by Elizabeth Logan, Glamour
At this year's Glamour Women of the Year Awards, U2 (or, as Amy Poehler called it, "ooh-too") frontman Bono received our first-ever Man of the Year honor, which he recognized is "a bit ridiculous." But he took that ridiculous moment to address some absolutely un-ridiculous topics: the role men have played in creating sexism, the role they must play in its dismantling, and the many women who have inspired him to be a better ally to women and, therefore, a better man. And yes, he read some mean tweets.
In her introduction, Amy Poehler (whom Bono called, "your Poehlerness") compared Bono to the supermoon: a light in the darkness and a man she could point to as a role model for her two young boys. Here is Bono's acceptance speech in full. They're aptly--and, rightfully--addressed to women and men alike, especially to those who, like Bono, enjoy power and privilege. Watch the video and read the complete transcript below.
Bono: "Thank you, your Poehlerness. Thank you very much. This is... well, it is a bit ridiculous, and I know how ridiculous it is for me to be on this stage accepting this award. But if I didn't know how ridiculous it was, I did have the blessed Internet to remind me. I kept some of the best ones. [Reads Tweet] 'Out of all the women alive, #Bono is my favorite. It's just so inspiring how she overcame the adversity of being a millionaire white dude.' Or: 'It's so important that our daughters understand that they can grow up to be Bono.' [Laughter] And this is--this is actually my favorite, and it really hurts: 'Sure, Glamour named Bono Woman of the Year, but in their defense, the transitions lenses do make him look like a 75-year-old lady from Miami.'"
Amy Poehler: I'm sorry I wrote that!
Bono: [Laughs] "That was you? Anyway, I'll tell you that the real reason that I'm here is because one of the--really one of the tiny few awards that caused real excitement in our house and actually stopped the usual dinner conversation and started what my daughters think of as the only conversation--about there being 130 million girls that are not going to school, a conversation where right here in the United States of America, women make 80 cents to a man's dollar. A conversation that, as my daughter Jordan, who's sitting there, says and reminds me: There is nowhere on Earth where women have the same opportunities as men, and that unless we address this problem, both women and men together--our world will continue down this misogynistic, violent, and impoverished path. Sounds like 2016 to me. What a year. In Europe, we've seen hate attacks and neo-Nazis on the rise, and in America, you have the first R-rated election--not suitable for children. An NC-17 election. And 2016 might have been the year when I stopped believing Martin Luther King Jr. when he said, 'The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.' This might be the year when I stop believing that progress for equality was inevitable--that the momentum is unstoppable. That progress is hard-wired and written--history was written by the hand of reason. 2016 might be the year that I stop believing that North Stars are always visible, even through a layer of fog. This year, the North Star looked like a neon sign, fizzing and crackling: 'Hate for Hire. Girls for Rent. Women Need Not Apply.'
It sounds like melodrama, but it felt like a death. Because it was a death. It was, in some sense, a death of our innocence. Who knew we'd any left to let go of? But maybe it was time to grow up. If it is the measure of a man's maturity--his relationship to and with women--well, there's a large part of me that reckons if I could someday be worthy of this award, this faith you have placed in me this evening, then I might become the man that I aspire to be, rather than the man I've settled for.
It's tricky. It's hard to unwind a few millennia in a few decades, and there's different levels. The sexism is embarrassing in a rock and roll band, but in certain places in the world, sexism is a killer, and you know, as the ONE Campaign that you hear about in the video with Sheryl Sandberg, says, poverty is sexist. Poverty is worse for women and girls. It denies them the essentials like human rights and health, but it also denies them a way out through education and opportunity. They can work the land, but they can't own it. They can earn the money, but they can't bank it.
There is a time to be heartbroken and to break everything apart. There is a time to grieve and a time to get organized. In the words of Flo Kennedy, and most recently by Lena Dunham, 'Don't agonize. Organize.'
Well, we're getting organized at the ONE Campaign, and on International Women's Day on March the 8th, some of the smartest women and men you could ever meet are not just walking out onto the streets, they're walking into political offices they have not been invited. They're going to walk into these offices to remind these officials that they report to us every day, not just on election day. And we are proud that Glamour is going to be one of our partners on this and really, thank you, Cindi Leive, for giving me this award.
I asked my wife Ali tonight what I should say on receiving this award, and she just repeated what she has told me since we were teenagers.
In fact, 40 years ago tonight--I wasn't going to say this, this is kind of projectile vomit on another level--this has perhaps been the most important week of my life. This week, 40 years ago, was my first date with Ali Stewart, as she was then--and I joined U2. It was a great week.
Anyway, I asked Ali what I should say, and she said what she told me all those years ago: 'Don't look down at me. But don't look up at me either. Look across to me. I'm here.'
So, that's what I'm doing. And that's what we're doing. We're going to look across at each other. And in these times, maybe the most important thing is to look across at the person who agrees with you on nothing. Maybe they're in your family. Maybe they live across the street. And I say this to myself more than anyone: Maybe they're about to move into the White House.
So, I say to the president-elect: Look across to women. Make equality a priority. It is the only way forward. The train is leaving the station. Be on it or be under it.
© 2016 Condé Nast. All rights reserved.
Original article: http://www.glamour.com/story/bono-man-of-the-year-award-speech