Firstly I want to say that the discussion about Gender Equality is not a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue. I am not alone in this thought. For the record I also do not hate men, as the mother of only boys I celebrate and embrace the amazing creatures they are, but I also celebrate all that I am as a woman.
I am a Feminist.
Actress and United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson delivered her powerful and thought provoking speech on gender equality during the HeForShe Special Event at United Nations Headquarters in New York on September 20, 2014.
Watson has admitted that she was “very nervous” before delivering her highly-praised speech on gender equality at the United Nations summit last month.
The actress and Elle UK Magazine have joined forces to launch the campaign. In case you chose not to watch the video, lets get one thing very very clear here, this is not about hating men. That is an outdated notion that a Feminist is a man-hating socialist; by it’s very definition a Feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women. If you believe that men and women should be paid the same for the same work, able to carry out the same roles in society, able to be a stay at home parent and raise and nurture children – you are a feminist.
In her speech ,Watson points out that not one country has achieved gender equality however some are a lot closer than others.
We still hear horrific tales of women being, essentially murdered for wanting education, driving, as punishment for being raped as if it were their fault. It makes me acutely aware that I sit here as one of a privileged few in the world; who has a University education and the freedom to express my opinion without fear of a death squad storming my doors. I wear whatever I choose and I am seen as no less in my family and social circles for the permanent markings that adorn my body. I practice my faith freely even though it differs to my husband.
The December issue is dedicated to empowering and empowered women. And men. Emma Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, Diane Von Furstenburg and many more brilliant, enlightened and altruistic people came together to show their support for this campaign that aims to allow all of us, male or female to sit more along a spectrum of traits than two sets of separate ideals.
The campaign not only strives to allow women to have equal rights and respect as their male counterparts, it also opens the doors to allow men to be unafraid of being sensitive, caring souls.
In her interview with Elle UK, Watson said of her speech: “I was very nervous. It wasn’t an easy thing for me to do. It felt like, ‘Am I going to have lunch with these people, or am I going to be eaten? Am I the lunch?'”
When discussing how her celebrity status affected her decision to become an activist, Watson said: “Fame is not something I have always felt comfortable with; I have really grappled with it emotionally. And, in a funny way, doing this is my way of making sense of the fame, of using it. I have found a way to channel it towards something else, which makes it so much more manageable for me. And this is something I really believe in.”
The 24-year-old also feels passionately that feminism can and should mean different things to all people, but that all people should embrace it. “Feminism is not here to dictate to you” She continued on to say “It’s not prescriptive, it’s not dogmatic. All we are here to do is give you a choice. If you want to run for president, you can. If you don’t, that’s wonderful, too.”
The full interview appears in the December issue of Elle UK, on sale October 30. Also available as a digital edition.
The campaign has led to controversy in the UK with Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman wearing the shirt that forms part of the campaign to the PM’s Question time yesterday . It was seen as a rebuke to British Prime Minister David Cameron as he rejected the chance to wear a ‘this is what a feminist looks like’ T-shirt – despite being asked five times for ELLE magazine’s inaugural feminism issue.
A raft of actors and politicians appear in the t-shirts across all twitter.
Here are some of our favourite people sporting the Elle shirt