Emma Watson Wants Guys to Fight for Gender Equality
November 11, 2014
A few of weeks ago, I heard that Emma Watson was speaking at the United Nations headquarters about her new feminist campaign called HeForShe. I later watched the video of her speech on YouTube and was moved by her approach to getting people on board with the project. She stated that gender inequality is not only women’s problem; it’s also men’s. The same thing could be said about sex ed.
Too often guys are seen as sexual beings, but they aren’t expected to know as much about reproductive health. And often times, safer sex and birth control are seen as something that mainly concerns women. This is not the case. Men need comprehensive sex ed just as much as women do; they need to know the importance of safer sex, healthy relationships, how their bodies work and everything in between.
Sex ed has a lot to do with feminism. Both sex ed and feminism advocate for the idea that people of all genders need to treat one another respectfully in relationships. Guys from a very young age are expected to conceal their emotions and be aggressive. Sensitivity is seen as shameful and weak in men. If men were taught that being emotional is OK or that they don’t have to aggressively express their sexuality to “be a man,” there would probably be less abuse, sexual assault and rape, affecting so many women. How to respectfully relate to a partner is a lesson that can be learned from comprehensive sex ed.
During her speech, Emma Watson showed how both men and women are affected by sexism and invited men to join the HeForShe campaign. Guys need to know that feminism and sex ed pertain to them too. Without guys, the push for gender equality won’t make the kind of progress that is needed. As Emma Watson put it, “If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both should feel free to be strong.” Men are just as trapped by gender stereotypes as women, and including all genders in the movement for gender equality shows that that we’re all in this together.