If one thing's for sure, it's that actress, activist, and feminist role model Emma Watson is looking to change the game when it comes to gender equality. Tackling difficult issues in social, societal, and overall contemporary gender inequality as the UN Goodwill Ambassador for Women – and through the UN Women's HeForShe campaign – we can't deny that the poised and beautiful star is wise beyond her years. But more importantly, she seeks to mobilize change for both men and women within the patriarchal structure of our society. It's a controversial and tough issue that she's tackling head-on.
So what does this mean for feminism today?
By changing the way we view the word, we change the way we view the topic.
First, Watson wants to change the definition of modern feminism. Too often these days that equates to "man-hating," and the former Harry Potter star says that this has to stop. The eloquent starlet draws attention to the fact that in today's world, "Feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists. Apparently, [women's expression is] seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, and anti-men, unattractive even. Why has the word become such an uncomfortable one?"
In the same speech (one that unsurprisingly went viral when she gave it last year), she also states, "Men think [feminism is] a women's word and it's only for women, but really it just means you stand for equality. If you stand for equality, you're a feminist."
So by changing the way we view the word and its definition, we can change the way we view the global conversation in which it takes place.
In all honesty, we could quote her entire speech.
Emma specifies that it's about gender equality, not just feminism.
She doesn't let the campaign rest on just the issue of feminism, instead diving deep to broaden the issue – thereby including the LGBT community. It's a powerful message on which the starlet takes a strong and fearless stance, asserting that it's about more than just women coming together, but men coming together with women to stand up for all of humanity. To pinpoint a specific societal example, as long as women are being paid less to the dollar than men, there isn't equality. Watson even goes so far as to say that currently, women are not free.
According to the official website, the HeForShe campaign is "a solidarity movement for gender equality that brings together one half of humanity in support of the other half of humanity, for the benefit of all." So let's get this straight: #HeForShe stands for universal equality.
She recognizes the importance of women supporting each other.
Not only that, but she places importance on the need for women to do so by changing their ideals. In other words, people are taught gender inequality – as well as the strict assumptions and stereotypes that go along with it, in terms of what each gender can or cannot do and feel and express. This does not mean we have to pass these misconceptions on to our children, and future generations to come.
By lifting each other up instead of tearing each other down, we ourselves can create a new mode of feminism for the modern world. And it's one that simply means equality for all – meaning actual equality for all – male or female, gay or straight. Now that's something we can stand for.
After all that, how could Emma not be our feminist role model – and heroine? Get it, girl.
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