In Praise of … Emma Watson

Actor gives the UN General Assembly a belting 15-minute speech on gender equality

 Emma Watson attends the HeForShe United Nations campaign launch party at the the Peninsula Hotel on Saturday. Photograph: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Emma Watson attends the HeForShe United Nations campaign launch party at the the Peninsula Hotel on Saturday. Photograph: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

 

“You might be thinking, ‘Who is this Harry Potter girl, and what is she doing speaking at the UN?’ And, it’s a really good question. I’ve been asking myself the same thing.”

It was a question lots of people were asking until Emma Watson (aka Hermione Grainger) opened her mouth and gave the UN General Assembly a belting 15-minute speech on gender equality. And look, no notes. Watson is an impressive woman.

The recently appointed goodwill ambassador for women was launching HeForShe. This new campaign asks men to step up to the plate and speak out against gender inequality wherever it raises its ugly head.

Unfortunately its ugly head pops up everywhere. As Watson pointed out: “No country in the world can yet say that they achieved gender equality.”

In spite of this, feminism, which champions the equal “human rights” of half the population has become “an unpopular word”, Watson told the UN.

“I decided that I was a feminist, and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists. Apparently, I’m among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, and anti-men. Unattractive, even,” the very attractive Watson said.

Of course Watson was smart enough to check her privilege as a white, rich westerner at the door, but therein lies her power. When it comes to real change, Watson, with her legions of fans, can definitely bring it.

“All I know is that I care about this problem, and I want to make it better. And, having seen what I’ve seen, and given the chance, I feel it is my responsibility to say something.

“Statesman Edmund Burke said all that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing.”

Emma Watson has certainly done something. Magic.

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