Emma Watson Defends Feminism

Emma Watson Defends Feminism
On September 20, 2014, United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson delivered a powerful speech at the UN headquarters on gender equality, which has captured the attention of the whole world. The speech launched the HeForShe campaign, a UN movement for gender equality in which men and boys act as advocates to empower women and girls. The campaign encourages men and boys to take a stand against gender inequality of all kinds.

In her speech, she explained that it was easy for her to decide that she was a feminist, even though feminism has become a confusing, unpopular concept. Many women are choosing not to identify as feminists because of it. Watson defined feminism as the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities politically, economically, and socially. She said that the association between feminism and man-hating had to stop or equality could never be reached.

Watson believes that as a woman, she deserves to be paid the same as her male peers, make personal decisions about her own body, be involved in the decision-making of her country, and be given the same respect as men. But she lamented that there was no country in the world where all women could expect to receive all those rights.

Watson extended an invitation for boys and men to strive for gender equality. She explained that gender inequality was a man’s issue, too. She gave examples of her father not being as valued as her mother in society and young men suffering from mental illness and being unable to ask for help for fear that it would make them less of a man. She stated that she wanted men to take up this mantle so that their female relatives can be free from prejudice and that they and their sons can be free to be vulnerable and human as well.

During the speech, Emma Watson briefly made mention of her career as an actress and how people might think it would take away from her credibility as a Goodwill Ambassador. She explained that it was a legitimate concern, but the important thing to remember was that this issue was something she really cared about, and she truly wanted to make things better. She felt a personal responsibility to speak up and say something. She quoted Statesman Edmund Burke, who said, “All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing.”

Emma Watson’s passionate speech is sure to change hearts and minds on the topic of feminism, and encourage people of all genders to fight against gender inequality wherever they are.

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