Throught the person of Emma Watson, the actress famous for playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies, the UN has launched a new campaign for gender equality called He for She. In the opening speech of this movement, the young woman (who graduated earlier this year in English Literature from Brown University, Rhode Island and was appointed UN Women Goodwill Ambassador six months ago) officially « extends men’s formal invitation » in feminism and adds, adressing to them « gender equality is your issue too »*.
Will it change the world? Unprobable. Is it a step forward? Definitely.
For too many people, feminism is synonym of collecting testicles in a jar and bathing in the tears of victimized women while planning on conquering the world and enslaving everything that has a penis on it. This is bullshit. This might be the feminism of a few but most of it is called misandry and it has nothing to do with gender equality. Unfortunately that is what is massively linked to feminism nowadays. And that is why some women disunite from feminism and some young men simply reject it, despise it, won’t make any effort to see it under a different light and react violently when they have to deal with it.
The image of feminism Emma Watson promotes, however, might be appealing for a lot more people. Because she’s an icon for a whole generation – a young generation, a generation that will soon make decisions and shape the society of tomorrow. Because as the actress playing Hermione Granger, a strong and smart girl, the brightest witch of her age, she can take advantage of the popularity and the seriousness carried by her character. Because she’s even a meme (an idea, a concept that is massively digitally spread and linked to a feeling or a sensation that can be applied to various situations, in this case, Emma Watson is used in a meme called « Motivational Emma » that pushes users to study or provide intellectual efforts) on networks such as 9gag or reddit or 4chan on which teenagers (mostly young men) from all around the world share pictures and videos and build a showcase of the immediate Internet.
For all of that, Emma Watson might be exactly the kind of ambassador feminism needed. Moreover, this image of feminism promoted by Emma Watson might even be more appealing because she’s simple, humble, strong and sensed and what she says sounds obvious.
The image of feminism Emma Watson promotes is about women and men, it is inclusive, quiet, non-violent and non-agressive. This image of feminism is a hand extended beyond genders and towards equality. This image of feminism makes feminism a concern for both men and women.
Of course, this is not a new feminism because the ambition is still the same- gender equality. This is not a new way of being a feminist because many feminists have been pushing for this way of « feministing » for a long time. Nevertheless, this is a new way of publicly conveying the idea and advertising feminism and that is where the step forward is.
And for those that are still not convinced by feminism or still skeptical about the word, I’ll quote the speech of this brilliant young woman:
« It is not the word that is important it is the idea and the ambition behind it. »
This ambition is not imposing intolerance, double standards and victimization, it is to fight for equality. And yes, this is something we can -must- achieve together.