Emma Watson Speaks about Feminism

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Emma Watson

Sydney Lo, Staff writer and editor

One of the most prominent social problems the world faces today is sexism, or the discrimination of a person based on their gender. The effects of sexism can be seen in the media, modern industry, daily life, and education, although those are just starting points. Sexism has also been shown to lead to other social problems such as rape and spousal abuse.

Recently, people have been calling many important authorities out on this injustice, and demanding a change in the way society functions concerning the equality of men and women. Many of these people are known as feminists, or people who advocate equal rights for both men and women. However, there is a popular criticism that they are actually practicing misandry, or the hate of men and belief that women are superior. Whether this is supported or not, the subject of feminism and sexism in society is undoubtedly very subjective.

[S]he and her friends were sexualized and scrutinized for their behavior.”

On September 20, Emma Watson, an actress best known for her role in the Harry Potter franchise, delivered a speech to the United Nations about feminism. Specifically, she advocated her new campaign called “He for She” in which men and boys would become advocates for ending gender inequality. She also went beyond this to discuss her personal experiences as an actress, specifically how she and her friends were sexualized and scrutinized for their behavior. At the same time, she brought up extremities of sexism in society, such as parents loving their daughters less than their sons or providing education only to males. She also spoke about the negative connotations of the f-word (feminism), such as the idea of “man-hating” and illusions of gender equality. To end the speech, she urged her audience to take action against the horrifying injustices present in the world, even if you are only an “inadvertent feminist,” as she put it.

The video of her speech went viral within a few days. Newspapers around the world both commended and criticized her actions, along with many individuals prominent on popular social media sites such as Twitter or Tumblr. It is still unknown whether her efforts will yield results, as many of her fellow celebrities have made similar efforts to no avail. For now, however, her feminist movement is greatly aiding the battle for equal rights around the world.

To watch her UN speech, please follow this link.