Monday, September 29, 2014

He For She

For those of you who have not seen Emma Watson's speech at the UN this week, click here and watch it.  It is about 10 minutes but worth watching.  It's worth watching because of what she says, and the "he for she" movement, but also because I am always inspired by watching intelligent people speak.  When people are poised and gracious, it makes what they say have more of an impact.  Emma is a professional performer, but it is also clear that she has a good head on her shoulders and that says something since she has been in the film business since she was very young.  I am proud of her even though I had absolutely nothing to do with it.

With respect to the he for she movement, I am personally not afraid of the word "feminist" but I do know it carries a lot of weight, connotation and responsibility. I remember learning in undergrad that there is radical feminism and liberal feminism.  I think some people think radical feminism and that's why they are afraid of the term, but really, we can be feminists without making a distinction, so let's not.  I am an educated professional woman. I am a mother and a wife. I would not call myself a radical or an activist, but I do want all women and men, everywhere in the world, to be treated equally for education, jobs, and respect. I am a feminist.

I also know it is more complicated than that. I say this word, this label, also carries with it a great responsibility.  After the Ray Rice incident (and I don't feel like "incident" is enough of a word but I'll use it for now), some people said we should boycott the NFL because to support that organization would be akin to supporting violence against women.  I like the NFL, and even if I don't watch the games every week, I don't intend to boycott it.  But even if I was going to boycott the NFL, wouldn't I then have to boycott most of the songs on the radio (most of which I enjoy), and many of the stores at the mall, and a lot of the shows I watch on TV (and considering the show I watch most often is The Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise, that could be a problem)? 

I think some people think they can't be labelled a feminist and carry the responsibility that goes along with that word without giving up things they enjoy.  I think part of being a feminist and calling for equality for women is being "allowed" to enjoy the things you like without being questioned for it.  The world isn't going to stop going around, and there will always be inequalities, but it doesn't mean we can't stand up for what we believe in.  Our beliefs are nuanced and we can't all be the same, but we can stand up for simple human decency and demand equal treatment for all - here in Canada and around the world.  I think that I can watch The Bachelor and also want women to all feel safe going to school.  That's my opinion, others may disagree.

As a boy mom, I have a responsibility to raise a feminist, and to me, that also means someone who will treat everyone with respect, empathy, and kindness.  I need to show him how to love, and how to be loved.  How to listen to people, to understand feelings, how to react appropriate to other peoples' feelings, and how to show his own feelings.  It is not an easy job, but it is something I've been conscious of since E was born.  In my opinion, if you can be kind, everything else will fall into place.   

No, #heforshe isn't going to solve all of the problems in the world, but it creates another avenue for discussion, and it will reach people who may not otherwise have cared much.  For some, if Emma Watson says it is okay to be called a feminist, then they will open up to the concept. 

As I have said in previous opinion posts, I know this is a complicated issue, and I don't have all of the answers. 


Speaking of supporting women...(see what I did there?) Don't forget to sign up and place an order for Arbonne and take advantage of my special offer.  Tomorrow is the LAST DAY to qualify for the draw, so if you've been thinking of getting something, now is the time!!  I can place the order for you if you wish, just let me know what you're interested in.

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