Why was it controversial you ask? I myself am having a lot of trouble getting my head around how this issue escalated in such an aggressive and unnecessary manner. Having watched it a little later than everybody else, I was bombarded with demands to sit down and watch the entire video, and since Emma Watson is one of my idols, I thought, sure why not. I sat at my laptop, and was absolutely blown away by her sincerity and tentativeness when approaching the subject. It was a moment of pure joy when she cleared up the definition of feminism. Many, many, MANY people claim to know what it is, and yet, when asked to recite the definition, they end up spouting the usual line that the media has impregnated society with. It both surprises and pains me to know that educated men and women all around the world have fallen for this line, when they clearly know better. Feminism, for all intents and purposes, is a movement which strives for women to be treated as equally as men. Gender equality. NOT, THAT WOMEN SHOULD BE SUPERIOR TO MEN. Emma mentioned in the very beginning how perplexing it was that modern day society’s view of feminism is synonymous to man-hating.
The things that aggravates me more than anything is the backlash that this brilliant women is receiving for what may be one of the greatest speeches on gender equality in our generation. You would think that she is receiving this abuse from men, since a woman could not possible abuse another women for standing up on the behalf of women all around the world. No. Men, women, old, young, almost everyone. How could anybody have been interpreted in such a wrong way, when they were asking for political, social and economic equality for both genders? After reading about the backlash, I decided to watch the video again. Maybe I missed something? But no. It was just as correct the second time around.
In my home country, Pakistan, women who stand up for what they believe in, or try and obtain equal opportunities to their male counterparts are usually beaten down or silenced unless they come from a certain social class or background. Malala Yousaf is testament to this. Poor Malala was gunned down by terrorists after standing up for her right and belief that girls in her village should be educated. Malala recovered and went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Why is Emma Watson being shunned for something that was supposed to be both beautiful and brilliant? It is almost as if people believe that being financially unstable takes away your rights as a human being. I think its safe to say that these third world countries harbour an undesirable level of corruption, and therefore in countries such as Britain and America where we are lucky enough to practice freedom of speech, it is absolutely appalling what she had to endure in the aftermath of her words.
Contrary to popular belief, gender equality is essentially a basic human right. Just like any other right stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is something that neither men nor women should be robbed of, or flogged down for. It was not as if she stood there, demanding to be coronated the queen of the universe, and had threatened to employ the entirety of the male species as her slaves. The speech was not just targeted towards women; it was targeted to anybody who was intelligent enough to listen and understand.
‘How can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation? Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too.’
This girl knows what she is talking about. She has made it known to the world, when the rest of us were sitting there only brave enough to think these things. The response she got from this is sad, and slowly diminishes my faith in the human race. The #HeForShe campaign is a uniting movement for both men and women alike to unite against gender equality and create a better world for our children, because in the wise words of Emma Watson, if not us, then who? If not now, then when?