Today I watched Emma Watson’s speech about feminism. Well, I listened to it while I did other stuff at work.
I quite liked it. She said good things and said them well. I’m not sure she said anything new, or mind blowing (as the internet has loudly proclaimed). Vanity Fair said her speech was a “game-changer”. It wasn’t really. Or if it is a game changer it’s not because she has said things which change the game, but because she’s Emma Watson and people listen to her.
That said, hyperbole aside, I’m glad we’re paying attention. More and more these days people seem to be talking about gender equality. I feel like I have been exposed to this stuff more and more since dating Em. I feel like I spend more time noticing how women’s roles are represented in the media and how we respond to men and women differently.
One thing I’ve been thinking for a while is that maybe feminism needs a new name. Feminists stand up and say “Feminism is about the equality of men and women”, which is an excellent thing to be about. But when many people hear the word feminism (me included) you hear “feminine”, and think “Oh that must be all about women.” It’s not as if you could call feminism “masculinism” and still represent the same values. One thing that the “feminists” of the church have done which I think has worked well is calling themselves “egalitarian”, which pretty much means what it sounds like. If the feminist movement were to call themselves “egalitarians” people might have a better idea that it isn’t about women taking over.
Of course feminism is called feminism because the balance of power has always been firmly on the side of the men. Feminism is about redressing past and current injustice on behalf of girls and women everywhere. What’s not to like about that? I guess I’m just concerned with the feminist PR problem, especially when it comes to getting men on board. Having Emma Watson make an excellent speech on the issue certainly will help things along. Getting men on-side might be even easier if the name didn’t stop them listening from the get-go, even if it is a result of their own fear or close-mindedness.
Anyway good work, Emma. I hope the game keeps changing.
Agree that the word “feminism” evokes notions of “feminine”. And unhelpful notions at that. (i.e. weak) I much prefer egalitarian as a term. However, I am sure there are man-haters that call themselves feminists. Looking forward to the day when the UN invites a man make a speech on egalitarian feminism.