Many people argue that equality has been reached in the Western world. However, as Emma Watson, a Goodwill Ambassador for UN women, has recently exposed, there is still some way to go before this can be true- after all, “No country in the world can yet say they have achieved gender equality.” At a speech in New York in September, Emma launched her ‘He For She’ campaign, with her approach to resolving this issue being, in my opinion, a breakthrough. She began by directly referring to the growing unpopularity of Feminism, saying “fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating”. She reminded those listening of the definition of Feminism; ‘the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities, the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.’ She subsequently asked men to play a part, telling them: “Gender equality is your issue too.” This is a fantastic point, as gender stereotypes are certainly applicable to both men and women in our society, with women being put under pressure to be ‘feminine’ and men feeling outcast if they aren’t ‘masculine’.
As a solution to this problem, Emma argued that “it is time that we see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals”, using a personal anecdote to support her views. She told the audience: “When at 15, my girlfriends started dropping out of their beloved sports teams, because they didn’t want to appear muscle-y, when at 18, my male friends were unable to express their feelings, I decided that I was a feminist.” She spoke from the heart and in such a way that both men and women, could identify. Her passion for this initiative is being replicated across Twitter as a result of this speech with many famous men, including Simon Pegg, Tom Hiddleston, Harry Styles and Logan Lerman tweeting their support for #HeForShe, along with thousands of other people. Moreover, many more people, both male and female, are declaring themselves to be Feminists. I never used to feel like I could admit to being a feminist because of the negative connotations associated with its label along with the fear of being misjudged. The launch of this campaign and the positive reaction has astounded me. I can now say- with confidence- that yes, I am proud to be a Feminist.
For more information on this issue please go to www.heforshe.org