Whilst International Women’s Day and Feminism were the topic of last week’s news, it is important to remember that gender equality isn’t to be celebrated one day or one week of the whole year. Feminism is an everyday issue for everyday people.
The international release of Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast, featuring Emma Watson as its golden-dressed princess is but another reason to highlight the Feminist movement. As a leading activist of the cause, and as one of the notably Feminist Disney princesses, Watson brings a well-deserved spotlight once again on Feminism.
Firstly, I would like to deter from the phrasing of ‘The Feminist Agenda’. The term ‘agenda’ suggests an underlying motive. It’s as if such a progressive movement is trying to sneak their motive past you irregardless of any harm it causes. No. Feminism is not attempting to cause harm to anyone. It’s a progressive movement. It doesn’t have a devious agenda. To improve the lives of women to equal that of men. Such a purpose seems to deter underhanded acts. Division and hatred are not the intention of Feminism, thus the progressive attitude of ‘Feminist Movement’ appeals more to my tastes.
It is important to note the opposition to Feminism (which baffles me, as opposition to progression seems counterproductive). It does not spark positive thoughts amongst all. There are many that believe Feminism doesn’t fight for equality and that it targets men, lessening them against their female counterparts. That such a movement fights for women at the expense of men. That ‘femi-Nazis’ are not fighting for gender equality but for women to be above men.
Allow me to define Feminism for all. As I believe, as everything in this world, Feminism is a victim of social misunderstanding.
Feminism is about equal rights for men and women. For millennia the world has been structured through patriarchal societies. From men owning their wives in law to forbidding women to participate in certain occupations or activities. Feminism isn’t about putting the rights of women above those of men; it’s about asserting a balance that for centuries has favoured men. Men are not losing rights, women are simply gaining them to be measured equally amongst men and women alike.
Most importantly, however, feminism is about establishing choice. From freedom of choice in occupation, relationships and speech. Feminism is about the liberty to choose what you want to do, what you like, what you dislike and how you live your life with freedom from judgement. It is about a woman deciding to become an engineer because she is fascinated by mechanics and physics, and earning the same as her equally-skilled fellow male engineer. It is about a man being able to express his emotions without being deemed a wuss or effeminate, without feeling humiliated. It is about a woman or a man deciding to reveal a part of their body or not wear underwear, not so that the public can sexualise them or be angry at their behaviour, but for art and personal choice.
Feminism is choice, not judgement.
Feminism is acceptance, not division.
Feminism is acknowledging individual differences not defining labels.
Feminism is an advocate for men and a women. It is not a tool for which to raise women above men, and as Emma Watson so eloquently explains: ‘It is not a stick with which to beat other women with’.
It is important to note that whilst we have progressed exponentially over these past few centirues, Feminism is still an issue. We aren’t there yet. This is why it is vital that we not forget this movement and the sexism we encounter on a daily basis. We have not yet achieved gender equality. As the admirable Miss Emma Watson has said:
“And even if you still hate the word, the word is not important. It is the idea and the ambition behind it.”
Whilst my brief insight might not be enough to persuade you of why gender equality and Feminism are your issues too, here are some video recordings of Emma Watson’s opinions. She is a far superior ambassador for the cause, and she likes animals too.
Here’s a video of Emma Watson addressing Feminism at one of many events: Emma Watson to The United Nations – I’m a Feminist (CNN YouTube).
Here is a video of Emma Watson answering fan questions (a few of which concern Feminism) whilst playing with kittens, because that may be more people’s thing:
Emma Watson Plays With Kittens (BuzzFeed Interview)