It's not always easy to navigate yourself in a world that can be so full of tension and hate. So it's nice to know that someone, in the billions of people that inhabit the world, has got your back. Even if that someone is a 15-year-old boy. Or perhaps especially if that person is 15-year-old Ed Holtom, an impassioned teen who had the chutzpah to write a letter to The Telegraph after he listened to Emma Watson's UN speech.
As it turns out, he didn't just arbitrarily listen, he totally got it. Encouraging, not only because of his young age, but because his outspokenness on the issue is perpetuating the #HeforShe sentiment. In his letter, he expressed his agreement with Watson and elaborated on their shared ideals, for those who might not "get it" like he did. And really, we should all be so lucky to be as wise as this kid.
The Telegraph published his piece, a sweet and concise version of his unedited submission that they also list. Which, in my humble opinion, is so much better than the published version, not only in its elaboration, but in its fervor. But regardless, his overall view remains:
In the original submission, Holtom penned,
"If We Really Want Equality"We’re lucky to live in a western world where women can speak out against stereotypes. It’s a privilege. Gender equality and feminism is not about ‘man-hating’ or the idea of ‘female supremacy’. It is, by definition, the opposite.The definition of feminism is, ‘a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.’ It’s pretty simple really, and if you believe in those things, then you’re a feminist.Feminism can also be interpreted as a woman owning her sexuality, in the same way men do, wearing clothes that make her feel good about herself, or that show off her body, not for the attention of men, without being called a slut and with freedom from the threat of rape, because she wants to.Recently we’ve been hearing about what it means to be ‘masculine’ and what it means to be ‘feminine’. It means nothing, barring biological differences. By perceiving these two words as anything other than the description of a human’s genitalia, we perpetuate a stereotype which is nothing but harmful to all of us.By using words such as ‘girly’ or ‘manly’ we inadvertently buy into gender stereotyping whether we like it or not. We live the gender stereotype without realising it, we have been born with it, we played with toys designed for our genders, we go to schools which are segregated, we play sports which other genders do not, and it takes some mindfulness for many people to even acknowledge its existence and the injustice it entails for both genders.If we want equality, it will take more effort than paying women the same as men, or giving women equal opportunities to men. If we really want equality we must all make an active decision to abandon phrases such as ‘what it means to be masculine’ and the like. If we really want equality we must try our best to ignore gender and stop competing with one another. We must stop comparing ourselves to each other, particularly other people of the same gender, because that leaves us with a feeling of insecurity and self doubt.We must stop pressuring each other to fit with this stereotype which more often than not leaves us feeling repressed and unable to express ourselves. And most of all, if we really want equality, we need to stop caring. Stop caring about gender, stop caring about another person’s sexual preference, stop caring about how far someone fits in with the stereotype and stop caring, most of all, about how much we fit this stereotype, we must not let gender define us."
I know, I know... whoa.