In December 2018, I wrote in an email newsletter:
I’m going to go on record and say I think the tipping point [for the Intactivist movement] is going to happen March 2019.
It’s March 2019 now. Was I right?
What Is The Tipping Point?
The tipping point is when a movement a critical 15% of a population agrees with an issue, and it begins to landslide through the rest of the population.
The tipping point is not when a movement wins. It’s when a movement starts to take off. The tipping point for the civil rights movement wasn’t when Martin Luther King gave his “I have a dream speech.” The tipping point for the gay rights movement wasn’t when gay marriage was passed. Both tipping points began much earlier, and might only be visible in hindsight with the full vantage of history.
Political movements are not adopted at a consistent pace. 80% of the population doesn’t care on most issues. They just want to live their lives in peace, and follow whatever the majority wants. If 10% is pulling one direction and 10% pulling another, when one side hits a majority-minority – usually 15% – then the uncaring-majority will side with them and start to change.
The Evidence Of A Tipping Point
So are we at a tipping point for Intactivism?
Let’s look at the recent happenings in the past months.
In December, my documentary American Circumcision was added to Netflix, and trended as popular for the platforms 148 million users (60 million in the USA). Shortly after, activist groups reported increased interest.
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Hearing reports that our film is "Popular on Netflix." Who else is seeing this? . #Netflix #NetflixMovies #film #filmmaker #documentary #documentaries #movies #movie #circumcision #parent #parenting #baby #controversy #babies #birth #pregnant #pregnancy #netflixandchill #netflixshows #popular #popularonnetflix
Doctors Opposing Circumcision appeared on the Ralph Nader Show. There have been lots of press and radio appearances for major Intactivist groups like Intaction, Bloodstained Men, and Intact America. Foregen also published their first first peer-reviewed research. There has been incredible momentum for the entire movement, and almost total silence from any opposition.
Now, Presidential candidate Andrew Yang has mentioned the movement by name and said he supports them. Although, he later moderated his statement, in an effort to attack him the media shared the Intactivist name and message across platforms that oppose Yang.
This is an indication that Intactivism is now a known movement that pundits are aware of. While those trying to attack Yang have been dismissive of the movement, many have not. Top Trump supporters have been supportive of Yang’s position, as have many on the left. When Stephen Colbert mentioned the Intactivist movement on his late night show, he joked it was a movement “for a better Wang” and even used Intact in place of “uncircumcised.” The language and tone has dramatically changed.
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In this clip, Stephen Colbert discusses Andrew Yang's opposition to circumcision and even uses the word intact. . To find out why this is a national issue, watch our film #AmericanCircumcision. (link in bio) . #Presidential #Colbert #ColbertReport #StevenColbert #StephenColbert #AndrewYang #YangGang #Yang2020 #DNC2020 #YangGang2020 #LateNight #LateNightWithStephenColbert #Intact #Intactivist #Parenting #Pregnancy
If you were looking for evidence of a tipping point, a Presidential candidate mentioning your movement positively, a major Netflix documentary, and a surge of media and interest would all be a pretty good cues.
If you believe this isn’t the tipping point – what would be? Because whatever you think it is, I assure you – that’s coming. The momentum is there. The real question is – what happens next?
What’s Next – The Storm
Knowing a tipping point was coming, I prepared by creating as much content as possible. I honed my interview skills by doing as many podcasts as I could. I built a system to generate tons of content on the platforms that matter. I advised everyone involved on this issue who would listen to do the same.
While I always feel like I could be doing more, my systems are in place, and I’ve got a pretty clear vision of what I want to create next. That said, what comes next may look very different.
I predict the next six months will involve a media storm. Now that the movement poses a real political threat, you can expect attack pieces to begin. These attacks won’t be based in fact, reason, or new evidence. They come because opposition groups feel threatened and want to lash out. Their hit pieces may be baseless and false, but it won’t matter. People make false accusations in politics all the time.
For those who have read Doing Democracy: The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements, this is Stage 4 of a movement – the take off. At this stage, there may be a lot of “happenings” that are beyond anyone’s control.
Andrew Yang mentioning circumcision, and then Daily Beast following up for comment was not a story anyone could predict or control. No one told Yang to say what he did. An anonymous twitter user just decided to ask him. If one anonymous user can change that much, what will happen when the collective mind of the internet and media turns their attention to this issue?
Once this many people are involved, no one person will be able to predict or control what happens next. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you try to manage it all. Expect people on both sides to make mistakes or blunders, and others to suddenly surprise you with their skillful contribution. There may be an urge to control, but once this wave breaks in culture, it will be beyond anyone’s control.
The Tao Te Ching says “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” In other words, take right action and leave the outcome up to the world. Rather than trying to manage the entire movement, I plan to give my contribution and surrender the rest to God.
This is going to be a roller coaster. There may be points where it seems like everything is won. There may be points where it seems like everything is lost. In these moments, it may be tempting to become reactive and act from greed or fear. Instead, do you your part, and then step back.
Every person working on this issue has a unique gift. There are many different methods and styles of activism. Rather than chasing the next happening, I would advise anyone reading to meditate and find the one place you can contribute what is authentic to you. If everyone makes their one contribution, it will do more than a thousand people talking “strategy” or seeking to intellectually control the world from their mind.
I have kept a copy of the Tao Te Ching on my desk since high school. I carry a copy with me when I travel. Whenever I feel anxious, I take it out and read a few verses. I’ll leave you with this from chapter 64 of the Tao Te Ching:
Rushing into action, you fail.
Trying to grasp things, you lose them.
Forcing a project to completion,
you ruin what was almost ripe.
Therefore the Master takes action
by letting things take their course.
He remains as calm
at the end as at the beginning.
He has nothing,
thus has nothing to lose.
Enjoy the ride.
Read More: How To Start Your Activism