South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Published in on Sep. 22 by Shibani Bedi ::

At 24, most actors are more interested in their next role than in changing world views. However, Hogwarts alumnus Emma Watson isn’t like most twentysomething celebrities and delivered an altogether remarkable speech on feminism that eggs the world at large to view the word from a rationalist’s point of view. A speech which prods people to not view feminism as a man-hating term, as a presumptive notion of women fighting for superiority, but as an epithet to gender equality.

As part of her role as United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador, Emma called upon the men and boys of the world to be a part of this movement In favour of equal rights for all, barring their gender.

Speaking at the UN Headquarters in New York, Emma said: “I started questioning gender-based assumptions when at eight I was confused at being called “bossy,” because I wanted to direct the plays we would put on for our parents-but the boys were not. When at 14 I started being sexualized by certain elements of the press. When at 15 my girlfriends started dropping out of their sports teams because they didn’t want to appear “muscly.” When at 18 my male friends were unable to express their feelings. I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word.”

“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 … I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice, but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too – reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves,” Emma further added in her speech.

Speaking as part of the HeForShe global solidarity movement, promoting women’s rights and equality between sexes, Emma further added, “These rights I consider to be human rights but I am one of the lucky ones. My life is a sheer privilege because my parents didn’t love me less because I was born a daughter. My school did not limit me because I was a girl. My mentors didn’t assume I would go less far because I might give birth to a child one day. These influencers were the gender equality ambassadors that made who I am today. They may not know it, but they are the inadvertent feminists who are. And we need more of those. And if you still hate the word-it is not the word that is important but the idea and the ambition behind it.”

A British actor, Emma has made her mark in Hollywood through films such as the Harry Potter series, Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Bling Ring.