On Emma Watson and Gender Equality

My dear readers:

This past Saturday, 9/20/2014, actress and UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson gave a speech to the UN about Gender Equality. She spoke with poise and eloquence; she invited men to the table both graciously and articulately. And now she has come under fire.

While this isn’t the first time she has experienced strong opposition, two days after the speech, the US delivered airstrikes into Syria, targeting the radical group ISIS. I very much fear that the timing may change these threats from threats – to much more serious actions.

Why do I care about Emma Watson?

I am a Christian – but I am also a feminist. And I believe that the right to choose what a person, male or female, does with his or her life, be it spiritual or marital, should lie with that person and his/her God. I firmly believe that the Bible – no matter who tells one otherwise – is necessarily interpretable. Whether one reads the words oneself or hears them from someone else, they are interpreted – not delivered directly from God. Therefore, somewhere between God and each interpreting human, there comes a necessary distortion. For every human reading or hearing those words, there is a different distortion.

John 6:37 says: “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” These are Christ’s words. Note – all those the FATHER gives me. Not “all those Julie gives me.”

Now for my distortion.

I’m off the hook. God will take care of it. There is not one single thing that I can do to keep Christ’s chosen children from him. Can I be a vessel through which God can bring those children to him? Absolutely; and I try, in my own way, to do that. Mine is not a commonly used path. But there are others laying common paths.

Back to Emma.

Currently there are some 7 billion people living on our  planet. Roughly half are female. I believe that those 3.5 billion females should have the right to practice whatever religion they prefer and not be killed for it. I believe that they should also have the right to choose their own path – to use their free choice. And that, to me, means all of us. The only exceptions are those incapable of choosing – children, and those who are medically unable to make choices.
This is what I believe Emma advocates. Not Women Over All; not “Man-Hating.” She invites men to embrace the parts of themselves that they have shed in fear of not meeting society’s expectations of What A Man Should Be. She advocates the right for a woman to stay at home or to work based upon the path that she and her partner have chosen together; or if circumstances have forced something upon them, together – my interpretation – let it be in a way that it might upon anyone else.

I’ll take this one step further.

I want a world in which adult humans medically capable of making decisions all have identical rights – regardless of how their human chromosomes play out. We are all humans. And beyond that, I really don’t care; I don’t care whether they are male or female. I don’t care where they live or go to worship. I don’t care who they love or what they look like; what they eat or how wealthy they are. We all should have the same opportunities to grow, to flourish, to love. To win and to lose and to grow from both. To worship – or not.

To CHOOSE, and to bear the ramifications of those choices. We are adults, and we should have the right to act that way, and to let others do the same.

And I believe that Emma Watson agrees.

I would like to believe that, as do many Wellesley College graduates, I advocate not only for women’s rights, but human rights. Ms. Watson has the potential to act as spokesperson for a long term movement promoting ‘Equality for Everyone.’ But I also fear that she could become, due to the timing of her speech and the US strike in Syria, the Martin Luther King of Gender Equality.

I am asking you, dear readers, to take a stand with me. Help her. Say that Gender Equality is long overdue – and that Ms. Watson has your support in that effort.

Someone close to me recently said, “Yeah. In a utopian society… maybe.”

Well – if we want a utopian society, we need to act as if we already have one.

Help me help her. Please.

Thank you.