The “Me Too” campaign triggered a firestorm of women taking a stand against harassing and assaulting men. Political forums and media outlets, community organizations, and the corporate world are reeling from the impact. Everyone, men and women alike, is on edge; men are defensive, and women are combative. In some circles feminism is a dirty word whether touted by men or women. We are in a watershed moment. We have an opportunity to change the story.
Matt Damon experienced backlash for his comments about the good white men when he stated, “We’re in this watershed moment and it’s great, but I think one thing that’s not being talked about is there are a whole shitload of guys — the preponderance of men I’ve worked with — who don’t do this kind of thing and whose lives aren’t going to be affected.” Matt Damon was right in the sense that most men are good men, most men are not misogynistic or sexist, and most men see their female counterparts as equal. It is these men who have an opportunity to be on the positive side of feminism.
In 2014, Emma Watson launched the ‘HeForShe’ campaign which called on men and boys to be advocates for equality and to help course-correct when they witness inequality. I implore you to watch her impassioned United Nations speech here. It is unfortunate that the term feminism gets such bad press from both men and women; most women want equal pay, equal opportunity, and to have their right to choose any path honoured. We are not angry and aggressive man-haters. Quite simply, feminism is ‘the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes’.
Women are not positioned to drive this much needed change alone. We need good men to have our backs, to pay attention, to disrupt the status quo, and to take a stand when they witness injustice; not because we need to be saved, but rather because making gender equality a priority is important for our collective future. Feminism is not a dirty word. Feminism is nothing to fear. Let this be a call out to all the good men. Let’s change the story together.