If you happen to be surrounded by a group of men right now, I have a request of you: please bring up feminism and identify yourself as a feminist. I am nearly certain that these men will immediately become squeamish and try to change the subject. I can make this prediction, not because men are cruel beings who do not want equal rights for women, but because the word feminism has such a terrible, anti-men connotation. In fact, when most of us think of “feminists,” we envisage angry, pretentious women who have not shaved any time this week. This is exactly the problem that He for She is trying to change.
It is no doubt that women are discriminated against in other parts of the world. We hear horror stories about the violence toward women in third world countries. We do not see this kind of violence in the U.S. However, we still see lots of discrimination. Every other song on the radio has a man describing the different things he wants to see a woman do. (I can assure you none of these requests are respectable). Naked pictures of women are being stolen and broadcasted around the world. You cannot hear women mentioned in the media without hearing someone else rate their sexuality. Not only do women in America have to withstand this in their personal lives, they have to take discrimination in work as well. On average, women earn 78 cents to every dollar a male earns.
The question is, how do we change this? Organized feminism has existed since the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. The movement has made large steps since that time, but clearly equality is still out of reach. This is because it has been a one-sided fight. In the fight for women’s equality, the only soldiers are women. In order for this cause to be successful, men need to get involved as well.
He for She is a United Nations movement for women’s equality. It focuses on bringing together both sides of the fight for gender equality. It addresses men all over the world and urges them to join the movement. So far, almost 200,000 men have joined all over the world. The movement not only focuses on rights for women, but on dismantling all gender stereotypes. The idea is that if women were not forced to be appear sensitive, then men would not have to appear tough. UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson said, “I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too—reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.”