Billy Bush. Charlamagne the god. Trevor Noah. Dave Chapelle. These four men come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, countries, have various political affiliations, and belong to different ethnicities, races, and religions. Yet, they have one thing in common. These men are malleable. They've changed their identity and beliefs. These ex- gatekeepers to our patriarchy now use their platforms to dismantle the very system they used to uphold. What started it all? Call-Out Culture.
The Tale of the Four Malleable Men
Billy Bush lost his job and his wife after being caught on tape laughing at President Donald Trump's sexual assault jokes. Since then, he has gone to various news outlets to express his shame and regret. Billy Bush isn't the only man in Hollywood who has apologized for being in the midst of sexual assault scandals. He is, however, one of the only men to do a half-way decent job at apologizing. What's more is that he has tried to use his platform to speak out against men, men like him, men who believe that being complicit in rape culture is worth price of getting ahead in your career. According to Billy Bush, he knew that Trump was wrong. He didn't laugh at the sexual assault jokes because he thought they were funny. He laughed because he was trying to kiss Trump's ass. To this, many women may rightly feel like,
But since then, Billy Bush has tried to promote "whistle blowing" in regards to sexual assault. He may have done it because his publicist told him to. He may have done it for better publicity. Either way, he helped moved the discussion to a more nuanced place.
Charlamagne the god
Charlamagne the god is known for his sexist taunts on his radio show, The Breakfast Club. (For thousands of people The Breakfast Club represents "the culture" *Thus, for a long time The Breakfast Club has represented how the black community has been tainted by the patriarchy*) He's treats women like shit. He has frequently implied that women are shit. He's even condoned fucked up jokes about the transgender community. In addition, he's sprinkled some gay jokes around more than a few times. Well one day, Charlamagne said that black women needed to be like Tomi Lahren, racist extraordinaire. Apparently, he foolishly believed that black women weren't using social media platforms to elevate themselves and the community. Of course, he was wrong. Of course, we have been for years. We have just been censored, erased, and overshadowed by racist extraordinaire like Tomi Lahren.
After his stupid comments, everyone raced to condemn him. Let's just say,
There were even talks of boycotting the Breakfast Club. I did for a while. Weeks and months went by and you would hear him complain about how feminist were still dragging his name in the streets of black twitter. But all of a sudden, every now and again, you would hear him say "woke" things about the women's movement. It was obvious that someone had been telling him about himself. It was also obvious that he was processing it because his ideas about the women's movement began to progress.
Then on Friday November 10th of 2017, he randomly apologized for his place in furthering rape culture in the black community.
He gave himself the donkey of the day and said, "I consider myself a pretty thoughtful guy. I pay attention to what's been going on in the world for the most part. But something has hit me over the past year or so and it's been heavy on my soul all week and if you listen to my podcast we had people speak on it yesterday but I want to speak about it here on the Breakfast Club and I want to talk to yall about it...I feel stupid that I am just now realizing that a lot of us men in America have been raised on rape culture.. My brothers, if we are being morally honest with ourselves.. if you were born in the late 70's, 80's, hell longer than that- you were absolutely, positiviely raised on rape culture. I feel bad and extremely dumb that I didn't realize this earlier in my life. I don't care if it was freak week Miami Memorial, Myrtle Beach Black Biker weekend, it was never normal to feel like you could grab a woman's ass just because it's fat and she's got on biker shorts and daisy dukes. It was never normal to grab a woman's breast just because you saw in Dr. Dre's nothing but a G Thing where the girl was playing volleyball and they ran up behind her and pulled her bikini top off. If you ever mimicked that kind of behavior, it wasn't normal. If you are in a fraternity and you ever have women come over and you got them high and you got them drunk, you know that whole aint no fun if the homies can't have none mentality so you and the rest of your frat ran a train on the girl, that wasn't normal, that was rape culture.
In movies like Revenge of the Nerds, where guys would have sex would passed out women, and dress up as other people in order to have sex with them, that was rape culture! Remember Porky? Remember sneaking up late to watch Porky where they were drilling in holes in the wall to peep at girls. I got a homeboy in college who would start hitting a girl from the back and he would have another guy come up and start hitting her from the back without her consent, We would get drunk and high would women and they would be inebriated and then we would sleep with them? I'm sorry my brothers. All of that was rape culture."
I feel the quote explains itself. He changed, became a better person, and is using his platform to explain how he messed up.
In 2011 Mr. Noah went on Twitter to say, "Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I'm sexy!" - fat chicks everywhere." Obviously, his body shaming jokes are fucked up. It doesn't stop there. He's also said, “In Thailand hookers are so cheap, even cheaper than food. Tough choice between Big Mac and Quarter Pounder Deluxe.”
After Mr. Noah was caught in said scandal because he, on his own volition, started to tweet sexist things, he used his rhetorical genius to speak out against patriarchal norms. The change seemed to come after social media warriors came for his life. The brought on a change and since then he has used his platform (The Daily show and comedy shows) to preach feminist messages. But he didn't stop there. Trevor has gone on interviews with men dominated radio teams, such as the Breakfast Club. There, he used his voice to make sure that the woman, Angela Yee, in the room wasn't mansplained to or talked over. He has also used his book to speak about injustices women go through and his belief that women are strong and amazing af.
Now, let us direct our attention to the man, the myth, and the Legend: Dave Chappelle. This silver tongue has used his platform to move the discussion about the transgender community and the #MeToo movement. I know that some people may be confused reading my last sentence. Isn't Dave Chapelle known for being the transphobic ringleader, you may ask
Well, yes he is. I had planned to boycott his comedy shows for that very reason. However, I was forced to watch his last series due to the fact that my parents were listening to his recent one on Netflix during a long drive from Houston, Texas to Storrs, Connecticut. Anyways, over the last few years he has done several comedy shows and in each of them he has talked about the transgender community. Thing is that each time his ideas are steadily getting more, "woke". In his last series, he did a cool trick where he made people feel like they were in on the joke about transgender people, but by the end of the joke he made his audience laugh at themselves about being transphobic. I believe that many of his transphobic fan base are changing due to his changing sentiments.
To be clear, I am not saying that any trans person should be thankful or celebrate that people have gone from "I hate transgender people and think they should go to hell" to "it doesn't matter that I don't get it. I should leave them the fuck alone. let ppl do what they want. their plight is legitimate" because of his comedy shows. However, I think his talented rhetoric moves people to do just that and I think that it is a good thing. I also want to be clear that I do not believe that he is right in his beliefs or that he offers a nuanced discussion. I don't think he has too though. Leave the rest to memes and short videos that incite people to learn and then leave the rest to the academics, organizers, activist to teach the, you know? Everyone has a place in helping our society transition from being less shitty and he has done a great job. But also, in regards to the #MeToo campaign, he made several jokes about the sexual assault violations in Hollywood. That sounds like a horrible thing, right? But much like his jokes about transgender people, he gets his audience to think about people in other positions. Additionally, he goes on a long monologue at the end to makes it clear that being transphobic and sexist is a fucked up way to be.
Happy Ever After?
So what does it all mean? Is call-out culture the reason for their great change? I can't truly say for sure. What I do know is that these men probably wouldn't have thought to think differently if they hadn't been called out for their bigoted ideas. There is a new culture rising. It is a culture of intolerance; intolerance of oppression. And this culture is proving that men really are malleable. In a society where people use Hobbes' assertion that men are selfish brutes, in a world where people use ideas about men's "nature" to excuse their sexist ways, it is easy to feel hopeless. Thankfully, there are many men who are at the forefront of it all who are being pushed to change for the better. They are making themselves into role models we can actually look up to. They are showing us that people don't have to live in a constant state of bigotry. They can change. Call out- culture has shown that men are malleable.