Feminists were outraged last week after an anonymous person in Central North Carolina posted a simple message on a billboard off of a busy highway.
The sign read, "Real men provide. Real women appreciate it."
Women were so angry, in fact, that they even held a protest near the billboard last Sunday.
"What we're protesting and angry about is not that an individual and some individuals decided to do this. It's more the fact that that mindset exists at all and not just that it exists but that it is actually a fairly normalized well-accepted mindset," Molly Grace, a Winston-Salem business owner, told WHGP-TV last week.
"The implied expectation that regardless of mitigating circumstances women should be appreciative of her man and that, to me, and that's the whole thing," she added.
The Facebook posting for the protest event read:
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. We are protesting patriarchy and sexism, and that this antiquated way of thinking about women exists at all. We are protesting the implied demand that women be silent and appreciate, regardless of whatever circumstances, their role as non-providers.
The billboard belongs to Bill Whiteheart of Whiteheart Outdoor Advertising, and he told news stations last week that the person who bought the ad space to display the message wanted to remain anonymous.
As of this weekend, however, the sign has been updated to reflect the outrage over its first message, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
The sign now reads, "Much Ado About Nothing. A social experiment that brought forth those so immersed in their own insecurity that in the mirror they could only see an angry victim of their incorrect interpretation of a silly billboard — Bless their hearts."
Controversial billboard in #ForsythCounty replaced with new message https://t.co/hkT3XoUVHG https://t.co/XrsEtjnwmn— FOX8 WGHP (@FOX8 WGHP)1488680606.0
Still, Grace told the Journal that the sign is no laughing matter.
"An ‘experiment’ typically indicates that you have a trajectory, but what they’ve done just seems childish and petulant," she told the newspaper. "I can’t believe they spent more money to continue to name call and be mean."
"Sexism has existed and is still existing around us every day whether that billboard is there or not," she added, noting that she wants to meet with the person behind the message to have a conservation.
"Mark my words, we’ll be here long after that billboard is gone trying to make a better world for us all," she said.
Others, however, think the entire billboard fiasco is simply just funny:
@myfox8 Told ya😂All the furor about that billboard... exactly what the owner wanted.— Ron Speaks (@Ron Speaks)1488682041.0
@myfox8 Love it! The liberal p/c crowd got "punked"!— Field (@Field)1488685864.0
@myfox8 This...is...AWESOME!— AmericanGirl (@AmericanGirl)1488724577.0
@myfox8 best billboard ever!— Dustin Parker (@Dustin Parker)1488684923.0
@myfox8 they knew the would get all those stupid had core feminist in all a uproar and I think it's funny as hell— william hiatt (@william hiatt)1488709009.0