#HeforShe

I had a whack teenager-dom. I really did. I could go in and explain all the ins and outs, the weird-ness, the desire for acceptance, and I could make it more dramatic than it probably was.

I honestly don’t remember how dramatic it was. It’s been a while, and I don’t dwell on it too much. For all I know, it could be typical of all other teenagers in the world. Well, typical for the United States teen anyway.

My Navy life was more dramatic, and that part I have tried to block out as much as I can. Through therapy and good old “I’m just not going to think about this anymore” thinking.

But, here’s the thing; I was born a girl. I can’t change that, nor would I want too, I like being a chick. We have boobs and boobs are awesome.

So what’s that got to do with anything?

Emma Watson recently made a speech to the UN about her #HeforShe movement. It is a fantastic speech, rightly deserving its standing ovation. Miss Watson should be proud. Miss Watson should be given a damn award because she has done a thing that many have tried and failed at.

She put feminism into context.

Feminism isn’t just about women. Feminism isn’t – for the love of all things holy- man hating, and feminism isn’t about turning the tables and getting women into power only to then go about oppressing men.

It’s about equality.

And if you don’t believe me, look up the word in the fucking dictionary.

Because seriously.

Education, people. It’s a beautiful thing.

I didn’t know what feminism was until recently. In fact, I can remember watching an episode of 1,000 Ways To Die and laughing at how the feminist in the show was portrayed, helped along by the banner at the bottom reading “blah blah blah manhating blah blah blah”.

It was horrible, and I think part of my brain knew that, but I laughed anyway because it did what it was meant to do; make me laugh and make me misunderstand feminists.

It wasn’t until I went into art school and started researching Disney, that I figured out what feminism is, and I understood what I had experienced.

I’ve had experiences, let me tell you. And not a single one of them are good. All of them revolved around sex and the desire for domination. And it wasn’t just men, it was women too.

Because the funny thing about an oppressed group of people is that they will bifurcate. Some will rise above and try to make the situation better, others with empathise and do nothing, and the last will turn on the members of their own group and side with the oppressors in order to rise up and gain validity.

It’s the Judas trap, really.

And it works for men, too. Men will rise above, empathise but not understand, and others will continue the cycle of oppression from a deep seated need for control and validity.

So, what’s a person to do?

Welp, you can deny what I’m writing here or you can go and research and understand what Feminism really does. Feminism doesn’t just empower women, it extends a hand to empower men as well. Whether you know it or not, men are just as oppressed. When was the last time a man was told ‘it’s okay to cry in public?’, when has it ever been okay (societally speaking) for a boy to wear a pink tutu and a crown? when is it okay for a man to want to be a ballerina or to be a stay-at-home dad? When talking about a nurse do you think of a man or a woman? What about a chef? Or a hairdresser? What gender stereotypes *really* pop into your head when someone mentions machinist, welder, scientist, engineer?

Why- in God’s name – are there gender separated shoes, toy aisles, deodorant, shampoo, jobs, clothes? Never mind that women’s and men’s clothes fit differently, that’s not the point.

Why are women told that we must stay beautiful for as long as we can or else no one will ever love us? Why are men told that it’s wrong to show emotion? Why are little boys told that they can’t be princesses whilst little girls are told to put down the screwdriver because they might hurt themselves?

Why are schools putting out dress codes for girls but making no such limitations on boys?

Why are girls treated like distractions and told from a very young age to treat their bodies like objects that can be tweaked until society deems them beautiful?

Why are men told that they’re only attractive to women if they’re muscled and stoic?

Why are girls told to be careful when going outside, and boys are told to ‘have fun?’

Why don’t we tell our boys to treat women with respect instead of blaming the victim for being raped in the first place?

Why do we shame our men for seeking mental health and pretend that ‘women don’t rape men’?

Why do we make excuses for the abuser and blame the victim for ‘knowing better’ or ‘it’s his/her own fault, all the signs were there’?

Why are girls given drug detecting nail polish and a judge gives a 49 year old man a 30 day jail sentence for raping a 14 year old girl claiming that the girl is ‘mentally older than her chronological age’ and that ‘she was probably just as much in control of the situation as was the defendant”?

Why are both Anita Sarkeesian and Emma Watson getting rape,  death, nude photo leaks, and bomb threats for calling out what needs to be said?

Why the f$#k are people leaking nude celebrity photos on the internet in the first place? Moreover, why are people blaming the victims for the same thing that they’ve done?

Because sexting is a thing, people. And if you haven’t done it or haven’t taken a nude photo of yourself for whatever reason that is completely yours; you’re a goddamned liar.

Misogyny, and the patriarchy, hurts everyone. Men, women, LGBT. It hurts because it pigeonholes us into pre-defined conceptions of what the world should, and should not be. It takes the choice of birth control out of women’s hands and places it into the mitts of old men who don’t understand what birth control actually does. It takes their defintion of ‘manliness’ and force feeds it to boys who have just as much right to their emotions as women do. It takes girls from maths, sciences, and sports teams and puts them into the same vein as Suzy homemaker.

It tells me that I’m not a woman unless I have a husband and children. And tells me that I’ll change my mind about kids when I ‘meet the right man’ among a slew of other platitudes that I’ve heard a thousand times from some of my women friends.

Because men are men and women are women and LGBT people aren’t really people anyway.

Except that men aren’t men, women aren’t women, and the LGBT community are people whether the patriarchy likes it or not.

Men and women are two halves of the same whole. Women can do everything that a man can do, and men can do everything that women can do. Except give birth. And the LGBT community deserves the rights and respect their straight counterparts get.

We are all people.

And it’s time to change the feminist rhetoric and make it a word and a movement that everyone can get behind.

Because feminism isn’t just about women.

It’s about men, too.

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8 thoughts on “#HeforShe

    1. rjkeith says:

      The US press has done the same thing. They ignore what she’s said and focus on what she wore and how it made her look.
      It’s freaking awful and drives me batty. The woman makes a great point, puts a broad subject into context, and all they can talk about is the outfit she wore.

  1. Yvonne Hertzberger says:

    I just saw this re. the backlash against Watson’s speech. Here’s the link: http://www.vox.com/2014/9/23/6832243/the-sexual-threats-against-emma-watson-are-an-attack-on-women

    This is why we all need to support HeForShe, as Watson has asked us to do. Until these idiots see that there are men who disagree with them and are willing to go public about that things will be slow to change. Equality of the sexes cannot be achieved through the work of one gender alone. I can only come about through the efforts of both sexes, working together and in cooperation with each other,.

    1. rjkeith says:

      Exactly! But we can only work together when we’re educated as to what it is and what it is not. There are people out there who deny feminism is a thing, who don’t believe in it, who claim that is’ man hating and that rape culture isn’t real.
      Except that it all is and people need to understand the kind of damage it can do.

  2. Bubbe says:

    Very well said as always. I’ve been around awhile and watched feminisim evolve and devolve both. I wasn’t a fan in the beginning because the early pioneers WERE more about hating men, at least in my personal experience.

    More recently I worry that we aren’t teaching our young women appropriately. If you haven’t heard Pink’s song Stupid Girls give it a listen. It’s exaggerated, sure but there is some truth behind it.

    Unfortunately I see way more complacency than zeal. Unless they’re taking off their tops or making out on camera. 😦

    Just for the record, while I have taken a photo of myself to show my daughter an outfit or hairstyle, I have never taken one nude and have zero plans to do that ever. Geez, no one wants to see that! ;D

    1. rjkeith says:

      Aw, thanks Bubbe! I was speaking more toward the younger crowd for the nude pictures. We’ve all done it, and any girl who hasn’t-for whatever reason-is a liar. It’s the times, I guess. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about the early days of feminism, but I believe that they were about man-hating. I can believe it, and it makes me sad. Just like the empathy and denial of today makes me sad.

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