I am sure that many of us have heard of the “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls” campaign. A campaign to raise awareness of the unspeakable crime of when adults engage in illegal acts with children. Yet, the more I think of the campaign the more I wonder if that is the only measuring stick of what a real man is? Is a real man only defined by whether or not he chooses to violate the moral and legal boundaries of contact with children? I think it that we should look at some other areas as well.
Perhaps we can start with the issue of pornography. Surely a real man wouldn’t look at pornography, would he? Yet, statistics show that anywhere from 50%-70% of men, including both married and single men, regularly look at pornography on the internet. Men who are choosing to look at pictures and videos that are produced by an industry that promotes the degradation of those involved. Men who are choosing to give the intimacy that is reserved for their wife to a nameless image on the other side of a 15 inch screen. Are these considered the actions of a real man?
What about adultery? Does a real man choose to break a lifelong vow to the one he promises to love and cherish until death do them part? One survey estimates that as many as 25% of men in America have committed adultery at least once. A real man wouldn’t seek to destroy their wives trust by engaging in a 10 minute encounter with someone else, would he? If not adultery, would a real man file for divorce when his marriage hits a rough patch? For an estimated 40% of American men, they do. Several studies have shown that divorce can cause depression among the spouse and emotional issues for the children involved. Maybe some of our social ills wouldn’t be so pronounced if only men worked through their marriage differences instead of looking for the first exit sign. A marriage wrecked, a family torn apart, and a future gone. Is this the kind of legacy a real man wants to leave behind?
Does a real man desire to live out his fantasies by sleeping around? This kind of behavior is typically glorified within our society and many men live vicariously through the others who do live this lifestyle. Are these encounters any different than what happens in red-light districts around the world? Sure, money isn’t being “paid” to a bar owner and no one is renting a room by the hour, but the premise is somewhat similar. A night out, drinks bought, flirting commenced and all with a semi-clear expectation of how the night should end. No matter what society tells us, late-night shows promote or movies advocate, real men don’t need to prove who they are by the number of one-night stands they can lay claim to.
Finally, does a campaign like this perpetuate the thoughts of some men who are already looking for an excuse, any excuse, to continue their wrong activities? Perhaps a man resigns himself to this kind of lifestyle thinking that since he is not a “a real man” there is no hope for him nor any incentive to stop, so therefore he might as well continue his cycle of hurting others. Does a negative stereotype reinforce negative behavior?
I think the “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls” campaign is a brilliant idea and definitely needed to help raise awareness about such an important issue. I just wonder how many men will wholeheartedly support this great campaign only to live a very different lifestyle.
End of article.