I feel like I have grown up with Emma Watson, as I’m sure many people my age do. Yes, the Harry Potter series has always held a special place in my heart, and Hermione may be the fictional girl I always wanted to be. But it is Emma Watson’s new position, that makes her this week’s WC.
As a UNWomen Ambassador, she is taking the issue of gender inequality head on. The HeForShe campaign is unique in it’s approach to equality, a “solidarity movement” as they describe it. In Emma’s speech to the United Nations, she notes that while she has been afforded unique opportunities in her life, she has still be the victim of misogyny. When I heard this line, it made me think about my life, and the moments where I was made to feel lesser. I feel like recently the discussion of feminism has been a hot topic, with people like Emma, particularly of the same age, leading the discussion. This is a global issue too, not just one for the Western 20somethings to blog about. (myself obviously included) That is why I think the HeForShe campaign has the right idea, its not about the sexes, its about humanity fighting for their own rights.
Watch Emma’s speech at the UN, and share your own thoughts and feelings.
It has been a month since I shared my thoughts with my little corner of the internet. I have no significant reason for having fallen off the face of the blog, other than I found other things to fill my time. I’ve been working, reading, vacationing, celebrating holidays, making expensive purchases, and spending time with my family. None of these things scream the acts of a self-consumed, self-absorbed person, yet I have this feeling that I have spent the better part of a month only thinking about myself.
This feeling came to a point this morning when I was so excited to see that my favorite blogger had posted after an extended absence. Her post was not what I had been hoping for. Rather than a page of apologies for being MIA it was her sign off, that she could no longer continue to share her life with the world because her mother a succumbed to an illness none of her readers knew about. I immediately felt heartbroken for both her and myself. While I do not know this writer, I have read her words nearly daily for the better part of 3 years. I have shared in her ups and downs through her words, watched her fall in love, and take great leaps of faith. I have even previously written about her in this space as a role model for myself. I know the feeling of losing a parent too soon, and I share in that agony. But my selfishness boiled over when I realized that I felt pangs of sadness because I would no longer get to be a fly on the wall of her life. I’m not sure what that says about me, but it was a very real feeling.
Oddly enough, selfishness is something that I have actively tried to work against throughout my life. I have always personally felt that selfishness was one of the absolute worst traits a person could possess. I am struggling with this overwhelming sense that I have become a person I would not be friends with.
I have a very strong personality. From a young age my “mantra” has been “I can do it”. From the whiny 3 year old version, to the uplifting 21 year old version, to the also whiny 23 year old version, I have been one to want to do things for myself, in my own way.
Have people called me bossy before? Absolutely!
I never really cared about being labeled as “bossy” as it was a word I had heard almost since birth. But I do remember the first time the word did hurt me. I was in a position of authority over a committee and I was trying to keep the group on topic during a meeting, rather than allowing for gossip hour. While I was trying to get everyone’s attention, one of the member turned a told me to stop being so bossy and relax. I don’t know if it was the lack of respect, the fact it came from a peer, or the equating myself with rigidity, but in that moment bossy became the “other B word”.
The movement to Ban Bossy is on point. Personally, I am very concerned with women and girls’ issues, particularly sexism in leadership and opportunity. It also doesn’t hurt that Anna Maria Chavez, the CEO of Girl Scouts and co-leader of the movement, is an idol of mine. I am often jaded by the environment in which I work, the nonprofit field is dominated by women, and strong women are plentiful in my life. But even in 2014, women is still given labels, while men are rewarded for being assertive and take charge.
Over the past number of years I have altered my vocabulary to respect and reflect the feelings of others and myself, and I challenge others to do the same. Help work to remove the ‘other B word’ and give women and girls the respect they deserve.