If you haven’t already watched Emma Watson’s speech for the U.N., please do so right here, if not for interest in the topic of feminism, then simply for witnessing an absolutely stellar delivery. Topic aside, she really did nail the delivery. She’s only 24 years old with her best years still ahead of her, yet she has already accomplished something so profound that most of us will never experience in our lifetime. As a fellow woman in her 20’s, I am truly in awe.
I don’t really know where I stand on the subject of feminism (pardon my ignorance) and that is perhaps because I’ve fallen into the very trap that’s so clearly articulated in this speech. We can all acknowledge that a stigma has developed over time around the word “feminism”, making many women feel uncomfortable associating themselves with it, including myself. Agree or disagree, the speech does encourage you to re-evaluate, hence this post. Perhaps all too often, I look at this issue through my First World lens, in my First World bubble, where I’ve been lucky enough not to experience gender inequality. Not enough to be a cause for concern anyway. I tend to think that we are so damn privileged in a million different ways that it seems so trivial to belabour things like.. not having enough female executives. There are bigger fish to fry so to speak. I could be wrong for saying that but it’s one opinion.
The reality is that outside of my bubble, I know there are extreme gender inequalities, especially in countries where women literally have rights closer to an animal than a human being. That level of inequality is what puts a fire in my stomach. It makes much of our First World inequality issues seem like child’s play. We really have it pretty good and there are other groups that need way more help. There are numerous books and films representing the voices of women who have truly been victims of extreme inequality. I’ve read them and I’ve watched them and while it bothers me A LOT and makes me sick to my stomach to hear stories that my mind can’t even fathom, the problem is so “far away” from my reality that it finds a place in my heart for maybe 15 minutes at a time and then gets filed away until next time.
Watson quoted Hillel the Elder: “If not me, who? If not now, when?” How can I make a small dent somewhere?