Has female empowerment backfired?

The quest for equality

If there were ever a greater time to feel the strength of female empowerment, I would  graciously succumb to choosing our present  as one of them. This is as someone who has come to embrace the ethos of being present more in the moment of our now. I confess whilst it is a constant working progress there is actually something to it. Consequently, the perks of this daily practice reinforces the appreciation of what our today represents.

From the small finer details progressing to the greater elements of greater purpose. One of which is captivating us with force, our quest for equality. Our voices are undoubtedly growing stronger as our stance grows firmer. The most empowering element for me in all of this? Is the unity and solidarity that radiates through all platforms of expression. Consequently binding women together with an empowering sense of confidence and belief in our quest for equality.

Is there disparity in the equality we seek?

We know our end goal and we stand with firm conviction that it will be achieved. How can we not when emphasised by Oprah herself during her awe-inspiring Golden Globe speech in 2018, “So I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon!”. When presented with such courage and passion it’s hard to defy such a belief. 

When the movement is led by uncountable beacons of inspiration that call on that inspiration we have residing in each and every one of us (I do not doubt for a shadow of a moment that we all have an inner Oprah calling out). I can’t help but notice an increasing irony in our objective. Whilst we strive to correct society’s imbalanced precedence of the status quo, there is a disparity appearing elsewhere. As all resources are used to empower the voices of women. The resulting disparity highlights very little resources evident in empowering the men too. Which begs the question, why?   

 

Photo by Adam Marcucci

 

Back to basics. What is feminism?

With the rise of this question, I feel compelled to reflect a little. Feminism is anchored firmly in our history. Manifesting it’s force in the western world through the birth of the suffragette movement in the early 19th century progressing to campaigns such as Me Too and Times Up. Despite the compelling nature of it transcending across generations, there is a increasing sense of derogatory air associated with it. The core of female empowerment appears to be becoming somewhat of a blur. This may come as no surprise when we have such conflicting messages circling the movement.

To define feminism in its most simple form; it is the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. The key word here being equality. Whilst the definition remains the same, recent times suggest that what feminism has become to embody has changed. Use of the term has somehow evolved to implicate women desirous as to overpower men. With tendencies of strong dislike and even hate towards them. If this were the case, I would like to highlight it would defy the entire purpose of what we are pledging to achieve. However, we can’t deny that the present expression of female empowerment has backfired. Creating a deficit in confidence which may in fact be harming the objective.

The shift is happening

The more encouraging pointer to this is that there is refrain from people terming themselves a feminist, especially men. Results indicated by The Chatelaine Survey, conducted on men in Canada showed that 79 percent of men believe that both men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. Whilst 75 percent of men believe that a woman’s career is just as important, if not even more, as theirs. Evidence certainly sways in the favour of the notion that a shift is happening. Female empowerment predominantly enlists the support of men across different generations.

If we had to address the disparity hindering our progress, what if we were to exert greater effort in empowering the men too? Surely by empowering men as as well as women —who are as we believe are equal pillars of our movement — our cause could be accelerated and would also reinforce the true meaning of the feminism we are striving to achieve. Essentially staying true to our cause, equality of the status quo. 

Recruiting more male advocates of inspiration

Just like women seek empowerment from modern feminists such as Oprah and Emma Watson perhaps male empowerment requires an equal strength of inspiration. Voices which enhance the understanding of equality as being a way to share power rather than it being a power we are retracting from men. ‘There is a mindset shift that will benefit us all when women don’t feel worried that they’re going to be in vulnerable positions.” A statement expressed by Canadian politician Justin Trudeau, when interviewed as part of the Chatelaine Survey.

A representation of a leader in a position of power with views that support women through male empowerment. We need more men taking to public platforms using their influence in positive ways to channel a movement. We may just find the stance of female empowerment enriched and elevated breaking the perceived limits of that glass ceiling sooner rather than later.

Can having more male activists enlist greater support for equality?

Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash

 

In Justin Baldoni’s inspiring (and yes, not to overkill the use of the word, empowering) Ted Talk in November 2017 titled “Why I’m done trying to be man enough” he urges men to listen to the women in their life. An actor and active feminist, he uses his platform to challenge the perceived notion that society has of men and masculinity. He encourages men to draw strength from the qualities they feel define their “manhood”  and instead use them as tools of empowerment towards the adversities facing women. “Will you actually stand up and do something so one day we don’t live in a world where a woman has to risk everything and come forward and say the words “me too?”

This also opens our minds to the thought that as well as feminism evolving to embody new forms of expression so is masculinity. Men need the tools to empower their confidence in addressing this shift which works in synergy to ours. After all, as Oprah so rightfully stated the new horizon of our tomorrow rests on “magnificent women” as well as “some pretty phenomenal men. Fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to a time when nobody ever has to say ‘Me too’ again. ”

Perhaps the point of the matter is no longer even about whether we label ourselves a feminist or not. Overall, the proof of the pudding strongly points towards men wanting what we want, equality. So rather it being a force that implicates a battle between the sexes and building our own walls of segregation. I quite simply ask you, can we not unite our goal and focus more on empowering both sides uniting our goal and purpose as one?

Post Author: Gina Gambhir

Gina Gambhir
I’m Gina, a contributor here at i the stylist and I am a ardent writer enthusiast with an insatiable desire for creative expression. My pharmacy career background provides me with a versatile palette from which I like to draw knowledge and engage in discussions about the current aspects of our lifestyle today such as health, wellness and personal style. I strive to capture the essence of my inspiration through the soul of my words with the hope to empower and inspire you too along the way. Catch me on Instagram @conamoregee and my blog www.conamoregee.com

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