Thursday, October 2, 2014

Feminism and Emma Watson's Speech to the UN:

Several months ago I made a video over on my Youtube channel about Feminism, why I identify as a feminist and why I believe it is helpful to both genders.

In that video, which you can view here, I supplied a basic premise which was the following: Feminism helps not just women, but everyone, because if it were to become more prominent as a social guideline it would help remove lifestyle restrictions which harm BOTH men and women.

Women have been historically oppressed through various facets of society. However, the set-up of the divisive patriarchal paradigm we currently live in has also restricted the abilities and lifestyle choices of men. In a recent speech to the UN, inviting men to become a part of the feminist movement, Emma Watson hit the nail on the head when talking about how she never see's her male friends discuss their emotions, along with other things perceived as 'girly' or 'feminine'.

I've been discussing this recently with two of my housemates. Men have restricted themselves and thus applied injury to their lifestyles by vilifying all things 'feminine'. Imagine an unhappy construction worker, aged forty, whose life might have been much, much happier and fulfilling had he had the bravery to take the sewing classes which interested him at age fifteen.

Too often the current narrative would suggest that our construction worker would almost be offended by his desire to make clothing. Being 'ornamental' or having an affinity with a Janome (which by the way, was used as a virtual weapon by some extremely brave suffragettes who had nothing but managed to survive just about everything) is seen as 'womanly'. And for the man who desperately wants to fit into the hetero-normative image of 'masculine', to be 'womanly' is not okay.

The restrictive lifestyles we all face due to the gradual application of the patriarchal paradigm in the global village is far from the worst issue feminism has the ability to fix.

All over the world women are raped, tortured, murdered, abused and vilified in other ways. We have less opportunities, and yet we somehow manage to make opportunities for the women around us (studies suggest that for every 1 woman taken out of poverty, she will manage to take another 4 with her). We have less access to education and countries with even more antiquated ideas surrounding women mean that families will value their hard-working daughters less than their sons. University studies have suggested that female co-workers, students and teachers will often face negativity should they attempt to undertake more leadership in their roles, and let's not forget the sneaky issue of the wage-gap, something that manages to push itself into countries and communities via the stigmatism facing the female worker - i.e. It's unlikely she'll get that promotion, but her male counterpart probably will.

Gender roles really have no place in today's society. We're inventing new jobs every day. We're turning ourselves into our own personal profit margins and smashing down glass ceilings because we are all sick of the current human first narrative of: Get a degree, job, wife/husband, 2.5 kids, then die before you've managed to pay off your mortgage. Gender roles only offer that restrictive lifestyle. With the flexibility of the modern workforce, a place which will hopefully be more open to career flux and change, these roles are truly becoming obsolete.

One cannot instigate a divisive paradigm (i.e. Gender roles) without thus becoming restricted from certain lifestyle choices and options. Remove gender roles and we all have the ability to be freer as human beings.

Xo, Ellen