Could there be any other receipient of this honor this week, than Emma Watson? Nope I don’t think so.
By now you must have seen the video of her U.N. speech, but if not, check it out here:
I have seen this video countless times, and have read the transcript which you can find here but I cannot get through it without crying, that’s how powerful her words are. Perhaps it’s because this is an issue I care tremendously about or because this is being said by someone that I admire so much but this speech has touched my heart in so many ways.
My Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr timelines were filled with reposting of the speech, quotes from it and people talking about how powerful it was, so many of these were those that have known and followed for years and I had never seen them identify as feminists or speak about the issue of gender equality (whereas I bombard my poor followers) and I think this is why it’s so important and why the U.N. has celebrity ambassadors.
Gender equality is a hot topic again. Whereas the term ‘feminism’ has become muddied because of misunderstanding, in her speech Emma Watson tackles it in a formal setting with the utmost respect.
“I was appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for U.N. Women six months ago and the more I’ve spoken about feminism, the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.”
“Feminism,” Watson continued, “is, by definition, the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”
Emma Watson has put a face to an issue that has been prevalent for too long, and she has placed her finger on one of things that needs to be done for it to stop – men need to be made aware of the issue and to be freed to. The argument against the feminist movement has often been that it’s about misandry and Emma puts a stop to that, she invites men to the conversation and the entire He for She movement that she is involved with launching is all about including men.
“Gender equality is your issue too. Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society despite my needing his presence, as a child, as much as my mother’s. I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness, unable to ask for help, for fear it would make them less of a men—or less of a man. In fact, in the U.K., suicide is the biggest killer of men, between 20 to 49, eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either.”
“When they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t need 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,” she said.
What Emma Watson has addressed aren’t new points, she isn’t the first to talk about this issue, nor will she be the last, but she has come at the right time, she is the right person, and the passion and emotion that she evokes and what comes across as she relays her speech is enough to make anyone want to support her and the cause.
I’m so happy that she heeded the call to support and speak on this issue, to research, to take the time to visit countries that are ridden by issues of women’s rights, because of her so many more women and men are becoming aware of what is needed in order to correct this problem, they know now that a mind shift needs to take place, attitudes need to change, and this is no longer an issue just for those who identify themselves as feminists, this is an issue for everyone.
“I invite you to step forward, to be seen and I ask yourself: if not me, who? If not now, when? Thank you.”
One of my favorite Tumblr posts I’ve read since the speech below, just warmed my heart, Hermione Granger is one of the most influential fictional female characters in my opinion, and it’s amazing to see that the actress who plays her, is just as amazing:
Join the He For She movement here: http://www.heforshe.org/
And check out the tremendous amount of support Emma Watson has received here: