In a campaign to stop violence against women, a new PSA is placing the onus on men to step up and step in when they see lines being crossed by their peers.
Titled “Be That Guy,” the 30-second animation was first played at a NASCAR race in mid-November. It shows a race, one of our great American pastimes, where a lot of people are crammed together in a loud public arena to cheer as slightly larger Hot Wheels careen around in circles (growing up in the land of INDYCAR, I still don’t get it). In the short, the crowd’s attention suddenly sets on a cartoon bro about to casually slap a woman vendor’s butt—until his friend reaches out and stops him. Advice flashes across the screen: “HANDS ARE FOR BEER AND HIGH FIVES,” and the crowd goes wild for That Guy!
The description for the video explains it succinctly:
“That Guy—like many men—sees women as equals. But That Guy is NOT silent when men treat women otherwise. That guy stands for something better. That Guy is the MAN.”
The PSA is sponsored by Breakthrough, a nonprofit based out of the U.S. and India that works to make violence and sexism socially unacceptable through the use of media and community engagement projects. Breakthrough makes an appeal for bystander intervention and treating violence against women as a public health issue that needs to be addressed by the entire culture.
Engaging men in this effort is vital to show that misogyny will not be tolerated. Lynn Harris, Breakthrough’s communications director, explains to Al Jazeera that their is goal to make men think: “Maybe next time my friend is being a tool, I’ll tell him to knock it off.”
And before you get your boxer-briefs in a twist (I’m looking at you, YouTube Comments), OBVIOUSLY this doesn’t mean that only men can be responsible to stand up to other men. The idea is about creating a larger culture in which sexism is looked down upon, and in a patriarchal society, that means recognizing and addressing that men’s role is key.