The World Is Now Talking About Emma Watson
It is time for me to write about one of the most viral speeches of 2014. The UN speech by Emma Watson could go down in history as groundbreaking. Audiences of all ages heard it. People from all backgrounds responded to it. Everyone grew an opinion on it.
This blog post is carefully titled, "The world is talking about Emma Watson." Yes, we are all inspired by Emma's words. Yes, she reminds us of the rights of women. Emma highlighted issues of countries outside the privileged Western world. I am glad Emma uses her public profile for the greater good. That is the benefit of attention. However, let's start being practical. Let's start doing something for women. In the words of Elvis, "A little less conversation, a little more action please." Emma Watson taught us some important lessons. Now it is time to put these lessons into practice.
Emma addressed a nervousness at the end, but it is highly important. She explained, "In my moments of nervousness for this speech, and in my moments of doubt, I have told myself firmly, if not me, who? If not now, when?" Emma Watson's voice trembled when she first took the lectern.
What does this mean for the iconic actress who needs no introduction? Why would an actress, who grew up in front of the world, be shaking? Emma Watson sees that a personal speech can change perspectives and lives. These nerves were real, because she knew the consequences of her words. And she knew those words had to be said. Emma Watson was aware that communication with the right audiences can change lives. That is a massive responsibility.
I feel inspired by Emma Watson's shaky voice, in addition to the words she actually said. We might not be speaking on a world stage, going globally viral. But we all have something to offer the world. Each of us will have something the world can not live without. Ask yourself the same question Emma asked herself, "If not me, who? If not now, when?"
Emma Watson addressed the issue of proactive change, compared to dialogue. She said, "We want to make sure that it is tangible." I feel relieved to hear this. Awareness is created for all sorts of issues. But what is the awareness solving? Who is saved through the awareness? Yes, people need to know about this. But let's take inspiration from the old religious quote, "Faith without deeds is dead." I am glad Emma wants us to do something.
Emma was called 'bossy' at 8, for wanting to direct a play for her parents. This speaker faced similar perceptions when addressing women's issues, "Too strong, too aggressive... unattractive." Women are perceived as soft and sweet, not bold enough for managing groups or projects. That is the stereotype we deal with. I don't spend my day thinking, "I'm a girl, how can I be as girly as possible?" No! I spend my day wondering, "How can I help the most people, with the energy and resources I have?" A soft feminine image is not relevant to the work we do at all.
Emma's image was "sexualised" at 14. I can identify with Emma in a very different way to her experiences. Around that age, maybe a year or two younger, I was labelled as 'anorexic.' I would eat a responsible amount. My metabolism was at its best. There was a discrimination against thin people. Everyone, from neighbours to teachers, assumed I was not eating. I tried to beat this negative image, by eating too much. 'Real' women apparently were two sizes larger than me, according to the body image advocagetes. I was too small to be a 'real woman.' My health suffered the consequences of trying to fit this image. Don't tell us what we should be. Celebrate what we are.
Her career was encouraged, "My parents did not love me less because I was a daughter... My mentors didn't assume I would go less far, because I might have a child one day." There are people out there who want me to say, "One moment, please," as a receptionist for the rest of my life. There is nothing wrong with administrative work, but it is not women's sole soul destiny. We have creative ideas. We have solutions which will benefit people. I just see myself as a person, with hobbies and a career. Family is that complicated ever changing web of relations. Family is not a thing I will create when my career has run its due course. Thank you Emma for believing in our abilities.
Every line in this speech personally resonated with individuals. The new perspective resonates with anyone on a spectrum, "It is time we see gender on a spectrum." I have lived my life on the Autism Spectrum. Emma lived her life balancing the gender spectrum. We are not clear cut categories. Nobody fits a pigeon holed box. We are individuals. We are people.
The world is now talking about Emma Watson. Let's talk about our own stories and issues. We all have something to solve. We all have something to gain. We are individuals.