This Is Exactly What #TheBetterManProject Is All About
Lately, a large number of men have made the news, and it’s been for the wrong reasons. Powerful men who are meant to be role models have been abusing women sexually, physically, emotionally and mentally. And it’s not just women: South African men have a shameful record in their relations with both women and children. The global #MeToo movement has shone a light on this abuse and into toxic masculinity, but it’s not just the politicians, actors and presidents who are guilty – we all need to have a long, hard look at the way we treat women; and while rape and abuse are what must be eradicated first, it doesn’t end there – we also need to look at the way we treat women at work, in social circles, and at home.
The Mistakes We’re Making
There are mistakes we’re making that many of us aren’t even aware of. Are we guilty of mansplaining – the fact it has its own term is damning enough – or gaslighting? Do we bully, mentally or emotionally?
In most cases, the male reaction to this kind of discussion is either outrage, or flat denial – some recent ad campaigns focusing on toxic masculinity have been received with outright hatred from men who feel this kind of campaign is a direct threat to their masculinity. Guess what? It ain’t. And it’s most probably those same men who take offence who need to do some proper introspection.
What We Need To Do About It
Yes, this is a heavy topic that’s hard to navigate, and no, we don’t have all the answers – but we need to start, and to put in real effort. As males, we need to be better. Thankfully, we have some local role models in our Better Man Project who can show us the way through their candid experiences and honest advice. None of us are perfect, but we can all be better.
Here’s to being better men – both for ourselves, and for the women in our lives.
The Organisations You Can Help
You can also get involved by donating to organisations in need. Here are some you should get behind:
The NPO uses technology innovatively to combat the scourge of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. Donate here.
Cape Town Trust Rape Crisis
The Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust is the oldest organisation in South Africa supporting the recovery of survivors, seeking justice, and promoting change in communities. Donate here.
POWA is a women’s rights organisation that engages in advocacy in order to ensure the realisation of women’s rights and thereby improve women’s quality of life. Donate here.
Join The Movement
Pick up a copy of the March issue of Men’s Health (or buy a copy here) to read more about #TheBetterManProject, we want you join the conversation online with the hashtag. How can you be a better man? Think about it, post about it, and tag us: @menshealthza on Instagram.