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    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.


What a Good Ally Looks Like

Emma Watson, feminism and more.

September 28, 2014
A young man recently posted this on Facebook. Please note that I am not linking to Emma Watson's speech because any time I link to anything I manage to offend someone who has trouble believing in my good intentions. The speech is out there. The post is quoted with permission, and broken into smaller paragraphs for easier reading. One vulgarity is Xd out because while it doesn't offend me I am trying to be careful:

I've seen a lot of women posting about Emma Watson's speech, but not many men, so here are my two cents: it's nice that she touches on the elements of gender inequality that are unfair to men, as there certainly are some, but as a white male living in the first world, I rather think I have no right to complain. Yes, I'm sure I'm the victim of discrimination in some senses, but in perspective it's completely irrelevant--I may be unemployed or paid less, or even have a cab pass me by, but it will never be because of my race or gender. 

Feminism may be a misnomer in the long term, as it has (to those who take the term literally) connotations of female superiority, but I think people need to recognize that it is a means rather than an end (this is where the misinterpretation comes into play, I think). Perhaps it is too ambitious right now to imagine a world in which equal opportunity is a given and affirmative action is unnecessary, but that has to be the goal, doesn't it? 
I have certain benefits that I have neither earned nor deserve, and that is simply wrong. I've posted before about how I may owe my life to the color of my skin, and just as I am grateful for my life, I am grateful that I have the advantages of being male, because it's a hell of a lot better than the alternative--but wouldn't it be nice if I could honestly say that I had earned my privilege?
Sadly, while we have certainly made progress, there is a pinnacle of privilege in this world: rich, white, male and living in the first world--the more of those describe you, the easier your life will be. This is not right. So while things like affirmative action might seem like discrimination to some, and feminism like man-hating, it's simply not so. They are stepping stones to an even playing field; measures which are intended to make themselves obsolete. I hope I'll see the day when they are no longer necessary, but until then, bravo, Hermione.
When a commenter responds that feminism does encompass a number of "man haters," separatists who make it difficult for men to embrace the movement, he replies:
I agree and disagree. Hatred begets more hatred, and of course "man-hating" should not be encouraged, but on the other hand, I have trouble blaming the oppressed for being disillusioned with the oppressors. 
Of course, I am for equal rights across the board, be it gender, race, creed, caste, whatever you might add, and it seems you are too, and it's easy to (as you say) regurgitate sayings like #notallmen, etc., but while you and I may not be active parts of the problem, our gender is undoubtedly the oppressors. 
Education is absolutely the solution to this issue, but you're implying that women need to be educated that not all men are evil, and I seriously disagree--they need to see more evidence of it. Where education becomes a factor is in how young boys are raised; not to see girls as giggling monsters with the cooties, but rather as human beings who deserve respect as equals. 
Your point about dichotomies is absolutely spot on, though. The idea must be to eliminate the idea that our chromosomes make us different thinkers.The idea that a human with one set of genitalia is different from another with the opposite set is what holds us back, and the idea that either set could ever be superior is XXXXXX. However, sadly, one gender needs a little leg up, and to dismiss feminism as man-hating is cutting that leg out from underneath them. We need to live with the fact that we are different and need to be treated as such in order to fix the problem until such a day that it is no longer true.
Seriously, if this guy weren't my kid, I would want to adopt him.



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