A bizarre, sexist billboard erected in North Carolina has sparked large protests throughout the state, with local women sharing messages of inclusivity in an attempt to counteract the advertisement’s outdated message. The billboard, recently put up on the highway between Winston-Salem and Greensboro, reads:

“Real men provide. Real women appreciate it.”

It’s unclear what the billboard is for, or even, who sponsored its message. According to North Carolina’s Triad City Beat, the sign was put up by Whiteheart Outdoor Advertising, but the company’s president, Bill Whiteheart, says the poster is a “paid message” sponsored by an unknown party. He did, however, confirm that the party responsible for the billboard intends to disclose its identity and purpose—eventually.

Following the sign’s construction, locals gathered on Facebook to organize a protest against the sexist billboard’s misogynistic message. According to the event’s page, the protest is not an attempt to argue “that the sign is capable of existing…or the right to put it up,” but rather, to argue against “patriarchy and sexism, and that this antiquated way of thinking about women exists at all.”

As Yahoo reports, hundreds of local residents participated in the protest at Merschel Plaza in Winston-Salem on Sunday, which asked residents to paint positive, inclusive messages on bedsheets and hang them from their homes or places of business. The winning slogan—which will be voted on via an online poll—will then be made into a new billboard, to be paid for via a Generosity fundraiser organized by Modcloth founder Susan Koger. Pretty amazing, right?


More on women’s issues:

  1. These Women Posed Nude to Send a Message to the Republican National Convention
  2. Beautiful Rights Is the Beauty Brand That Helps You Support Women’s Rights
  3. A Day Without a Woman: Everything You Need To Know About the Upcoming Strike

Regardless of the advertiser’s intent—whether it was meant to be construed as sexist or not—the billboard is damn offensive. The bright side in all of this is that the message inspired a local community to gather in support of women’s rights and inclusivity. And at the end of the day, that’s something worth celebrating—no matter what it took to get there.

Watch: Dispelling Beauty Myths: Gender Norms



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