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Emma Watson is a feminist icon in a sea of misinformed celebrities

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Before I start, you must stop reading and watch the video above. Six months ago, Emma Watson, the beloved actress known primarily for playing Hermione in the Harry Potter films was appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador for United Nations Women. This past Saturday, Watson gave a speech promoting HeforShe, a U.N. initiative to convince men worldwide to stand against gender inequality. Please watch the video before reading on.

It is important to know that being a feminist is very similar to how she described at the beginning of the video. There are many quick to say that feminism is a way to put down men. Even my favorite actresses and singers are quick to say that they are not feminists and that they love men, as if being a feminist means that one has to hate all men. The thing is, no one that I idolize has ever really gotten feminism. It is disheartening to know that celebrities, particularly women, can be so misinformed about what feminism is.

Since I knew what it was, I have known what the true meaning of feminism is. Others have not been so lucky. Merriam-webster defines it as this: the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. As a woman, I have always expected other women to feel the same way. I have never understood why women would not want this basic human right. Let alone men, who are afraid to call themselves anything with the term feminine in it.

Simply put, I was afraid. I was afraid that campaigns such as Women against Feminism was going to take off. That more people I consider role models would get the wrong idea. That soon people would begin to feel the repercussion of not fighting for gender equality.

Until Beyonce. This is a phrase many have uttered under different circumstances. I felt that her Video Music Awards performance was beautiful and memorable. This is a woman who knows what feminism is, and knows the injustices that are going on against women and their sexuality. I became elated that Beyonce considered herself a feminist. That people would see that a woman who loved her husband, a man (!), and still believed that she had the same rights as him.

Despite this, there were still people who didn’t believe her argument. Who felt that her costume that she performed in and the way she had danced defined her as hypocritical. It upset me that a woman who danced provocatively could be attacked in a way men couldn’t.

And then Emma Watson, in all her elegant glory, made this speech and I felt uplifted once again. As I am typing this on a Monday, her speech is still circulating public discussion on news stations such as CNN and over 400 articles have been written about her. It is so important for this issue to be discussed.

So before you want to jump to some “man-hating” conclusions, consider what I have gotten slightly worked up about here. It is important for men to understand what feminism truly stands for, something Watson touched on in her speech. Men should not be ashamed to advocate for equality for their mothers, sisters or girlfriends. Feminism is something that is incredibly important to me, and it is something that I will write about even when others are annoyed. Anyone advocating equality between anything would feel the same way. Please just keep an open mind and I will keep mine. Thank you, Emma Watson for understanding.





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