YOUTH VIEW: Emma’s feminist appeal

Columnist Tony Diver ANL-140328-091912001
Columnist Tony Diver ANL-140328-091912001

Feminism is booming. On Monday, Emma Watson delivered a speech at the launch of her UN campaign HeForShe, ‘coming out’ as a feminist and speaking out against the ‘control’ of women by men.

In an address which has reverberated around the internet ever since, she encouraged men to adopt the cause and join her in her battle for gender equality.

But hang on, just a second. If feminism is just equality of the sexes, who stands against it? Who isn’t a feminist? What’s the point? Isn’t it just intuitive that women and men should be treated the same?

It would appear not. Feminism has been misunderstood, Watson says. Women are afraid to admit to wanting equality for their gender because there’s a certain stigma attached to that cause – a stigma that makes them seem violent or unreasonable.

People tend to assume that feminism is the belief that women should be superior to men, but that’s just not true. It’s all about being equal.

Really, feminism’s main problem is its name. It suggests that it’s a women’s issue – something that fanatical bra-burners should care about. But if it’s just about asking bigoted people to reassess their sexism, why shouldn’t men be involved too? I want to be a part of this culling of chauvinists. I’m as much a feminist as Emma, and it is through men becoming feminists that we can get rid of the stereotype that’s holding us back.

What Emma said on Monday wasn’t particularly shocking, but it was important. Feminism needs to be accepted by people who have the common sense to realise that the natural order should not favour men, and that society will change only when individuals take a stand.

Watson is a great person to champion that – not because she’s a woman, but because she’s Hermione Granger, for goodness’ sake.

-- Tony is editor of the Sixth Form Journal at King Edward VI School – see the latest stories at www.thesixthformjournal.com.