| Mike Krumboltz |
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Actress and United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson gave a powerful speech on gender equality at the UN over the weekend, helping to launch her new initiative, HeForShe.
The campaign urges men to take a stand against gender inequality of all types. The “Harry Potter” and “Bling Ring” actress’s speech was heard by Kiefer Sutherland and Forest Whitaker, among many others, E! Online reports.
The speech touched on many issues, including the confusion over the word ‘feminism’.
“I was appointed as Women Goodwill Ambas-sador for the UN six months ago and the more
I’ve spoken about feminism, the more I have realised that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.”
“Feminism,” Watson continued, “is, by defi-nition, the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes”.
Watson also spoke about how women “are choosing not to identify as feminists” and the word’s apparent toxicity.
She remarked, “Apparently, I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, ‘too aggressive’, isolating and anti-men, unattractive, even. Why has the word be-come such an uncomfortable one?”
Seeking to include men in her campaign, Watson spoke about how gender inequality can negatively affect men as much as women.
“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 men – or less of a man.
“In fact, in the UK, suicide is the biggest killer of men, between 20 to 49, eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. 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.”