The Unexpected Response Of A Hypermasculine Media Brand To The #MeToo Era

The Unexpected Response Of A Hypermasculine Media Brand To The #MeToo Era

Hurricane Media CEO Brandon WebbPhoto by Jason Kenitzer, Courtesy of Hurricane Media

How does a hypermasculine brand respond to the #MeToo era? The answer is to aggressively hire more women in the C-suite, according to Hurricane Media CEO Brandon Webb. If other male executives are afraid to work with women, he figures it’s a good time to snag great talent.

“I personally think women executives have more company loyalty (they don’t bounce around every few years the same way men do) and would consider a woman for any C-level opening we have. I think there’s a ton of value in the market and opportunity for us because we’ll pay market rate where I know some companies still have a pay disparity when it comes to women/men,” Webb told me when we talked about how he and the Hurricane brand were approaching the #MeToo era.  

Plus, since Hurricane caters to a demographic interested in extreme maleness, he thinks it wouldn’t hurt to have a female CMO when approaching potential big advertisers.

Webb is a former Navy SEAL who among other accomplishments in his military career revised the SEAL’s sniper training program using principles of performance training that dispensed with criticism and negative feedback and replaced it with positive reinforcement and guidance. He is notably self-reflective and not afraid to talk about emotions.

Hurricane has grown from a website about the world of special ops that Webb founded in 2011 to a mini media empire offering a news channel, NEWSREP, that focuses on foreign policy, security and financial intelligence, a subscription video channel and The Crate Club, a subscription goodie box. He also created a documentary film, Big Mountain Heroes, that documents the journey of special ops veterans on an extreme skiing trip in the Alps and has finished his first novel. When asked what unites his varied enterprises, Webb told me he loves to create content that connects people.

Hurricane’s demographic? Extremely manly men. Men who hunt and fly airplanes and ride motorcycles. Men who are more grubby than polished, who love the outdoors, extreme sports and dogs. Men imbued with the stoicism and fraternal bonds of military culture. 

“We’ve created one of the few environments where if you’re a guys’ guy you can come here and be a dude. You don’t have to worry about being politically correct. We have our brand and our group of guys. We’re reinforcing this is a place where people come to be a guy and do guy stuff. We make sure that there is nothing disrespectful to women,” Webb told me.

There is, in fact, nothing disrespectful about women on Hurricane. I couldn’t find any women or anything about women at all in Webb’s media environment. Hurricane’s media kit just shows guys doing guy stuff and buying guy toys. 

Compare this with another men’s lifestyle brand, Esquire Magazine, whose media kit has the tag line “Man at his best.” Esquire boasts that it “defines, reflects and influences what it means to be a man in contemporary culture.” The Esquire reader, the magazine says, “has a healthy respect and admiration for women.” And, actually, the Esquire readers I know personally really do.

But there are some telling images of women in the Esquire media kit. One beautiful woman whose presence seems random is in a bathing suit whose with a neckline cut down to her waist. The other, oddly, is a gorgeous woman dressed in all leather, holding a semi-automatic machine gun and pointing it at a submissive man on the ground.

Why is this armed woman threatening a submissive male?

Esquire’s dangerous woman image Esquire Media Kit2

This image of the armored and armed woman and the vulnerable man is fascinating because it unwittingly perhaps dramatizes a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly ominous. Men are afraid of women and see them as threatening and dangerous. There are multiple reports of a #MeToo backlash — from men at Davos, men on Wall Street and across multiple industries. Senior male managers are saying they are afraid to work with women because they might get into trouble by unknowingly saying or doing something that is no longer deemed appropriate.

The consequence of this fear is serious. People rise to higher levels of power and responsibility by being mentored and included by people who already have power. The vast majority of powerful leaders are still men. If they don’t sponsor women in their rise to executive positions, women’s careers will inevitably stall and hopes of gender equity fail.

The truth is that a great many men have always harbored a secret fear of women. (And women have too.) It just hasn’t been as out in the open as it is now. Psychoanalysts have long written about the fear of a woman’s power (likely stemming from childhood experiences where Mom controlled just about everything, including the ability to make you feel good about yourself or horribly ashamed) that underlies a lot of misogyny.

Webb says he understands the anxiety about working with women but doesn’t share it….

Original Article Source…

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