By Mandy Day
The fury aimed at “Pick Up” guru Julien Blanc has grown exponentially over the past two weeks. From Australia to South Korea and Brazil to the UK, people worldwide have made it clear, he is not welcome. The BBC reported today that Britain has banned Blanc from coming into the country.
Blanc issued his “mea culpa” to CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Monday but it came across as completely disingenuous. Personally, watching him squirm and look like he was about to cry was the only time on video where I saw him and didn’t want to vomit. NPR’s The World covered the story in a five minute segment the same day. Despite the worldwide condemnation of this individual, one place has been noticeably quiet.
Japan, where the first viral video was filmed, no action has been taken by the national government. Media exposure is barely a blip on the radar. Countries where Blanc had no plans to visit have committed to denying him visas, but the one where he has been proven to be a huge threat to women, has done nothing. Petitions have popped up on nearly every continent. Brazil’s petition amassed over 300,000 signatures in a matter of days, and the country’s immigration department announced his visa for the planned 2015 trip would be denied. Argentina has a petition, so does Singapore, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy. Members of Parliament in the UK are demanding the Immigration Ministry follow South Korea and Brazil’s footsteps.
On November 14th, multiple sources informed @PUAwatchdog on Twitter that Julien Blanc has been seen in Tokyo. After the fact, it was reported that Blanc’s seminar had gone on as scheduled. No photographic evidence exists that he made it to Japan. But in the country where the national government had a petition with over 50,000 signatures turned in, silence. It is possible that with so many signatures from outside of Japan, the national government didn’t take it seriously, or they didn’t take seriously the threat Julien Blanc poses to their country’s women.
Sources in Japan have said the information leaking out on Blanc and Real Social Dynamics has been slow. Mass media has barely covered the story, conspiracy theories surrounding the movement and its supporters are common. One of the more outlandish claims, that investigative journalist Jake Adelstein, concocted the story in order to have a film made about his life as a Vice reporter. The same source, E., claims that the general populace doesn’t seem to take this incident as an indicator of a larger societal problem. Some even blame women for failing to say “no” clearly and are responsible for what happens to them. One Japanese commentator, Terry Ito, said, “it’s true, easy girl exists” (sic) drawing outrage from viewers and the show’s host.
Japanese people face serious ramifications for being advocates for social causes. Activism isn’t promoted, but discouraged. Especially those that point out faults within Japanese culture. Fighting a system so deeply rooted in tradition has created a multitude of problems for modern day Japan. The threat to careers is a considerable barrier preventing most people from coming forward and speaking out. The patriarchal nature of Japanese society can be suffocating to citizens and slow progressive social policy. Most countries have governments and economies dominated by men, but the oppression women face in more culturally conservative countries like Japan, is immense. Though the United States has had laws protecting workers from sex discrimination since the 1960’s, no law prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace exists in Japan.
A simple Google search reveals thousands of academic studies and articles on feminism, gender inequality, and the critical decline of Japan’s birth rate. Several of the articles found in these searches convincingly argue that the rise of a 21st century feminist movement could be key to preventing a complete economic collapse from the country’s rapidly aging population. Protecting married women and mothers in the workplace could be exactly what Japan’s economy and government need to reverse the growing percentage of women in their 20’s and 30’s who choose career over domestic life.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, promoting “womenomics”, appointed five women to his Cabinet and vowed to have 30% of leadership positions in government and the private sector by 2020 according to The Independent. The biggest question to this “progressive” political platform remains unanswered. If Abe is so determined to promote the role of women in traditionally male dominated societal roles, why is his government failing to protect women from harassment and sexual predators? Is it just political maneuvering to garner a larger portion of the female voting demographic? Or is it a half-assed attempt to endorse women as equals to men? Either way, the government stayed silent on Julien Blanc which makes them complicit in any crimes he commits while he bulldozes through the streets of Tokyo harassing women to his heart’s content.
(Note from the editor: Mandy Day has been active in the Take Down Julien Blanc movement)