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Men, We Are Asking More of You: FAME Can Help

At red carpet events, interviewers often obsess over what designer a woman is wearing. Men are sometimes asked the same, but the questions and the camera fixate on the women. Such preoccupations, which are found throughout sports and entertainment, arise from a culture that sexualizes and objectifies women. It also contributes to a culture of pervasive (and often permitted) sexual harassment and assault. Holding figures such as Harvey Weinstein accountable is a good start, but severely inadequate to address the toxic culture that condones and cultivates gender-based violence.

The #AskHerMore movement calls for interviewers to ask actresses, athletes and other celebrities more compelling questions (such as about their careers) than just about their appearance or relationship status. A new movement, #AskMoreofHim, goes even further by challenging men to be better allies for women. One crucial way for men to do this is by calling out sexual harassment and assault, rather than covering up such behavior. But men need to do more. They need also to call out demeaning talk, degrading images and other forms of misogyny that are toxic on their own, and also contribute to a climate that fosters gender-based violence.

Such work of moving society toward equal respect for all is demanding, and requires a long-term commitment. Many men want to be a part of the solution, but are not always certain how. Indeed, men frequently fear saying and doing the wrong thing.

To help equip men to be allies for women, Blackburn Center launched FAME (Fearless Advocacy for Men’s Engagement), a group of men devoted to this very purpose. We started FAME well before the Weinstein scandal because we knew that men needed (and many wanted) to be more involved with ending the mistreatment of women. Now we have trained scores of men on issues related to gender-based violence, and how to create a safer society for women. At our meetings, we discuss relevant current events and trends, and we strategize ways to shift society in a positive direction. We brainstorm how to address other men when they objectify or demean women, participate in Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, and have developed a speaker’s bureau and discussion groups to reach a larger audience.

As one of the leaders of FAME, I invite my fellow men to take on the challenge of #AskMoreOfHim by working to end sexual harassment and assault, starting at the most basic level. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  1. When you hear men talk about women in crude and sexual ways, calmly but firmly indicate that you do not agree with or appreciate such talk;

  2. Don’t buy magazines and other products that objectify women;

  3. Be mindful of how you might be objectifying or devaluing women, such as by calling women “girls” or by fixating on a woman’s appearance instead of her ideas, talents, and character;

  4. Join us at FAME. We would love to have you!

Together, we can change our society so that ALL people are treated with equal respect.


The Rev. Dr. David von Schlichten is an assistant professor of religious studies at Seton Hill University. He is also the Coordinator of Seton Hill's Gender and Women's Studies Program and is a faculty advisor to the university's feminist collective. In addition, he is a founder of the FAME group and on the Social Transformation Sub-committee of Blackburn Center.

Please note that the views expressed by guest bloggers represent their own personal views, and not necessarily those of Blackburn Center.


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