After reading Emma Watson’s U.N. speech I was speechless and after actually watching the whole United Nations ‘HeForShe’ Campaign launch video I was close to (happy) tears. I felt this immense proudness for humanity. I also felt I want to get involved and this is my way of doing so -writing in my blog, although, it is safe to say not as eloquently as Miss Watson.
Full U.N. HeForShe Campaign video on Teen Vogue Website
First of all, I must applaud Emma for how brilliantly she put her point across. Secondly, how much positive effect it has had on both women and men. Even though we all still choke at the word feminism, at least now we’re looking at solutions to why the word originated in the first place. We’re finally seeing past the word and acknowledging the movement. If that is what we need to overcome sexism (in any form) then let it be. However, we can’t fully abandon the word. It seems to be the most sensible thing to do, let’s make a new word and lose ‘feminism’ entirely. Let’s make a word that’s not too intimidating and doesn’t hold such bold associations. But we cannot. For now we can put the word ‘feminism’ to one side until we all (women and men) unite and overcome ‘insert less intimidating word for feminism’. Until that day comes, we cannot forget the word. Because it is not the word, it is the context behind the word. If we are too afraid to openly call ourselves feminist then how can we say we have overcome it?
I must admit, even I sometimes feel afraid to out myself a feminist. I sometimes hate that I want to apologise for other people’s uncomfortableness. I’m afraid of the critique that comes with it because no one loves more than a flawed feminist. I even get afraid of the associations that come with it. I’m annoyed at myself that I sometimes ‘can’t be bothered’ to reason with others to why we need feminism. I’m not the perfect feminist but I’m a feminist nonetheless.
We need to realise feminism is an issue for both sexes, but acknowledge the (still) existence of stereotypical gender roles placed in society, both very damaging to women and men. Believe it or not but feminism isn’t one sided, however many feminist movements are ‘for women’ because women have predominantly been inferior to men. If we insult a woman for not being stereotypically female, it has no impact on a man. Calling a woman ‘butch’ doesn’t offend anyone but the woman. Yet insults aimed at men ‘stop being a girl about it’, ‘pussy’ these are initial insults to women. How can many insist we don’t ‘need’ feminism when men are afraid of the stigma of stereotypical girl characteristics being placed on them?
Every one of us needs to recognise the double standards within our society but without secluding the opposite sex. This is a human issue, not gender based. We humans are only concerned about things that regard or affect us and sometimes then, and only then, do we listen. Maybe that is why I am so interested in sexism and racism because I have ineffectively experienced both. This is why I applaud the ‘HeForShe’ campaign as it is allowing boys and men to be involved and not isolated. By acknowledging that it is there problem too, for them to listen and take action. Because it is only until men get involved before women can be heard. And if that doesn’t scream out inequality to you then I don’t know what will.
"If not me, who? If not now, when?'"
I dream that one day we don’t need to ask one another if we are feminist or not. That one day those people who say ‘not’ are as common as people who poke on Facebook. Were the word feminism is a whistle not a whisper. Until then I chant ‘he for she, she for he, she for she and he for he’.
EDITED VERSION: posted 26th October 2014