A mysterious billboard in North Carolina continues to spark outrage, debate — and protests.
The massive sign, which includes only seven words, reads, “Real men provide. Real women appreciate it.” Presented in large black letters against a white backdrop, it’s a message that’s really riling critics.
But it’s difficult for those frustrated by the message to point their anger toward anyone in particular, as Whiteheart Outdoor Advertising, the company that owns the billboard, said the sponsor wishes to remain anonymous, as Fox News recently reported.
Bill Whiteheart, owner of the ad company, did say the message cost the sponsor $2,000 for a 30-day period, though the billboard could be up much longer, depending on what the sponsor wishes to do.
Since the massive placard was posted on I-40 between Greensboro and Winston-Salem, some, like local boutique owner Molly Grace, have been speaking out against its message, claiming it is “insulting” to women with careers, female business owners and single mothers — and she even planned a protest near the billboard that unfolded this past Sunday.
According to a Facebook post advertising the event, more than 170 people attended.
“We are NOT protesting that the sign is capable of existing, or the people who put it up, or the ad agency, or the right to put it up,” a description read. “We are protesting patriarchy and sexism, and that this antiquated way of thinking about women exists at all.”
The text continued, “We are protesting the implied demand that women be silent and appreciate, regardless of whatever circumstances, their role as non-providers.”
Others, though, take a starkly different view, with a local man named Ron Houser telling WHNT-TV that he sees the message as “fairly accurate.”
“Being a married man myself, I think my wife really appreciates the fact that I can provide for a family and take some of the stress off her,” he said.
And others, like a woman named Dana Pavlick, actually showed up to protest the anti-billboard protest, according to WTKR-TV.
“The organizer of this event was saying that the message of the billboard: real men provide real women appreciate it, was socially unacceptable,” Pavlick said in an interview with WGHP-TV. “It hit me between the eyes that what that was saying is that this real woman who appreciates what that real man provides, we are socially unacceptable.”
Clearly, there’s a divide, but the most intriguing element of the case, of course, is who the individual or group is behind the message. That, for now, remains a mystery.
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