They’re Not Gender Issues, They’re Human Issues. #HeForShe

I fell in love with Emma Watson today. Well, let’s be honest, I loved her when she was in Harry Potter but she was too young to say that then. So I’ll say it now.

Her UN address for the #HeForShe movement was beautiful.

But my love is not just reserved for Emma. I love all women. Always have. Some would probably say I’m girl crazy. Others say it’s the Scorpio in me. I would argue that it’s both evolutionary programming as well as a general appreciation for women’s beauty.

I grew up in a home where we were free to be who we are. There were no gender requirements, and I’m lucky to have a mother who commanded respect and adoration simply through the way she freely loved. She has always been involved in supporting women and their rights. We used to joke and poke fun at it and yet she never got angry or persecuted the men in her life. She only lovingly attempted to include us in the conversation so that we could understand.

I didn’t really want to understand though. In my teens and twenties I didn’t believe I was ready to. I rallied for women’s rights with the not-so-secret intention of enjoying topless women roaming the streets. Although I do support that movement now my intention is less perverse and I see that the path to equality is through all humans.

As I’ve begun my journey working with men and women on communication I see the glaringly obvious divide that exists in the invitation for men to participate. We want men to show up in relationships and support the feminist movement yet men who display feminine qualities are scoffed at for not fitting the traditional archetype of what it means to be a man: an archetype which is outdated and to the detriment of the lives of young men. An archetype vastly promoted by men too. I see that.

So, for this reason, I have long had a problem with feminism. My understanding of feminism has always been the “Us vs. Them” mentality and so I couldn’t get on board. The most outspoken feminists tell men that they don’t need them: that a divide is necessary to move forward.

I believe the opposite is true.

And that is why a feminist movement involving just women can never be successful. Like it or not, we need each other. And the way to combat inequality and exclusion is not to have more of it. Exclusion serves no one and there are many men who are on the side of equality and women’s rights. Including me.

We need to choose love, acceptance and to coexist in a world where we support one another as humans.

That’s why #HeForShe has me ecstatic beyond belief.

The struggle that Emma speaks to is so important for all humans. We love to fit things into gender. This is what “men” do. This is how “women” do things. It’s so much more complex than that.

We love to separate and create divides.

But you know what?! Between each gender is a MASSIVE variation. We miss all of the grey when we commit to putting people into boxes, and we fail to see the bigger picture:

They’re not gender issues, they’re human issues.

HeForShe, Gender, feminism, love, equality, men, women

We often equate sensitivity with women. We attribute aggression and a lack of ability to communicate emotions with men. Sure, those attributes can be true, and more often than not you’d be right if you said men are ‘this way’ and women are ‘that way’.

Here’s the real risk in those assumptions. Not only do you make decisions and actions based on perceived archetypes of what men and women are, but you also negate the opportunity to understand the specific human you’re dealing with, and allow a man or woman to exist in the constructs of what makes them unique.

We are SO complex.

How arrogant of us to assign generalizations.

Men and women are different. Easy statement. Each human is different. Gender is a very small piece of the pie. We try to hack our understanding of what the person in front of us is like. There are no shortcuts, the key is to choose love. Love of all humans. Love of equality. Let’s stop ignoring one gender to save another and instead embrace all that it means to be human.

We live in a world where choice and abundance are a pleasure shared by too few.

When Emma Watson so eloquently asked,

“If not me, who? If not now, when?”

I reach out to all of you deliciously amazing human beings to say “YES” to #HeForShe and do it “NOW”.

If #HeForShe is the new Feminism then I say let’s all become Feminists.

Share this message so all of our fathers, sons, brothers, mothers, daughters and sisters might experience this same amazingly beautiful  life and all its opportunities.