A solidarity movement for gender equality.
“The movement for gender equality was originally conceived as a struggle led only by woman for women. In recent years men have begun to stand-up in addressing inequalities and discrimination faced by woman and girls. Now it’s time to unify our efforts. HeForShe is a solidarity movement for gender equality that brings together one half of humanity in support of the other of humanity, for the entirety of humanity.”
Emma Watson gave a resonant, heart-struck speech about feminism at the UN (the entire text of that speech can be found here or if you don’t like reading, watch this video and listen to the speech instead ), and made it very clear that gender inequality was an issue for men, too. She threaded the inequalities that affect men into the inequalities women face, and made feminism an overall human issue. Feminism through that lens isn’t just about being pro-woman, but also about correcting the overall imbalance — because though men have privilege, the wobbly-wonky gender imbalance affects men, too. (Disproportionately, I’ll add, which is why it’s still called feminism.) The ideas aren’t hers alone, the thought has been there for a long time. But people seem to be ready to start listening.
But unfortunately, until feminism recognizes discrimination against men, the movement for gender equality will be incomplete.
Watson asks men to pledge to “take action against all forms of violence and discrimination faced by women and girls” but says nothing about problems affecting men and boys. Watson clearly believes that feminism — which, she stressed, is about equality and not bashing men — will also solve men’s problems. But, unfortunately, feminism in its present form has too often ignored sexist biases against males, and sometimes has actively contributed to them
There are plenty of other examples. The women’s movement has fought, rightly, for more societal attention to domestic abuse and sexual violence. But male victims of these crimes still tend to get short shrift, from the media and activists alike. For example, this social experiment conducted shows that while people are quick to intervene when a man in a staged public quarrel becomes physically abusive to his girlfriend, reactions to a similar situation with the genders reversed mostly range from indifference to amusement or even sympathy for the woman.
Men must, indeed, “feel welcome to participate in the conversation” about gender issues. But very few will do so if that “conversation” amounts to being told to “shut up and listen” while women talk about the horrible things men do to women, and being labeled a misogynist for daring to point out that bad things happen to men too and that women are not always innocent victims in gender conflicts.
The revolution in women’s rights over the past century has been a stunning success — and, while there is still work to be done, it must include the other side of that revolution. Not “he for she,” but “She and he for us.”
Inequality is a human problem, that’s what I take from it.
It’s not a women are better than men or men are better than women thing. It’s not taking away men’s rights to ensure women have nice things too. It’s not suggesting life is perfect for every man the same as it isn’t perfect for many women. Things aren’t perfect and they never will be. But, it’s a problem for everyone to solve. The concept isn’t new. It isn’t hers, she just has a very strong voice right now. And it’s very nice to hear being spoken and accepted so loudly.
I can’t just write blog posts and think I’m making a difference. Words, for anyone who’s ever tried to write them, are actually quite easy put forward. It’s harder to speak up when someone is calling across the room to a woman telling her how ‘pretty’ she looks in that dress. But it shouldn’t be that hard and if it is, it’s something we have a responsibility to do anyway.
Women, in every part of the world, are judged differently from men. In certain places, the gap isn’t nearly as wide but any gap means there’s a problem. The correction of the imbalance isn’t about bringing men down, but lifting women up.
So, let’s just put this right here:
I am a feminist.
I think that it’s not a man’s job to be a hero for the feminist movement but, rather, to help them be the heroes — it’s not their job to hold the sword and protect us but to put the swords in our hands. Not knights, perhaps, but squires. Or maybe knights in service to queens?
I think as writers and creators its therefore doubly important we think about these things.
I think writers should think about them, talk about them, and act on them, too.
I think it’s getting better.
But I think we can all do better, too.
I don’t think it gets better on its own, is what I’m saying.
And so that’s why I’m here. Saying these things.
I want it to get better for women and I want to be a part of making it so.
And thus, I’m lending my voice — small as it may be, wrong as it can be — to feminism.
I am a feminist.
I am #HeForShe.
I am #SheForHe
I am #SheAndHeForUs
If you’re wondering, I am also supporting men’s rights. That’s what gender equality is all about.
And so should you.
PS: I’m an idealist with a lot of words, I get that. But the words are important too and they’re often a good first step.
Feminist: A person who supports feminism
Feminism: The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities
Below are mates of mine, thank you so much for participating and helping out. I truly appreciate it. Special thanks to Rivarthini for getting her mates to help out! Thanks, you guys!