Sorry, Just Not Sorry

The intelligent backlash is beginning against Emma Watson’s HeForShe campaign, and although it proves a refreshing break from the “Oh, look, she does have ovaries” and “This is not a woman to love” comments, its half thought through, at best.

Arguments are being made that this campaign is unfair to the men, because it doesn’t address the issues of female on male violence. It doesn’t discuss men’s rights, when he doesn’t want his significant other to have their child, and it certainly doesn’t talk about false accusations of rape.

This is all true. The campaign was not designed to handle these issues. But let us consider the source. Emma Watson was employed as the UN’s Women’s Goodwill Ambassador (emphasis mine). Not “Human Goodwill Ambassador” or “Domestic Orders Ambassador.” Naturally her focus will be on that which she was hired to focus on.

Conveniently, none of these articles bother to mention that even in first world countries, there is discrimination, and something needs to be done. As a woman, I can expect to earn 70 cents to the dollar (USD), compared to my male counterparts. In all the readings I’ve done, not only are women still discouraged from discussing the amount on their paycheck (which is considered bad taste and poor manners, allowing for discrimination to occur un-noticed), but supposing they feel the need for a raise, if they ask, although some companies view that as a valuable trait for upper level employees, they are treated as though they are somehow emasculated, losing their femininity by being aggressive.

This occurs at all levels, too. This last week, in one of my classes we were given an assignment and broken into groups. I was the only female in mine, which isn’t that unusual. However, as we went through the assignment and began discussing ideas, I was offering valid ideas, with support for my interpretation, which was the core of this assignment, but everything I said was not even given a fair hearing by my peers. It took the male professor to come over and ask if everyone was being listened to in order for my peers to hear me out, because they valued another man’s voice more than my own.

I didn’t believe this happened anymore, until it happened to me. I thought that surely the US had progressed enough that those who are my age, those who have been raised in an extremely politically correct era, would treat me equally. It is deeply disturbing to me that in one of the most advanced first world nations, this would happen. It is deeply disturbing to me that only half of the world still has no voice.

So while the HeForShe campaign isn’t addressing male issues, I do not believe it is totally invalid. Sure, it doesn’t address male issues, but let’s be real. It was created by a person who was hired to handle female issues, so why would it handle male issues? Maybe you should take it to the UN and request a Male Goodwill Ambassador to fight for equality, instead of complaining about Emma. But you won’t. It’s much easier to complain about perceived wrongs than do anything.

Sorry, I’m just not sorry for asking for equality. I’m not sorry for wanting to be heard, for my thoughts being given just as much weight as those of my male peers. I’m not sorry for not wanting to be called names because I chose to be aggressive in making myself heard.

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