Men of quality are everywhere; on the ice at the Air Canada Center, wearing Maple Leaf Blue, and off the ice, in the stands cheering, at home encouraging, online tweeting game highlights. When White Ribbon announced our partnership with the Maple Leafs this week we were prepared for anything. We were hoping for lots of high fives and congratulations on the work we are doing in partnership with the team. But we were also prepared for the inevitable criticism that comes along with men and some women who equate work to end violence against women with supporting violence against men. It’s a logical fallacy, one of many that are often lobbed at the work that we do at White Ribbon.
What we didn’t anticipate, however, was how quickly the internet would work to call out negative and illogical commenters.
Commenters and tweeters came out in fierce support of White Ribbon’s mission and methodology and in strong condemnation of those who claimed to be disappointed and alienated by the unquestionably inclusive message of the video.
We read them!
It’s dangerous to read Youtube comments, and even more dangerous sometimes to venture into reddit, but even there we found an amazing spirit of empathy and positivity for White Ribbon’s work.
Bubbles are scary but Leaf redditors are warm and fuzzy
Reading comments and tweets in response to our work can be disheartening, and yet it demonstrates the need for White Ribbon to continue to engage men and boys in understanding how violent and sexist talk contributes to a culture of violence. But this week reading the comments was an exercise in understanding our impact, and in appreciating how many men of quality are already refusing to stay silent in the face of sexist, humiliating and illogical comments.
So here’s to you – the fearless tweeter, the valiant youtube commenter, the unflappable redditor. Keep up the amazing work. Keep defending what you know is right and calling out the bad stuff. We see you. We hear you and we thank you for speaking up and speaking out.
Also published on Medium.