That is not feminism

I've been putting this challenge off for as long as I possibly can. It's now two days before I turn 30. Two days to complete my last few challenges!

And it's at this eleventh hour that I've realised why I've been putting this one off. I should've realised earlier, because it's the very reason for adding this item to my list in the first place…

I feel ashamed.

Two comments over the last few weeks have brought this to my awareness. One, a sweeping comment assuming that I have a vendetta against men. And the other, a warning not to “make this a feminist issue” whilst deep in discussion about an unrelated topic.

On both occasions I felt confused; both individuals had completely misunderstood the situation. But I felt too ashamed to say anything to clarify.

This was in fear of being branded a ‘feminist’.

Don't get me wrong, I am proud to call myself a feminist. But being branded a ‘feminist’ is a different story. Because being branded a feminist comes with the stigma of man-hating, of confrontation-seeking and of female righteousness.

But that is not feminism.

In fact, my views come not from being a man-hater, but from being a ‘human-lover’! Gender to me is redundant; whether you're born male or female, or even whether you identify with the gender you were born with or choose another, it doesn't matter. I'm passionate about all people living the healthiest and happiest life possible, regardless of gender or any other category of difference. That is why I care about equal opportunities, equal rights and breaking down limiting stereotypes.

In a speech to the UN in 2014, Emma Watson finds the perfect words to address the misunderstanding. I can't possibly put it better. So in my mission to speak out about gender equality, I urge you to listen to this speech. And I urge you to share it, not just with women but with everyone you know. As Emma Watson so powerfully articulates - this is an issue for all of us.

Next time I'm too ashamed to speak up, I'm going to remind myself that I'm a ‘human-lover’. And that is something to feel proud about and something to speak up about.

It is not something to feel ashamed of.

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