Mar 8, 2014

Who will you really listen to, men?

During the course of this WriteTribe Festival of Words, I've already spoken about two women ( here and here ) who inspired me with their deeds. So now, when the topic is Women and it's Women's Day, it's kind of ironical that I choose to talk about a bunch of men, instead.

I personally don't believe in the logic of advertising agencies that roping in a big celebrity helps sell a product (eg: Abhishek Bachchan selling me Prestige cookers and Sunny Deol selling me underwear comes to mind.)
But then, I don't know everything. I may very well be wrong. If that is true and having a big celebrity tell you to do things works for you, then I would like you to listen to why women are and should always be considered as equals, not from my mouth but from some people more famous than me.


You know him as the geeky Ross Geller from the sitcom F*R*I*E*N*D*S*. This 'dinosaur doctor' was easily the dorkiest of the three men on the show. But did you know that in real life, David Schwimmer is the Director of a Rape Treatment Center in Santa Monica? That he used to frequently appear in ads aimed specifically at men, telling them it was not okay to be silent if you are witnessing a rape/drugging of a drink with intention to rape and imploring them to intercede? Or that he used to actively campaign to have 'date rape drugs' banned in the USA? Still think he's a dork?



Womens Day

Don't like geeks preaching to you?
How about assertive people then ? How about celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay? That guy busts balls and makes grown men cry with his caustic comments on their culinary skills.
He's also an ambassador for the charity 'Women's Aid' aiming to end domestic violence. Having watched his dad abuse his mom over and over, this is what he had to say - “The reason she seemed so weak was because she was defending our arses. You have to admire the loyalty of a woman who puts her children first. And that’s where I get my determination from. From her.."

Is he too rough for you? How about soft-spoken country crooner Keith Urban ( dare-I-say Mr Nicole Kidman? ) who took the 'White Ribbon' oath, the aim of which is to make men more pro-active in stopping crimes against women.

Want someone rich to tell you this? How about multi billionaire Richard Branson who took part in the 'Ring the Bell' campaign? In it, he narrates an incident where he was at a clinic in Africa and asked the 40 odd women there if anyone had ever been raped... the women laughed at his naivety. All the women there had been raped atleast once, he found out. They were resigned to their fate.



But then these rich people will say anything, right? How about somebody with class?
In my childhood, I knew him as the awesome captain of the Starship Enterprise (Star Trek: The Next Generation). Kids of this millennium know him as the wheelchair bound Professor Xavier (The X-Men Movies). Do you know he's still an active speaker for Amnesty International's "Stop Violence Against Women" campaign?
I wish that you see this video. A victim of domestic abuse asks him what he is most proud of besides his acting career. His answer takes a very serious turn as he relives moments from his childhood when he was too small to stop his father (suffering from undiagnosed PTSD) from physically abusing his mother. That probably played a major role in him becoming a patron of Refuge, a charity that provides safe accommodation for women and children in need.  




Watch his voice start to crack as he recalls how doctors and policemen tried to tell his mother that she must have been partly responsible for her own beatings. "WRONG! WRONG! My mother did nothing to provoke that, and even if she had, violence is never ever a choice that a man should make," Stewart shouts, still haunted by the memory from half a century ago. He then just jumps off the stage and goes and hugs the abuse victim. She recalls later "He told me 'You never have to go through that again, you're safe now.'

Let me guess. You don't like listening to old bald men because they aren't cool? I should really flick your ears for even suggesting for a moment that Patrick Stewart ain't cool but fine, will you accept James Bond then?
And not just one, but two Bonds?? Having watched his mother raise him with the stigma of being a single mother back in the 50's in Ireland, Pierce Brosnan has always been an active campaigner for equal rights for women. Daniel Craig of course, chose not to say a single word in this strong campaign for Women's Rights. He's even dressed as Bond in the ad as Dame Judi Dench (Madam M) narrates... for awhile at least.

James Bond not macho enough for you? Will you accept the Incredible Hulk then? Traumatised by the story of his mother being forced to undergo an illegal abortion when he was a small child, actor Mark Ruffalo now actively campaigns for women's rights of their own bodies.  "It was a time when women were seen as second rate citizens who were not smart enough, nor responsible enough, nor capable enough to make decisions about their lives. It was a time that deserved to be left behind, and leave it behind we did, or so it seemed... (full text here)"
While the topic of abortion will remain controversial, the right of a woman to 'be the master of her body and life' is non-negotiable.

Alan Alda is of course, my fav comedian of all time. Considered 'the Honorary Woman' for his tireless campaigning for Women's rights, he's always been involved with Equal Rights Amendment.

Ryan Gosling, Jon Hamm, Matt Damon, Joseph Gordon Lewitt, Jamie Foxx, Ashton Kutcher, Obama, Ian Somelhalder, Joss Whedon, Dalai Lama. All these men have spoken about equal rights for women , stopping violence against them and preventing assaults.

Just so you know... that is a list that includes the Head of the X-Men/ the Captain of the Starship Enterprise (the world's most awesome spaceship), Two James Bonds, one Jason Bourne, the Incredible Hulk, a guy who won 6 Emmys and 6 Golden Globes, two people knighted by the United Kingdom, the President of the United States, a living Buddhist God figure, Robin (from Nolan's Batman movies), hunks from Mad Men and Vampire Diaries, Oscar Winners, one of the most handsome actors and the world's most famous celeb chef among others.

So my question to you now is... what more or who else will it take for this message - Treat Women with Respect - to finally trickle down to your heads?