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North Carolina Billboard Has Sexist Message That’s Hard to Stomach in 2017

"Real men provide. Real women appreciate it."

A billboard with this blunt message is causing outrage in North Carolina. Drivers on Business Westbound 40, outside of Winston-Salem, are greeted with this archaic sentiment, and some of them are not taking it sitting down.

To many onlookers, the sign, which has been up for about a week, is reminiscent of an earlier, more overtly sexist time when women were denied many roles in society.

Protest groups have begun gathering in downtown Winston-Salem to challenge the message with more inclusive, positive messages such as "Appreciate those who provide, provide for those you appreciate.”

"There are no gender roles that define what people can and cannot do for their households and how measurable their worth or their provisions are," Molly Grace, a local business owner, told NPR.

The protesters have also raised money for a billboard to counteract the sexist message.

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The author of the billboard is choosing to remain anonymous and there is no marker on the sign that could lead to an identity.

Many people in North Carolina feel like the “real men, real women” sign crosses a line and is deeply offensive to people who do not conform to the suggested gender norms.

This isn’t the first time a billboard has offended by peddling a controversial message.

For example, a series of billboards in Florida suggested that women cheat on husbands who enlist in the armed forces.

Another billboard in New York showed a picture of a young black girl and said “the most dangerous place for an African American is the womb,” invoking the racist conspiracy theory that abortion rights are a modern day form of eugenics.

And a billboard in Texas said, “homosexuality is an abomination,” one of many homophobic signs that have been erected in the country.

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Oftentimes, backlashes cause billboards to come down, but not before an impact is made.

Ultimately, the protesters of this latest sign hope to erect another billboard that counters the original, spreading a positive and expansive message.  

Maybe it could say: “Real women do whatever they want.”