Emma Watson: Feminism Is Not 'Man-Hating'

Actress gives impassioned speech at UN headquarters
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2014 9:34 AM CDT
Emma Watson: Feminism Is Not 'Man-Hating'
In this Sept. 17, 2014, photo, fans of UK actress Emma Watson peek from behind a curtain as a security guard stands by inside Parliament in Montevideo, Uruguay.   (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)

Emma Watson gave a passionate speech against gender inequality at UN headquarters Saturday as the actress, who was appointed a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador six months ago, launched the HeForShe campaign. The campaign aims to "mobilize men" to fight for gender equality, reports E!, which has a transcript of Watson's speech. "The more I've spoken about feminism, the more I have realized that fighting for women's rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating," Watson said. "If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop." She suggested we view "gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals. ... I want men to take up this mantle so their daughters, sisters, and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human, too, and in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves."

She also recounted her own experiences as a woman: "When I was 8, I was confused about being called 'bossy' because I wanted to direct the plays that we would put on for our parents. But the boys were not. When at 14, I started to be sexualized by certain elements of the media, when at 15, my girlfriends started dropping out of their beloved sports teams, because they didn't want to appear 'muscle-y,' when at 18, my male friends were unable to express their feelings, I decided that I was a feminist." As for why men should join her, she continued, "Gender equality is your issue, too. Because to date, I've seen my father's role as a parent being valued less by society despite my needing his presence, as a child, as much as my mother's. I've seen young men suffering from mental illness, unable to ask for help, for fear it would make them ... less of a man. ... I've seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don't have the benefits of equality, either." (More gender equality stories.)

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