Don't Buy It Project: Stopping Exploitation at the Source
Men. We all know one; maybe you are one. They are our fathers, our brothers, our mentors and our friends. Men are awesome, and the world would be a sad place without them. But men are also statistically the driving force behind the sex industry, creating a demand that has to be filled, often by forced prostitution and sex trafficking. While this may seem like a very negative reality, it also means that men have the power to stop the cycle.
Today we’re talking about a group called Men As Peacemakers, and their movement “Don’t Buy It Project” (DBIP). The idea behind the project is that “violence, including sex trafficking and sexual exploitation, can be prevented, and that change begins with the individual, who can then be engaged to help create change in their relationships, communities, and society.” In essence, the people hold the power to bring peace.
The idea behind Don't Buy It Project is that “violence, including sex trafficking and sexual exploitation, can be prevented, and that change begins with the individual, who can then be engaged to help create change in their relationships, communities, and society.”
With so many organizations and researchers that already focus on lending a hand to victims, DBIP stands out by concentrating on cutting off trafficking at the source. By empowering men to make better, more informed decisions on how they use their money, the demand for commercial sex decreases, and sexual exploitation stops dead in its tracks. DBIP encourages men (and all consumers) to refuse purchasing sex in any form, including pornography, strip clubs, and prostituted women.
Many of us have become desensitized to the sex industry, going with the cultural flow and doing nothing to stop the demand for commercial sexual exploitation. The culture we grow up in, the way we are raised, and our privilege all play a role in our perception of reality. DBIP is encouraging those who want to actively create a better world by sending the message to “open [their] eyes and begin to see.” See the way commercial sexual exploitation affects minorities at a much greater percentage, playing into systems of oppression. See how sexual exploitation has been so normalized in our everyday lives, from pornography to strip clubs, that we think nothing of it. See the ways pop culture objectifies women and children, accumulating image after image we take in without thinking twice about it. See the inherent value difference we give to men over women and the justification of violence, control, and domination as ‘masculinity.’ See “the ways your community suggests that men have a right to purchase people used in commercial sexual exploitation.” As long as we are unaware of injustice, we are powerless in the fight against it.
See “the ways your community suggests that men have a right to purchase people used in commercial sexual exploitation.” As long as we are unaware of injustice, we are powerless in the fight against it.
In addition to making a pledge to not buy sex, DBIP adds some other items to the list of non-purchasables. One of these is not buying into the ideologies that create a demand for exploitation. This includes the myth that women always choose prostitution freely and in liberation, the idea that men must be dominant and controlling to be masculine, and the belief that masculinity is tied to sexual achievement. DBIP compels activists to speak out against these harmful ideas and change the narratives for themselves, as well as their communities. Another item on the “Don’t Buy It” list is anything marketed using sexually exploitative advertising. This can vary from porn, to movies, to magazines, and even clothing. Once you start to see how sex is so deeply embedded in our culture, you will be shocked at what we learn to accept as normal.
You can be a part of DBIP, and help shift the narratives around sexual exploitation! Sign the pledge to commit to stop buying items that support exploitation, and take a stand for the equal treatment of all people. You can also partner with DBIP by spreading the word in your community, downloading the social media resources, and getting your friends and acquaintances to sign the pledge. DBIP offers an online training to raise up leaders and empower boys and men to step out in their own communities and make a difference. Educate yourself on these issues so you can be a resource to others! When we all do our part to stand up against injustices, things begin to change.
Find out more about Don't Buy It Project & Men as Peacemakers by following their logos below.
You don't have to wait until December to be a part of the impact. Join the Dressember Collective and become part of a powerful community of advocates and donors furthering the work and impact of the Dressember Foundation through monthly giving.
About the Author
Mallory Mishler is a Michigander, studying Women’s and Gender Studies and Peace and Justice. She is passionate about using her voice to advocate for the freedom of all people, especially through creative mediums. When not writing, she can be found climbing mountains, caring for her plants, or painting on things that shouldn’t be painted.