Is HeForShe for me?
Hermione Granger of the Harry Potter series once opined that fear of a name only increases the fear of the thing itself. She was speaking of Voldemort, the antagonist of the series.
Closer to reality, Emma Watson faces another antagonist, one more dangerously real and palpable.
They call it patriarchy.
However, just like her alter ego in the world of magic, she has not been afraid to voice out her opinion on it. In her speech as the UN Goodwill Ambassador, she aptly put, “we want to try and galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality. And we don’t just want to talk about it, but make sure it is tangible”.
That statement is the very basis for the HeForShe campaign. Gender equality is not an easily achievable target. A quick search on the Internet will throw to light the gross inequalities that women are subjected to in all parts of the world.
It is quite evident that patriarchy exists in society, and it has given rise to a form of toxic masculinity, one which affects men, women, and all non-binaries. Patriarchy is a pervasive superstructure which seeps through all areas of life and adversely affects the lives of all touched by its tentacles.
The world is at a turning point. People understand and support the idea of gender equality. They know it’s not just a women’s issue, but a human rights issue as well. And when these powerful voices are heard, they will change the world. The time for that change is now.
HeForShe is inviting people around the world to stand together to create a bold, visible force for gender equality. It does not merely request the women to stand up against patriarchy. It calls upon every single person who has been adversely affected by patriarchal norms and toxic masculinity to stand up and fight against the injustice of it all.
About ½ of the world’s rapidly expanding population is male. It does not make sense to exclude such a major social group from deliberations concerning gender equality.
Feminists can be found anywhere, and physiological differences do not constitute a valid reason to exclude a group from the process of bringing about a gender neutral world.
The HeForShe logo, for instance, unites traditional icons of gender to create a new symbol for our shared humanity. It is a visualisation of the world we hope to achieve, a world without gender based discrimination.
Feminism has slowly descended into being labelled as a dirty word. There is a certain amount of stigma associated with it.
Needless to say, the fight for gender equality will be lost before it is fought if we do not destigmatise the term. For that, we must create spaces where all shades of the gender spectrum get to deliberate on the best way forward, as a group of feminists with one goal in mind, to absolve the human race of any gender based inequalities.
HeForShe is not only for you or me. HeForShe is for everybody.
Head image sourced from http://www.ox.ac.uk/sites/files/oxford/styles/ow_medium_feature/public/field/field_image_main/HeForShe_Partner_TwitterProfile_bg.png?itok=vZHLzjtc