Closing The Gap

41 percent of men say they've never heard of the #MeToo movement

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For some, it may feel as though #MeToo has dominated headlines and conversations for months, but a new survey reveals that 41 percent of men say they've never heard of the movement.

The survey, conducted by Glamour and GQ, asked 1,147 men between the ages of 18 and 55 to answer questions about sexual harassment.

Among those surveyed, results showed that young, Southern and married men with incomes over $100,000 were least likely to be aware of the #MeToo movement. Overall, the study showed that 47 percent of men haven't talked about the topic at all with anyone, and just 31 percent said they have discussed it with a female friend.

GQ editor Benjy Hansen-Bundy says he believes that many men are wary about how to approach the issue and therefore, they avoid discussing it altogether.

"To be honest, I feel some of that trepidation too," he writes in the in GQ's story about the survey.

When looking at the responses from the anonymous group of men, Hansen-Bundy and Glamour editor Justine Harman saw a mix of answers that indicated some men feel angry, torn or anxious about how to discuss the topic.

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One respondent wrote, "Most men are unsure of how to handle speaking to women on a normal basis. Now they are even more unsettled and confused about how to approach a woman, handle a conversation or give a compliment. Some have said that the movement may not have a true, lasting effect."

In a Facebook post earlier this year, Sheryl Sandberg explained why this fear of interacting with a female colleague can have a negative impact on a woman's career.

"If men think that the way to address workplace sexual harassment is to avoid one-on-one time with female colleagues – including meetings, coffee breaks and all the interactions that help us work together effectively – it will be a huge setback for women," she wrote.

For men who really want to create change, she suggests mentoring women rather than avoiding them as a solution to the problem.

"People with mentors are more likely to get promotions – yet women are less likely than men to be mentored, and women of color get the least support of all," she adds. "If we're going to change the power imbalance that enables so much sexual harassment in the first place, we need to ensure women get more mentorship and sponsorship, not less."

As Glamour and GQ work to make the conversation around #MeToo more inclusive of everyone, Hansen-Bundy says that one upside to the fear men have around the topic is that is forces them to rethink their actions. Results from the survey showed that 38 percent of the men said that #MeToo has made them reevaluate their past sexual experiences.

"It's part of a course correction," adds Hansen-Bundy. "The data also shows that younger men are more likely to say #MeToo will improve workplace equality, which I think shows that the movement may be educating guys on a broader cultural level."

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