When Sheryl Sandberg spearheaded #BanBossy and wrote Lean In, I wondered how a woman worth over $1 billion could realistically identify with a woman making $15,000 or less a year. I don’t automatically emulate Elon Musk, Donald Trump, Warren Buffet, or Steve Jobs as men precisely because their advice may not be applicable to my circumstances. That, and I do not trust disturbingly rich people to be pragmatic about social issues.
I also found myself questioning the qualifications of the multi-millionare Emma Watson, who stood up on behalf of UN Women to deliver a speech for HeForShe, a campaign requesting commitment from men for the sake of women.
HeForShe exploded in traffic because many famous brands crawled into one big sweaty bed. JP Morgan is a sponsor, so money isn’t an issue.
We need a Jeff Foxworthy–inspired list of sarcastic “You know you’re oppressed if …” jokes, like “You know you’re oppressed when big banks give money to global organizations dedicated specifically to you.”
The speech went exactly as I expected: Watson prevaricates on feminism’s brand development crisis, then says through a choked voice that gender equality is important, which of course means more men need to participate in helping only women.
I’m sure the suicidal and homeless men I met in my life would be thrilled to know of yet another opportunity to put their problems second. This seems reminiscent of when working-class men did not have the vote, and when women passed white feathers to blokes content with their blood being inside their bodies where it belongs. But you’ll have to excuse my arrogant citation of historical oppression of men because a woman’s choices are apparently more important.
Watson’s persistently sad voice remained largely monotonous. She never sounded like she was getting closer or farther away from crying, at least not in a realistic way. At this point I started to wonder why people picked Emma Watson—an actress—out of any actually suffering woman on the planet. Am I supposed to believe the United Nations could not fly in a starving woman, feed her, and provide a translator to help her express her thoughts on her situation? With JP Morgan as a sponsor?!
At that point I started to question the commitment of HeForShe, and wonder why I, a man, am being invited to “commit” with no detectable compensation under the command of people who don’t even understand how diversity works. Pundits are saying only what they are being paid to say.
It must be a surreal experience having so much money and lying to so many people to get them to change the world for free. Did anyone bother to draft a feasibility report while everyone was patting themselves on the back?
HeForShe has the following two paragraphs on the same page. This is the first:
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 of humanity, for the entirety of humanity.
And here’s the second, right above a button that says, “I agree”:
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.
Gynocentric execution aside, I wondered what would happen if I clicked the button. I imagined UN volunteer soldiers would rappel from a helicopter and kick in my window to slap one of those stupid blue helmets on my scalp. I figure the UN would do anything to look serious after being useless during the Srebrenica Massacre. Why would a man sign up with an organization with a history of standing by and looking stupid while innocent men are bombed and shot?
Clicking the “I agree” button pulled me down to a form where I can enter my name, country, and email. I generated a junk address with FakeMailGenerator and put nonsense into the form.
Let’s see what is expected of this commitment I have no intention of respecting.
My apologies go out to any Emma Watson of Nicaragua for UN Women’s heartless assumption that everyone who would fill out that form would be a man. HeForShe is male-dominated and in need of equal representation of women because women need to work on their own problems too. Right? Right?
The web developer in me is irked by the obvious lack of an “if” statement to strip the last sentence when the counter breached 100,000. But I suppose I can’t be too surprised by the staff’s inability to compare numbers given how this crowd treats statistics.
I watched the FakeMailGenerator page, waiting for my marching orders. None came. I waited for a bit and saw that 28 other Nicaraguan men needed my help saving the planet.
I clicked “Join Them” and the page scrolled me back to the “I agree” button. Still no mail came to my junk address.
I refreshed the page, left the commitment checkbox unchecked, and tried signing up again as a stereotype.
It seems that commitment is necessary after all. Hear that, ladies? HeForShe thinks you need a man to solve your problems.
I put my details in to see if the FakeMailGenerator was just bugging out on me. I want to know what HeForShe’s emails say at this point.
Silence. My only option appears to be sharing HeForShe.
Either this is a petition with ulterior motives or another “‘Like’ to cure little Billy’s Leukemia” social media campaign that doesn’t actually do anything but advertise inexperienced bleeding hearts with a profit motive. Or both; I honestly don’t know.
In any case, this is about the level of commitment I expected from the United Nations and its affiliates.
Have fun, suffering men and women of the world. Feminists are using you for money and glamour.
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