Using Healthy Masculinity to Take a Stand

Healthy Masculinity

If men didn’t buy her, her pimp couldn’t sell her. It sounds simple enough – if there weren’t the demand for the commercial sexual exploitation of girls and women, then sex trafficking just wouldn’t exist. It isn’t that easy, though, as anyone who’s ever been invited to a pimps and hos party, helped plan a raunchy bachelor party, or even listened to songs about pimps, knows. Actively taking a stand against pimp culture and commercial sexual exploitation – and, by extension, for healthy masculinity – can be stressful and uncomfortable. To help you out, we’ve got some ideas to help you handle some awkward scenarios. For the full list, check out our How to Talk About It page! 

So, your boys want to go out to a strip club or bring strippers over for a party. How can you get out of it? 

  • Keep it simple
    • "I've got other plans..."
  • Go further
    • "Do you really think they're stripping their way through med school?"
  • Confront the issue
    • "It's disrespectful to women, and not fun."

The real deal: You don't need to force your friends not to go — but they don't have to pressure you into going either. Chances are there is someone else in the group who also doesn't feel great about it; you being the first one to opt out would make it easier on them to get on board also. Choosing not to go will probably lead to some questions, and a larger conversation about how what you see on stage may not actually reflect what's happening behind the scenes. 

It's your study abroad, your friends are thinking about checking out the country's Red Light District. It's different (here), right?

  • Keep it Simple
    • "Why don't we go practice our [insert local language] on some local girls at the bar instead?"
  • Go Further
    • "Look at all those creepy guys going in — do you really want to be like them?"
  • Confronting the Issue
    • "It's actually not different here. A lot of girls are forced into it, and don't get to keep the money."

The Real Deal: Providing some facts can help make the situation a little less glamorous. Trying new things and exploring different cultures is definitely part of the abroad experience, but get to know the country you're in. The issues it faces (like sex trafficking) are just as important as hunting down cheap bars. 

Your friends want to throw a "Pimps and Hos" party.

Your friends want to throw a "Pimps and Hos" party.

  • Keep it Simple
    • "Ugh, everyone does that. Why don't we throw a ____ themed party instead?"
  • Go Further
    • "I think girls would probably appreciate not having to dress like prostitutes for a weekend."
  • Confront the Issue
    • "Dressing up like guys who beat and exploit women is not that cool."

The Real Deal: We love a good theme party as much as anyone else, but pimp and ho parties glamorize men who victimize women. There's nothing sexy about the day-to-day reality of a pimp. Did you know that pimps exploit women as young as 12? Probably not what you thought you were dressing up as. 

It’s important to talk with your friends about healthy masculinity; after all, healthy masculinity is a very important step in preventing exploitation and trafficking. 

The mtvU Against Our Will Campaign is supporting Men Can Stop Rape’s Healthy Masculinity Action Project. To learn more about healthy masculinity, check out their site