How are the women in your life affected by sexism? That can be a fairly typical question in regards to feminism. Women have traditionally been the ones at the center and spotlight of feminism discussions.
This weekend Emma Watson, famed Harry Potter actress, challenged us to ask another question.
How are the men in our lives affected by sexism?
Watson, the United Nation’s Good Will Ambassador, spoke at the UN’s summit to discuss the new initiative, HeForShe. In doing so, she urged men to take a stand for feminism.
You can access her speech here:
Watson speaks against the traditional view of feminism as “man-hating”. She turns the tables and says that men are hurt just as much by sexism. She points to her own father’s role in the family being valued less by society. She points to the extreme pressure for me to be “successful” adds to high suicide rates for men.
Watson says, “It’s about freedom. I want men to take up this mantle so that their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too, reclaim parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves”
Our girls are not the only ones affected, but so are our boys. Media can have a huge impact on teens and the pressure they feel to conform to certain standards and have certain roles. There can be a lot of peer pressure to fit a certain image. Opening up conversations with your teen about what sexism means can be an excellent avenue to discuss the specific pressures your teen is dealing with. Pressure to conform to expectations within those roles can add pressure and stress to your teen. Opening up discussions about sexism and gender equality can help them to feel seen and heard as they navigate adolescence and make their way into young adulthood.