Six men sit around a table talking about #MeToo and their role in the women's movement. That's either a scene from a feminist fever dream or the latest episode of Justin Baldoni's series "Man Enough."
Lucky for everyone, it's all of the above.
In the new episode of "Man Enough" premiering July 24 at 11 a.m. EST on the series' Facebook Watch page, Baldoni asks the question that's been on every man's mind: "How do you guys feel as men right now navigating this climate— this world?"
"Scared," responds former professional football player Lewis Howes. "Because I don't think it's going to stop. I think we're going to keep seeing this."
Baldoni's show "Man Enough" brings together some of our favorite feMANists to have an honest, vulnerable conversation about the aftermath of the #MeToo movement. MAKERS Man Justin Baldoni poses provocative questions to former Arena League football player Howes, Canadian political activist Jamey Heath,"How To Get Away With Murder" actor Matt McGorry, entertainment exec Scooter Braun, and A Call to Men CEO and MAKER Tony Porter. The guys sit down to talk about the problematic ways in which men view women, why "good guys" stay on the sidelines, and how they can do better in the future.
Overall, men don't realize their significant role in advancing women's rights. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center six months after the fall of prominent men in entertainment, politics, and more, 51 percent of people said that while sexual assault has become part of the national conversation, the results have "made it harder for men to know how to interact with women in the workplace." But men shying away from the discussion is the exact opposite of what needs to happen for systemic change to take place. (According to a survey by Glamour and GQ, 47 percent of the 1,147 men they interviewed hadn't discussed #MeToo with anyone.)
Worried? Don't be— several MAKERS are at the forefront of teaching men how they can help fight for equality for women. At the 2018 MAKERS Conference, MAKER Sheryl Sandberg announced her initiative to encourage men to seek out and mentor female colleagues in the workplace through Sandberg's #MentorHer campaign.
With his production company Wayfarer Entertainment, Baldoni started "Man Enough" last fall in the hopes of redefining what it means to be a man today and challenge traditional ideas of American masculinity by hosting candid conversations with men about hot-button issues. The series also shows what it's like to be a woman subject to sexual abuse and harassment on a daily basis with vignettes of real women's experiences— dancing at a bar, riding home on the subway, working in the office, and just strolling down the street.
"It's so easy to look at the news, turn on the TV and feel like there's no hope but— I don't think that's the case. I think the future is hopeful," Baldoni tells MAKERS. "I have to be hopeful because I have a daughter in this world and I believe she is going to do amazing things. I'm going to do everything I can as a father to give her the confidence that she can shatter and break through any glass ceiling that any man puts up in her life."
Here are the best quotes from all the men who are making #MeToo about men, too:
The Bro Code:
Justin Baldoni: What are all the times that I've been silent. And where does that start? I remember bros before hoes in high school. The guy code. I have been conditioned my whole life to have an allegiance to men.
Lewis Howe: I think about back in my 20's I would see guys do things... If I spoke out against them, then they would say screw you, get away from us, you're not a part of our group and then I'd be alone...So I think it was a fear of I don't want to say anything to rub anyone the wrong way, I just want to fit in.
Scooter Braun: We've glorified the idea of crossing the line. You come in the entertainment business and it's fast car, fast women... they're objects.
Jamey Heath: Everybody that I know on some level— men, really good men— play a part in this... we all play a role in disregarding [women], mistreating [women], not seeing [women] for what and who they are.
Matt McGorry: There was a time in my life that I thought I've never met a woman who has been raped or sexually assaulted so how can that possibly be true? What I didn't realize until later is that women who I have had in my life had.
Tony Porter: There's very few men that get a pass on not contributing to the problem. We might not be contributing to the things that would be deemed illegal—rape, assault, etc. But the truth of the matter is, they don't do it without the permission of the rest of us.
Teaching Our Sons
Tony Porter: Our sons, our boys, unless we are right on top of them, they are taught to be misogynistic and they don't even know it. When you look at what they are inundated with, unless we're very intentional.
Jamey Heath: This term where men and women can't be friends? Why is that? Because we're always talking that there has to be a sexual relationship. How sad is that—the idea that my son couldn't have friends as women? That's bullshit— we got to change that.
Matt McGorry: "I myself had not been introduced to the idea of affirmative consent. I thought 'no means no.'If we're not creating the space [to allow them to say no,] consciously then we're running the risk of people not being able to say no."
Tony Porter: "I want to hit that." "I want a piece of that." "I want to tear that shit up." Just think of the terminology. Just two or three years later, they say, 'You know, Mr. Porter we don't even say that anymore. We say "smash that." Violence has evolved. Misogyny has evolved.
Men Say #MeToo Too
Lewis Howe: There's no hotline that says here's what to do, here's where to call... Yet, one in 6 men have been sexually abused in some way... I didn't think this happened to a lot of boys, I thought it was just me. So I was thought I was the one who was wrong, who was bad for it.
Men As Allies
Matt McGorry: My job as a white person seeking to dismantle white supremacy, and be an ally is that I should have a conversation with that guy [who devalues people of color.] In the same way with men, it's not on women to have that conversation...that is my job because I need to unburden those folks.
To get some insight on how men feel in the wake of the #MeToo movement and why we need to involve men, you can watch the full "Man Enough" episode here.