There is a video making its way around the internet today of a speech that Emma Watson gave at the UN regarding gender inequality.
If you watch it, she talks about the worldwide inequality for women, but also how there is inequality for men in gender stereotypes as well. Ms. Watson says:
“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong. It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals.”
Her speech reminded me of a conversation I had with a stranger in Brooklyn a few weeks back, that left me baffled and shaking my head.
I was out with a female friend who is really into Yoga. The guy we were speaking with was trying to chat up my friend for her number. During this process, he started talking about how stressed he is all the time, and at wit’s end with his kids and their mom. He told us he has anger issues, and wants to find a non-violent way to calm down. My friend said, “Why don’t you try Yoga to relieve your stress and anger? It really helps.”
His response was, “Nah. I really want to try yoga, but if I did, my family and friends would think I was a faggot. They think men getting in those positions with their ass in the air is emasculating, and they would stop talking to me.”
My friend responded, “Why do you care what your family and friends think? Especially if doing Yoga would help your stress level!”
He said, “I don’t know. I just don’t want them to think I am into being emasculated.”
The conversation drifted off to other topics, but I was sad for him. I was sad that he wants to better himself, but he won’t do it because he will be “less manly”, and “gay”. That he would choose to keep the respect of his family and friends over helping himself deal with his anger issues in a healthy way.
I think this kind of societal pressure is madness. If you can’t be who you are, and in return cannot help yourself find peace, it’s time to question those behaviors and beliefs of those around you. Rise above the pressure, and maybe in return, minds will change.