If you are currently unaware of the HeForShe campaign, let me enlighten you. It is a solidarity movement for gender equality developed by UN Women to engage men and boys as advocates and agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights. The campaign encourages them to speak out and take action against inequalities faced by women and girls.(taken from HeForShe.org)
The campaigns main goal is to: spread awareness and spark action on the responsibility that men and boys have in eliminating all forms of discrimination against women and violence against women and girls.
Now I am fully aware that feminism is a controversial topic and many find it difficult to understand and discuss. I have often witnessed my friends argue about what feminism is and what it represents. And 9 times out of 10 I find that people tend to turn a blind eye to it and overlook the inequality that still exists between men and women. However, unlike many campaigns like HeForShe, I have found that this campaign has already received more media attention than most.
Usually a cause like this requires a lot of support and backing from well-known celebrities or members of government that are strongly advocating the campaigns message. While I may not represent a majority of today’s youth, I must admit that I am not very familiar with popular political figures and so for me when I see someone like George Clooney in court defending a case or Ian Somerhalder encouraging people to help better protect our environment and animals thats when I become interested. Maybe that is why when Emma Watson, who is now also a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador made a speech at special event for the HeForShe campaign at United Nations Headquarters(New York) on the 20th of September, I listened.
Emma Watson, incase you are not aware, plays Hermione Granger in the famous Harry Potter movies. After the movie franchise ended in 2011, she enrolled at Brown University where she graduated from in May this year with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Since then she has visited schools in Bangladesh and Zambia, promoting education and participating in a lot of volunteer work.
Emma’s speech for the HeForShe campaign went viral instantly and was globally recognized as one of the actresses most defining moments in her career.
I saw the speech because it had appeared in my newsfeed on facebook and several of my friends were sharing it on their profiles.
While it is a long video, I highly recommend watching all of it. Just click below:
I found the speech to be very moving and inspiring. I actually got quite emotional whilst watching it but not because I was sad but because I was inspired by Emma’s words. She made me feel proud and strong. She made me want to join the HeForShe movement.
Before watching the video I already classified myself as a feminist, which funnily enough, a lot of people struggle to say.I am opinionated on the matter but I will not shut you down if you don’t have the same beliefs as me, I just know that I am a feminist by the way in which I have been brought up and how I view the world.
I think Emma’s speech is a step in the right direction for any feminist movements. Now that it’s message has sparked a lot of attention online, it will surely help kickstart the campaign.
Nonetheless, whilst I have seen how much positive feedback her speech received online, there are also a lot of people that found Emma;s speech uncomfortable and “not a game changer”. Which makes me wonder whether all the public attention that this speech has received online will fizzle out and the campaign, just like any other, will struggle to make any changes.
What are your thoughts? Now that it’s been a few months since Emma’s speech, are you over it? Have you lost interest in the cause? Or has this video successfully helped spread awareness about feminism and engage with people?