Priory Post 33 – HeForShe

Posted: 19th August 2015

Mich. 14

HeForShe

Feminism is not a dirty word

Helena Merron, Upper V Alpha, challenges us to take action…

‘Feminism is not a dirty word. However, today it is still associated with bra-lighting, men-hating militant women. I understand that a few supporters of female empowerment may take a step too far and take some shocking and ermm…  ‘interesting’ action, but being a feminist doesn’t mean that you enjoy the smell of burning lingerie. I am a feminist (and a proud one). I cannot say that in my short fifteen years that I have ever strutted around London topless or that I have established a deep hatred for men. Quite on the contrary, I know many men and boys who would identify themselves as feminists.

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The definition of feminism is, “a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.” I would say that it’s quite straightforward. If one believes in those things then one is a feminist. I can imagine eyebrows raising, yes, you may in fact have been a feminist all along and hadn’t even realised!

Now let us tackle the subject of gender equality. We live in a western country and therefore we tend to assume that life is pretty good on this side of the world. However, gender equality isn’t just about women having the vote or having equal pay, it’s all about the true acceptance of women being women. It is scientific fact that women are different to men. Firstly we were designed different, we look different, we sound different but, despite this we are compatible. However the issue arises when men or women try to be the dominant sex.

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It’s quite amusing how westerners tend to ignore the issue of gender inequality, even though we can see traces of it everywhere. Each and every one of us grows up with gender inequality. In our society there are specific male and female associated things. When I was younger I could be found playing with a ‘Barbie’ whereas my brother would be seen clutching an ‘Action Man’. At the end of the day they are both plastic miniature people, however they are designed to be gender specific. In addition, a lot of schools within Britain are sexually segregated as well as sports fixtures. Jobs also tend to be gender specific. These factors make it extremely difficult for humans to come out of their little world and to see the bigger picture. If we want to tackle this immense issue we need to do a lot more than tweet about it.

Emma Watson (the UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador and the beloved Harry Potter star) tried to tackle this issue recently when she made a speech about the HeForShe movement by UN Women. HeForShe is a solidarity movement for gender equality that brings together both halves of humanity, for the benefit of all. Their main aim is to make men accept that gender equality is not only a women’s issue but that it is a human rights issue that requires their participation. They want men to commit to take action against all forms of violence and discrimination faced by women and girls. Any male can participate by simply pressing the ‘I agree’ button on the HeForShe website. Their goal is to mobilize “one billion men by July 2015” to help communities around the world and to develop sustainable and transformative programs to promote gender equality. Join in the fight. “Ask yourself… If not me, who? If not now, when?”(http://www.heforshe.org/).’

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