Last week, Emma Watson gave a speech at the UN on the importance of feminism which sparked positive and negative responses across the world.
I don't agree entirely with what Emma Watson was preaching. I'm the first to stand up for women's rights, but I do believe that men and women are different and should be treated (to an extent) differently. I like being the stereotypical girl who likes to cook and dress up, and I enjoy male chivalry, but after her speech I can't help but wonder whether it is society and it's firm views on the way men and women should behave that has somewhat moulded that personality and outlook on life.
What I do agree with is the fact that these seemingly carved into stone ideologies of how we should behave dependant on our gender need to be broken down, and not only for the benefit of women, but our male counterparts too.
When discussing gender inequality you're often told to look at other parts of the world and recognise that we are lucky to live in a country where on paper we are identical to men. We get paid the same, were allowed to do and go to the same places, and in many countries this isn't the case. However, what is unequal is the idea of how we should all behave, and it is not right to feel satisfied and thankful merely because by law I should get paid the same as a man.
As a country that thinks of itself as being pioneering in so many different ways, why are we not embracing the word feminism more to prevent these stereotypes from taking over our lives.
As a young woman I should have complete control over my body and who is allowed to touch it, and as gentlemen the boys in our society should learn to respect girls. There have been plenty of occasions when I've experienced first-hand boys thinking they have touching rights just because I've made an effort to look nice and am wearing a short skirt.
But it's not just us girls that are suffering at the hands of stereotypes. Boys shouldn't be made to feel like in order to be respected they have to be demeaning of women and act like "lads." They shouldn't be made to feel like they can't be emotional just because they're a man and they definitely shouldn't feel like they can't talk about their feelings for fear of not being "manly."
Before last week I'd never seen feminism discussed and I had definitely not seen one of the most recognised actresses of my era stand up and speak frankly about the topic. Before Emma Watson's speech I wouldn't have openly called myself a feminist and I definitely wouldn't have considered it a massive issue, but the more I think about these stereotyped moulds that are prepared by society for us to walk into at a young age, before we've even been given time to decide what we believe ourselves, I see just how much of a big issue it really is.
In fact I truly believe that if more effort was made to eradicate these ideologies then lots of issues across the world would be eradicated too.
I would never have before said that I was a feminist, but I now realise that being a feminist isn't how it is culturally phrased- that you hate men. Thanks to Emma Watson and her intelligent and insightful words I've had a feminism awakening, hopefully alongside many others, female AND male.
All that you're saying when you call yourself a feminist is saying is that you hope men and women will have equal rights and equal opportunities. It's not, like the name suggests, one sided and female favouring, but embraces respecting women and men in exactly the same way, and if more people took that stance the world would definitely be a much better and welcoming place.