Hey Guys? Grabbing Her By “the Brain” is Not a Suitable Alternative to… The Other Thing

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Word spread around the internet this morning of a new website or organization or something called Grab Her By the Brain, which is obviously not a very good name, even as a cutesy response to the “grab her by the pussy” stuff, because, oh my God, just don’t grab anyone by anything? I spent precious minutes of my morning commute trying to figure out what this might look like. I pictured men going around grabbing women by the head and, like, I don’t even know. Shaking it? Looking them intently in the eyes? Digging their fingers directly into said eyes so as to gain easier access to the brain itself? I don’t know!

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So I decided to investigate.  “It’s a movement,” says the website, “that is dedicated to empowering females of all ages. Our mission is to confront gender inequality with an unparalleled positivity and enthusiasm.”

But how are they going to fulfill that mission?  Well, they’re going “to implement school programs to encourage the empowerment, individuality and tolerance of gender equality.” Which also sounds really nice! Even if, uh, they provide no information on how, exactly, they will go about doing this thing that is very difficult to do because schools are notoriously very difficult to work with. There are no case studies or examples of progress they’ve already made, but… I guess it’ll be ok?

"Surely," you must be thinking, "there’s got to be some sort of charity element to all of this, right? Because all the other stuff sounds skeletal at best?" Well, yes, of course there is! Phew! It was starting to seem like this whole thing was not only stupidly and sort of offensively named but also pointless! But not so fast: They’re selling baseball caps, you see, embroidered, Trump-style, with the words “Grab Her By the Brain.” The cap will cost you $21, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to… wait, no, sorry. I misread that. Ten percent of the proceeds will go to charity. For the months of October and November, Grab Her By the Brain will be donating a whopping 10 percent of proceeds — from sales of a $21 hat no one should ever wear — to an organization called Boo2Bullying, which, despite also not having the best name, is doing the admirable work of trying to educate children on the evils of bullying. What this has to do with gender inequality and Grab Her By the Brain’s stated mission is less clear. 

Grab Her By the Brain (it gets funnier every time you type it) was founded by a woman named Elizabeth Ariosto, who, according to the website, is “an entrepreneur, activist, and domestic violence survivor who has dedicated her life to empowering women and girls.” She’s also an actress who appeared in the TV series Elementary in 2012.

The organization also has a handful of “ambassadors” — actors, models, and actresses I don’t recognize — who I guess will be suggesting the charities Grab Her By the Brain will be donating to? Mostly, though, it seems they just appear on the website wearing “Grab Her By the Brain” hats. A photo of British actor and GHBTB ambassador Gregg Sulkin posing in the hat has been making the rounds this morning, and, hooboy, the internet is not pleased

Ariosto and company obviously have their hearts in the right place, but suffice to say they jumped the gun here, and they botched some very important details — and considering how quickly the internet issues judgment, there may be no coming back from it. Maybe that's the silver lining here: Even as the internet makes it possible for dumb stuff like Grab Her By the Brain to score some quick, cheap publicity, it also serves as the ultimate corrective, ready at a moment's notice to issue a firm slap on the wrist. 

Figuratively, of course. Let's all keep our hands to ourselves.

Follow Mike Conklin on Twitter.

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