equality of the sexes

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14 February 2010

The Girl Cell in All of Us - Eve Ensler

In this passionate talk, Eve Ensler declares that there is a girl cell in us all - a cell that we have all been taught to suppress. She tells heartfelt stories of girls around the world who have overcome shocking adversity and violence to reveal the astonishing strength of being a girl.

About Eve Ensler:
Eve Ensler created the ground-breaking Vagina Monologues, whose success propelled her to found V-Day - a movement to end violence against women and girls everywhere.

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And who gets it first
Added: Tuesday, 22 July 2008

watch original V-Blog in Persian

I can't think of a subject that is more difficult for me to talk about than the equality of women and men. I've always felt that I needed to give my input on this very important subject, a subject that is sadly still, today, in the year 2008 after Christ, a very hot topic. Not only in those far away countries where women wear veils, but right here on our own doorstep.

Don't get me wrong - my challenge has not been my lack of interest or discernment to see the problem! It's been my inner freedom from the problem. I have never felt lesser than a man. I'm not saying I've never experience prejudice before. I have. I have felt prejudice in the work place and I have felt highly uncomfortable in situations where men have whistled or said derogatory things to me, I've felt angry at my husband for things he's said, but those have been "outer" feelings. Nothing within me has ever changed to make me actually believe I'm lesser than.

I remember when I wrote my masters thesis, the external examiner had put a big circle around one of my footnotes with a line that said, "acknowledge prejudice of author against women". It hit me like a knife. What was she talking about? Me? What had I written that made her think that? I checked the foot-note probably about 20 times, before I realized what the problem was. I had written "unity of mankind" ; and I had to change it to "humanity", which pleased the examiner, but not really me. I thought about it and realized that if you wanted to be really picky, you'd have to say 'huWOmanity'. It just hadn't mattered to me. It was just a word. In my mind I thought this poor lady must feel really compromised in her confidence if a word like "mankind" feels threatening to her.

I don't know. Am I not sensitive enough? Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe she's right. I understand, that our language is saturated with derogatory terms towards women, and I understand that that is not okay. In German "herrlich" (man-ly) means wonderful and "daemlich" (woman-ly) means stupid. Yes it's ridiculous. But that doesn't change the fact that on the inside I've always been free from feeling threatened by these things.

So I took a good look at my history and my family. We were not perfect, no we were not. But there were several outstanding men in my family who actually contributed to women being free and confidant. One of them was my granny's father. Light years ahead of his time and cultural moment, he created an atmosphere in his home where women were able to soar and express themselves. They had freedom of thought and were able to discuss and make decisions about their own lives. They worked and had careers and some of them became entrepreneurs. This confidence has been passed down to me on a very deep and natural level. So men then, have a huge part to play in this struggle!

As I try to sensitize myself to the subject, I realize that one of the ways that I can play my part is to pass down the freedom I feel to my children and by simply living it out be a role model to women and men who might have a different understanding of the relationship between the two wings of the bird. Like the couple who come to our house from time to time. The husband and wife both work, but at the end of the day she has to cook, clean, take care of the kids and serve her husband. Every time they've come over, she gets on her knees and serves him a piece of cake or fills his plate before the kids and before herself. So now my husband, Ryan, cuts and serves the cake for them. He gives her the first piece, then the kids and finally the husband. You can tell, the couple find it funny and a bit uncomfortable, but at least they're being exposed to a different model.

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