“Who is this “Harry Potter” girl? And why is she speaking at the U.N.?”

So stated EmmEmma-Watson--UN-speech-jpga Watson herself on September 20th, delivering her speech on the “He For She” campaign.

But what Ms. Watson and observant people around the world know, is that actors, musicians and the rich and famous have an incredible amount of influence on the average person.

Mark Ruffalo is known for his acting and activism for sustainability and clean water. He garners a huge following on Tumblr, a blogging site whose age demographics range from 16 to 25. He reblogs and chats with fans, revealing personal insights on his humor, relationships with co-stars and his values and loyalties. How many young people are being swayed toward these important issues because Mark Ruffalo actively supports it?

As a member of the Tumblr community, I can tell you. It’s a lot.

And if there’s one “fandom” that Tumblr users worship, it’s Harry Potter. For a lot of women between the ages of 16 and 28, Emma Watson was constantly in our lives and on our TVs and movie screens. We know she has talent, we know she is intelligent and now we know that she is a self-proclaimed feminist.

What does Ms. Watson’s statement and the He for She campaign mean for us? Hopefully, the spreading of information and understanding. Feminism promotes equality of the oppressed and oppressors, which includes men and women. What many don’t realize and what Ms. Watson brought up is that men can benefit from feminism just as much as women.

“I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them look less “macho”—in fact in the UK suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20-49 years of age… I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either.”

There has been both supportive and negative reactions to this speech, but Ms. Watson’s campaign will leave a positive and lasting impression on many. One can also hope that it will create a spark in this modern movement, pushing men and women everywhere to fight for equality.

 

What do you think?

Even though feminism has a dictionary definition, it includes a lot besides the equality of sexes.

On radical feminism: Should Emma Watson even have included men in the discussion?

On white feminism: Should she have also mentioned others who are being oppressed daily – people of color, of different religions, the LGBTQ community, the disabled community?

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