As you would have noticed, there has been a lot of discussion in recent days about the responsibility of men in challenging harmful behaviour towards women. “Are men welcome to join Collective Shout?” we are asked. “How do you engage men to help challenge harmful cultural messages?”
To answer the first: men are very welcome and in fact we have growing numbers of men joining the cause. It has been encouraging to see more men speaking out, including male students calling out inappropriate behaviour in their peers, challenging harmful messages about masculinity, and men putting their hands up to run campaigns.
One such man is Melbourne dad, Kenneth Thor.
Kenneth contacted Collective Shout last year after his family was confronted by Honey Birdette’s porn-inspired floor to ceiling window displays in his local Westfield shopping centre. We worked with Kenneth on a national campaign to hold Honey Birdette and Westfield accountable, focussing on the company’s Christmas displays depicting semi-naked women in sexually suggestive poses with Santa – in some stores just metres away from where children were having their photos taken with him. Kenneth’s Change.org petition gained over 60,000 signatures and attracted local and international media attention. Kenneth is now one of our passionate volunteers. He explains:
“I’m just a dad with three kids who had never participated in activism before, so I had no idea how to start. Without Collective Shout, I would not have been able to navigate the language to express my concerns and why the explicit use of women’s bodies in advertising is wrong. I had never noticed nor cared about this before, but when I saw how Honey Birdette’s window display impacted my four-year-old daughter, I knew I had to do something to right this injustice against children. We all want a world free of sexploitation - Collective Shout is leading us in reaching that goal. I am truly in awe of how much Collective Shout does with so little. Imagine what they could do with more!”
Since I wrote to you last week, generous supporters have given over $8,500 towards our End of Financial Year appeal. We only need $6,000 to reach our target before June 30. With 10 days to go, will you partner with us in continuing our culture transforming work?
Remember: a generous donor will match ALL donations received before June 30! Your gift of $53 becomes $106 - doubling the impact. All donations over $2 are tax deductible.
We are committed, more than ever, to hold offending corporations like Honey Birdette to account. All of us can be a part of the change.
Melinda Tankard Reist & the Collective Shout team