Speaking up for Gender Equality: “If not me, who? If not now, when?”

All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing. –Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

Image courtesy of www.imaginepeace.com

Image courtesy of http://www.imaginepeace.com

I turn 35 in nine days and, as is customary for this time of year, I take some heart notes on where I am and, more importantly, who I am.  I’d like to say that I have it together.  That I know every scar and tear in my soul’s heart, but that would be a lie.  And I don’t lie.  Not anymore.

This past year my thoughts have drifted over the length of who I am.  I have chosen my emotional metric to be strides taken, words spoken and moments of self shared.  I have looked beyond my shell to the soft center of my personhood.  And there…I have found pearls.  Among them sits this:

I am a woman.

And blessed to be so.

I recently watched a speech given by UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson, for a campaign called HeForShe.  It is a global movement calling for gender equality.  It is also a formal invite to men to take part in this discussion and to be ambassadors of change within their hearts and homes, cities and countries.

I want men to take up this mantle, so that their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice.  But also so that their sons can have permission to be vulnerable and human too, reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned, and in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves. 

-Emma Watson

While many have signed in soul ink since the campaign launched, others have sought to reeducate the masses through an already prevalent and prejudicial gender narrative.  There were character attacks on Ms. Watson and threats made to her person.  As well as renewed enthusiasm toward the angry bitch theory that has plagued the feminist community since its conception.

I can tell you that I have never identified as a feminist.  I have never liked the word and have always found it laced with exclusivity instead of dripping with needed inclusivity.  Because here is the issue:  if inequality is the problem, women and men must work together to solve it.  It is not enough for me to speak and write about the gender imbalance to other women, men must be a part of the dialogue, as well.

I realize that I am privileged in ways I never understood before.  I am a straight, white, middle-class, Christian, cisgender female living in a country where I have rights, worth and power.  I am given access to platforms because it is often determined I deserve them.  And I am given access to locations because it is often assumed I belong there.

I am one of the lucky ones.  I See that.  I was not deemed unworthy by my parents when I was born female.  I was not subject to the horrors of female genital mutilation or forced to marry when I was still a child.  I was not sold into slavery, denied access to education or told I would go only so far in life because of my womanhood.

I have been born to privilege.

Many have not.

I have always believed in equality, humanity and crossing divides, but I have not always spoken up.  I was afraid:  afraid of being cataloged, criticized and critiqued.  But here’s what happens when you’re nine days from 35:  you realize that saying nothing is synonymous with saying that it’s okay, that it isn’t an issue, and that it isn’t worth the dialogue.

Having this platform, for me, is a privilege, wrapped in silver, dipped in gold and rolled in diamonds.  And with privilege comes responsibility.  So this is me taking mine:

I am an “inadvertent feminist”.

I am not a “man-hater”.  I am not “aggressive”.  I am not “power-hungry”.  And I am not “a bitch with an agenda”.   I am, however, a bit bossy, a bit enraged, and wholly invested in this campaign for human rights.

I suppose if I were a child of the 50’s I would have been lying in front of tankers and placing daisies in gun barrels.  But I’m not a child of the 50’s.  I was born in 1979 and I am writing this in 2014.  In that span of time, much has changed.  And, sadly, much has not.

In Ms. Watson’s speech she declared, “It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, instead of two sets of opposing ideals”.  She closed with the following thoughts and I will close with them as well:

If you believe in equality, you may be one of those inadvertent feminists I spoke of earlier, and for this I applaud you.  We are struggling for a uniting word, but the good news is, we have a uniting movement.  It is called HeForShe.  I’m inviting you to step forward, to be Seen and to ask yourself, If not me, who?  If not now, when?

I realize this post is a tiny pebble tossed into a very deep well.  For more depth and further information on HeForShe and the campaign for gender equality click here.

And please, watch Ms. Watson’s speech in its entirety below.

One last thing: this song was too perfect not to post.  Enjoy!!

  One thought on “Speaking up for Gender Equality: “If not me, who? If not now, when?”

  1. November 8, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Enjoyed your perspectives, here. And I applaud your post’s focus. Thank you for sharing..

    When it comes to who one is, I’m curious as to why the need for associated metrics? Isn’t the ‘who’ more aligned with subjective and qualitative being?

    • November 9, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      Thank you for reading, Eric, and for your applause. As to “the need for associated metrics”, there is no need, but there is a desire, on my part, to further define in words what only I have defined in the core of my person.

      That is all.

      Best,
      Dani

  2. November 8, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Thank you very much for a solid statement on equality. I appreciate your sharing the video of Ms. Watson.

    • November 9, 2014 at 5:08 pm

      Thank you for reading, Robert. I hope you enjoy the thoughts and ideas expressed in this space.

      With blessings,
      Dani

  3. November 8, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    I like this a lot 🙂

    • November 9, 2014 at 9:02 am

      Me too!! ❤ ❤

      • November 9, 2014 at 5:22 pm

        Thanks for liking it, Charissa.

    • November 9, 2014 at 5:10 pm

      So glad you did, Lizzi.

  4. November 10, 2014 at 5:10 am

    Reblogged this on catterel and commented:
    The least I can do is to reblog this.

    • November 10, 2014 at 8:37 am

      Thank you so much for doing so, Catherine. I hope you liked it.

      With blessings and thanksgiving,
      Dani

      • November 10, 2014 at 8:42 am

        I think it is excellent – I don’t reblog easily! Blessings and happy birthday – if I were to pick an age to stick at, it would be 35!

        • November 10, 2014 at 8:46 am

          So glad to know that would be your age of choice, Catherine. I’m hoping it will be a good one.

          And knowing you don’t reblog easily makes your doing so all the more special.

          With heart,
          Dani

          P.S. Thank you for the birthday wishes. You were the first to extend them ❤

  5. November 10, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Reblogged this on Charissa's Grace Notes and commented:
    I don’t know why I didn’t think of reblogging this immediately!! BUt I dreamed it last night, so here it is Constance.
    Here is the deal with Dani…writing technique is precise and on point, intelligence and awareness informs that technique and keeps it quickened and living, topical selection is relevant and current, but more than anything else is that living throbbing sticky HEART that keeps every single one of us coming back for more.
    You go, Girl, you go…and Constance, you go too over the BloomingSpiders and push “Follow”.
    Love to my Sis…Charissa

    • November 10, 2014 at 8:40 am

      Thanks for the reblog, friend, and for the informed “deal”. It was a blast to read your blurb and to know that you Know.

      With heart,
      Me

  6. November 10, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Reblogged this on a rand for your thoughts.

    • November 10, 2014 at 9:40 am

      Thank you kindly for the reblog.

      With blessings,
      Dani

  7. November 10, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Dani, you are right at the heart of being human. There is no created being unworthy of recognition, no one too “other” that we should ignore their existence, much less malign.
    The smelly, homeless man with matted hair
    The teen with a chip on his shoulder and baggy jeans revealing way more than we care to see
    The old woman talking to herself as she shuffles, perhaps unknowing, through the aisles of the grocery store.
    The whinny toddler with green snaking from his nose.
    The idiot who pulls out in front of you and drives 15 mph below the speed limit
    The neighbor who plays his music too loud, or whose dog won’t shut up
    And, at times, the face we see in the mirror

    All God’s creations.

    All worthy.

    All loved.

    How can we do any less?

    • November 10, 2014 at 11:37 am

      Yes, Jane…many times…the face we see in the mirror.

      Thank you for the beauty of this comment and for choosing Sight.

      With heart and blessings,
      Dani

  8. November 10, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Hey, here’s a late Happy Birthday! (I just saw that on the comments.) I’ve got one tomorrow, but I am quite certain I’ve logged quite a few more than you have! Blessings on you, your life, and your writing.

    • November 10, 2014 at 11:39 am

      You’re not late, Jane, you’re early. Mine is on 11/17. Catherine’s birthday wishes were just the first I received.

      Birthday blessings to you tomorrow, friend.

      ❤ Dani

  9. November 10, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    This is a wonderful inspiring statement. Thanks for sharing with us. Oh… and the bloomingspider picture is magnificent… Have an inspiring evening…
    Michael

    • November 10, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to read, Michael. I had been wanting to write something with this theme for some time, so I’m glad I finally did.

      And I wish that I could take credit for that lovely image on my page, but I can’t. Credit is given to the photographer in the sidebar.

      Many blessings to you.

      With thanksgiving,
      Dani

  10. November 12, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Dani,
    Thank you for demonstrating your courage and sincere compassion. You are correct, with privilege comes responsibility. Well done, and happy early Birthday, dear friend! 35 was a fabulous year filled with deep insights for me. May yours be overflowing with wisdom, kindnesses, lessons, love…and may it be devoid of sufferings. If I were closer, I would invite you out for dessert to celebrate!!!
    Love, Gracie

    • November 13, 2014 at 5:13 am

      Such gratitude for this, Gracie. I have heard from a few others that 35 is a year for the heart books, so I hope it will be the same for me.

      Please know I deeply appreciate your sentiments, wishes and kindness. And dessert?? That I never refuse.

      Until That day…

      With friendship,
      Dani

  11. January 7, 2015 at 1:05 am

    Yes yes yes yes!

    Belated happy birthday. 🙂

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