Actress Emma Watson gave a riveting speech on gender and feminism at the United Nations to launch the “He For She” campaign, a movement with the objective to unite one billion men and boys as advocates to help end the inequalities that women and girls face, worldwide. The social media world lit up because her words were so powerful:
“I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men. Unattractive, even. Why is the word such an uncomfortable one? I think it is right that as a woman I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body.”
It’s a vital point. I’m still wholeheartedly surprised at how many young women in 2014 still equate being a feminist with being a man hater, and consequently shy away from identifying with the term, lest they seem unattractive to the opposite sex. Many still don’t see that until we stand up for ourselves and demand that we get equal treatment, we will not receive the same rights. That’s why Watson is enlisting the help of men, because we all need to demand equal treatment internationally, where being female in some countries is equivalent to being property rather than human. It’s not just a female thing; it’s a human thing. What’s been uplifting and promising are the many young male actors who have joined the campaign, proudly proclaiming they too are feminists because being a feminist means standing up for equal rights for women, and a man can do that just as much as a woman can.