For the past 27 consecutive years, Glamour magazine has celebrated a distinguished group of women on their “Women of the Year” list. The award ceremony—which will be held on Monday Nov. 14 in Los Angeles—will honor inspiring women across a variety of areas, including fashion, politics, entertainment, sports and activism. This year, however, Glamour has included on the list its first male celebrity: Bono, lead singer of the popular band U2. Bono has been included on a list of truly admirable women. Among the other honorees are pop star Gwen Stefani, United States Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, the three women who founded the Black Lives Matter movement—Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi—the Stanford sexual assault survivor now known as “Emily Doe,” plus size model and body image activist Ashley Graham, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde, Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the United Nations Nadia Murad, human rights activist Miuccia Prada and pop culture icon Zendaya.
Yet the presence of a male in the “Women of the Year” award category has raised some controversy across social media. People have posted tweets and comments complaining that yet another male is usurping and eclipsing women’s time in the spotlight.
Yes, a male is being recognized for something that is not only embraced by and created for women, but actually has “women” in the name. One could argue that his presence in the award ceremony—regardless of Bono’s popularity—detracts from any true social or political movement forward for women.
Feminism has long been a battle fought by strictly women. Including the women listed in the category above, female celebrities have been advocating for women’s rights for a long time. Women like Beyoncé and Emma Watson have been using their fame to promote women’s rights any chance they get.
Just as Glamour said in their announcement of the honorees, this year has been monumental for women in our country. We finally had a female presidential candidate and the U.S. female Olympic gymnastics team dominated the Rio Olympics this past summer.
But the feminist movement is about social, political and economic equality between men and women—not female supremacy, as it is so often falsely labeled. So what’s wrong about a man coming to a woman’s defense?
The legendary rock singer was actually chosen by Glamour for his creation of ONE: a feminist foundation that recently launched its “Poverty is Sexist” campaign. Although he may not believe he is worthy of the award, claiming, “I’m sure I don’t deserve it,” his accomplishments and objectives prove otherwise.
Recently, Bono launched his “Poverty Is Sexist” campaign in order to help the world’s poorest women. “The battle for gender equality can’t be won unless men lead it along with women,” he said. “We’re largely responsible for the problem, so we have to be involved in the solutions.”
Surely men getting involved in feminist issues are important, but their involvement is definitely a delicate situation, especially when they are given awards in a previously exclusively female category.
But it’s the 21st century, so not only are people tired of seeing men in power, they are also more accepting of changes to the norm. Bono’s actions for feminism should certainly not go unnoticed because anyone fighting for a noble cause should not be overlooked.
There’s nothing particularly wrong with allowing Bono to be Glamour’s first “Man of the Year,” so long as next year’s award recipients are not mainly male. As long as the award remains a way to recognize people who advocate for women’s rights and advantages, why not recognize a couple of men who are trying to do just that?