He For She campaign

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This week I watched Emma Watson’s speech on gender inequality given before the UN launching the He for She campaign. I have said before that I am a big Harry Potter fan and I am also a huge Emma Watson fan. This speech just made me admire her even more and marvel at the classy woman our Hermione has become.

The speech addressed a lot of reasons why gender equality is important, highlighting that it isn’t just about the rights of women, though that is an important piece, but also the limitations placed on men based on current gender role stereotypes and demands. I applaud the acknowledgement that men are also trapped by the expectations placed on them.

Perhaps one of the best moments in her speech was when she mentioned a famous speech made by Hillary Clinton regarding women’s rights, pointing out that of the audience only a small percentage were male, using this to illustrate how men may not always feel welcome in discussion of gender issues. The audience applauded her when she then formally invited men to join the conversation. I had to applaud a bit myself. πŸ™‚

Another part of her speech that really spoke to me was her assertion that:

Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.

She spoke of how freeing men from their current gender definitions and demands will naturally also affect how men relate to the women in their lives. As an example, she mentioned that if men do not feel that to be manly they need to be aggressive, women may not then feel the need to be submissive.

As a writer, this challenges me to write characters that support the ideas of gender equality. Can we create more men and boys that are allowed to be sensitive? Can we write strong women and girls? I would hope so, and that we, as readers would then embrace those characters.

As a mother of boys, I feel challenged in many ways. It is my fervent hope that I raise my sons with the freedom to express their sensitive sides and not ever believe that being vulnerable equals weakness. It is also my job to make sure they see women as equals and to be the kind of men who would join the fight to protect and empower women.

Ms. Watson talked about the people in her own life who were perhaps inadvertent ‘feminists’ because of the way they helped shape her and afford her the rights many women currently fight for today. I have also been blessed with people who have allowed me the freedom and opportunities to be the woman I am today. I have parents who never treated me as less because I am female. My dad has always been supportive of me and my sister and has always encouraged us to do whatever we want to do. I also saw how he treated my mom, with respect, so that I had high expectations for how the man I would marry would treat me. I have been blessed with a husband who is supportive and respectful and now models for our sons how a good man treats a woman. All the guys in my house could join the He for She campaign. πŸ™‚

The newly launched He For She campaign has been using social media to spread the word. You can follow the #HeForShe hashtag to see men (and women), including some famous faces, who have pledged to support the campaign, declaring they are ‘he for she’. Below are some of my favorites – and yes of course my Fangirl favorite is included. πŸ˜‰

Please check out her speech and check out the He for She campaign for gender equality. I’d love to hear what you think about it in the comments. Have a great week!

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Emma

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E is for Emma – but while I do love and find inspiration in Jane Austen’s book Emma and while the movie with Gwyneth Paltow and Jeremy Northam is great fun, it’s actually two favorite actresses named Emma that I am dedicating my E blog to tonight.

Emma Thompson and Emma Watson are both talented and lovely actresses, but seem like they are just really cool people and I would love to be friends with either one of them. Seriously, wouldn’t they be fun to know? I sure think so.

Emma Thompson is smart, talented and has a wicked sense of humor. See here recent acceptance speech at the Empire Awards as one example.

I absolutely loved her screenplay for Sense and Sensibility and her portrayal of Elinor is spot on. She has a gift for putting so much into just a simple scene, just a look.

In Love Actually when she discovers her husband’s indiscretion, she conveys the devastation that came with her world being rocked by the realization. Heartbreaking.

I’ve really liked to see what she has said about things, like age and beauty. Currently she is a part of a campaign against some of the superficial plastic surgeries with Kate Winslet (another favorite ) and Rachel Weisz. Below is a quote about how she feels about beauty as she has aged that I love.

My appearance has changed a lot over the years, but it has far more to do with how I feel about being a woman. I’ve never thought of myself as vain. When I was at Cambridge, I shaved my head and wore baggy clothes. What I did was to desexualise myself. It was partly to do with the feminism of that time: militant and grungy. That’s all changed now, though I don’t think it is liberating to get your tits out. I don’t hold with that. But I am much more comfortable with being a woman now than I was in my twenties.

Emma Watson also has a lot to say about beauty and modesty and expectations. I think she sets a great role model for young women with her class and style and intelligence. As a child actor she could have been a disappointment as an adult after watching her grow up before our eyes. For her though it has been anything but a disappointment. She’s grown up to be a lovely person and a great talent. Below is a favorite quote of mine from her.

I find the whole concept of being ‘sexy’ embarrassing and confusing…What’s sexy about saying ‘I’m here with my boobs out and a short skirt, have a look at everything I’ve got?’ My idea of sexy is that less is more. The less you reveal the more people can wonder.

And I absolutely loved this tweet she sent when people kept saying she would star in the movie version of 50
Shades of Grey’. Perfect πŸ˜‰

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Her speech at the Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part II makes me cry every time I’ve seen it and the quote below is why I love that she was our Hermione.

Young girls are told you have to be the delicate princess. Hermione told them you can be the warrior.

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Desiderata

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My D post is late because I went to a friend’s 40th birthday party last night and enjoyed the J. Lohr Cabernet a bit too much πŸ˜‰ My post would have been D for drinking too much. Haha.

Instead this D post is Desiderata, a poem by Max Ehrmann which is one of my favorites on The Love Book app of poetry I have on my iPhone. Anyone who knows me or follows me on Twitter knows I absolutely love my The Love Book app.

I found it because I am a Tom Hiddleston Fangirl and saw a picture of him reading for it. I got the app and it’s been love at first listen ever since. Tom, Helena Bonham Carter, Emma Watson, Damien Lewis, Gina Bellman and Helen McCrory all read poems, as well as a collection of other poems that aren’t read.

I have never been a poet and was not as drawn to the study of poetry when I was in college. It seemed to me poetry was a lot like baking and prose like cooking. Baking required precise measurement at just the right temperature for an exact amount of time to make something beautiful. Cooking you can play with ingredients and how it is cooked, to a certain degree and still come up with something great. Poetry requires more economy and each word and line is so critical to the success of the poem. Prose the words are all important and composition is important, but there is difference in how the words can be arranged.

I read some poetry before, of course, but the Love Book app inspired me to really dive in to poetry more than I had before. Not writing it, just reading it.

Desiderata is one of my favorites because it has such a positive comforting vibe to it. I like to say it feels like a hug. (And probably the closest I will be to getting a Hiddleston Hug ehehe)

Here is my favorite part from the poem:

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
No less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you
No doubt, the universe is unfolding as it should.

The whole poem is fantastic though, I would highly recommend
checking it out and if possible, listen to Tom Hiddleston read it to you in The Love Book app.

In addition to inspiring me to read more poetry, the app has also got me started committing poems to memory. So far, I have five of the poems from The Love Book committed to memory. Desiderata, of course, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Whoever Loved that Loved Not at First Sight, To His Coy Mistress & The Invitation. All are really great, but To His Coy Mistress has some really spectacular lines –

Had we but world enough, and time…

But at my back I always hear Time’s winged chariot hurrying near…

And the end which is my favorite:

Thus, though we cannot make our sun stand still, yet we will make him run.

The latest poem I’ve fallen in love with is a recent addition read by Emma Watson. Just a note here that all of these artists who read the poems have lovely British accents and being the accent junkie I am, I love listening to the poems read with Emma’s posh British accent for example, but all the others are lovely as well. But I digress πŸ™‚

The poem is called The Invitation by Oriah and it is absolutely beautiful. Here is favorite section which is the end.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
What sustains you
From the inside
When all else falls away.
I want to know
If you can be alone
With yourself
And if you truly like
The company you keep
In the empty moments.
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