What’s her latest role?
It’s a big one, but not in acting. Emma Watson, who starred as Hermione in the eight Harry Potter films, was appointed a goodwill ambassador for UN Women earlier this year. Now she has called on men to fly the flag for feminism and get involved in the movement for gender equality.
In her first speech in her new position, delivered at the UN’s headquarters in New York over the weekend, Watson urged men to speak up for oppressed women everywhere, saying: “No country in the world can yet say they have achieved gender equality. These rights I consider to be human rights, but I am one of the lucky ones.”
Some people say feminism is equivalent to hating men…
The 24-year-old, who has studied at Oxford in the UK and Brown in the US, made a point of addressing that misconception, stating: “Fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating.”
Actually, she explained: “Feminism, by definition, is 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.”
Why is she appealing to men to help?
“How can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feels welcome to participate in the conversation?” Watson asked the audience on Saturday.
“Men – I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too.”
Do men stand to benefit from feminist values, too?
Substantially. Watson argued that men suffer as a result of inequality, enduring mental illness but feeling unable to ask for help for fear of appearing “less macho”.
She is urging men and boys to “take up the mantle” to help to free their “daughters, sisters and mothers” from prejudice, but also “so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too”, allowing them to become “a more true and complete version of themselves”.
When did she begin to fight for equal rights?
The actress revealed during her speech that she became a feminist at the age of eight after being told she was too “bossy” for wanting to direct a play.
She said she had been “confused” at being insulted for wanting to direct, while boys were encouraged to do so without question.Reuse content