Emma Watson delivers speech on feminism at UN

Alyssa Lobue, Reporter

On September 20, actress Emma Watson spoke at the U.N. Headquarters in New York on the topic of feminism and gender to help launch the “HeForShe” campaign. She called for men to join the movement and also decided to clarify the stereotype that people often relate to being a feminist.

“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. Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive,” Watson said.

Watson continues with her thoughts on women’s rights.

“Why is the word such an uncomfortable one? I am from Britain and think it is right that as a woman I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decision-making of my country. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men. But sadly I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights,” she said.

Watson debates against campaigns like “Women Against Feminism” as those types of campaigns display the feminist cause as ‘man hating’. She hopes to destroy these accusations by both genders for HeForShe.

Watson has been looked up to and admired by young minds due to her role of Hermione Granger, the universally adored heroine of the Harry Potter series along with the role of a girl named Sam of The Perks Of Being is Wallflower, and multiple other movies. She addresses the concern of not being taken seriously because of the role she played for multiple years.

“You might be thinking who is this Harry Potter girl? And what is she doing up on the stage at the UN. It’s a good question and trust me I have been asking myself the same thing. I don’t know if I am qualified to be here. All I know is I care about this problem. And I want to make it better,” she said.

Watson continues to express herself and feminists throughout the world with a simple quote.

“And having seen what I’ve seen—and given the chance—I feel it is my duty to say something. English statesman Edmund Burke said: “All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men and women to do nothing.” Watson said.

The hashtag “HeForShe” has been all over Twitter with multiple celebrities, such as Harry Styles, Logan Lerman, Matthew Lewis, Russell Crowe, and many others, supporting Watson’s movement. The #HeForShe calls out to both men and women to fight sexism. Equal opportunities between the sexes will never be able to be reached as long as only half of the world can be welcome to participate.

“Men- I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation as gender equality is your issue too,” she said.

A 15-year-old boy named Ed Holtom wrote a letter which Watson’s speech inspired. He was “disappointed” about “how ignorant” the boys in his class are about feminism.

“We’re lucky to live in a western world where women can speak out against stereotypes. It’s a privilege. Gender equality and feminism is not about ‘man hating’ or the Idea of ‘female supremacy’. It is, by definition, the opposite. The definition of feminism is ‘A person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes,’” he wrote.

Holtom continued declaring how feminism should really be understood as.

“It’s pretty simple really, and if you believe in those things, then you’re a feminist. Feminism can also be interpreted as a woman owning her sexuality, In the same way men do, wearing clothes that make her feel good about herself, or that show off her body, not for the attention of men, with freedom from the threat of rape, because she wants to,” Holtom said.

Watson’s speech received more attention in the light of the scandal over leaked nude celebrity photos. The scandal started on the forum 4CHAN when anonymous hackers began to post private photos stolen from many female celebrities and leaked to the public. Victims like Jennifer Lawrence, Victoria Justice, and Kate Upton faced ridicule for taking these nude and scandalous photos, with many criticizing that if the victims didn’t want the photos leaked, they shouldn’t have taken them. But the victims defended themselves saying that it was their private property, which shouldn’t have been stolen in the first place and that they reserved the right to do as they please with their bodies in their own private lives.

Watson was rumored to be among the next victims after her defense of Jennifer Lawrence’s choice in taking the pictures citing that feminism meant all sexes being allowed to make choices about their own bodies.