Emma Watson speaks at United Nations about feminism

By Lisa Knych

Emma Watson, who many of us know as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series, spoke last week about the HeForShe campaign at the United Nations headquarters. She was quoted saying some powerful things that have gotten both positive and negative reviews.

“I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me.” Watson said. “But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Apparently, I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and unattractive.”

The definition of feminism, according to Webster’s New World College Dictionary, is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.” After reading this definition and taking into consideration the negative connotation that the word feminist has taken on, I wanted to explore both sides of the argument.

Anoribe Nwannewuihe, a senior communications major, said, “a feminist is a person who advocates for equality but actually wants things to be more convenient for women; the key word being convenient.” He said some women who claim to be feminists expect special privileges from men, such as having them pay for dinner or whenever they go out. “If they were a real feminist they would not allow for that to happen.” Nwannewuihe said.

Nwannewuihe also addressed the Ray Rice issue: “The Ray Rice situation is someone saying a man hit a woman but to be politically correct as a feminist, one must say one person hit another. Feminists use the excuse that this influences younger athletes to do this because they look up to them as role models, but things like [the website] World Star Hip Hop, where brutal fights are happening, can be accessed at any time on the Internet by young people.”

Megan Mistretta, a senior psychology major, said: “A feminist is someone who believes in equality for all living creatures on Earth. Feminism is not just about equality between men and women but also between, race, ethnicity, culture and socioeconomic status as well.”

Mistretta said it is frustrating and close-minded of people to think that all feminists are men-hating and want special privileges, because that is not what it means to be a true feminist.

In regards to the Ray Rice issue, Mistretta said: “I don’t believe in the idea that men can’t hit women but women can hit men because violence should not be the initial reaction. It was wrong for him to hit her and it was wrong for her to spit on him because that is an act of violence too.”

Watson finished her speech by saying: “Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong…It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, not as two opposing sets of ideals.” This is the way people on either side should start looking at the issue, rather than arguing about which viewpoint is better.

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