We already knew that Emma Watson was the perfect mix of brains and beauty, and this just solidified our admiration of her.
On Saturday, the actress delivered a moving speech at the United Nations headquarters in New York for the HeForShe campaign, the goal of which is motivating men and boys to end gender inequality.
“The more I spoke about feminism, the more I realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating,” Emma, 24, began after being introduced by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “If there is one thing I know for certain is that this has to stop.”
The Harry Potter star, who graduated from Brown University with a degree in English literature in May, went on to reveal her history with her own feminism ideals.
“When I was 8, I was called bossy because I wanted to direct a play we would put on for our parents,” she continued. “When at 14, I started to be sexualized by certain elements of the media. At 15, my girlfriends started dropping out of sports teams because they didn’t want to appear masculine. At 18, my male friends were unable to express their feelings.”
After talking about how she chose to become a feminist, Emma added that she felt support from her family and friends. “My life is a sheer privilege because my parents didn’t love me less because I was born a daughter. My school did not limit me because I was a girl. My mentors didn’t assume that I would go less far because I might give birth to a child one day. These influences are the gender equality ambassadors that made me who I am today. They may not know it but they are the inadvertent feminists needed in the world today. We need more of those.”
She then shifted her speech to address the male gender. “Men, I would like to give this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too. Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society. I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness, unable to ask for help for fear it would make them less of a man. In fact, in the UK, suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20 to 49, eclipsing road accidents, cancer and heart disease. I’ve seen men fragile and insecure by what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either.”
Although she spoke eloquently, Emma did admit she had “nervousness” and “moments of doubt” as she prepared for the big moment, but wanted to express that she was much more than Hermoine Granger.
“You might think: who is this Harry Potter girl? What is she doing at the UN? I’ve been asking myself the same thing. All I know is that I care about this problem and I want to make it better. And having seen what I’ve seen and given the chance, I feel it is my responsibility to say something.”