Emma Watson’s UN Speech: A Transformational View on Feminism

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!

Empowered By: Underwear As Inner Armor

“You don’t have to be with your boyfriend to wear this kind of stuff. It’s the kind of stuff that’s so comfortable and light. It’s empowering for women, I think.” This was Britney Spears’ description about her new lingerie line, Intimate Britney Spears. When Leandra Medine, “The Man Repeller,” posted on her blog that she prefers granny panties to lacy thongs, one of her followers commented, saying that she believes “undergarments are the building blocks of your entire outfit. They should make you feel sexy, confident, and ready to take on the world… Even if I’m hiding under a more conservative outfit, it makes me feel even sexier knowing I have a secret on underneath.” You know the childhood rhyme: secrets secrets are no fun, unless you share with everyone? Well, keeping underwear secret, as an inner armor, is fun, because it denotes a personal choice has been made— by the wearer, and for the wearer. And choice is empowering.

But think back to primary school, where dress codes were enforced. You were probably told that skirts must touch your knees or that denim is only allowed on “jeans days.” What about when you were in high school? If you wanted to dye your hair pink, you were out of luck. Are you working in an office now? Look around. What is everyone wearing? Probably similar navy blue blazers, right? On TV we see sports players donning the same jerseys, just with different numbers emblazoned in the center, and in the Middle East, we see Muslim women concealing themselves in cloaks called Jilbab and scarves called Hijab. So do we actually get the complete freedom of choice when we get dressed?

Not entirely, but there is one component of our daily wardrobes that we, the individual wearers, have the power to decide on: underwear. When we slip on our favorite fuchsia panties, we are making a conscious decision based on what makes us feel confident, sexy, feminine, or even comfortable. We feel empowered. We can make the choice between rainbow striped boy shorts and the black lacy thong. Renata Black, the founder of Empowered By You, was featured in an article on Scoop NYC’s online blog, where she was asked to answer five proposed questions. Number three asked, “what is one thing every woman should have in her closet?” Her answer? “A pair of intimates that you wear into a business meeting and only you know you have it on and that is all that matters— inner armor for outer strength.” Inner armor for outer strength. That is empowerment, that is Empowered By You.

Connecting Women Worldwide at Empowered By You


Julie--Seven Bar Foundation

For businesses today, authenticity is key to the foundation of their brand. Authenticity is story-telling, passion, and sticking to the brand’s original foundation; these are at the heart of the Empowered By You label, which aims to form a connection with consumers. Visit the Empowered By You website. You will see an “About Us” dropdown. Click on “The Mission,” and then again on the “2013 Campaign” for the Seven Bar Foundation. Photographs of beautiful women with white words painted on their unclothed bodies, captioned with their names, a challenge they face, and what empowers them. For example, Julie suffers, like most of us, from self-doubt, so when she can see her beauty and love herself, that compassion spreads to her relationships with others; this empowers her. In a creative writing class I once took, we were workshopping each other’s stories, and my professor said, “the more personal and descriptive you make your story, the easier it is to relate to.”

What’s more personal than vulnerability? Perhaps a great flaw in humanity is protection— protection from judgment, protection from emotion— and that’s why we stay so guarded. We want to be strong. We don’t want our barriers broken down, our suffering visible to others, our pain unleashed. But it’s authentic to be raw and real, to admit your insecurities, to struggle and admire imperfection. This is what forms a connection. Because what woman truly loves everything about the way she looks? We are all Julie’s, but only some of us are brave enough to admit it, to reveal our insecurities. But if Julie verbalizes these self-doubts, I can too, and so can you, and that makes us similar in a way, doesn’t it? We feel empowered because we are not alone in our struggles.

Empowered By You also connects you to these women on an economic level. When you buy an EBY thong, you immediately become connected to a woman in poverty who is striving to form a business, because 20% of the money you just spent goes to the microfinance funds. Even the label in your panties reminds you of your help: Empowered BY YOU! So while you feel empowered that your money is making a difference, a woman in India is feeling empowered because the fund has just allowed her to start a business. And this will go even further and empower her children by lifting them out of the poverty level. The Empowered By You mission— What Empowers You, Empowers Women Everywhere— is at the heart of the brand. The goal to connect women worldwide by hearing their stories, forming a connection, and funding their efforts is inherent and builds the authenticity that we stand for here at EBY.