WAS ON EV­ERY­ONE’S LIPS

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - REPORTAGE - By HAJI MO­HAMED DAWJEE, deputy dig­i­tal news ed­i­tor / Mail & Guardian

THE IN­TER­NET has helped pull the fem­i­nist move­ment out from the once treach­er­ous back­wa­ters of con­tentious bra-burn­ing an­tics into the main­stream. We saw big names like Bey­oncé col­lab­o­rate with award-win­ning Nige­rian au­thor Chi­ma­manda Ngozi Adichie – who has of­ten spo­ken out about our un­der­stand­ing of gen­der roles – on her epony­mous 2013 al­bum and dance in front of the word ‘Fem­i­nist’ lit in gi­ant let­ters at the MTV Video Mu­sic Awards. Ac­tor Emma Wat­son be­came an am­bas­sador for UN Women and launched her HeForShe cam­paign with a pow­er­ful speech that has clocked more than six mil­lion views on YouTube. She called on men and boys around the world to join the cause for gen­der equal­ity, and was met by re­sound­ing support from male celebri­ties. Chanel even staged a fake protest in the name of fem­i­nism as part of its Paris Fash­ion Week SS15 show.

But there have been naysay­ers, too. An­nie Len­nox had a go at Bey­oncé, call­ing her ‘fem­i­nist light’, and thou­sands of women re­sponded to the #yesal­lwomen hash­tag with #wom­e­na­gain­st­fem­i­nism, seem­ingly think­ing the idea was a com­plete waste of time.

Twit­ter has been a great place to have the con­ver­sa­tion. It has been the ta­ble to which women could bring their ex­pe­ri­ences and share open de­bate – like the women be­hind #life­o­fa­mus­lim­fem­i­nist, who found women who un­der­stood them and some who were learn­ing from them.

It seems 2014 was the year we learned to be OK with say­ing the f-word again. Hope­fully we’ll see it turn into some­thing a lit­tle more sub­stan­tial than a hash­tag and start re­ally ad­dress­ing the gen­der equal­ity gaps that are wo­ven into ev­ery as­pect of so­ci­ety.

CHANEL’S FEM­I­NISM PROTEST;

MALE CELEBRI­TIES EN­DORSE THE ‘HEFORSHE’ CAM­PAIGN

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