"Do you think men are the enemy?" This is often the response I get when I tell men about Diem. As recently as this past weekend, a male friend asked me this question during a friendly debate which, of course, got me thinking.
This question is obviously problematic for a few reasons. First, it implies a level of defensiveness—I think men ask me this question as a way of putting up their guard. But am I building Diem because I'm "out to get" men in some way? Of course not! I suspect this is happening because men are the historic holders of all power, so when something (Diem, in this case) is built to create more equality across power structures, it feels like a threat. But really, when I think about building Diem, it's not to take down men—I'm actually not even thinking about the male experience at all. All good founders (and marketers) know that you can't build for everyone, and I've simply chosen to build for women and non-binary people.
Second, I worry that marketing that slanders men has become too common. We've seen it with many popular products, especially seeping into mainstream consumerism via companies like The Wing after Trump was elected into office in 2016. But while it's pretty easy (and definitely funny) to make jokes at the expense of the patriarchy—is this marketing doing us a disservice when it comes to bringing new, equitable solutions into the world? As much as I enjoy it, "fuck the patriarchy" messaging is starting to seem like an overdone relic of feminist capitalism. Perhaps it's time to rally the troops and polish off the other weapons at our disposal.
For the record: I don't think (all) men are the enemy. I think anyone (of any gender identity) who consciously upholds behavior that is inequitable, or at the detriment of equality, is the "enemy" of sorts. That's an enemy that's working against a more equal society for all, and that's who I have a problem with. It circles back to the very basic fact that equality is not just beneficial to those currently marginalized, something many people choose to forget.
I do, however, think most men can do a better job holding themselves and each other accountable for recognizing these inequities that are present all around us. We all exist in a world that has prioritized the success of those who identify as (cis, white) men. We know this to be true. We've never lived in a world that's been designed for anyone else to thrive or gain power. What I mean is—we are consistently striving for power that is, at its core, inherently masculine. Even when we think of "power," as a word, we think: authority, strength, control, muscle. Do these words feel feminine to you?
With this as our baseline, it is crucial that those who hold the most "power" are involved in the battle to move equality in the right direction. So what should I say when men ask me if I think they're the enemy? No, you're not the enemy. But you should be my ally. You should care about all of the absurd inequalities that permeate every facet of our society, from the pay gap to our healthcare systems.
But maybe that message has been too polarizing lately. What does a t-shirt that shouts "fuck the patriarchy" really do to dismantle the patriarchy? If we consider that type of feminist marketing a forlorn hope of this battle towards equality, and we've clearly infiltrated "enemy" lines, is it time to re-strategize? What's our next move?
Perhaps my War Studies degree is paying off after all.
Things we’re reading this week…
👊 Meghan Markle's battle with trolls. A new report revealed a coordinated (and probably well-funded) Twitter campaign of targeted harassment against Meghan Markle, one of many examples of the long-standing tradition of taking down Black women for sport. (BuzzFeed)
👀 Reddit's misogyny grade. Reddit earned the "best grade" on a "misogyny" report card for social media. It was a C, btw. The report card system was developed by the feminist group Ultraviolet, who gave platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok mostly failing grades for failing to prevent harassment and abuse against women on their sites. (The Washington Post)
💋 Dating sugar daddies. Dating rich guys shouldn't be taboo, according to one writer who breaks down the nuanced dynamics between sugar daddies and sugar babies. "Both have the ability to say exactly what they want and, then, the other party can either agree, renegotiate, or say no thanks." (The Doe)
🤠 Reconsider the South. Writer Nneke Ewulonu thinks the South is misunderstood, especially as a hotbed for a rich diversity of cultures. FYI: 3.6 million LGBTQ adults (or 32% of the nation’s LGBTQ adult population) live in the South, which is more than in any other region of the country. Nneke writes: "The stereotypes painting southerners as "backward" or majoritarian ignore the lived reality of the millions of liberal QTPOC like me who live here." (The Power Outlet)
What we’re talking about in Diem…
Let’s talk about FOMO… something you might have if you miss this Session with Host and mental health expert Shyann, RN ;) she’ll be sharing knowledge on combatting feelings of envy and FOMO as we enter into the holiday season. TODAY at 12pm EST, here.
Diem with Lana Elie… as part of our new native series where Members in Diem invite people they want to learn from into a conversation, today Emma will be in conversation with Floom founder Lana on her entrepreneurial journey, immigrating to the US and more. TODAY at 5pm EST, here.
Sober curious? Join Amy Fraser as she spotlight’s Host, writer & author, Sarah Levy. You may remember her article, Giving Up Alcohol Made Me Date like a Teenager in The Cut – she’ll also be sharing knowledge on changing careers, body image & adjusting to a new city in adulthood. SUNDAY at 4.30pm EST, here.
Diem with Nisha Dua… Managing Partner and co-founder of fund, BBG Ventures on all things venture capital, building businesses for women, tips to get into investing and more. Emma will be in conversation with Nisha on MONDAY at 6PM EST, here.
That’s all for this week! Catch you next time.