I watched that speech recently. This one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-iFl4qhBsE.
What made me saddest about it was that while watching it, less than three minutes in, I knew that there was going to be backlash. And not only from the scumbag microscopic lowlifes of the internet, but also from good intelligent people with very good intentions. This is the problem, after all, with being pragmatic, you alienate almost everyone. And that’s what this speech was: pragmatic.
Were there parts that made me cringe? Yes. Do I wish we could just say “hey everyone, you should be a feminist because what WOMEN ARE PEOPLE”? Yes. Do I think that will make progress? No.
I think the sad and infuriating truth of the matter is this: there are still people in all parts of the world (even in “high-minded bastions of liberality” like Carleton) who do not believe that they need to do anything about gender inequality, about gendered violence, or about gender intolerance. That’s the truth. And how do we get people like that to fight for equality? By speaking to their self-interest.
So, yes, I think it is frustrating that Ms. Watson had to describe the ways that men are negatively impacted by gender stereotypes in order to try to convince them to do something, but I also thinking it was necessary. It pisses me off, but that’s where we are.
And the only way we’re actually going to make progress is through pragmatism, by convincing people that this fight is not just important to women, but that it is in their own stupid self-interest.
And while some people may be hip to all the most forward thinking lingo of far-left and politically correct liberalism, far more people don’t even have a correct working understanding of what feminism actually is.
So that’s why I shared the speech on Facebook, because while many of us may be far more informed on this matter and may waste much time and energy happily nitpicking at every mistake and error until we’re wandering in little happy perfectly worded and completely logical circles, the reality is that the majority of the world does not think on the same level and needs to be educated from the ground up. So this is where we have to start.
It’s not the speech that we might want, but I think it’s the speech we need right now.