Feminism & Gender Equality: It's EVERYONE'S Responsibility

*links to articles follow post

Yes, for those keeping up with the news, this is in response to the threats against Emma Watson following her eloquent, beautiful, thought-provoking speech on Gender Equality. She stated the truth-she said things that needed to be said for a LONG time. And yet . . . people have come out and threatened her for it. More mind-boggling, still, others are congratulating and back-patting those who made the threats.

I'm not going to state anything as beautifully, or eloquently as Ms. Watson did, because I'm too angry. And my anger is justified. But I will use the words necessary to explain, not threats, nor belittlement, to express this feeling.

Let's make one thing clear: Feminism is not man-hating. Feminism is not wanting to be better, or superior, or "more than" a man. Feminism is wanting to be EQUAL. The term was vilified at some point, and has received a negative stigma ever since, and its time we stop that. Its the idea that feminism somehow leads people to think 'female supremacy' that gives rise to ridiculous things like "men's rights"

Okay, news flash, any man reading this who supports that movement: You already have rights. You have them ALL. You have the rights that you are keeping from the rest of the human race, and then you're wondering why we're angry. Allowing others those rights doesn't somehow take them away from you.

You don't have a room full of women deciding whether or not you can use Viagra, or telling you whether or not you can/should get a vasectomy. You can go out and buy condoms at any corner store. So can we, sure, but the less worrisome option, the one that better protects us against the unthinkable happening to us has to be 'okay' with our bosses. There aren't countries in the world were women are controlling the reproductive rights, AND organs, of men. But there also never WOULD be, even when gender equality finally becomes real and changes the world. Maybe because we know what it's like to have our rights denied us. Doing to others what's been done to us wouldn't solve anything. And we need to stop wasting our time with grievances.

When a man knows what he wants, and has ideas on how things should be, in a work, or social, environment he's viewed as "assertive" and a "go-getter", even an "alpha-male." All positive things. When a woman knows what she wants, and has ideas on how things should be, she's seen simply as "bossy", and "pushy," and, sometimes even "a bitch." Why? Because she's a woman, and women 'aren't supposed to' be that way? But once you say that, the discussion circles right back around to the question "Why?"

We are ALL human, and when you decide that anyone wanting to be treated the SAME as you, wanting the SAME freedoms as you is somehow a threat, the one you should be turning your vitriol-spewing spotlight on is yourself. The one you should be angry with is yourself. For not caring enough about humanity, as a whole, to see that the world is bigger than the things that scare you.

YES, I said it. It SCARES you. FEMINISM SCARES YOU. Why else would you be so angry about it? I'm not saying this to be mean, or to appear tough, or to belittle. I'm stating a fact. There is something about this concept that intimidates you, and you probably don't even know why.

And you can go ahead and threaten me. I'm utilizing my Freedom of Speech. I'm a nobody, and I don't have nude photos anywhere to be leaked (for the record, I don't think Emma has any, either, but even if she does, who's business is it but hers?). And, by the way, if you have nude photos of someone, and you think putting them in the public view will get someone to back down, or retract their words, then not only do you misunderstand feminism, you misunderstand what strength is. Strength gives you the ability to stand up amidst people trying to push you down. The ability to speak when others fight to silence you. Scaring someone, or hurting them, doesn't take the truth out of their words. It doesn't make the world any more the way YOU want it to be. It shows the rest of the world how bitter and petty YOU are, that's all it does.

Male, Female, Black, White, Red, Brown, Try this . . . HUMAN. We're all the same thing, with differences on the surface. We need to accept the differences, instead of trying to stamp them out, or make anyone higher, or lower than anyone else.

If we ever want a better world for our children, for ourselves, for anyone, then we need to realize this. All of us.

Money, politics, war, religion . . . none of that matters. Not when we let it distract us from the most basic component of life, and our existence on this planet. And that's compassion. All that really, really matters is how we treat one another. We complain that we're 'starving' if we haven't eaten in three hours, while there are children all over the world literally dying of hunger. Logistically, there is no reason anyone on this earth needs to be homeless, or starving to death. Or dying of diseases for which cures exist.

But the first step to fixing ANY of this, is to first start seeing each other without labels of gender, or color, or anything that gives us the sense that something separates us from one another. Feminism is the desire for us all to be equal. And there isn't any reason we shouldn't all want that.

(And should this post ever, somehow magically, end up before the eyes of Emma Watson, then I apologize whole heartedly that I was unable to maintain your grace and composure, and that I could not make my words on the matter poetic. I spent too many years being silent, being scared to speak, worrying what others might think of me if I did, that now that I've found my voice, I sometimes can't stifle the words that strike me in a fit of pique. Thank you for bravely, and honestly, stating for the world things that everyone needs to hear. And if what you said made some uncomfortable, that is only because those 'some' are the people who need to hear-and understand-it, most of all.)

One final thought: I read this a while ago somewhere, and it blew my mind how true it was, but how little it occurs to us to consider it this way. We teach our girls and young women how to behave, and dress, who to associate with, in the 'best hopes' of not being raped. Why is it that we don't teach our boys and young men NOT to rape? This probably seems like a sidetrack to some of you, but it's not, it goes straight to the heart of this issue. We view things as 'man vs. woman', and 'woman vs. man', rather than "humans." And that needs to change if anything better is ever to come.

Emma Watson's UN speech on Gender Equality

The Backlash (article 1)

The Backlash (article 2)

Comments

  1. Well said, Gerilyn! I hadn't heard about someone threatening to leak nude photos over her speech, but I will say that pisses me off to no end. Even if she doesn't have them, intentionally leaking private photos of anyone or threatening to do so is nothing short of sexual assault. That ANYONE could think this is acceptable or okay makes my blood boil, and is just one of many, many reasons the world very clearly still needs feminism.

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  2. Have I mentioned that I love it when you rant? :-)

    Very well said. - Tara

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