Scoffed at the HeForShe Campaign? Right, Let’s Talk

If you haven’t seen it already, the next thing you should do today is watch the entirety of Emma Watson’s UN HeForShe speech. There has been a lot of news articles quoting it, but some of the most interesting parts weren’t cherry-picked as far as I remember, and watching and listening coveys her emotions a lot better than just reading:

Just to get it out of my system, let’s all take a moment to admire that intense outfit.

Okay, moment over.

By show of hands, who here considers themselves a feminist? Good for you. Who doesn’t, or didn’t before watching that video? That’s fine too, because Emma’s right (can I call her Emma? I always think anyone who works with or at the UN should be addressed more formally). Feminism has become a dirty word and synonymous with hating men, because it’s so easy for people to hate oppressors and turn to violence or extremism, which is of course the only aspect of any social movement that gets noticed by the general public.

When I was growing up, I thought vaguely that feminists didn’t shave their underarms, burnt their bras and hated their boyfriends. Thankfully I live in Britain in the 21st century, am moderately intelligent and have had access to education and evidence to the contrary. I now know that if someone doesn’t want to shave their underarms, likes to burn bras or hates their boyfriend, that’s their choice. None of the above are my gig, personally, but if I have a problem with a woman who does any of those things, it’s my problem. I can judge from afar, get grossed out or even ask them to explain their reasons but it’s not my place to tell them what to do. When I learnt the dictionary definition of feminism, I automatically knew I was one. Why wouldn’t I want the same rights as men?

From bbcone.tumblr.com
From bbcone.tumblr.com

Women who declared they didn’t “need” feminism upset me, because there really isn’t a country in the world where women have the same rights as men. When I was writing the ad that’s now on the sidebar for examples of indifferent ignorance, using “women who think we don’t need feminism” as an example was an obvious choice because one only needs to read about the girls raised as boys in Afghanistan or the women in India attacked for refusing a marriage proposal, or see the realities of gendered marketing, to understand that no one in this world is created equal.

The interesting thing is, I’ve never particularly not wanted to be a girl, because I like ‘girly’, things. I like to wear colourful dresses (they’re pretty) and a load of silver rings (they’re shiny), I like getting my hair done (it feels nice) and sitting around a table in cafes and restaurants, looking damn cute and chatting to people (I like people watching). But I live in a country where I’ll only be heckled or refused a job because of my gender. I won’t be forced into an awful marriage or refused education or abused; it’s not too dangerous for me to be myself.

That being said, I’m typing this wearing a three-day shirt and four-day jeans (I’m not going out), having only partially brushed my hair (I lost my favourite brush, and I’m not going out) and sitting in a room which really, really needs cleaning (cleaning is a lot of effort and it’s boring). I very rarely wear make-up because I’m highly affronted by the suggestion that I don’t already look perfect. I also grew up with a strong dislike of most beauty products, because they promised a different version of perfection, one that involved spending half an hour every morning painting my face. I’d rather be asleep, thanks.

Those traits are traditionally seen as ‘masculine’, or at the very least ‘not feminine’. My favourite example of society’s warped perception is my mother blaming my brother’s disgustingly messy room, refusal to put crockery in the dishwasher and inability to move his school or boxing bags from the hallway on the fact that “he’s a boy”. What, and the Y chromosome renders him incapable of clearing up after himself? He doesn’t do it because he knows my mum will do it, because she likes a tidy house and because she was raised in a society where women do the tidying. My brother’s not a bad person, and when he tidies he does it just as well as my mum – and probably far better than me, because I have the attention span of a gnat and always find something more interesting than housework.

But if my brother openly enjoyed dusting, or wearing lots of silver rings or colourful dresses, he would be abused heartily by his peers, our parents and the media. If I gave in to my desire to never vacuum again or started boxing or never replaced my hairbrush, I would be abused heartily by my peers, our parents and the media. That’s stupid enough, but what’s really strange is that I’ve never actually met a man who displays solely ‘masculine’ traits or a women who displays solely ‘feminine’ ones. I know girls who love make up and cooking but never clean. I know boys who like to keep their bedroom spotless and worship football. I know men who do the ironing and women who earn the most in the household. If straight couples have got any sense, they split the household chores and cleaning equally depending on each person’s strength. It works for gay couples, or the intelligent ones at least.

From moseisleywelcomingcommittee.tumblr

So I’ve given my two cents and now it’s time for you to. If you’re a bloke and you’ve got even the slightest inclination to agree with Emma or me or any of the feminists you know, you’ll sign up for HeForShe. If you already have or are a lady, you can email me your examples of inequality-based indifferent ignorance at transmissions@indifferentignorance.com. I’ll always change names and I might go off on a rant… I’ve collected a tonne of feminist/sexism/equality material to show you guys and I want to ask more questions about gender-based issues and social conventions.

What are your thoughts about HeForShe or any of the topics I’ve discussed? Leave a comment below or email me. If you’re happy for me to cite you in a blog post, contact transmissions@indifferentignorance.com; if you want things to stay private send them to tobequitefrank@indifferentignorance.com.

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A Tourist’s Guide to Being a Tourist: Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Watford

I feel like I should blog because it’s Literacy Day or something and I’ve got some time to kill before a webinar later. I was going to have a shower so I could be all snuggly with my headphones on, but then I realised that snuggly usually equals sleepy and I’m supposed to be a professional.

Plus I really need to get some proper work points because I spent at least forty minutes today playing around with the customise options on WP and seriously considered making all the links here bright pink. Anyway, Literacy Day!

What’re you all reading at the moment?

I’m reading this:

HPATPS

Why, Francesca?

Well, I went somewhere rather special yesterday, and by rather special I mean a warehouse in Watford…

Privet Drive

Cool huh. I have about a billion photos, mostly of Hagrid animatronics and concept art and Diagon Alley. I was never that into the films because the screenwriting sort of ruined Hermione. It’s a good thing Emma Watson is a total sweetheart.

Yule Ball Set

She’s clearly also teeny tiny.

Since I’ve been to London a few times recently and am on a ‘gap year’ so am supposed to be getting life experience or whatever, I’ve decided to do a little review of my excursions so I can add reviews to my online copywriting profile.

Event and Place Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Watford.

Cost Insane. Tickets plus food plus batshit crazy priced merchandise. They had integrated Starbucks shops and really decent catering but a lot of people had taken picnics. Do that and spend a fiver on Butterbeer, which is foul.

Food See above. Plus nothing I ate made me puke, which was good.

Other people Go early to avoid the crowds. It’s such a popular place that it’s probably packed all the time, which was good in a way because it showed just how many demographics Harry Potter appeals to. There were people from all over the country, people from other countries, old people, families, couples, people with illnesses, deaf people (with sign language guides). 10/10 for people watching, 2/10 for geeking out in peace. It took about halfway round for me to fully process how much stuff I was seeing, and you can only go in one direction. I missed out on the details of loads of little artefacts and information because I’d think “I’ll just go and see X while the crowds are at Y” then I’d get distracted by Z. Take your time. Appreciate how flipping cool the art department was.

What else did I learn?

Well, the Dursleys’ hall carpet is the same as the one my grandparents used to have.

Harry's Cupboard

I might post more photos as and when, just to spring them on everyone in the hope that people dash onto the M25 and have a look for themselves. You don’t have to be a fan, but if you have any interest at all in any aspect of filmmaking, save your pennies and get on it!

Next up: either the Tower of London’s poppy art, a gallery in Fitzrovia or a James Bond exhibition. Wait. The webinar.

The Eleven O’Clock News: Dog Snuggles Help Students.

Recently I’ve been the sort of busy that makes me think of people in the City clutching Starbucks at six am with their clacking heels and superduper handbags and eighteen hour days. I don’t have the clacking heels and I’m working on finding the perfect handbag but eighteen hour days are becoming quite normal. Which is okay, because it means that Life Stuff is happening. You know, writing essays and making plans and trying to find the ideal washing machine/tumble drier time system.

Don’t overload the washing machine; your jeans will take two days to drip dry because tumble driers aren’t actually a gift from God.

Anyway, that’s all good. I can go to bed with a sense of achievement, you know, because I’ve revised so well that my grey cells are dancing and I’m organising my homework properly and I can sleep knowing that this is life, ladies and gentlemen, and I am living it to the full with every one of those eighteen hours used to their maximum potential…

Except they’re not because a) I can’t sleep properly, which means that b) between the hours of ten and twelve and four and seven I am basically a zombie, which means that c) I’m consuming twice as much caffeine and sugar as usual to work properly, which means that d) I can’t sleep properly. I’m also starting to worry about my arteries.

Oh and it’s affecting my concentration. During the making of this post I have so far taken two BBC quizzes, made my bed, checked Tumblr and Googled handbags. It’s getting to the point where sitting still, quietly, isn’t an option – I’ve had Sherlock on in the background while I work for the last week (all live TV has adverts, which means I’ll switch over, which means I’ll get even more distracted). So is it that if I learnt to concentrate or made myself work fewer hours I’d find it easier to concentrate and therefore work fewer hours?

You know what, these handbags are cutsie.

Right, right, the news.

Well, some universities have provided opportunities for students to cuddle animals as a way to combat stress. I know for a fact that dog snuggles are an excellent method for coping with anything, except maybe fleas, so well done universities for cottoning on. I did a few searches about meditation, which I do because Emma Watson suggested an app on Twitter that is actually incredibly helpful (except I keep forgetting to do it) and there seems to be a general consensus that mindfulness is good. Plus nobody has any, possibly because we’re all watching Sherlock while filing papers and triple-checking our iPads for work-related emails. Apparently stress-related illness is now such a big thing that companies have decided it’s in their interest to promote healthy living – some are even investing in gadgets that measure employees’ stress levels.

Hmm.

You know, I’m not quite sure what I’m trying to say here, because busy people struggling with being busy isn’t exactly up there with the Syrian refugee crisis or potential CAR genocide. It’s marginally more interesting than, say, Bieber getting arrested… but a large part of me knows that if I turned off all my electrics, tidied up the trail of crap I’ve left around the house and went for a run (don’t look at me like that, Tim says it’s a good idea), things would be better. Less existential angst, less chance of contracting a cold and more productivity for my time. Possibly with more time spent sleeping, or giving Sherlock my undivided attention.

Remind me that I have a really great header for a blog post that involves Benedict Cumberbatch’s film career. I was going to use it in a six degrees of separation post about King Lear.

Okay, I’d better turn off all my electrics and pencil in time for a run. Thoughts about how to be busy and well and sleep occasionally?

Six Degrees of My Headache

I thought I should let you know that recently I’ve been rereading and discovering the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus novels respectively, and that earlier I had a boogie to Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners, which featured in a film called The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which starred Logan Lerman, who also had the lead role in the film version of Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief, and Emma Watson, who played Hermione in Harry Potter, a series to which the Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus stories are compared, because they both have roots in Greek mythology, which obviously means Rick Riordan’s been nicking ideas off JK Rowling.

I hope that knowledge made your head hurt as much as it has mine. Let’s be infinite.