Her voice quavering but true, actress Emma Watson delivered an impassioned speech about feminism to the U.N. this weekend. She did so, not in her beloved role as Harry Potter's Hermione Granger, but as the recently appointed Goodwill Ambassador for U.N. Women.
In her riveting speech, Watson laments the fact that "feminism" has come to mean "man-hating" to so many people, when in fact, it is the fight for equality between the sexes, pure and simple. She adds some personal notes about her experiences with "gender-based assumptions": Being tagged as "bossy" at age 8 when she wanted to direct plays at school, when boys who did so were not. Being "sexualized by certain elements of the media" at 14. Watching girlfriends give up sports in high school, for fear that their bodies would look "too muscley" and therefore unatrractive.
They are great examples, although Watson acknowledges that she has been privileged, unlike most of the world's women. But she may be at her most powerful when she talks about how gender inequality does real harm to men as well. In her eloquent words,
I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them look less “macho”—in fact in the UK suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20-49; 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.
We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can seet that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.
Then she said: "Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender inequality is your issue, too."
Well, some 4Chan user did not care to RSVP, and instead set up a website called “Emma You Are Next,” according to Business Insider. This charming creation features a picture of Watson wiping a tear away, and a countdown clock, apparently meant to signify the time left before Watson's nude photos are leaked. Whether or not it is a hoax, it certainly is threatening. 4Chan is the notorious messageboard behind the recent iCloud hack of celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence's personal, intimate photos.
So, there you have it. Speak out, be inclusive and be a woman at your own peril. While Watson announces her HeForShe initiative, and makes clear that She is also for He, the haters around us pursue their agenda to make sure women realize they are never safe.
Want to be inspired? Watch Watson's speech:
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