My reflections on Emma Watson’s UN HeForShe speech, with the help of Mychal Denzel Smith’s Feministing article
“The necessary work of feminist movement will challenge men to understand their complicity and require them to complete very difficult tasks. That’s what revolution is.”
For the record, I think Watson’s speech was great. I also think it is wise to draw attention to its weak points. I also also think that it was NOT a mistake to say that men suffer from gender inequality, because in many ways they do — but it is of course false to claim they suffer more than they benefit, and the benefits were not mentioned in the speech. But come on, folks, we all know if men’s benefits from gender inequality were highlighted from the get-go, it wouldn’t do much to galvanize men. The HeForShe movement will be starting out gentle, and it might involve some nasty male ego-stroking to make itself more appealing to The Penis. That’s why a globally adored media darling was chosen as the spokesperson, who the fuck can hate Hermy? We’ve known her for years, we love her, plus she’s thin and pretty and white. It’s the UN, for christ’s sake, of course it won’t be radical or angry or screamy. I imagine there was quite a bit of ego-stroking involved in merely establishing the campaign in the first place, because remember, dem mens got dat power.
Still, the campaign is here. That’s better than yesterday. I just hope HeForShe turns out to be more realistic than it is friendly and foofy. To the men in my life, I trust you to handle a bit more of the truth — choosing to board the Feminism ship is the easy part. Once you’re on, the real trials will start. You will HAVE to make some sacrifices. It will be better for everyone in the long run, but there are no promises that it will be fun and easy and everyone will be nice to you and your life and your privileges will stay the same. Things will be different. That’s the fucking point.
“Invite men to the table of gender equality. But let them know their seat is going to be hot.”