Help Us Send a Counter Message
We want to counter this message of inequality with one of inclusivity.
Our plan is to create a new billboard message that makes it clear that this kind of thinking is not welcome in our state and that it belongs in the past. Our proposed billboard will say "Gender equality benefits everyone."
We are not an organized group- we are two people (Kathryn and Paula ) in Raleigh who saw something happen in their state and want to fight back. We want to know that being one person doing a small thing can be enough to confront displays of exclusion. We believe in the power of positive messaging to create change.
We would like to make it clear that we have no issue with families who do have more traditional gender roles- if that is the family dynamic that works for them that then that's awesome! What we do take issue with is the blanket statement that has been made without any sort of context- and we can't know what was actually implied because the original creator of the sign isn't coming forward to explain it. Without knowing what the original intent of the sign is- what we have is how it reads and that is as something that devalues any other family situation outside of the traditional roles of the past. What it does infer is that a man is not a real man unless he provides. What about men who are unable to work, who choose to stay home, or who do not make as much money as their spouse. Are they not real men? That line of thinking is equally as harmful as it is to imply that women should only be grateful recipients of financial support and cannot contribute to the family in any other way. Again, we do not take any issue with people who choose traditional gender roles as their relationship dynamic. We are speaking out against the ambiguity of the message. This is why we want to promote a positive message that acknowledges that there are so many more realities that people live with and that they all have value.
Additionally - we are not calling for the original sign to be taken down - we believe in the freedom of speech as much as the next person!
How the money will be used:
We thought of three scenarios that this campaign can achieve and we are excited about all of them!
1. The cost of a billboard ranges between $2500 - $5,500 per month, depending on location and size (Cost updated on March 5th with a price quote from the company we've been talking to). If our goal for the monthly cost of maintaining the sign is met, you better believe you'll see our shining, beautifully designed, statement of equality lighting up your daily commute. Any remaining funds over the monthly fee will be dontated to NC Women United. See below:
2. If we do not hit our goal: We will be bummed that we won't be able to put up a shiny new billboard, BUT we will donate the money to NC Women United ( http://www.ncwu.org), an organization that helps empower women economically and politically and helps them take control our their own lives.
3. If we go over our goal: EVEN BETTER! We will keep the billboard up for however long funds allow and will donate the remaining amount to NC Women United.
We will run this campaign for 30 days in hopes to get the billboard up as soon as possible.
Why the Triangle and not the Triad? We have seen that there is already an awesome campaign being launched for a billboard to be put up in the Greensboro area! We want to stand with them and let them know that the Triangle is also a place that fights for equality.
Thank you for all of your support!
Kathryn and Paula
Today we took one last promised step in our campaign and donated all remaining funds to NC Women United. We are happy to be able to donate $1,500.00 to their cause! This non-profit works hard to achieve the full political, social, and economic equality of all women across North Carolina through legislative action. If you haven't taken a look at what they do- you definitely should!
Our next and final step of the billboard campaign: sending out thank you notes to all of you. This only happened because of you all.
After the campaign: At the moment we don't have plans to do something on this scale any time soon. That doesn't mean we are done fighting though! We know North Carolina can be a state that welcomes equality for all genders. We will be doing whatever we can to make that happen and we encourage you to join in!
All the best,
Kate and Paula
With your generous donations, we were able to buy TWO billboards, and we could not have done that with out the support from all of you! The first board will be on New Bern Avenue by Wake Med Hospital, and the second on I-40 at exit 299, both in Raleigh. They will be up for 4 weeks! We hope you'll be able to drive by them at some point during this time and know that you helped us spread our message of gender equality!
We still have time left in our campaign, and would love to be able to meet our goal of $10,000. If we can reach that number, we will be able to afford a third billboard or write a larger donation check to the NC Women's United charity. You have already done so much for our campaign, but we would appreciate any sharing on social media that might push us to meeting our final goal!
Thank you so much for being part of this. From the bottom of our hearts- it's truly inspiring to know just how many people want to spread messages of love and support to their fellow citizens. Our most sincere thanks, Kathryn and Paula
On March 5th we learned that the still anonymous person(s) responsible for the billboard replaced their original message with:
“Much Ado About Nothing. A social experiment that brought forth those so immersed in their own insecurity that in the mirror they could only see an angry victim of their incorrect interpretation of a silly billboard – Bless their hearts.”
We want to let you all know that the actions of the still unknown party won't affect or derail our message. Gender equality is still worth fighting and speaking up for. Centralizing the importance of that message does not make us victims, it makes us people willing to stand up for our beliefs about what society can and should be. We ask you again to please help us share our messages of positivity across this state. Help us spread kindness, not insults.
Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article136581828.html#storylink=cpy
Hi Karen - Thank you for your thoughtful response. While we have no issues with women who chose to stay home with their families, we do take issue with the sign making a blanket statement with no context. It does not mention child support, or even children for that matter. What it does infer is that a man is not a real man unless he provides. What about men who are unable to work, who choose to stay home, or who do not make as much money as their spouse. Are they not real men? That line of thinking is equally as harmful as it is to imply that women should only be grateful recipients of financial support. Again, we do not take any issue with women who choose 'traditional' gender roles as their relationship dynamic. We do take offense to the ambiguity of the message. I would be very happy to talk with you more about this any time. Please feel free to message me.
There are certainly women who prefer to stay home, for whatever reason (and men too). I'm all in favor of choice. But there are also those men whose attitude is that they provide the money, therefore they get to make all the decisions unilaterally. This billboard recalls that attitude painfully. Also, remember that countless little girls who may have no strong woman in their lives read and internalize such messages. We don't need any more of these messages in their environment.
Hi Dani- I'm glad the men in your life are amazing! There are some pretty great men in our lives too. We have not - at any point- said otherwise. We want to promote the idea that when all genders support each other equally- we all benefit. Feel free to message me if you want to talk about it!
Hi Jasmine, thank you for commenting! We agree that there are very real issues that men face on a daily basis, and that they are unfortunately often over looked or go unheard. All of the issues that you brought up are incredibly valid and are issues that we should all be thinking about and trying to fix. I want you to know that Kate and I did a lot of research and a lot of thinking about what charity that we should support with any extra funds. We did not just pick one out of the blue. We talked about a lot of different options and different approaches. We settled on this one because it works towards causes that align with our own. NC Women United strives to reach gender equality by supporting the part of the equation that isn't equal and by lifting them up. In general, equality is reached by helping the party that is at a disadvantage, and we feel strongly that, even in 2017, women are at a disadvantage compared to men. That is the same reason why we chose a gender specific charity. Our end goal is gender equality and we will get there by helping women. Thank you for taking the time to reach out.
If your message is that "Gender equality is for everyone", I would like to suggest that your fallback charity be a gender neutral cause rather than simply donating to a Womens'-only organization. Men make up 93% of workplace fatalities. 75% of the homeless are male. Men account for nearly 80% of all suicides. There is a vast sentencing disparity between men and women who are convicted of similar crimes. Men are disproportionally affected by sexual violence and domestic abuse, since they have even less support in our society than women. Many divorced men have to fight tooth and nail in family courts just to visit their children, but are often faced with a slew of legal roadblocks and discriminatory treatment by the courts. Men and boys are falling behind their female counterparts in schools, and are graduating college at a lower rate than women. And of course, men are the only sex that doesn't have a right to bodily autonomy - it is still considered perfectly morally acceptable to mutilate a baby boy's genitals at birth without his consent. There are so, so many issues that impact men specifically, and I plead with you to take these issues into consideration as you move forward with this campaign. All of us - men and women - suffer at the hands of sexism and prejudice. I hope and pray that, if gender equality is truly the driving force behind this GoFundMe, you will choose a charity or organization that benefits both sexes.
Apparently they don't quite understand that in Much Ago About Nothing, "Nothing" is a euphemism for sex?
Oh, yeah, real well-thought social "experiment" there. Very scientific. So at the same time there was another billboard somewhere that read something equally inflammatory like "Real Americans know there is no god." and every Christian was cool with that, proving they aren't also whiners and self labeled "victims"... RIGHT?
I'm not sure why this is offensive. It doesn't say "real men have jobs" it says simply that they provide. And real men do provide. Some of them provide financial support, some provide safe and lovin childcare by staying home with their kids. Most importantly REAL men provide a strong reliable spouse to their partner(married or not) and a safe loving father for his children. I think this sign is left to interpretation. If you interpret it as something negative it will be. I choose to see it in an all encompassing positive light devoid of any "traditional" gender roles.
I LOVE THE SIGN! Who is responsible cause I want to call and thank them ! Men are amazing and I appreciate them soooo much!!!! I have a huge business project going right now and if it wasn't for all the kind men providing with little pay, I wouldn't be able to get my dream off the ground! I appreciate and respect the men in my life! Men are amazing! Love the sign!
I'm not sure if you are really trying to be this controlling or if you have simply misunderstood this sign. There are plenty of women who WANT to stay home and raise their children. (It actually is better for the children too no matter how you spin it) You can't decide for them, and create a world where women HAVE to work! The women's movement, as good as it was in some respects, did harm in others. As a result of it, it actually harmed our country by lowering wages where as a result, it now takes 2 salaries to sustain a family. On another unrelated note, there are many single women who are having trouble collecting child support. That is what this sign is about. Men NEED to be responsible for their children!! I'm not calling you a "snowflake". Instead, I simply think you aren't thinking at all!
To counter the "Real men provide. Real women appreciate it." billboard, you are accepting money from men!