This morning I watched UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson deliver her thought-provoking speech on gender equality to the UN for the third time [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/21/emma-watson-gender-equality_n_5858206.html]. If you haven’t yet heard about this speech, you’ve obviously been living under a rock, but if you just haven’t had fourteen minutes to spare to watch the video, then that’s O.K. because I’m going to highlight the main takeaways for you right here.
#1 HeForShe To Unite Both Men and Women:
-Emma Watson is launching a campaign titled “HeForShe,” for which men and women join forces, creating a partnership to end gender inequality.
–Why is this important? Because feminism is a blurry concept, often mistaken as women’s desire to rise up against men to become the dominant sex. To quote Emma, “fighting for women’s rights has too often been synonymous with man-hating.” This idea only creates a divide, making gender equality a difficult obstacle to overcome. Men and women need to diminish this separation, and in doing so, empower each other.
#2 Let’s Redefine ‘Feminism’:
-Women constantly decide not to consider themselves feminists because it is an ugly word.
–Why is this important? Emma Watson has restated what feminism truly is: gender equality. People ought not be so quick to reject a term they don’t fully understand the meaning of. The women’s movement fought for rights years ago, and we should continue this progression towards equality by accepting what feminism truly means!
#3 Men Are Stereotyped, Just Like Women:
-Gender inequality does not solely target women. Gender stereotypes negatively affect both males and females.
–Why is this important? Emma points out that men are imprisoned as well, due to fear of inadequacy, their insecurity due to “distorted views of what constitutes male success.” It’s important for men to seek equality as well, to free themselves from ideas that they must remain tough and in control at all times. Because if they do this, Watson points out, then women will consequently experience changes naturally, as well.
This was a revolutionary speech. In asking men to join the feminist movement, she’s shifting the paradigm. The fear associated with the idea of feminism— fear for men that women are trying to dominate them, and fear for women to call themselves feminists due to men’s harsh reactions— can be dissolved if both men and women are uniting to take action. She’s shifting the idea of Girl Power into Girl (Em)Power(ed), because that’s what women are striving for—not to be in power, but to be empowered. Empowered By You founder, Renata Black, truly believes that on the other side of fear is success. If both genders can move past the fear associated with feminism, women will face greater progression toward equality- a success we are determined to reach soon! So here at Empowered By You, we are saying a huge “Rock On!” to Emma Watson for shifting what it means to be willing to fight for women’s rights!