By Alex Doria
We all know her as the brightest witch of our age (and she always will be!), but Emma Watson is also quite arguably the brightest feminist of our age. At just 25, she has become a Global Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women and launched her own UN Women campaign called HeForShe. The campaign calls for women and men to stand together to achieve gender equality in our society and the organizations has only continued to gain momentum and strength since its creation in 2014.
Last month, Watson announced that she would be taking a year off from acting. And while many of us were crying at the loss of no longer seeing her beautiful face on our movie screens, it’s all for the greater good; she’s taking the time off to focus on HeForShe and her campaign for gender equality. While I’m sure none of us were questioning Watson’s authenticity, it’s quite a step to put one’s career on pause for an entire year and that truly shows how serious and dedicated she is.
On March 4th, Esquire released its fantastic interview with Watson about her campaign for feminism and why it is still an important and relevant issue in our world today. She says:
“I've had my arse slapped as I've left a room. I've felt scared walking home. I've had people following me. I don't talk about these experiences much, because coming from me they'll sound like a huge deal and I don't want this to be about me, but most women I know have experienced it and worse… this is unfortunately how it is. It's so much more pervasive than we acknowledge. It shouldn't be an acceptable fact of life that women should be afraid" (emphasis added).
These issues are not just the plight of a Hollywood starlet; these are issues that all women face, including myself. And the fact that these problems, along with the multitude of others such as unequal pay and the persisting gender stereotypes that define both women and men like “girls aren’t good at math” and “boys don’t cry,” are still so common place, than the fight for equality cannot possibly be over.
When patriarchy, or any “-archy” for that matter, exists where one group or type of people hold themselves superior to others consciously or subconsciously due to cultural norms, this is not a world where everyone has the same chances and opportunities.
What makes Watson’s campaign unique is that she is adamantly trying to pull men into the conversation of gender equality and emphasize how feminism benefits men, and should therefore include them in the conversation. Tom Hanks has joined Emma in support of HeForShe on the cover of Esquire with his own interview with Watson. When Emma asks him point blank if he is a feminist, he answers:
“Yes I am. We are in the Third Millennium. We have thousands of years of human history under our belts. If we are not continuously moving towards equal rights, equal opportunities and equal freedoms for every member of the human race—not just that half that is male—then we have squandered all we have learned.”
To see such an iconic man and actor speak candidly about these issues is important proof that the world is changing and will continue to do so. And while the word “feminist” might still make faces squinch up like dried out prunes, the fact that the word still causes a stir proves how powerful it is, as Emma attests:
“Fine. Call me a ‘diva,’ call me a ‘feminazi,’ call me ‘difficult,’ call me a ‘First World feminist,’ call me whatever you want, it’s not going to stop me from trying to do the right thing and make sure that the right thing happens.”
So sorry not sorry, but those "feminazis" are here to stay.
If you'd like to read more on Emma's wonderful interviews, check them out:
Esquire Meets Emma Watson: http://www.esquire.co.uk/culture/news/a9624/esquire-meets-emma-watson/
Emma Watson Interviews Tom Hanks: http://www.esquire.co.uk/culture/film/news/a9659/emma-watson-interviews-tom-hanks