Everyone knows Hollywood has the power to impact others’ opinions. Lately, the women of Hollywood are taking their stances on feminism. From Shailene Woodley who firmly states in an interview that she doesn’t want to be a feminist to Beyoncé who has numerous songs with the underlying theme of the power of feminism, everyone is voicing their opinion. But, the actress that has recently taken the spotlight of supporting feminism is Emma Watson.
Watson recently delivered a powerful speech regarding gender equality to the United Nations. Yes, you read that right, the entire United Nations headquartered in New York City.
Watson was appointed as the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador in the beginning of June. In this position, she will focus on launching the HeForShe Campaign, whose goal is to motivate men to end gender inequality.
Watson’s speech centered on the misconceptions of feminism. She explains how in her childhood she experienced double standards first-handed throughout school, and sees it today as well.
In her speech, her boldness and matter-of-fact opinion on feminism shed light on the problems of gender inequality. She points out how people disregard feminism, thinking it is not a solution but a problem. Watson states, “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, I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, and anti-men, unattractive even.”
For me, what stuck out the most in Watson’s speech was the fact that she challenged the men to make a difference. Watson states, “Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too…we don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are.” Watson effectively makes the point that gender equality is only achievable if both genders work together.
I don’t think I can wrap up a blog post anymore eloquently than Watson herself. But, I can quote her. I can hope myself and others are inspired by the strength and power in her voice. Watson’s parting words to the crowd were, “In my nervousness for this speech and my moment of doubt, I told myself firmly: If not me, who? If not now, when? I invite you to step forward, to be seen and ask yourself: If not me, who? If not now, when?”
Ohio University Women’s Center Volunteer