How one decent bloke's Facebook video went viral
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How one decent bloke's Facebook video went viral

After a spate of women being attacked in his local area, last week, father of two Jakson Elfring posted a video on Facebook calling for men to change their behaviour towards women.

After a spate of women being attacked in his local area, last week, father of two Jakson Elfring posted a video on Facebook calling for men to change their behaviour towards women.Credit:Facebook

How does a man be a man in a #metoo world?

Behaviour that used to make men legends now makes them creeps — and, in some cases, criminals.

Men who have been laughing at their mates’ sexist jokes since they were flicking bra straps at school now find that when a footballer makes a sexist “joke”, a standard from the macho male playbook on the radio, he loses his job.

And the men who laughed at that comment are no longer “good blokes”. They are cowards for not standing up to their mate and colleague.

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Not surprisingly, there is a backlash from men who find the standard of being a decent human being a challenge.

Some men, like David Leyonhjelm, think they are freedom fighters, battling in the trenches to maintain their basic human right to degrade women. Others just see themselves as victims, men who have been cut down by the feminazis hell-bent on ruining their lives.

 Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, and Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, and Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm.Credit:MICK TSIKAS/LUKAS COCH

But a simple video by a tradie from Hazelwood, Victoria, provides a powerful demonstration of how men can and should behave.

After a spate of women being attacked in his local area, last week, father of two Jakson Elfring posted a video on Facebook calling for men to change their behaviour towards women.

“Someone needs to stand up and start saying something,” Elfring said. “Three of the easiest words you can live by is, ‘No means no.’ That is not hard to understand. If you can’t live by that, there’s something wrong with you.”

Elfring then went on to demonstrate that you don’t need a vagina and a degree in Women’s Studies to understand the concept of rape culture.

“The rape culture in Australia is shocking. It starts with a joke at work, or a text message, or it could be something you tag your mate in on Facebook, or just as easy as little comments like… ‘she’s a slut’. It’s got to stop.”

More heartening, Elfring is the father of two boys. In the video, he makes it clear that he sees teaching his boys to respect women as part of his responsibility as a father.

Rather than feeling personally aggrieved and attacked by women calling out gender violence and sexism, Elfring had the emotional intelligence to realise that, as a man, he is part of a group that inflicts devastating harm and violence on women. And as a decent man, not only is he in a position to influence change among other men, he also feels a responsibility to do so.

Elfring’s post is a simple, straightforward statement of common decency. In an ideal world, it would be unremarkable. But Elfring’s video has been viewed 1.6 million times, he’s had national news coverage and he’s been inundated with praise and grateful comments from women.

“Jakson Elfring is the epitome of what healthy, positive masculinity in Australia should (and could) look like,” wrote Jen Clark on Facebook. “[I was] moved to tears this morning. It's a shame this kind of insight and maturity is so rare that it needs applauding, but Jakson you are a bloody star in our eyes.”

We don’t live in an ideal world and decent male voices like Elfring’s are sorely needed. As a contribution to the conversation about gender violence in Australian society, it’s up there with Lieutenant General David Morrison’s “the standard you walk by is the standard you accept” address to the Armed forces when he was Chief of Army.

It’s a sad state of affairs when a man garners so much praise and attention for doing something as basic as publicly declaring that men need to respect women. It shows how low the bar has been for so long.

But it also shows that #metoo has not thrown men into a no-win crisis. The support for Elfring illustrates just how easy it is for #allmen to be good men.

Writer, author of '30-Something and Over It'. View more articles from Kasey Edwards.