Emma Watson calls on men to make gender equality their issue too

As a member of the Harry Potter generation, it made me more emotional than I care to admit to see Hermione Granger Emma Watson call for the world to unite to defeat Voldemort gender inequality.

Watson, who is the newest U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador, spoke at the UN this weekend to launch the “HeForShe” campaign,” which aims to mobilize men and boys as advocates for ending gender inequality. She extended “formal invitation” to men to make gender equality their issue too.

We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.

If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.

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, instead of as two sets of opposing ideals.

If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we are, we can all be freer. And this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.

I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters, and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too—reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.

The name of the campaign, HeForShe, made me worried that it’d take the all-too-familiar tactic of enlisting men’s support in the fight for gender equality by appealing to a sense of paternalistic protectionism, calling on them to imagine all women as their daughters/sisters/mothers/wives in order to give a damn. So I’m pleased to see Watson frame it instead as movement for freedom–the freedom to be a full human being–for everyone.

Read the full text of the speech here.

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

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The Feministing Five: Sarah Deer

Sarah Deer, Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. - See more at: http://www.macfound.org/fellows/912/#sthash.5fyuMB1Y.dpuf

Sarah Deer, Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Professor Sarah Deer is one of the newest MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellows who were announced earlier this week. She is an incredible legal scholar and community advocate for Native women’s safety and health. Sarah is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma and teaches at William Mitchell College of Law in Minnesota.

Native American women living on reservations face one of the highest per capita rates of violent crime in the world, but are often left with horribly insufficient means of justice. Tribal courts are impeded by limited jurisdictional powers and authority, and lack of resources; and as such, it is very difficult to prosecute those who commit these horrible crimes.  Read More »

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Daily Feminist Cheat Sheet

The White House unveiled their new “It’s On Us” sexual assault prevention campaign today. We’ll have more coverage next week.

Terrible Oklahoma state Rep says Muslims are a “cancer that must be cut out of the American society.”

“We talk about a glass ceiling? These women don’t even have a secure floor.” – Hillary Clinton

10 stupid arguments people use to defend comic book sexism.

Some lessons on the realities of domestic violence we can take from the allegations against the NFL’s Jonathan Dwyer.

Fuck everything about this.

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How about everyone who isn’t a black woman just stops writing about black women

1405420835shonda rhimesAfter reading the New York Times story about television producing mogul Shonda Rhimes that starts by saying “When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called ‘How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman,’” I have a modest proposal. No one who isn’t a black woman should be allowed to write about the cultural products created by black women.

Not a forever moratorium, but at least, I don’t know, a couple decades. And this isn’t to say there aren’t talented, non-black woman cultural critics who have done good work around the music, art, film, and television produced by and centering black women. Slate has a decent piece up about “Clair Huxtable, feminist hero” written by someone who isn’t a black woman. Kudos to them. I stand by my proposal.  Read More »

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You stan like a girl: The problematic feminization of the Beyhive

Today I came across a headline from The Root about a potential Jay-Z and Beyonce collaborative album. The headline was as follows: The Beyhive’s Hysteria Over News of a Possible Beyonce and Jay Z Album.

Thus far, I’ve kept pretty much quiet about my theory that the Beyhive has been unnecessarily feminized. It’s something I began to think seriously about after Drake dropped his infamous line: “Girls love Beyonce.” But this headline immediately struck me as further evidence that the Beyonce fan has become synonymous with woman. And that gendering has prompted sexist assumptions about the women who like Beyonce’s music (and rendered Beyonce fans of other genders invisible).  Read More »

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