Emma Watson: Feminism it's not about man-hating
Emma Watson is taking her job as a Goodwill Ambassador of UN Women seriously. The actress took her first trip on behalf of UN Women by visiting Uruguay. The former Harry Potter star had an interesting speech encouraging women’s participation in political processes, from voter turnout to actually electing women to public office. Meanwhile, in NYC, she helped launch a new UN initiative called HeForShe, a program aiming to include more men as companions in gender equality.
But here’s what she said in Uruguay: “Today we are launching a campaign HeForShe. I am reaching out to you because we need your help. We must try to mobilize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for change. We don’t just want to talk about it. We want to try and make sure it’s tangible. I was appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women 6 months ago.
The more I spoke about feminism, the more I realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain is that this has to stop. For the record, feminism by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes.
When I was 8, I was called bossy because I wanted to direct a play for our parents. At 15, my girlfriends didn’t want to join sports teams because they didn’t want to appear masculine. At 18, my male friends were unable to express their feelings. I decided that I was a feminist. This seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists. Apparently, [women’s expression is] seen as too strong, too aggressive, anti-men, unattractive.
Why has the word become such an unpopular one? I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that affect my life. I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men. But sadly, I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to see these rights. No country in the world can yet say that they achieved gender equality. These rights are considered to be human rights but I am one of the lucky ones.
How can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited to participate in the conversation? Men, I would like to give this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too. To date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society. I’ve seen young men suffering from illness, unable to ask for help for fear it will make them less of a man. I’ve seen men fragile and insecure by what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either”.
In another words, the feminism is not only about women helping themselves, it’s also about men willing to respect women.