You know, I’d be the first to say I was cynical about writing a blog. Any love I held for the expression of language and thought was allayed by doubts over a blog’s purpose, who’d read it, would it be kept up to date, was it merely be an exercise of self-congratulation? Essentially to start blogging it would have to be an issue or subject that really captivated my attention.
If you’d have told me last week such inspiration would be disseminated via Emma Watson I’m not sure I would have believed you. Sure, I’ve enjoyed most of her films and she’s a good actor but that’s probably as far as it stretches.
That was until I watched her speech to the UN. I experienced what I can only describe as complete understanding, a moment of ‘flashbulb feminism’ if I can use such a term. It was the culmination of a lot of individual ideas I’d had suddenly presented in a manner that was not only engaging and endearing but also emphatic and any other ‘e’-based superlative that might also fit the bill.
It was not just the content (which I will come on to) which rightly earned Emma Watson such a storm of applause but it was also the manner of her presentation which I found so captivating. A touch of nerves at the beginning and slight shakiness (quite understandable if you ask me in the grandeur of your UN) was quickly offset through the medium of a speech that was heartfelt, courageous and entirely genuine. I was surprised, if not disturbed, at the number of media channels that simply tried to dismiss Emma’s speech as PR spin. I was even more alarmed to see those that took more interest in the clothes she was wearing. Had anyone taken notice of the fundamental message she had so well expressed?
Why am I so animated about the HeForShe campaign? It’s because fundamentally (and incredibly) there is not one society on the planet that has attained gender equality. Sometimes the nature of inequality may seem subtle and sometimes it may get lost in the brash commotion of western city life but as soon as you scratch away the surface, as Emma did, it’s pretty obvious to see. In the vast majority of career industries women are paid less than men, progress less far up the career ladder than men, yet they are equal human beings fulfilling the same role. Why should this be? Why should their gender somehow dictate they should receive less? This of course is just one example. Why are there not more female political leaders? Why should anyone, regardless of their sex, feel the need to conform to an entirely artificial notion of how someone should behave or act based purely upon their gender?
In recent years there has been so much important progress across social issues such as homophobia and racism. Don’t get me wrong, there is a long, long way to go on both of these subjects, but surely more must now be dedicated to feminism and the achievement of gender equality. It literally affects everyone! It must be given a bigger platform than it currently receives.
I should point out; I’ve decided to direct this blog from my personal website. I could have started up a separate webpage specifically for this, but I honestly thought that would be to miss the point. Gender equality should be a feature of everyday life- no more no less. As that’s what I’m going to strive for, I want it to be a part of my everyday life and that’s why it will feature from my writing website. My coverage of this social issue will stand side-by-side my everyday life and work.
I should also point out I’m in no way motivated by writing this to meet Emma Watson, see Emma Watson or somehow make myself appealing to Emma Watson. I’m writing this purely because Emma Watson through the UN has rightly asked for men to take up the mantra of achieving gender equality and be advocates for change. This is my way, albeit small of contributing to its achievement.