From Hogwarts to the UN
Watch Emma Watson's amazing, empowering speech here
Emma Watson is most famous for her role in Harry Potter as the strong, opinionated and powerful character of Hermione Granger. But now she is stepping away from the childish representation of herself. Last month Emma Watson stood up in a meeting with the UN to discuss a topic which is the subject of much controversy: feminism.
Watson felt as though she had to change the stereotypes and negativity surrounding feminism. She said: "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, is that it has to stop." She hit the nail right on the head. Women seek equality to men, not to completely eradicate them and overpower the world. They want to be able to wear what they want and not be told that by wearing a low cut top or short skirt that they are 'asking for it'. They want the equal pay that they deserve but are failing to achieve simply because they're female. They want to be able to say what they want without being told that they are too opinionated and should calm down and go back to the kitchen because that is where they belong.
Feminism is defined as the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of the equality of the sexes. How could anyone see that as wrong? Some people hold onto the archaic view that women will never be equal to men. But why? The opposition to feminism is astonishing. More worrying still, there are women who claim to be anti-feminist and that worries me. What woman wouldn't care about her own rights? They're against the stigma behind feminism rather than the reality of it. "It is not the word that is important. It's the idea and the ambition behind it," as Watson told her audience.
The calm, but passionate manner that Watson maintained during her speech displayed that feminists aren't all angry bra-burning maniacs. She showed that is simply women who seek equality. Her speech has become a phenomenon that has reached millions of people through the powers of social media. With any luck, it will actually bring about some real change. A speech like that cannot be disregarded: Emma Watson is a national treasure and will now stand up as an iconic figure for feminism. She will fight for women's equal rights because it is what she believes in. She will inspire many women to have the courage to admit that they are also feminists and believe something has to change for the better.
But of course she could not do something so inspirational without coming under scrutiny of the public. There has been a predictable trolling uproar. Watson has received threats and abuse. There were hoax threats of stolen nude pictures being leaked all over the Internet. And this is all too common when a woman dares to speak out in public. Because of course women aren't allowed to have controversial opinions, right?
Watson’s HeforShe campaign has been storming the media and she has already gained the support from many celebrities showing that things can change if people put in the effort. "It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals." She seeks the unity of the genders to create equality between them. Why has it taken so long for anyone to realise this?
Emma Watson did feminists proud with her speech and I hope she inspires more people to realise that there is nothing wrong with standing up for what you believe in, just as she did. Change can and will happen.
By Jess Kraft, year 13