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Emma Watson Redefines Feminism With HeForShe

Identifying with the abundant population of feminists in 2019 can be challenging, at least for me, because of “Proud Slut”, “Free the Nip”, and other forceful movements. Although everyone is entitled to their opinions, there are peaceful and non-peaceful ways to express one's passion towards women’s rights. I have been able to understand feminism as the desire to achieve rights for women that are equal to the rights of men; duties should be understood as personal and are in current need of being altered pertaining to femininity or masculinity. 

Gender equality advocate and the UN Women’s Global Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson spoke to the UN about the HeForShe movement formally welcoming men to support women’s rights. Emma is a top-tier example of good rhetoric and is obviously passionate about the cause. She expressed an issue that many men and women have: feminism is often used interchangeably with man hating. The assumption that these two terms have merged into one is unfair to feminists, and Emma thought it appropriate to address this mistake.


As she addressed and explained the stigma associated with the word “feminism”, she was able to communicate to her audience with her charming smile and friendly manners that make her relatable. She avoided persuading through anger, instead promoting common sense and personal consideration. As I mentioned earlier, feminism can be interpreted as aggressive, excessive, and unproductive, like angry girls yelling at people about equal pay while their boobs are flaunting around. Whether you support movements with actions like this or not, these are the sort of actions that have been associated with feminism. There are many feminists that are “in the closet” because of this. Emma asked us, “How can we make change in the world when only half of the population is invited?” As she continued, she explained that feminism is not only for women, but also equally for men. Men, especially after developing more hormones during puberty, become insecure and wrestle with finding an expressive outlet. Gender binaries are embedded in our culture, traditions, and societal expectations. 


Our beloved Hermione proves she can cast a spell on this world that continues to spread, encouraging men and women to fight together. Wingardium Leviosa! (This causes everyone to levitate, which is what Emma is essentially doing during this speech.) By moving above the constraining boxes of unequal representations of male and female roles, identities can work themselves out and create a balanced world of individuals- not genders. The HeForShe movement could also be understood as SheForHe, because gender molds are not one size fits all. If men are not supporting feminism for the sake of women’s rights and respect, they should support it for the uniting movement to rid social, economical, and political inequality. 

I am a sophomore at the University of Utah. I enjoy snowy mountains and wearing green shoes.
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