Sexism, misogyny, and gender inequality are not hard to find in Australia. We consistently rank amongst the lowest countries in the Western world for sexist beliefs, with startling proportions of men in this country believing some truly shocking things about women and feminism.
The problem is that, although change is happening, some men are appearing to tune out the message. Furthermore, the men who want to be A+ allies, might not to know how to help out.
Research conducted by Ipsos for International Women’s Day found that one in five men believe that men have lost out economically and socially because of feminism. Fifteen per cent believe that violence against women is often provoked by the victim.
Despite these awful statistics, Australia has been undergoing something of a feminist revolution over the past few years. We’ve seen upheavals to address the culture that perpetuates or allows these views in various sectors of society, including politics at a federal and state level, as well as the music industry, which has faced its own reckoning, as well as our education sector. All of this has been spurred on by activists and campaigners like Grace Tame, who refuse to allow the conversation to stop.
Not all areas have had quite the same light shone upon them though. Advertising and media is one such industry that is yet to receive the #MeToo treatment — but it’s coming.
Fck The Cupcakes is an initiative started by Jasmin Bedir, CEO of the marketing agency Innocean, who has said that equality in her industry has “actually gotten worse”.
“Businesses now get away with ticking boxes and hammering logos onto the website and wearing t-shirts, signalling on the surface that they are apparently appreciative and supportive of women, but that’s just all ornamental,” she told Mumbrella.
That’s why her organisation is putting the middle finger up to tokenistic gestures, like cupcakes on IWD, and are instead attempting to enliven the other side in this debate — men.
The latest shEqual Advertising Equality report found that over half of men in the industry believe that gender equality is a priority in their workplace, while less than a third of women agree. The report also found that 89% of women who responded to the survey said they would be encouraged by witnessing men actively engage with gender equality.
Taking this insight as a cornerstone, Fck The Cupcakes has launched its new ‘Be the Change‘ initiative that proactively encourages men to join the conversation and teaches them how to support women.
“We want to acknowledge that many men want to help but don’t know how – so we’re creating a safe space for men to learn the tools to listen and give permission to contribute to the fight for gender equality 365 days a year,” expressed Bedir in a statement.