Article published by Mashable. Written by Jenni Ryall. Reinterpreted by Angela Hydes.
Emma Watson at the launch of HeForShe. Image: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, Getty Images.
You might have notice social media buzzing with comments about Emma Watson’s moving speech for the United Nations on gender. Her words have sent waves around the world.
The 24-year-old Harry Potter star is now a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador that has launched the HeForShe Campaign, a U.N. Movement for Gender Equality. The program launched on Saturday in New York. In her speech, Watson discussed her entrance into the world of feminism when she was labelled “bossy” at eight years old, sexualized by the press at 14 and watched her friends drop out of sports at 15 to not appear “muscley”. According to Watson, women are choosing to not identify as “feminists”. The word is apparently attributed with being “unattractive…isolating…anti-men”.
The British star said the association between feminism and man-hating must end or equality would remain a far-off dream.
“I am from Britain and 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. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decision-making of my country. 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 receive these rights,” Watson said. “No country in the world can yet say that they have achieved gender equality.”
Her speech is moving, personal and asks men to get involved in the movement.
“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 have control, women won’t have to be controlled. If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we are – we can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.”
Emma Watson at the launch of HeForShe. Image: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, Getty Images
She closes with:
“I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too — reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.”
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