Emma Watson spoke to the UN on #HeforShe in September. You may think that the topic has faded or simply isn’t relevant anymore. Well, Emma continues to promote #HeforShe to her millions of Twitter followers, but also, many other people have taken up the issue as that of great importance.
And I think that we should too. And let me explain why, before you claim that I have drank their Kool-aid.
If you haven’t heard about it, let me give you a quick rundown. Emma Watson spoke to the UN on this idea that gender equality must be reached with men working as hard as women to achieve this goal.
Now, if you, dear reader, are who I think you are these sentences makes you cringe, in fact, the words feminism, gender equality, and women’s rights all make you cringe, as a rule. Now, I don’t need to go into why that is and I understand that it is made more difficult when Yoko Ono and other notably liberal feminists you may disagree with tout Emma’s message.
But there is profound truth to her speech that I encourage you, dear reader, to consider seriously. I would say that this is a mission we can undertake seriously and compassionately and perhaps change the message and ultimately serve the family and advance the common good.
Let me walk through my crazy idea as if my reader was someone who might have not watched the actual talk, but assumed the ultimate worst and put Emma in this box labeled ‘No-Good Feminists’. A person I know was disheartened because they are an avid Emma fan but they were greatly discouraged because she was ‘joining’ the man-haters/feminists/nose-pickers. Which, she explained immediately that she wasn’t a man-hater and that most feminists aren’t.
But I was able to sympathize with a touch of disappointment because I realized that I agreed with everything she said. I just didn’t agree with how it was going to be accomplished in her eyes. I agreed with her content, just not the context.
When I hear ‘equality with man and women’ I understand that to mean, men and women, who are inherently and complexly different, ought to have nothing more and nothing less than the same respect given unto each of them.
So let’s say you agree with me, but how do we meet here? At #HeforShe? Simple. We address those issues that we can agree on, and tackle them with full optimism and critical minds. To benefit all of humanity.
There are a LOT of questions surrounding this. And I cannot answer them all, but I think thinking openly and critically can guide us to truth.
But you don’t need to take my Catholic word on it; I have a good friend who would try to convince you as well.
“Call governments and organizations to work effectively to ensure the legal guarantee of women’s dignity and rights.”
“As most women themselves point out, equality of dignity does not mean “sameness with men”. This would only impoverish women and all of society, by deforming or losing the unique richness and the inherent value of femininity.”
“In keeping with the Church’s mission and in support of the goals of the Women’s Conference, Catholic institutions and organizations around the world will be encouraged to continue their care and special attention to the girl–child.”
“Women have a full right to become actively involved in all areas of public life, and this right must be affirmed and guaranteed, also, where necessary, through appropriate legislation.”
“It is the duty of every man to uphold the dignity of every woman.”
Maybe you’ve guess, or perhaps you haven’t, but these are quotes from St. John Paul II. JPII himself makes it very clear that being pro-women doesn’t mean being anti-man. And if I can have a little help from another friend, there is this idea of integral sex complementarity that fulfills this idea of a holistic feminism. In which we are complementary to each other, and there is an inherent Catholic design behind this model.
There are loads of Catholic movements that are getting with JPII’s call to recognize the feminine genius. Dr. Elizabeth Schiltz from the University of St. Thomas Law School, as well as the Diocese of Winona in Minnesota putting on a New Feminism Conference.
So I’ll end with some quote from our dear friend Emma,
“Now it’s time to unify our efforts. HeForShe is a solidarity movement for gender equality that brings together one half of humanity in support of the other half of humanity, for the benefit of all.”
“Gender equality is not only a women’s issue, it is a human rights issue that requires my participation. I commit to take action against all forms of violence and discrimination faced by women and girls.”