Interview: Helen Smith Talks Men on Strike
MR. DRISCOLL: We talked about how your blog led to Men on Strike; one of the recurring topics that Glenn Reynolds has been writing about since the early days of Instapundit, and that you also discuss in Men on Strike, is that men are invariably the butt of jokes in television advertising. How does that impact how men are viewed by society and is there anything they can do to fight back against this?
they can do to fight back against this?
DR. SMITH: Yeah. I mean, what's interesting is Jim Macnamara -- he's a public relations professor in Sydney, Australia -- and he wrote a book called Media and Male Identity, which is just terrific. I mean, I can't say enough good things about it. It's really a little book of research.
But what he found is that sixty-nine percent of the times when men are portrayed in the media are negative. And I really think that affects boys and men in our society. And yes, everybody laughs and says they're the butt of -- you know, men are the butt of jokes and they're always being beaten and hit. And women are slapping men in the face. And men can't throw a ball. You know, the Volkswagen commercial [earlier this year]. I think I did a post at PJ Media about that.
I mean, there's just a lot of times where men are seen as sort of buffoons and deadbeats. And I think that it is very negative. It's negative for boys to see this type of thing. And it's negative for men too, every time they turn on the television -- and you know, the worst part is it makes it acceptable. It's almost like when people see that they think that that's okay in the same way that maybe a kid sees something on TV and thinks, oh, it's acceptable to talk badly to my parents because that's what they do in my favorite cartoon.
It's -- it's just a negative message. And it sends a message to our society that it's acceptable -- acceptable to bash men and to be hateful towards them.
And what can men do about it? Well, first of all, one of the things I point out in the book -- and I offer a number of tips and solutions in the final chapter -- and one of the things that I -- you know, is don't laugh yourself. I mean, sure it's funny if it's like, you know a comedy or whatever. And I understand, you know, some of that stuff is funny.
But when you see a man being punched in the face by a woman or another man, it's really not funny. So first of all, try to control your own behavior. But also, I'd call -- I'd tell men to call other men and women out when they've laughing at such things.
Or if you see an add -- Glenn Sacks, who runs a website -- glennsacks.com -- who's a men's rights activist, he does a beautiful job, or he'll campaign -- when he sees something negative in the media, he'll get all like the guys on his side -- they'll all campaign against it, if they see something negative against men.
And they've often got -- at times, gotten things taken down or been very successful. So don't be afraid to, you know, write in, write e-mails. And I know a lot of PJ Media, you know, readers are very, you know, activists, and they will do some of those things.
So I think to keep that up and to just be aware and not to put up with it when you're out in society and people are laughing. Because I think when we -- when we tell or let other people think that that's acceptable behavior, then it become ingrained. And I just think that's a negative place to be.