The term ‘feminism’ can cause a divide like few other words. I’ve seen a casual drink among friends become a full blown debate, shouting and all, because someone mentioned feminism. *cue me grabbing a pitcher and sliding under the table*.
However, the face of feminism is changing.
An increasing number of celebrities and public figures are falling over themselves to show their support. Whilst I think it’s brilliant that the cause is becoming a more widely discussed topic, I have some reservations as to the usefulness of all the media attention the movement has received.
Undeniably Emma Watson’s ambassadorship for Women’s Rights within the UN and her advocating of the He4She campaign has had an incredible impact on the number of people who now either know about the campaign or are actively engaged in it. However, many other public figures have also claimed to be ‘feminist’, which is great, but is that enough? It’s fantastic that so many men have also got behind the movement, because that illustrates the He4She message perfectly, but I wonder if that platform could then be used to actively engage people with the cause too, because whilst a picture of them in a t-shirt emblazoned ‘This is what a Feminist looks like” is helpful, it can be forgotten as quickly as scrolling past the image on a Twitter feed.
My point is that without any further action, claiming to be a feminist once (when everyone else is also doing it) appears alarmingly similar to any other fashion statement. Worryingly (although when they’re lime green flares perhaps it’s less worrying) fashions change, things go out of fashion and new ideas become more popular.
So what can we do?
Make sure that it stays in the forefront of people’s minds. Whether that is getting celebrities on board or not, all people have a voice. This TED talk by Elizabeth Nyamayaro illustrates beautifully how anyone, whatever their background can be a force for change, not just the front for it.
Guys and gals! As Ms Nyamayaro shows, whoever you are: you can make a difference. So, as people who value and respect each other, let’s promote the message of equality. Obviously there’s not one definitive way to do this, but by consciously showing respect for all and making clear this intention to value both genders, both within the law and social etiquette, we can ensure feminism does not become a ‘fashion’ that fades out, but a philosophy that is here to stay.
How do you think we can better promote the feminist message?
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