The Importance of #heforshe

By Hannah Byl 

In the weeks since Emma Watson’s HeForShe speech and the launch of the UN campaign of

the same name, the internet has blown up with talk about the speech and topic. From how

feminism is seen as a “bad word” to how feminism helps men too, there were many important

issues highlighted. The central idea of including men in discussions and actions involved in

women’s rights, while not exactly a new one, is definitely a necessary part of the movement. The

other night, I was scrolling through tweets about the topic, when I came across something a little

bit different: instead of #heforshe, I saw #weforshe. Confused, (was it a typo?) I clicked on the

hashtag and was brought to a page that showed the use of “we” was no accident; in fact, there

were many other posts using the same hashtag. The idea, it seems, is that instead of identifying

as a “he” standing up for the rights of women, or as a “she” standing up for her own rights,

everyone should just identify as a “we”, as “we” all should be involved in the movement for

women’s rights. Indeed, women’s rights should be important to everyone, and being united in the

fight just might be a great way to do it.


I searched for other posts using the hashtag, and the more I read through “we for she” posts, the

more sense it made to me. Division may be one of the biggest enemies to gender equality. Very

often in discussions about women’s rights, (and even in discussions about other rights

movements) there are several different factions: having slightly different goals, slightly different

ways of getting there, etc.. And the split in groups seeking virtually the same thing can ultimately

be their own downfall; it’s very hard to work against a group that wants the same thing as you, as

well as the opposition. Splitting up “he” and “she” in this movement could be bad, as the idea is

for both sides to work towards the same goal. So why not work together? Both sides have

something to say, and using each other’s ideas, seeing each other’s point of view on something

that is a part of all our lives in some way is the best way to move forward in the fight for women’s



HeForShe is such a brilliant, much needed message, directly telling men that they need to be

involved. It puts on center stage the fact that men either aren’t involved or feel they can’t be

involved with feminist issues, and how that needs to change. While not an actual, planned out

movement or organization; the idea of “we for she” is a step even further, talking to everyone and

bringing everyone together under one united front.


And that’s why “we” may be the most important idea yet. It’s not just “he” that needs to do

something. It’s not just “she” that needs to do something. WE are all affected by women’s rights,

or lack thereof. WE all must be attuned to injustices, and how we can correct them. WE can all

work to make everyone equal, to correct wrongs. WE should all make equality a priority. Uniting

everyone under the ideas of #weforshe can make the movement stronger and more powerful

than ever. Standing together will always be much more effective than standing apart.


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  • published this page in Blog 2015-09-15 01:20:57 -0400
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