Farhan is an internationally acclaimed actor, producer and singer songwriter. With over 11 million followers on Twitter and a global profile in the spotlight, Farhan frequently speaks of female empowerment and is a male ambassador for the UN HeForShe campaign.
A large proportion of his music is inspired by equality and addressing the maltreatment of women, with his debut album releasing in the UK in March this year.
Naturally, at the beginning of the year, there is a lot in the media predicting what 2019 will be ‘the year of’. From the year of the vegan to the year of hope – there are predictions in every sector as to what lies in store for the next 12 months. So here is mine: 2019 will be the year of the male feminist. Why? Because we are ready to stand up and unite as one to empower women and spread the message of equality, safety and peace.
But of course, this won’t happen simply because I said it will. Equality isn’t a word which can be brandished at will and still bear the weight it demands. There is yet plenty of work to be done before we can say that we have had a year in which men truly embraced the feminist movement – particularly within the showbusiness sphere.
No, ditching your makeup bag does *not* make you more of a feminist
As a male feminist myself, and ambassador for the UN HeForShe campaign, the empowerment and safety of women has played a huge part in my career. From forming the inspiration behind a number of the tracks on the Echoes album, right down to the MARD initiative to raise awareness of discrimination and sexual violence against women. Male feminism is not something I feel emasculates us – quite the opposite in fact. Feminism is a sign of somebody who understands the beauty of equality and the need to protect, empower and liberate the women in our lives. A strong man is somebody who has the self-confidence to embrace equality.
Life as a male feminist, particularly in the public eye, is both rewarding and challenging. We are living in an era of prejudice, whereby people strive to please and fit certain socially constructed images. This in part has an impact on whether men choose to present themselves as feminists. This is why I believe it’s high time we started to see more male role models vocalise their support for female empowerment as this will see the vital messages of equality spread further and begin to resonate with more men.
Is the modern generation too cool or simply too fragile for feminism?
At the moment, too many male celebrities are worried to attach themselves to messages of female empowerment in fear of damage to their ‘macho’ persona, but I believe 2019 will see a shift from this mindset. As a man myself, I find it difficult when I hear of the maltreatment of women. I think, how would I feel if that was my family? I wish I could tell each and every women that they are not alone, but of course I cannot physically do that. This is why us men need to join arms in our mission for a day in which both men and women can live in a peaceful, equal society free of violence and oppression.
2019 will build on the success of the year just passed in terms of the #MeToo campaign raising awareness of oppression and maltreatment of women. Bollywood for example has been left reeling as accusations of sexual assault have rocked the film industry recently. What is very encouraging right now is that women are feeling less afraid to speak up about what’s been happening for far too long. As men we must uplift them with the strength to do this.
The fact is women are coming out and more people are supporting them. The domino effect is that more are encouraged to speak out, and when you look from a show business/ corporate perspective – the careers of the perpetrators are rightfully tarnished as a result.
Female empowerment is the buzz of the year, so watch this space as 2019 becomes the year of the male feminist.