Feminist Friday: “It is not the word that is important but the idea and the ambition behind it”

In case you haven’t heard, Emma Watson gave an awesome speech about gender inequality at the United Nations last weekend (transcript). She mentioned Feminism several times and kicked off a campaign called #HeForShe. Here’s what “HeForShe” is about:

. . . we want to try and galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality. And we don’t just want to talk about it, but make sure it is tangible.

I found out about the speech on Monday and shared it with Diana immediately because I thought she might want to use it while it was fresh. Unbeknownst to me, our friend Hannah had already shared it with Diana by tagging her on Facebook, and Diana’s social media was buzzing about it.

On Tuesday, I spied an image of Neil Gaiman supporting HeForShe and asked Diana to pin it so I could use it in this post. Turns out it was shared directly to Facebook, so no luck there. Diana scrambled around for a couple of hours looking for a way to legitimately share that image. She came up with this tweet, which is even better because it includes some Twitter handles you might be interested in:

I’m looking at both the speech and the HeForShe campaign as positive developments.They give me more hope for progress on this issue than I’ve had in quite a while. I think it’s about time, and I’m hoping it turns into a genuine attempt at political mobilization. Here’s why I feel that way.

Since March I’ve been writing about gender inequality, encouraging a lot of other bloggers to do the same, and doing my best to get people to read those posts and comment on them. I regard this ongoing discussion as the most important thing I’m doing on social media. I have a page just to keep up with it. Twenty posts on seven blogs, and counting. Even in the U.S., the best I can say about the gender inequality situation is that we’ve not seen enough progress in the last 15 years. It’s stagnated, and there’s precious little that a dozen bloggers, scattered across the globe, can do about it other than keep talking. Here’s why this speech gives me real hope.

  • Most of the posts we’ve written are at least 1,000 words long, and most of them grapple with only one aspect of this gender inequality problem. That’s more than 20,000 words talking about specific issues. Watson’s speech is about 1,200 words — the length of one of our posts — and it crystallizes the global problem.
  • Think what you will of the U.N., their social organizations have influence and resources. They’ve never made this kind of broad appeal to men on gender inequality before. That, in and of itself, makes this a historic speech.
  • Someone is finally talking on a big stage about the political problems of the Feminism label, and acknowledging that the price men and boys pay for rigidly-enforced gender roles is part of the problem.

I’m applauding this U.N. effort, paying attention to it, and hoping I can find a way to contribute other than giving them my email address, which I already did 🙂

So, what do you think of this campaign? Does it have legs? Can it produce tangible results?

And, those of you who have followed these Feminist Friday thingies for awhile, do you see all the connections I’m seeing with the issues we’ve been trying to get at over the past few months?

Talk to me, please. I am curious to know what you think of this development.

Next Friday, Oct. 3, Hannah will host the Feminist Friday discussion at Things Matter.

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24 Comments

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  1. Reblogged this on 1EarthUnited and commented:
    Emma has certainly done a wonderful job clearing up misconceptions about the feminist movement. I fully support her mission to educate everyone about the issues of human rights, equality and compassion toward one another regardless of gender roles. Her ideas were well presented, great job Emma!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have real hopes for this.com as you mentioned it is a concise non polarizing message focused at fixing an issue that unfortunately had stagnated with mostly negative press. I have high hopes but also feel it could be tangible as I have seen nothing but support for it from my own sources in life that tend to be very polarized. Thank you for adding your voice.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I saw your query on FaceBook… as for why it didn’t get the engagement these posts normally do, I think it may simply be a matter of being out of rhythm. It’s been a while since we did one of these, coupled with the fact that a lot of us had limited blogging/social media time over the summer (at least I did). I’m still trying to find my rhythm now that things are back to “normal.” Which is part of the reason I was so behind in getting by here. I didn’t even notice I had Twitter notifications! Maybe it’s just me, but I think it could be as simple as this being the first FF post in a while… I, for one, don’t think there was anything at all lacking in presentation or topic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much. That makes me feel a bit better. We’ve had weeks before when people were just too busy to show up. If it’s just a matter of rhythm, it’s not a big deal. I was just afraid is might be something I’m doing, in which case I’d need to correct it or risk the whole thing falling apart. I’ve been too busy to do much online since the middle of July. That’s the main reason for the long break. On the other hand, Sabina’s post did fine last week and I barely promoted it at all. I probably brought these back a week too soon, but I was feeling some pressure because I had some bloggers who’d been holding posts for a month waiting for me to get my act together again.

      Noticed your Facebook like the other day, btw. I hid that query about this post this morning because I felt like I’d gotten all the good I was going to get out of it and the suggestions I was getting were premised on the idea that I’m writing to attract random Internet readers, which I’m really not. Didn’t want to get into a long, drawn-out conversation about that on FB.

      And since we’re chatting already, I’d appreciate your thoughts on a couple of things. At some point we’re going to have to shut this down until after the New Year, and I’m thinking it’s as big as it’s going to get unless we reorganize the way we’re doing things next year. So, two questions:

      1. How long do you think we can afford to go without having to start completely over in January? The next off-week is likely the week of Halloween unless Diana can run it that week, which is doubtful. If you were me, would you try and squeeze in another round between Halloween and the end of November?

      2. Is it even important to try and make these things bigger at this point, or should we just be happy with the good group we’ve got and welcome the occasional newcomer when they show up in ones and twos?

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      1. In regards to the FB conversation, I just have to say that your query made total sense. These posts are designed to generate discussion so it makes total sense to question why the turn out was less… Not sure why anyone who reads you regularly would question that. Anyways….

        I am wondering the same thing… if we continue this, maybe we need to change something. The format? The premise? The goal? I’m not sure. But I think that while it’s been great it either needs to move on to the next level or be more action-oriented. I don’t know what that next level is yet. I love the idea of a blog platform where people could submit posts, one that focuses on civil rights and equality in general. (More inclusive than just a Feminism label) But I doubt that you have time to organize it and I know I don’t at the moment. The time commitment is a little scary and you already work on three blogs… though the idea is something I could see putting some effort into in the future. How’s that for vague???

        As far as whether we should try to get another one posted between Halloween and November, I would say to put the word out to see if anyone wants to host. I would hate to go for two months without one… I don’t want to lose too much ground and too many participants, as this week indicated we possibly could. I didn’t even realize Sabina had posted the week before! I’m sure that is my fault as I’m caught up in some work I’m doing for a friend that’s been all consuming… If no one else has something to write for November I’m sure I could come up with something. (I still haven’t figured out what I’m writing for next week. If you have any suggestions, definitely let me know.) I know I can figure something out, but I’m also open to suggestions.

        I’m sorry this comment’s all over the place. I’ve been wanting to respond for a few days and keep getting side tracked. Did I even answer any of your questions?

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  4. I am so sorry I didn’t get by here yesterday, I was unplugged most of the day! But I think this is brilliant and crucial. I think we have discussed in the past how men need to be a part of this and I feel that it is vital to get feminism over the hurdles that it still faces. I think that is the only way that it will shed it’s reputation that is so misguided. There are so many points that I love in her speech. The “inadvertent feminists” who influenced her. So true. I had never thought about this. My mom is a die-hard feminist and she was my biggest influencer, but there were others, teachers, etc. who also served to drive home the message that I was capable.

    I love that she mentions father’s roles being minimized. This is an antiquated notion that has no place in today’s society but it is still part of the mindset. And men suffer from inequality. They need to have permission to be vulnerable, to express emotion, without ridicule.

    I think this whole campaign is exactly what is needed and if it actually takes hold it could start to turn the tide just a little. And that would be huge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, and I do think the backing of a big organization and having a well-known celebrity say this stuff is potentially helpful. The question, really, is, will they keep saying it until the ideas take hold?

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        1. I’m absolutely willing to consider it. I haven’t forgotten, just finishing up a six-week stretch of working 10 hour days and trying to get my social media back in order this weekend. When we had the original conversation, I had several bloggers who’d already been holding posts for this for a couple of weeks and we’re trying to work through those this month. I’ll send you an email within the hour.

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  5. I’ve always liked Emma Watson much more than any of the others who came out the Potter films. I think she is a very good actress. I just watched this video all of the way through and my opinion of her skyrocketed. (I knew she did it, i just hadn’t watched it before.) Of course she is up against the greatest propaganda machine the world has ever created, Fox News, but i do have hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Trent 🙂 I haven’t seen her in film enough to judge, but she did well here.

      The question for me at this point is where this campaign is going from here. Someplace positive, I hope!

      Like

  6. I was glad to see the speech, and I think it’s coming at a good time. Directly addressing men might be a good thing right now and exactly what’s needed to make the label mean what it’s supposed to mean. Not at the exclusion of women, obviously, but to emphasize it’s not about man-hating and whatnot, since so many people have that impression. I’m also really glad it’s so visible, along the lines of things we’ve talked about here but weren’t famous enough to carry off. 😉

    FYI, you can upload pictures directly to Pinterest…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, and I do think the addressing of men is a good idea. It’s like a variable that hasn’t really been accounted for up to this point.

      Thanks for the info about Pinterest, but that wouldn’t have helped with this. We weren’t comfortable just snagging a Gaiman pic off Amanda Palmer’s website or fanpage and using it directly. I was looking for a way to share it without doing that, not because I was worried about copyright, but because that felt disrespectful. They’re like the first family of my subculture or something. Idk, it’s compicated. But I did not know you could upload to Pinterest directly.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I really enjoyed listening to Emma Watson speak. And I think that He for She has the possibility to be a really positive campaign. I was particularly encouraged by the buzz that I saw on the web about the speech, and I think that Watson is a really smart choice to head this effort. She’s young, and she’s very recognizable, and she’s respected.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So, I see no reason not to say this on the public thread at this point. Stats say this post did ok, but comments say something’s off. My theories at the moment, without knowing who’s been by other than people who have liked and commented:

      1. It’s like the #bringbackourgirls. Something that’s good to read, but no one has much to say about it.

      2. I didn’t do enough promotion.

      3. My questions aren’t compelling.

      4. We’ve just plain lost ground.

      I’m interested to see what happens with the late traffic today and if anyone drops by tomorrow morning. I’m certainly not discouraged (we’ve been dealt much worse than this over the past six months), but I AM curious. All the signs that we’ve been using to make decisions about these posts told me that this thread was going to be a lot more active today than it’s turned out to be.

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      1. Maybe a combination of those things? And the issue itself evolved. There were other developments that we missed—like the hoax-threat to release nudes as a response and all the surrounding drama.

        I also just plain couldn’t decide what to say, so there’s that.

        Like

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