Fight Like A Man — How Men Can Help End Violence Against Women
If we lived in a tribe of 150 people, 75 women, 75 men — and 25 of the women were under attack, what kind of men would we be by not doing anything to stop it?
Does it matter if it’s 150 or 15 million, or 7 billion? Those are our statistics — one in three women.
To attempt to make an impact, I started Fight Like A Girl, a free women’s self-defence program with the goal of making free and affordable women’s self-defence accessible to every woman in the world by 2030. But, we asked, even if every woman in the world knew how to defend herself, why would we accept a world in which she had to? And so we started partner program, Fight Like A Man — a purpose-based manhood program.
When we would take a group of boys or men through the program, we’d ask — what is a man? Answers we would get back would include
A man is big.
A man is strong.
A man doesn’t cry.
Then we would ask — what’s the opposite of a man? And what would they all say? Woman. But then we would ask
Can a woman be big?
Can a woman be strong?
Can a woman not cry?
We show that the opposite of a man is not a woman, but a boy. We reframe manhood not as a competition, but a journey. From boy to man.
Then, however, we ask — was Ghandi a man? Was Hitler a man? Is it enough to strive to be a man?
We show that there is more to the spectrum. From boy to man — to good man.
Then we ask if we lived in a tribe of 150 people, 75 men and 75 women — and 25 of the women were under attack, what kind of men would we be by doing nothing to stop it?
Does it matter if it is 150 or 15 million or seven billion? Those are our statistics — one in three women.
How can we stop it? Well, who, for the most part, is committing violence against women? Men. And why are they doing it? What is it they get out of it? A sense of power. Why do they need that power? The must feel powerless.
This is the key.
If they commit violence because they feel powerless, it is a call to never put anyone down, never belittle or bully. Disempowering people, we create a vacuum that might only get filled by harming others. Better than simply not putting others down, we teach to proactively lift them up. By helping them grow in life, by empowering them, we can pull people out of positions that make them feel they have no other way to feel powerful.
But — how can we help anyone if we are not in a good position? If the masks fall down on a plane, you have to put yours on first. If we want to be able to lift others up, we must work on our own position first. And so we must study success and work to position ourselves so that we can make an impact.
Historically men mentored, taught, and groomed boys to be good men, but in modern culture that function is left unmet. The groups that do target men often tend to be extreme, caustic, and polarized. If we, peaceable men, don’t want the ranks of radicalized groups to grow, we have to give those boys and men who are on the fence something better to join.
And so, teaching lifeskills, social entrepreneurship, and leadership, Fight Like A Man is intended to be a purpose-based manhood community, mentorship, and holistic life-enhancement platform for boys and men, with the aim of creating a global movement of men working to end violence against women.
Intended because one of the realities of entrepreneurship is that sometimes you hit icebergs. Even before Covid, making a brick and mortar business successful enough to be able to dedicate time and energy to impact projects was difficult. With Covid, my academy, OpenMat MMA, Fight Like A Man, and Fight Like A Girl, among other programs, have been put on hold. With this pause, I have finally been able to dedicate myself to my priority impact project, GlobalUnity.org, but that leaves even less time for other projects, going forward.
And so, Fight Like A Man is a good idea, a necessary idea, and a doable idea. But it’s not one I can actualize. Not on my own, anyway.
With modern connectivity tools, decentralized governance tools, and a great need for a space for positive, welcoming, nurturing manhood, we could easily crowdsource a movement and a platform. It just takes a few men willing to stand up and work together.
Today, International Women’s Day, we will be running a Fight Like A Man room on the new audio app Clubhouse, to discuss how men can help end violence against women, as well as explore how we might build this movement, together.
We can build a better world. We just need people who want to do good to stand up.