Emma Watson: HeForShe Campaign, Feminism Is Not About ‘Man-Hating’

by Samantha Albala


Emma Watson recently became a UN Goodwill Ambassador and launched HeForShe, a solidarity campaign to bring men into the gender equality movement and to rid the negative connotations that come with the word feminism (Yes! Yes! Yes!). We know we all need our friends and family to understand if they don’t already that being a feminist in no way, shape, or form means that you hate men or the color pink.

In her speech on Sept. 20 at the UN headquarters in New York she addressed the different stages growing up where she felt a need for feminism:

“I started questioning gender-based assumptions when at eight I was confused at being called ‘bossy,’ because I wanted to direct the plays we would put on for our parents — but the boys were not. When at 14 I started being sexualized by certain elements of the press. When at 15 my girlfriends started dropping out of their sports teams because they didn’t want to appear ‘muscly.’ When at 18 when my male friends were unable to express their feelings.” 

Despite the unpopularity that comes with embracing the word feminism (which all of us have probably encountered with long sighs of frustration), Watson was proud to use the word and addressed members of the UN with the true definition and her story.

She emphasized equality as the mission. That feminism is necessary for everyone, and that there cannot be any delay in addressing the issue (in her speech she said without action now, rural African girls will not receive secondary education until 2086!!!). Getting men involved in advocating for feminism is essential because they are affected too. She mentioned that men often aren’t taken as seriously as parents, and that she’s seen “men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success.” 

Feminism was never just a woman’s issue, it has always been an every person issue. The men in all our lives can and should be feminists. As Watson says, “If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, not as two opposing sets of ideals.”

To assume the gender roles of the past or to take on what we think we are supposed to be instead of just being who we want to be is crippling progress. Being a feminist means we are living to improve our lives and the lives of those around us, that we won’t subscribe to watching oppression. So let’s take on any still-skeptical friends, show them Emma’s speech, and convert them to the proud and powerful ways of feminism! 

To read Emma Watson’s full speech, click here

Photos of Emma Watson at the HeForShe campaign launch at the United Nations, via www.independent.ie, and via watsonlove.tumblr.com


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