Teenage Boy Wrote Essay on Feminism — and Nailed It

Feminist teen Lachlan Warrell (first row, second from left) with classmates. (Photo: Girlup.org)

Lachlan Warrell, 19, has everything going for him: He is about to graduate from high school and will attend a prestigious university in the fall. He has a beautiful girlfriend, parents that love and support him, and siblings who look up to him. However, he doesn’t let these great things define him. Instead, the Australian teen defines himself as a feminist.

After having interned at the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up, a campaign that engages girls to improve awareness of and raise funds for girls in developing countries, Warrell wrote a blog post for the site called Why Boys Become Men When They’re Feminists. “Men that support the rights of girls and women not simply because she is someone’s mother, sister, daughter, but rather because girls and women,” he writes, “deserve to be advocated as people, not mere relational attachments to men.”

Warrell has clearly been listening to fellow U.N. ambassador Emma Watson, who has been vocal throughout her career on educating what being a feminist is all about. “Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality,” she told the BBC.

And this a definition Warrell can get behind.

Warrell tells Yahoo Beauty, “When I was a sophomore I thought I was already set in who I was and my identity, but then that completely changed.” At his Diversity Club meeting, he explains, he was confronted with the question: Are you a feminist?

“I didn’t raise my hand. Feminism had always had a negative connotation in my mind: women that hate men. But then I learned what being a feminist means,” he says. “Being a feminist is realizing that both women and men are equal and deserve the same treatment of respect and opportunities.”

His mother, author Margie Warrell, tells Yahoo Beauty, “I think he is a feminist because he saw how supportive my husband has been with my work throughout his life. We don’t have gender roles at home and we are very aware of pointing out when little things such as when ‘women have to do the laundry’ and ‘men are the breadwinners’ stereotypes happen,” she says. “We have always taught [all our kids] to never objectify women.”

Lachlan says it’s because of the freedom his mom and dad gave him to find his own identity that allowed him to explore and find what really matters to him, like feminism and faith. “My parents never told me who I needed to be like or believe,” he says. “I found my Christian faith on my own four years ago and those values are also what defines who I am.”

Margie’s life’s work focuses on women empowerment, she says she has raised her children to “be vulnerable and risk failing, but to know they are here in this world with a purpose and making it about helping others.”

Not only is Lachlan a feminist, but he is also passionate about racial inequality and social justice issues.

“I know that as a white man I have privilege. It’s easy for me to just stay and my bubble and not see what’s really happening in the world. But I’m not going to do that. I want to do my part in helping others live a better life,” he says.

And he is planning his life accordingly: This fall he is starting college at New York University, majoring in social work, and plans to devote his life to working in human rights.

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