We (men) should all be feminists

All Woman

MORE men around the world are identifying themselves as feminists and touting their support for equality among males and females in all spheres of life.

In fact, in 2012, notable Nigerian author and feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, in a TEDx talk dubbed We should all be feminists, spoke openly about her experiences living in Nigeria and constantly being overlooked or ignored as a woman, while adding that the best feminist she knows is her brother, who is a kind, good-looking man that's very masculine.

She said her own definition of feminist is a man or woman who admits there is a problem with gender as it is today, and fixes it.

Adichie said while gender is not an easy conversation to have, it influences the way we experience the world.

“Gender as it functions today is a grave injustice. We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change, but in addition to being angry, I'm also hopeful because I believe deeply in the ability of human beings to make and remake themselves for the better,” she said.

Apart from Adichie's brother, there are other popular men who identify with the feminist perspective.

These men include Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, popular singer John Legend, and actors Ryan Gosling and Will Smith, just to name a few.

Gosling rationalised his stance in a 2014 interview with Cosmopolitan, saying, “You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA [Motion Picture Association of America] is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene [depicting cunnilingus] that shows a woman in a sexual scenario, which is both complicit and complex. It's misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman's sexual presentation of self.”

In the same article Legend defends his position: “All men should be feminists. If men care about women's rights, the world will be a better place. We are better off when women are empowered; it leads to a better society.”

For Will Smith, his feminism was awakened after having a daughter and realising he had to teach her to have control over her own body and existence, and not let individuals – particularly men – dominate her.

Trudeau said that he stands for giving everyone a real and fair chance to succeed, and understands that when you help women and girls in the developing world and in places where there are extraordinary challenges, you're actually having a larger impact than doing anything else.

He added that it is women and girls who are at the heart of the greatest global challenges we have, and if we can get them empowered to shape their communities, shape their worlds, we're going to be on the right track.

Dr Keino Senior, dean of the School of Arts Management and Humanities at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, explained that there are varieties of feminist perspectives and theories that differ in substantial ways; however, they share a basic commonality – that women as a group suffer from various injustices and stereotypes because of their perceived inferiority to men.

Dr Senior further explained that women share the same experiences which may be external situations in which they find themselves, such as economic oppression, commercial exploitation, legal discrimination, to name a few, or internal responses, for example the feeling of inadequacy or a sense of narrow horizons.

Overall, he noted that the feminism stance, whether liberal, radical, black or Caribbean, is that women are not inferior to men.

But Dr Senior said while he would not refer to himself as a feminist, based on his research in gender and gender relations, particularly in the Caribbean, he finds value in the tenets of feminism and the feminist way of knowing and thinking.

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