A controversial billboard in North Carolina is being called an insult to gender equality.
As reported by the Associated Press, the billboard says, “Real men provide. Real women appreciate it.” It's located on a busy highway between Winston-Salem and Greensboro.
In response, women in the area are planning a peaceful protest this weekend. The organizer of the event, boutique owner Molly Grace, says the protest isn’t against the billboard itself but the message it sends, according to CNN. “We are not protesting the right to have a billboard or express a message on it,” Grace said. “This is only a protest against the type of thinking that creates a message like that."
Grace created a Facebook event to organize the protest, which will take place Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. CNN reports that the protest was originally planned to be held directly under the billboard, but is being moved to Merschel Plaza due to safety concerns.
“We are protesting the implied demand that women be silent and appreciate, regardless of whatever circumstances, their role as non-providers,” Grace wrote in a post on the event page. She told CNN that the protest was also against the idea that women should “shut up and smile and be grateful for what this man does for you.” On Facebook, over 100 people have said that they are going to the event.
People took to Twitter to respond and correct what they also feel is a sexist message.
@CNN real Women provide too. Real men are not threatened by it.
— TX C@ (@TMJS61) February 23, 2017
@CNN No, REAL men are not fearful that Women CAN also be providers if/when THEY chose to; REAL men support them and their efforts.
— Wendell L Thornhill (@WLThornhill) February 23, 2017
One woman even used the situation to make a not-so-subtle jab at President Trump.
@MMFlint there are just too many jokes but I'll give it a go.
Real men provide...
...their tax returns
— Rhona Murdoch (@rhona_kate) February 23, 2017
So who is behind the billboard message? It's currently a mystery. The Associated Press reported that the billboard belongs to Whiteheart Outdoor Advertising, but the organization that rented the sign for 30 days didn't want to be identified. “We’re not supportive of or in opposition to the message,” Bill Whiteheart said. “We’re just the messenger.”
Stay tuned—Whiteheart told the Triad City Beat that the organization who bought the billboard space will have an "annoucement in the future".