I watched just now the excellent speech delivered by Emma Watson at the United Nations in New York City last Saturday. This was on the occassion of the launch of the UN HeForShe campaign and she spoke as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, a role she was appointed to about six months earlier.
Watson said that she believes that feminism has come to be too associated with ‘man hating’ at worst or, at best, man-excluding. She highlights this point by citing a speech delivered by Hilary Clinton in Beijing about women’s rights and noting that “only 30 per cent of her audience were male.” And so she believes that the feminist ‘movement’ needs to change by applying a more inclusive stance to men.
Watson seems to imply that the the ideological framework of feminism is missing some important components and acknowledges the possibility of its disenfranchising effect on men…
We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes. But I can see that that they are, and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.
…and that ultimately, filling that gap may prove to be a win-win for both genders.
If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.
Quite impressive and I gotta admit, I was moved by the speech. Although Watson seemed to be a bit nervous, she did a pretty good job. I mean, she did admit, “I don’t know if I am qualified to be here.” But, yeah, she was and is there and though she may be, as she herself says, just some “Harry Potter girl”, she’s a celebrity with a message she cares about and that very celebrity will serve the good message she brings very well.
That said, I will have to be a bit honest with my readers and say that I have reservations about the idea of giving men too much license to be “sensitive”. Somebody’s gotta be the rock in the family. Women, of course, are welcome to take that role and I’ve seen lots of successful relationships where they do. But personally, I see a big aspect of my being a woman as one who also aspires to be in the company of a partner who could be my rock.
As Watson says, that strength that society has come to expect of men is probably what kills them or drives them insane. But so does soldiering in a war and much of the sort of work men are expected to do, from opening vacuum-sealed jars of salsa to wielding a chainsaw to break apart a tree leaning badly after surviving a typhoon.
The reality is, men tend to do the more dangerous jobs and I sort of kinda like it if that state of affairs remains the same. And while I am all for women being granted equal opportunity to join the boys in battle or do the lightbulb changing in their homes, I still believe a hard man is good to find because they tend to be a lot more handy to have around the house.
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