Emma Watson, known to most people as Hermione Granger, but in a new role as United Nations Women’s Goodwill Ambassador gave a speech on September 20 to the UN headquarters about their new initiative HeForShe – a platform to include men in the fight for gender equality. Watson is making strides in the modern feminist movement.
To many, declaring oneself as a feminist may not seem complicated. However, an overwhelming number of female celebrities who have chosen not to identify as a feminist, such as Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga, Meghan Trainor, often because of its negative connotations as “man hating”. When TIME Magazine asked Shailene Woodley if she identified as a feminist, she replied, “No because I love men, and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance”
Watson’s speech comes as much-needed clarification on the definition of feminism in her speech.
“I was appointed six months ago and the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop. For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”
Additionally, Watson, who is also a recent graduate from Brown University, reminded us “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?” and urged men to become more involved with the issue as well. As students of Cornell University, we should use those words as a reminder of our power as individuals. I would encourage all of you to check out the rest of Emma Watson’s speech, as excerpts do not do it justice.
Cornell University’s Women’s Resource Center hosts a “Feminism Food for Thought” dinner every Thursday night at 6:30-8 pm in the Flora Rose Common Room. It includes a free meal swipe and encourages an open dialogue about feminism. As Watson said, it is important to include men in the discussion of gender equality, so encourage your male friends to join you as well!
Watch her speech here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkjW9PZBRfk