A lot of stuff about Emma Watson’s U.N. speech has been coming across my desk and because my desk is mostly ultra leftist the reviews have been that it was lacking. That it didn’t address enough ‘truly’ oppressed peoples and it was an attempt to make a safe, hetero, middle class, white feminism palatable to safe, hetero, middle class, white men. And that’s true, that was the goal of the speech and the other critique that this supposed call to arms doesn’t actually call on anyone to do anything is also true. Guys hold little signs and take a selfie and they’re suddenly progressive heroes.
I’ve always railed against do-nothing, bumper-sticker activism but I see now why it works in the very long run. It normalizes things for the next generation. The political right has known this all along. Get a father to put a little flag on his truck and twenty years later the son will proudly go kill and die for you. And when it comes to feminism right now the normalized idea is that it’s a bunch of outdated whiners who want to ruin all fun everywhere for everyone. The feminist voices right now that reach the most ears are the ones complaining about movies and videogames.Feminism is seen as annoying.
We all know that any change will have a push back, a counter revolution always takes place. And we’ve always framed things as a struggle, a battle, a movement which encourages that. I think a lot about how normalized homosexuality has become in my lifetime. In my pop culture I watched it go from non-existent, to a tragedy, to the safe, clean, nice, funny, educated gay stereotypes we all love today. Why? Because gay people aren’t a threat to The Jones’ way of life.
A ultra left feminist would want to say that feminism is a threat to the mayonnaise majority but that’s a bluff and a wish. Feminism has done great things for The Jones’ so far, you can’t have dual income houses without it, after all. Feminism is paralyzed right now by the outdated forces holding out against it but if we normalize for young people a new feminism that doesn’t encourage taking sides in an epic battle, but instead encourages inclusion and maturity, then those forces will melt away without ever having to be knocked down.