I’m a feminist. Of course I am. But it’s not because I’m a girl.
I’m a feminist because I’m a human.
People can think being a feminist means a lot of things. Some people think it’s a negative word, but I’m not going to give it up. I don’t want a word that technically means “one who supports the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men” to be allowed to be a negative word. That’s not a negative thing.
Emma Watson recently spoke at the UN to help launch the gender equality campaign HeforShe. She talks about how man-hating shouldn’t be a part of feminism, and why the word has become an uncomfortable one. She states that no country in the world has achieved gender equality. And brilliantly, she points out the imprisonment of men by gender stereotypes, too, and shows how feminism is an issue for both men and women. The speech is well worth watching. In fact, please stop reading this post and watch it right now.
Men are a key part of gender equality. Feminism is a man’s issue, too. Men have mothers, sisters, daughters. They have bosses, friends, and coworkers who are women. And gender inequality affects men, too, because of the gender boxes we try to fit into. Gender inequality, and therefore feminism, is a human issue, and humans should be involved. When we limit half the world’s population, everyone suffers.
Authors all over the world are stepping up and declaring themselves feminists and supporting gender equality.
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) September 23, 2014
Joanne Harris (author of Chocolat):
And I am, too. I am a feminist and I support #heforshe. I’m inviting the men I know, and the women, to take an active role for equality in their daily lives. Don’t laugh at rape jokes or domestic violence jokes. Speak up when your friends say something sexist or use gender stereotypes as an excuse or explanation for someone’s behavior. Be brave and humble enough to realize you might be affected by prejudice, and be strong enough to change your thinking patterns. Be aware of the issue, and don’t write it off as something that barely affects you. If you think it barely affects you, you’ve been affected already.
When I was growing up, I was told women couldn’t be president, because they wouldn’t be able to make tough decisions in wartime. I was told women are more emotional, and that’s why they take care of children. I was told men want to work, and they should bear the load, so women don’t have to– because women want to be caretakers. It made me a little ashamed to be a girl. I needed to be able to make tough decisions. I needed to know that having emotions was okay, and it was a human thing, not a girl thing. And I wanted to have a career where I could be respected and contribute something worthwhile and be seen as someone smart and motivated.
Gender is not something that should confine and limit you. I don’t want the men or women in my life to think being a woman means being less logical, less strong, less protective, less worthy of respect or consideration, less able to lead, less driven to provide and contribute to the world. Being a girl means I can do all those things.
Women are half the world’s population, and when we stop limiting them, we’re going to see a lot of wonderful things happen.