Daphné is a student at Sciences Po Paris in public policies and is specialized in culture. She is passionate about arts in general and especially about live performing arts and cinema.
For the World to Change and to Change the World
My name is Daphné and in all honesty, this is the first time I write a portrait of myself. The purpose here is not to sell myself or to seem suitable for an internship, a job, or training. It is not to please my interlocutors. It is not to check boxes. It is neither to convince others or myself that I agree with the social roles that were given to me even before my birth. I just want to share my journey. I want to talk about what makes me passionate, what makes me feel alive on the daily and what I aspire to be. Introducing ourselves should feel natural. We should be able to say: that is me. However, I am under the impression that I am regularly submerged into a world where we engage in superficial relationships, where we expect people not to take up too much space and stay quietly put in their boxes. So, for the first time, let me introduce myself.
My name is Daphné. That is me. Everything is alright to this point. Even though I was born in Paris and that I freshly started my studies there, I barely even know the city. I grew up in between two worlds (or two countries): Canada and France. I moved frequently since the day I was born until the day I was 10. I was 10, and so, I never knew what it was like to literally have a home and feel attached to it. I never had any childhood friends to whom I could turn to or any birth house to cherish. Now that I grew up, I am still living in this in-between. I like this unsteadiness even if it can be unsettling because it makes me different from others who are aware of their roots more than they are aware of their branches. Despite it all, the last few years have been very constructive for me. I learned how to change the world, simply. I learned it was possible to change our lifestyles overnight, to adapt and to evolve.
I wanted to start with this part of my life since it gave me enormous optimism concerning human’s capacity to change and adapt to new circumstances. Women need that optimism in the time being. Because I presented myself in this portrait, it is also important that I begin, before all, by specifying that I am a woman. It may seem obvious when we are introducing ourselves publicly. However, many things in my identity derive from the simple fact that I am a woman. Sometimes, it is hard to stay optimistic about where we stand in society. It is tough, indeed, as difficult as realizing that we are not paid the same as our male counterparts. Difficult to see our sisters being sexually assaulted every single day. Difficult when it happens to us too. Difficult being constantly minimized for being a woman. Difficult to accept the fact that we need no be accompanied by a man to go home on a night out because we fear getting assaulted. Difficult to feel scared in public when it gets dark outside, or even in the daylight. Difficult to see all these works of fiction romanticize sexist behavior and sexual violence. Difficult to hear men and other women telling us we are too radical when we speak up against these injustices. Difficult to count the dead victims of femicide. Difficult, if not intolerable, to be the victim of these injustices or to witness them regularly. It is as difficult to write this list. It is a long one. And, unfortunately, it is far from being complete. Yet, I stay optimistic. I know for a fact there is a way to deconstruct this patriarchy and to finally end up with an egalitarian society. I just quickly listed some examples of social scourges that concern us today, but for each injustice there is a solution. To proceed to the establishment of a public policy on equal pay while strengthening obligations imposed on companies. To set up sex education programs and educate younger generations about consent. To instruct on the topic of gender equality in schools. To support the creation and the spread of feminist works of fiction and works created by women. To implement programs on the fight against sexual and gender-based violence, and to finance shelters for endangered women. To train police forces about how to take care of victims of gender-based and sexual violence. Solutions exist and we need to grab a hold of them. We must take action together and make ourselves heard to shake this status quo.
That is why I study at Sciences Po. I hope that with my specialization in public policies I can take part in those changes. I want to work in cultural policies, because I think that culture is a powerful means to make a change in our society. I think that movie theaters, theatre corridors and library hallways are all places to come together and mostly to learn about a more equal, cohesive, empathetic and free society. I know for a fact that I cannot do this alone. But the current wave gives me hope. I have hope when I see all those activist’s posters taking more space in the towns of France. They make it known that gender-based and sexual violence exist and they show me I am not alone. I have hope when I hear Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, U.S. representative, denunciating misogynistic culture because of how it normalizes the disrespect of women when they have access to power, during the gallery at the House of representatives.
During my childhood, I learnt how to change the world by confronting it and adapting to it. Likewise, I believe that we, as a collectivity, can change the current order and change the world, simply. We can keep up with all those challenges. There are a lot of them. I talked about the feminist cause, but the fight against discrimination, in every form, should be the main motive of our fight. We will not be able to build a better future while ignoring these issues. The battle lies ahead of us.
The plan? Change the world slowly, step by step, together. That is me.
– Daphné, September 25th, 2020
Content translated my Émilie Marcotte