The UN has launched a new campaign for feminism, called HeForShe, to try and inspire men to level the playing field. At least, I think that’s what it’s for. The coverage has focused rather more on Emma Watson, what she wore, and what she said at the launch of this campaign as its Goodwill Ambassador.
Apparently, she faced sex-discrimination aged 8 because she wanted to direct the school play. She was called bossy. I know.
Except. I remember being told I was bossy (or rather ‘bosy’), aged about ten. The person saying so was, indeed, a boy in my class. He was two years younger than I was. The teacher, naturally perhaps, took exception to this. He (probably) meant it as an insult: it was an exercise in being nice to one another and we had to write down one nice thing about everyone else in the class.
I’d like to say that this devastated me and I thereafter did my best to conform or that it turned me into an avenging feminist. But apart from sneering at the spelling, I actually took it as a compliment, even though I knew it wasn’t supposed to be. It certainly never crossed my mind that I was being branded bossy because I was a girl. I equated it with being in charge, and that being a good thing, even if the other kids didn’t see it like that.
Anyway, according to the HeForShe website, it’s a campaign to commit all men to “take action against all forms of violence and discrimination faced by women and girls”. An admiral campaign, one might think.
But men face violence and discrimination, too. Where is the campaign to end that?
There is talk of quotas, to get more women into certain jobs. All you women out there, do you want to be a box-tick, or chosen because you deserve the job and can do it not only well, but better than the men available? And how is it fair to the men if there happens to be a better-qualified or more capable man available, but he can’t have the job based solely on the fact of his gender? Is that not discrimination? Something which us women are fighting so hard to get rid of that we’re enlisting our menfolk to help.
How about (radical idea coming up here) instead of ending violence and discrimination towards women, we just end violence and discrimination? It doesn’t matter who is experiencing it, it is simply Not Nice Behaviour (in one’s best Lady Catherine-from-the-BBC voice). It is not something which any civilised society should condone, even so-called ‘positive discrimination’.
And let the best person have the job. Because if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well, and why would you want to employ the second-best person, just because of their gender?