedures, and reporting mechanisms that include training and awareness – not just for how victims may report but on addressing the inappropriate behaviors that enabled this to happen in the first place.”

“The Violence Against Women Act is a vital piece of legislation to support survivors access to services as well as prevention resources. Reauthorizing this important legislation right away must be a top priority for the new Congress.”

How airlines can help prevent in-flight sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse

Sexual misconduct on crowded airlines is happening more often (Los Angeles Times — Hugo Martin), and airlines – like all corporations – can do quite a bit towards preventing it.

Sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse impact all of us. With these acts  often occurring in public places, it’s not surprising that reports of misconduct on commercial flights are on the rise.

Here are some key ways that airlines can do more to prevent sexual violence during flights:

Adopt a standard set of protocols for addressing incidents of sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse;

Offer better sexual violence prevention training for staff;

Collect better data on reports of sexual assault incidents; and

Consistently remind passengers that these behaviors are not acceptable, and that airlines are prioritizing the safety of passengers and crews.

“That proximity of an airplane makes it extra uncomfortable. […] They could start doing some consistent messaging and campaigning to let them know it’s a priority.”

From college campuses to the military, we know that raising awareness about sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse is an important step to preventing these types of bad behaviors from happening and ensuring victims can safely report any experiences of sexual violence. Passengers deserve to feel safe and respected while traveling, and airlines must ensure that message is always communicated.

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