It’s hard to not love Emma Watson—she’s the ultimate feminist role model. The UN Women Goodwill Ambassador brought the fight for equality to the forefront of everybody’s minds with her impassioned speech on the He For She campaign last September.
Though her message aims to show that feminism is everyone’s issue, Emma has faced criticism for how she spreads that message. And it’s not impossible to see where that comes from—for one, the name He For She in itself reinforces a gender binary (despite the fact that she does point out in her speech that “it is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, not as two opposing sets of ideals”). Then, there’s also the fact that the aforementioned speech focuses a great deal on how gender inequality disadvantages men, but makes no mention of how gender inequality even more greatly disadvantages minorities. When it comes to achieving equality, it’s absolutely necessary to consider how the status quo affects the entire population—men included—so Emma certainly isn’t wrong to present that side of the issue. But neglecting to recognize how factors such as race or economic status play into the issue of gender inequality ignores a huge problem that is so, so far from seeing a solution.
So, it didn’t come entirely out of the blue when a Twitter user reached out to Emma to ask, bluntly, if she was a white feminist. And Emma’s response is pretty incredible. Not only does she openly acknowledge her position of privilege, she also explains how she’s working to further educate herself on the issues women of all backgrounds face.
— Emma Watson (@EmWatson) October 9, 2015
When there are so many women of power and prominence who shy away from using the term “feminist” (and with some of those women still reinforcing antiquated stereotypes of what the feminist movement is), we are so glad to have a role model like Emma, who is using her platform to continually support a feminist movement that is inclusive and promotes intersectionality. Nobody is perfect—but it’s how she handles the situation that makes Emma a feminist we should all be standing behind.