Why Did She Even Have to Say It?

“Anger is a lot like a piece of shredded wheat caught under your dentures.  If you leave it there, you get a blister and you have to eat Jello all week. If you get rid of it, the sore heals and you feel better.”

That’s one of the best lines from one of the best characters from one of the best shows of all time. The wise, wonderful, witty Sophia Petrillo says it to her daughter, Dorothy, when Dorothy is having a hard time letting go of a long-standing, though, some would argue, justifiable grudge.

Though Sophia admits that the advice may not be her most poetic — it does make a good point. If something is bugging you — really grating on you — you won’t feel better until you get it out. If you don’t, it will just keep on bugging you, nagging at you, getting more and more irritating with time.

So with that being said, I’m about to remove a metaphorical piece of shredded wheat from my metaphorical dentures.

It all started a few weeks ago after I watched Emma Watson (you know, Harry Potter’s Hermione) deliver an amazing speech to the United Nations as their U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking — why is this 20-something actress a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador? Don’t worry, she addresses that in her speech.

Really, if you haven’t watched that speech yet, you should just go ahead and watch it now because I’m going to keep referring to it and this whole damn thing won’t make much sense if you haven’t seen it.

Yes, its long. It’s more than ten whole minutes. But it’s worth it, I promise. Also, you and I both know you’ve spent more time on the internet today tinkering with your Fantasy Football lineup or watching videos of cats chasing laser pointers. So, please just do it. Trust me.

Okay, assuming you’re now properly edified on the on the subject matter, I’ll continue. (Yes, I understand I sounded like a snotty schoolteacher there, but please just go with me on this.)

It was a phenomenal speech, right? Just perfect. If Hermione Granger was, in fact, a real person and not a fragment of J.K. Rowling’s imagination, she’d be pretty darn impressed. And if you’re not well-versed in the Harry Potter universe like I am, let me assure you, that’s a tall order. That girl, okay, fictional character, isn’t easily won over. If you want to convince Hermione Granger of something, you’re going to have to do it right.

Thankfully, Emma Watson did.

Sidenote: If you’re having doubts about the confidence, compassion or general competence of our generation (or the generation below mine, I’m getting old) Emma Watson is the proof you need to see that not all millennials are self- and selfie-absorbed dumb-dumbs. Some are actually pretty upstanding, outstanding people who might be worth listening to.

Watson is certainly one of them.

In her speech she does some pretty important things very well. For one, she admits that the word “feminism” has a bit of an image problem. Some people incorrectly believe that feminism means man-hating, which is simply not the case. Feminism isn’t about pushing men down — it’s about promoting an environment where people, regardless of their gender, are not restricted by out-dated, ill-informed, societal gender norms, and are instead free to be the truest version of themselves.

That’s a pretty worthwhile goal for all of us — men included.

It’s just — and here’s that shredded wheat part I mentioned earlier — I’m angry we have to say that at all. Why don’t we already know that?

Why did Emma Watson have to give a speech (albeit, a damn good one) about things we, frankly, should already know?

It’s 2014 and we’re still having to give speeches which essentially say: “Hey, guys, ladies are just as good.”

Of course, we’re just as good. Duh. Obviously.

As cliche as this seems (and yes, I know it’s cliche) people are just people.  No person is a better person, a more intelligent person, a more compassionate person, simply because of their gender.

We’re all more than that.

Defining or judging people’s abilities or characters based on how you perceive their gender is incredibly limiting and just doesn’t make much sense.

It never made sense and by now, it’s about damn time we figured that out.

Okay, I just needed to get that out there.

And now that I have, I can say with certainty that Sophia Petrillo was right. (She’s always right.)

I do feel better.


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