Jameela Jamil | The 2019 MAKERS Conference
Jameela Jamil, actor, activist and founder of @I_Weigh, gets candid about self-image, body shaming and confidence at the 2019 #MAKERSConference at Monarch Beach Resort.
ANNOUNCER: Please welcome Jameela Jamil. [MUSIC PLAYING] JAMEELA JAMIL: You're going to make me cry. I get very nervous doing public speaking on my own. But hello, everyone. I hope you're well. Today I'm going to speak about men, which I know isn't necessarily the theme of the day. But while I acknowledge that they have been our greatest enemy, I truly believe that they can be our greatest ally going forward. And so I've written something about how perhaps that could happen. It's called "Tell Him" So I suppose when talking about feminism, I can't help but feel that it's not only us who should be learning and growing, being armed with motivation and understanding. I think so many women have the power to infiltrate misogyny from their own homes, and it starts by never taking for granted how poisonous society can be to the male psyche and protecting boys from the onslaught of misinformation that is everywhere. They are bombarded with dangerous imagery, song lyrics, peer pressure, and often quite damaging, violent, and frankly entirely intimacy-free pornography, all of which are sold to them as a glamorous and realistic norm. Men are throttled with toxic masculinity and given made-up ideals that they are forced to subscribe to. They are belittled and rejected when they show signs of sensitivity. They are mocked and insulted when they show their pain or care too much. Just the mere fact that music that is kind to women or talks about feelings is considered wet or labeled sad boy music. It is such a potent, rotten marinade that boys grow up soaked in. Don't get me wrong, this isn't some poor boys' appeal. It's just that in my opinion, it's if men are recruited young and brainwashed in order to be indoctrinated and manipulated into an oppressive, patriarchal institution. This is a call to arms for the women who have boys growing up in their houses. We have a lot of work to undo. Mothers, sisters, and aunties, I implore you to take this little sponge and render him sodden with humanity and an understanding of women. It will send him into this delusional world with an armor of empathy and self-assurance that a strong woman is something to be celebrated and not feared, crushed, undermined, spoken over, stopped, humiliated, shamed, blamed, discouraged, controlled, and told that to be worth anything in this world. she just has to be thin and beautiful and look young forever. [LAUGHTER] All you have to do is tell him the truth. Tell him what happened to us. Tell him our whole story. Tell him how only very recently we were able to fight, protest, beg, and starve our way to basic human rights. Tell him that a long time ago, as far back as you can imagine, men became afraid of women. Women could make people inside their bodies. They could then feed those people using only their bodies. They had an extreme and quite scary tolerance for pain, and were distracting and beguiling for man. On top of all of this, we were equally able to learn, to hunt, to keep ourselves and our kin alive. Men feared that other than their semen, women had little need for them. And actually, we were very self-sufficient and tough, while at the same time being able to arouse men and sometimes drive them quite mad with love, lust, and possessiveness. We held quite a lot of power. And so using the only thing that they had over us, physical power, they fear-mongered an entire generation into submission and controlled us for thousands of [BLEEP] years. Tell him that we worked the same hours with the same skill sets and the same qualifications for less money just because of the chromosomes that we were born with. Tell him we were only recently allowed to choose who we love rather than be sold by our fathers to the highest bidder, however unattractive, unkind, unsafe, boring, or old that man may be, with no question as to what we wanted or what sexuality we were. And tell him this is still going on in many parts of the world. We're still second-rate citizens. Tell him what it's like to be a woman. Tell him that we have to be on guard-- literally ready to protect our lives-- every time we walk down the street at night, walk through a park, get into a cab, take a train, go out drinking, walk to our car, go on a date, be in a lift with a stranger, or be in any basement ever. And sometimes, we even have to feel afraid in our own houses because there is a constant threat to our safety from men, both strangers and more often, ones we know. Make him sympathize with us and feel protective over us. Tell him to cry when he is sad. Tell him how important it is to talk about his feelings. Tell him it is better to be soft and strong than to be hard and weak. Never let anyone tell him to stop being a girl when he's showing sensitivity. By narrowing these ridiculous prescribed gender roles, we will come closer together and no longer be such a mystery to one another, which I believe will dilute at the fear and mistrust that men have towards us. And by making him a more mentally stable and secure person, you will far lessen the likelihood of him being infiltrated by our insecure and pathetic patriarchy. Treat him with kindness and empathy. Make him feel safe. Do not betray his trust. Your relationship with him will shape his entire outlook on women. So that in every girl he looks at, he will see you and feel love and respect. Make sure he confides in you from a young age, that you will have a sense of what poison is pouring into him. And do not judge him-- at least not to his face. You can completely judge him behind his back or to your friends. But to his face, you must explain the correct, fair pathway in a way that makes it sound fun and appealing. Tell him about sex. Not just reproduction, but sex. The fun, pleasurable part of it. The joy of equal pleasure and enthusiastic consent. Do not shy away from this. Do not to make it an awkward topic in your house. Because if you push him into the shadows, he will find Pornhub in there and that will become his teacher. And nobody needs that [BLEEP]. [LAUGHTER] I believe that learning sex from porn is like learning how to drive from watching "The Fast and Furious," a [BLEEP] terrible idea. Tell him about the history of the word no for women and how new it is to our vocabulary, and how if he were to abuse our historical conditioning to bend to the whims of men, it would be the greatest sin and sign of weakness that he could show. And when it comes to sex, tell him technical consent isn't the gold standard. It is just the basic, complete, most bare foundation. And anything less than a woman being enthusiastic about something sexual that is about to happen is a sign that he must stop and talk to her. Tell him that being generous in the bedroom will be reported far and wide among the lands-- [LAUGHTER] --because we tell each other everything, and his name shall become legend among us. [LAUGHTER] Tell him about your hopes and dreams so he grows up wanting them for you and feels as though they are important. Tell him how you feel. Don't always be perfectly stoic, as we have been conditioned to pretend that we are, which in turn means that men overestimate our coping ability and then push us to the [BLEEP] edge. Build a man who understands that we are only human and we have needs and sometimes we need help. Tell him that we are smart. Show him smart women that you admire. Tell him to look for that in a girl. Show him films with tough female leads from when he's young. Tell him that we're funny and show him funny women. Tell him we are strong and tell him that's a good thing. Tell him it's cool. Tell him it's sexy. Show him how strong you are, and don't just pick up after him and do not pick up after a man in your household. Command the respect that you deserve. Be his friend. Be his teacher. Spend your life with and raise him. If you choose to raise him with a man, in front of a good man who shares your beliefs and respects you. Do not ever sell yourself short. We may have to fight our generation of men and the one before that and the one before that for our rights, for our safety, and for our voices to be heard, which is sad and it is frustrating. And I know that I am asking you for even more labor, but we have a golden window of opportunity here to completely reshape the future of our entire society from our living rooms. Build these men from scratch to fit women rather than just taking up all the space and forcing us to compact ourselves to a little corner allocated to us by them. God, we must be pretty amazing to have overcome all of this [BLEEP]. Tell him. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE]