Wednesday, September 24, 2014

If not me, who?

Emma Watson in her recent speech to the UN - "If not me, who?If not now, when?"

What an incredible call to action and resolve from this remarkable young woman. Yesterday I listened to another young woman tell of her belief that if she has a baby it will be the death of her career. Not only that, but she would be 'letting down' all the colleagues and mentors who support her career and have invested in her.
She and the women in the room accepted this as fact.

Women are so manipulated by their desire to be competent, to 'do the right thing', to 'play nice' that they do not see power and choices, only compromises. That the value, possibilities for success and ambitions of a woman decreases when they have children is true, but that it has to be this way, is an utter lie.

I am tired of holding back, of 'playing nice' of being more concerned about appearing too aggressive, too forthright, even 'unattractive' and so reverting to holding my tongue and being meek.

I could claim my power and choose my life.

Why not?

Women suffer from their own limiting beliefs as much as by socially imposed limits. We are excellent at 'playing the game'. That 'feminism' is a negative even shameful word, is testament to that. As is the disgraceful fact that men and women in the media now actively seek to undermine her words and cause by sexualising and exposing Emma Watson

We buy the magazines.
We watch the shows and the films.
We worship celebrity.
We talk about 'thigh gap'. (What man in the world gives a rats ass about 'thigh gap')
We accept and condone the proliferation of pornography.
We accept the conventions of beauty and worthiness.
We self hate.
We fear making ourselves too big.
We apologise.
We bring each other down.
We let our daughters do the same.

I have done it all.

But we don't have to.
As citizens of the developed world we have more power than we realise.

In the west, women have gained so much. But we hold ourselves back.
We do not have to subscribe to a masculine paradigm of beauty/work/wealth=success.
We have choices.
We can influence.

Imagine a society where parenting, community, love, expression, age, care, children, art, culture, individualism and connection were valued as much as sexiness and the size of your pay check?

We can take up space.
The acceptance of limitations and polite apologies for speaking up and expressing opinion can stop.
We don't have to play that way.

This needs to happen.
For the millions of girls to be married as children.
For the millions of girls who are denied basic education.
For the millions of girls in our own countries who see no future, only welfare and abuse.
For the young men who take their own lives rather than express what they see as weakness.

We can stand firm in our own shoes.
We can hold back the polite apology.
We can refuse to be limited.

Hold each other up, men and women together.
'Be bloody, bold and resolute.'

If not us, who?
If not now, when?