If not me, who?
If not now, when?
(Emma Watson, launch of HeForShe Campaign)
Labels are very important. The fact that so many people -and especially men- are reluctant to call themselves Feminist is mostly because this word has negative connotations. For a lot of people, “Feminists” are a bunch of crazy termagants who burn their bras in protest and who have only one agenda: getting rid of men.
That is why it still tends to be difficult nowadays to label yourself as a Feminist. But things are changing quickly, and Feminists have clearly understood that men need to be involved in a process to create a fair gendered society. The “He for She” campaign launched by the UN gave the right signal to men: don’t be afraid, Feminism is not about getting rid of you, we need you more than ever to get where we want to be. There is no hidden agenda, the society Feminists dream of is where men and women have the same voice, seat at the same table and share the responsabilities in the private and the business world.
That fear is real though. The word is scary because it does not include men, they can’t feel included in that fight, even when they should. My Dad is one of them. As is typical of provocative, angry men – he has recently been call Feminism the root of all-the-worlds-problems. After all they want to change the way things were, and they especially want to take men’s position. It is in fact a robbery! Well, isn’t it sad to realise that we mostly think in term of competition and not fair share?
I was lucky to be raised in a western world where I believed that I could grab opportunities, just like men. I realised later in life that it was a bit trickier than that, but let’s be fair, I’m in a so much better place than women in Saudi Arabia or Iran for instance. So I could not believe that my Dad thought I was worthing less than my brother. And I was right. I picked a few examples of blatant sexism, like the fact that a pink razor is more expensive than a man’s one, that the hair dresser is more expensive for women no matter how short their hair is, that the female shirt is more expensive than the male shirt at the dry cleaner. I was relieved to see my Dad being outraged as much as I was, but one thing still bothered him. When I said, “see Dad, you’re a Feminist after all”, he replied “this is not Feminism, this is just common sense!”.
Yes Dad, Feminism is just common sense. Indeed. I agree. Label it what you want, but the most important thing is to realise that the sexist world as we have known it so far has to change. Charging more depending on the sex of the customer is part of the problem. And whatever you call it, feminism or common sense, the problem remains the same.