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.