Believe It. Circa 2016, and Glamour magazine has decided to name a man as The Woman Of The Year. Neither the internet nor I can wrap my head around this.
Bono is a man. A biological MALE has been awarded the Woman of the Year award.
We live in an age where we are influenced heavily by the popular media; there are little ways to escape it other than maybe living under a rock for real. So, the very absurdity of such a publicity stunt by an internationally well-recognized magazine is enough for me to fumble and rant, rather be rational about this.
I find no reason to be rational about this. I think the move to award him rather than so many other brilliant women out there who have fought tooth and nail to make it big is gimmicky.
Who Benefits From This Recognition?
Glamour magazine. And Bono, obviously.
I cannot find enough ways to thank Bono for leading a campaign as important as the ‘Poverty is Sexist’ movement. With the aim to tailor developmental measures for women, who take the hardest hit in any dire condition, we recognize how systematically oppressed and deprived a life women naturally live.
I live in India, in a culture where we are brought up to sacrifice. Trust me, in any situation, the man gets the bigger share of the cake.
Glamour magazine is reiterating a very shameless innate sexism. That’s why we have Bono as one of the most powerful women today.
Simone Biles. Emily Doe. Christine Lagarde. Nadia Murad. I like this list. But we are not eliminating the gender gap by including Bono in their ranks. Men supporting women shouldn’t be made such big a deal. It isn’t. It should be seen as appropriate and natural as women standing up for universal human rights.
It’s About the Perception.
I have been studying John Berger’s ‘Ways of Seeing’ where he talks about how men are represented in images through their functions of power, to show who they are. It is external; they project what they are capable of.
In a striking contrast, women have been, are, and I don’t know until when, are represented through how they should be looked at. She is always accompanied by her image, even when she looks into a mirror at herself. They are confined within it.
In an age of gender fluidity, when a fashion magazine bestows upon a man the prestige that a woman has relentlessly fought for, only because he is a MAN, we automatically succumb to the patriarchal power equations of imagery.
Glamour magazine states, “When a major male rock star who could do anything at all with his life decides to focus on the rights of women and girls worldwide – well, all that’s worth celebrating. We’re proud to name that rock star, Bono, our first Man of the Year,”
Just because Bono’s efforts to uplift women specifically are so novel, we feel compelled to recognize that as revolutionary. As a MAN, he looks exceptional. Every other WOMAN he shares the prestige with is taken for granted. It is seen normal that powerful influential women have to strive too hard to make the cut, therefore their images are denied the virtue of novelty in the most absolute sense possible.
Will a male magazine ever name a woman on their powerful men lists?
That would be revolutionary.
Like Bono reacted to the honor, I too believe that men and women should lead the revolution towards gender equality together.
But he too acknowledges that he didn’t deserve it. That’s the humility of a good person talking. But am I distorting the message too much if I comprehend that he himself knows that he is not on the right boat?
Cindi Levie, Glamour Magazine’s editor-in-chief commented that it is a pretty outdated to look at things in a way that rules out men from a race about women.
Why don’t we make them run together on the Olympic tracks then? Why are men rejecting birth control citing the very side effects that traumatize women?
Thus, let me straighten this for once and for all by means of an example: Do I have a problem with Amitabh Bachchan fighting for a group of women in court? No. But, do I have a problem with him being made the focal point of a movie? Oh yes, I do.