The UN has recently launched a HeForShe campaign for gender equality. Now, this might be the right time to admit that I only know this because of the inspiring and truly eye-opening speech by Emma Watson.
So, yes, I watched it because I'm a fan of Emma Watson. But, I'm now writing about it because her words have reminded me of a reality that I have, for some reason, forgotten. Her words stabbed at my heart and I couldn't help but feel guilty.
You see, she spoke of how this fight for gender equality was one that could only be won when both sides came together. This was her formal invitation to all the men to take arms and stand by women. And, this was a revelation that, I must admit, has eluded me for so long. In talks of feminism and gender equality, so often have we made enemies of men- antagonizing them when, I now realize, they are not at fault. Not entirely, at least.
Because more than this revelation is the shocking realization that it truly is partly women's fault that gender discrimination continues to plague us. Is it not women who associate dominance with males? Is it not women who expect men to pick up the tab for every dinner date? Is it not women who require men to pull up their chairs, to open their doors for the sole reason that they are females?
By doing all these, is it not also women who create their own image of frailty? It is through this that we put men on the pedestal of power. And, there the image of man is formed. Man who is strong, unyielding and in control. Man who does not cry for he does not feel pain. Man who does not fear anything. Man who provides for woman. Because what else could a dainty woman be than a damsel in distress always in need of a knight in shining armor?
Yes, the world has placed women in a disadvantaged position. And, women have, for generations been fighting against this. Yet we forget that in the process, the world has also placed men in a cage. It has provided a tight, restricting image of what man is and what he is not. Any slight deviation makes Perhaps it is time that women stop simply fighting for themselves. She for she has been tried and it hadn't worked perhaps because it has resulted in a struggle against an opposing gender that has its own reasons for keeping their place in power.
He for she is certainly a step in the right direction. For how else could there be gender equality without the support of both genders? But, shouldn't women also fight for men? For their right to be free of the constraints that have also been thrown at them by the world? After all, we may carry different burdens, but they weigh us down just the same.