It appears that if you say the word Feminist these days that you suddenly become stereotyped as a man-hater. Whilst there are extreme views in every realm of life, and sure there are women who genuinely hate men, it is not the Feminist way.
If we are going to live in a world where both men and women are treated with respect, Feminism needs redefining.
Last week the words of 24-year-old Emma Watson shook not only the United Nations but also the world as her speech at the United Nations HQ went viral.
Now, in case you have been living under a rock or have become such a hipster that keeping up with news is not only uncool but also detrimental to your hipster status let me fill you in on a few key facts.
#1: Emma Watson.
Whilst Emma is the name of a movie based on a classic fictional novel and Watson is the name of Sherlock Holmes's sidekick, when these names are put together they form the name of a 21st Century Hollywood actress, born and bred in Britain and most famous for her role as Hermione in Harry Potter. Six months ago she was also appointed the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador.
#2: United Nations (UN).
Whilst this body may be confused for the sporting team Manchester United if said incorrectly, it is an intergovernmental organisation to promote international co-operation.
A UN campaign to end gender inequality launched by Emma Watson.
Last week Emma Watson brought the world back to a clear definition of Feminism in her HeForShe Campaign launch where she said Feminism is for equal rights and opportunities between the genders; politically, economically and socially. She challenged gender preconceptions and highlighted that it is not only women who are imprisoned in gender stereotypes, but also men.
The results are crippling. She identified that whilst globally there is little recognition of mental illness amongst men, that in the UK alone suicide is the biggest killer of males among the ages of 20 to 49; that societies view on the fathers role in parenting is fast diminishing despite its imminent importance; and that men are feeling the pressure to live up to societies expectations of what it means to be a successful man and are too often confusing a pursuit of the idealised alpha male with aggression.
This brave actress challenged the world to consider that gender equality is not just an issue for women but is also a man's issue, and that if we want to see true gender equality established in any nation it requires a team effort starting with the support of boys and men and a deconstruction of male gender stereotypes.
Words Are Powerful.
Now I understand that Hollywood actresses and the UN may be all a little mainstream for some and that this is starting to sound faintly like a Channel 9 news report but I think our International Star has a point.
Feminism doesn't have to equate to man hating. But as long as it does, gender equality will remain an unobtainable reality.
Whilst Feminism might be piled with the Paleo Diet and seen as the latest political craze among powerful women and hipsters, what it challenges has real strains in both the lives of males and females and our wider social structures. If we truly believe that every man and woman deserves to live life to the full, in freedom to become who they desire to be, it is time that we start deconstructing the lies that are undermining society.
Let us speak life and in doing so shape the culture around us. Words are powerful.
Let's value family and the role of fathers.
Let's value the strength that men offer but don't define this by how much they can leg press but rather how strong their character is.
Let's value the contribution of women, recognising that they are great thinkers, pioneers, leaders, parents and communicators, but let's not put women on a pedestal because a world dominated and run by women is hardly one that values our male counterparts.
Let's vouch for equal opportunity among the genders; recognising that both men and women deserve an education, the ability to have input into the policies and politics that impede on society, a pay that acknowledges ones skills and abilities, and equal opportunities to be who they want to be.
Let's recognise that we need each other. If we didn't, we wouldn't need a man and a woman to sustain the earth's population. From our very biological make-up and survival as a human race we need each other, so let's honour one another by valuing each gender with our words.
Being caged and restricted by stereotypes and lies is no life at all, for either men or women. Men and women are unique, each is valuable in their own right and has something to contribute. Let the change begin with you as you begin to facilitate a culture of equality and freedom where people can discover who they are and be who they want to be.
We can all contribute something. Change starts with you. Change starts with me. As Emma Watson posed to the UN last week, let's ponder this question: If not me, who? If not now, when?
Genesis 1 verse 27, "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."
"The will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us." – Billy Graham.