This article was originally published in The Gryphon in print and online, you can find it here.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the above was a misprint, but sadly it is not. This year U2 frontman, Bono, has been named Woman of the Year, for Glamour magazine’s annual Women of the Year list, because, I can only guess, there were not enough women deserving of the award. Only, we all know that is far from the truth.
For starters, there were the other award winners, many making you feel unworthy as a human being, let alone a female. Their achievements and experiences as women are unmatched. There are the three female founders of the Black Lives Matter movement Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza, anti-Isis campaigner Nadia Murad and the Stanford sexual assault case survivor, who is only known as Emily Doe. Does Bono really belong among these ladies? A photo of the awardees shows the musician standing in the centre, as the main focus and of most importance.
I think what really gets me are the statements from Glamour US magazine’s editor Cindi Leive. In full support of the decision, she says: “The idea that a man who could select any cause in the world to call his own, or no cause at all, is choosing to work…on behalf of women, is incredibly cool and absolutely deserves applause.” It’s the tone of her comments, as though it’s cooler that a man is supporting women’s rights than a woman because he is a man, that is troubling. She continued: “There are so many men who really are doing wonderful things for women these days. Some men get it and Bono is one of those guys”. Thanks so much Bono for choosing to support women! That was so big of you! And “consistently day after day”, whereas the rest of us only support women once a year, perhaps on International Women’s Day, y’know if we have to.
I realise this is not the fault of Bono, who does work hard for world poverty and supporting the cause for equality, and claimed that he was “sure he didn’t deserve it”. But for an editor of a major women’s magazine to try to engage a modern audience with a print publication, by doting on the coolness of men supporting women’s causes, is terribly outdated.
It’s not even that I’m against men joining in the fight for equality, as Emma Watson has campaigned for with her #heforshe campaign, it is essential that we all get united behind this issue. But this is the women’s awards, for a gender that is still often under-appreciated and under-respected. How many awards have men like Bono won in their lifetimes? I also appreciate that gender is becoming much more fluid and undefinable, but until we all gain equality lets encourage and keep the steps towards raising up the minorities or socially oppressed of any kind before we congratulate men for actually giving a f-, shall we?
By Lynsey Rose Kay