Redefining Masculinity: Men for Feminism & HeForShe

On September 20th 2014 Emma Watson stood in front of the UN at their Headquarters in New York to support and promote the #HeForShe campaign, a cause that encourages men to support feminism and equal opportunities for both genders across the globe. A day later, I watched the speech on YouTube and was inspired to put together an article that discussed how men can change their behaviour and their activities to help support gender equality.

Masculinity: A Key Issue

There is much that can be said of men’s behaviour and how they aspire to behave, we are still a gender focused around archaic definitions of what it is to “be a man”. We are a gender who regularly use the phrase “man up” to bully behaviour out of both women, and men, that we see as weak or passive. As men, we are encouraged to stomach our emotions or voice them as anger instead of understanding our feelings, which often results in fear, hatred and violence towards others. We are a gender who prides ourselves on our supposed strength and courage, yet we are often too cowardly to accept our flaws and learn from our mistakes.

The truth is that the term “masculinity” has become a facade and a shield for us. We stand behind it when our actions seem morally dubious, we excuse ourselves with it when we are confused by our feelings and we reprimand others with it when their behaviours do not conform to the “norm”. I would like to state at this point that this is not a crusade against the word “masculinity”, but instead a protest against what it has come to stand for in modern society thanks to the old-fashioned thinking of a few. It is our duty as members of this modern society to take back this term and redefine it as the behaviour of a man, any man, and relieve its judgemental undertones that belittle women and men who do not “fit in”.

Why All Men Should Be Feminists

The simple answer is, because it is the right thing to do. There are a multitude of articles and videos online discussing issues women face everyday of their lives, for a quick example Buzzfeed’s Lara Parker published this article 3 weeks ago which highlights only a few. I’ve seen sexism in the workplace when a senior member of staff told me not to “pitch the bitch”, I’ve worked bars in nightclubs where women have been drugged by male customers and I have close friends who have been sexually assaulted. The worst part is, I’ve seen how quickly it was forgotten and, frankly, I was disgusted at the way it was brushed aside as a “one off” or “a joke”.

There is a truth in these articles that shines through every time and that is that men are in no measurable way the stronger sex. We are the privileged group who are lucky enough to not have to experience the same fear and aggression women experience everyday. We are the group that doesn’t have to look strong in the face of blatant inequality and we are the group that are promoted for our ambition rather than degraded. If we are to show we have any character as members of society we need to stand against this sort of behaviour, prove that we are not doomed to make the same mistakes our fathers and grandfathers have made before us and ultimately support and want equal opportunities for men and women.

What You Can Do

The first step is to show your support,  you can go to the HeForShe website and take action against gender inequality like I have. It takes seconds and is something that promotes and supports feminism and gender equality across the world. You can follow HeForShe on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram which will help them share their message daily with you and your followers. Most importantly, you can (and should) change your behaviour to reflect these actions. Feminism and gender equality are not just solved by shares and follows, but by actions and intellectual debate. By changing our behaviour and our perceptions we can more effectively shoulder our responsibilities in supporting gender equality and ultimately see it come to fruition more quickly. Evolve your thinking and show the same level of respect to all members of society, it is our inaction which slows down our progress as a civilisation so ensure you are active in your support.

Thank you for reading this article, I hope it has gone some way to show The Male Stylist’s support for feminism and gender equality as a whole. If you have enjoyed it then please do share this and its message with your friends and followers. Although blogging is seen by many as an inflation of the writer’s ego, sometimes it can help spread a positive message and I hope that today is an example of this. We will be returning to our regular tips on fashion, styling and lifestyle on Friday but this is a cause we support and encourage every one of our readers to support too.

By Adam Walker

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