Video: Joss Whedon Gives The Best Speech On Feminism That You Need To Watch
Joss Whedon just keeps outdoing himself in making us love him more. We've seen his success grow from his early days with Buffy the Vampire Slayer to his recent accomplishments with The Avengers. However, the man just keeps winning our affection. Whedon gave an enlightening speech on the underlying semantics of the word "feminist" at Equality Now's event on Nov. 3 in Beverly Hills.
The triple threat writer-producer-director was honored at the "Make Equality Now" celebration, and spoke for 14 minutes about how he hated the word "feminist" and further dissected the "-ist" part, in the most eloquent way possible. He said:
Let's go back to this "ist," okay. Let's rise up a little bit from my obsession with sound to the meaning. "Ist" in its meaning is also a problem for me because you can't be born an "ist." It's not natural. You can't be born a baptist; you have to be baptized. You can't be born an atheist or a communist or a horticulturalist. You have to have these things brought to you. So feminist includes the idea that believing men and women to be equal, believing all people to be people, is not a natural state.
Of course, in natural Whedon form, his speech was entertaining, engaging, and funny on such a serious topic. He pointed out the problem he had with Katy Perry saying (in his paraphrasing) "I'm not a feminist but I like it when women are strong," and questioned why she had to say the first part. He added:
In the public discourse, there's one word to deal with race: "racism." That is the word and it implies something very important: it implies something that we are past. When you say "racist," you are saying, "that is a negative thing. That is a line that we have crossed. Anything on the side of that line is shameful, is on the wrong side of history." And that is a line that we have crossed in terms of gender, but we don't have the word for it. People are confronted by the word "feminist" and it stops them; they think they have to deal with that. But I think we're done with that as intelligent human beings. Being on the wrong side of history in terms of the oppression of women is being on the whole of history, all of recorded history, you're on the wrong side.
Although Whedon said he didn't think he could change the world, that he just wanted to "punch it up a little," he has made an indelible mark with his words, and even brings to light a new word to use—"genderist."