«Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong…»
These are two simple sentences extracted from the speech that British actress Emma Watson delivered at the United Nations headquarters in New York in September 2014. Two simple sentences. Two ideas. Basic but bold. Almost revolutionary.
Nowadays, the popularity of the term «feminism» seems to have reached an all-time low. It is associated with hatred towards men, to a radicalism with which many women do not feel identified. It is broadly perceived that many battles for women’s rights and equality have been already won, and that belief is so rooted in society that gender discrimination is now regarded as a minor problem.
It appears that the term «feminism» has lost its meaning. We associate it with the past, with women suffragettes, with bra-burners … even with 90’s «girl power«. Society seems in need of renaming feminism, of a brand change and an approach revision. American historian Christina Sommers is adamant to this regard: «Let’s reform feminism. (…) Let’s support oppressed women, and Western feminism will gain that which has lacked for many years: a contemporary lens that will make it worthy of its past.»
We need a «neo feminism», not because the scenario or its problems have really changed (in fact, they remain virtually the same), but because we must move away from that fierce struggle with men. Seeing them as enemies, trying to take their place. Women should not be the new men. Men are not the destination to reach. They are not the goal. The only goal is equality.
Therefore, what neo feminism really needs is not an attractive or groundbreaking name, but a profound attitude adjustment. It should fully eliminate sexist language and attitudes; remove chauvinism in both men and women … As Emma Watson said in her speech: «Both men and women should feel free to be strong.»
Let’s stop fighting among ourselves, in order to help others and help ourselves. Let’s remember everything we have fought for. Everything we have achieved and everything that still remains to be achieved. Let us be worthy of a glorious past, to merit a decent future.
The name is not important. What matters is the content. Simple. Bold. Revolutionary.