Fri. Jan 28th, 2022

Many people have mixed feelings about the f-word: feminism. The word has garnered rather negative attributes in recent years, but many people wonder why is that? Is it bad? Is it good? If one were to type it into dictionary.com, what he or she would find on the screen is “the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.” Many remain unclear on what this really means, which is why Emma Watson wanted to do something about it.

Many may know her as Hermione Granger, but Emma Watson has moved far beyond her role as one of the brightest witches of her age. As a United Nations (U.N.) Women Goodwill Ambassador, she gave a moving speech at U.N. headquarters last month to launch a new campaign, going by the name of HeForShe. The campaign is aiming to engage men in the feminist movement, stating that unless both genders are involved, nothing will get accomplished.

The campaign seems to be almost an answer to other campaigns such as Women Against Feminism, which preaches that women do not need modern feminism and its “toxic culture.” In her speech, Watson acknowledged that feminism has become synonymous with man-bashing, putting those notions to rest. Even going on to talk about the stereotypes and disadvantages men face, she stressed that both genders need to work together to achieve equality for everybody. She also tried to clear people’s minds of the crazy, man-hating, hairy-legged women people have come to think of when they hear the word “feminist,” which are stereotypes that are often perpetuated by antifeminist campaigns.

However, this is not to say that the speech, the campaign, and Emma Watson herself have not received their fair share of criticisms. Some people took to their computers after the speech to type away their negative thoughts on it all. Of course, the campaign has its faults, one of the biggest being that the title itself does not include those who struggle with their gender identities or who do not identify as either rigid gender. Some people also criticized the fact that in reality, the “oppression” women face in England, the U.S., or any first world country is nothing compared to the horrendous things women face in other parts of the world.

Despite the fact that this movement does not address all the issues, it is a step in the right direction, if nothing else. It is simply unrealistic to expect any one campaign to address all issues regarding gender struggles and stereotypes right off the bat and all at once. Even if people do not agree with modern feminism, HeForShe is trying to change the way many people see it, and define it into something positive and good for all genders, which, for many, is a great place to start.

Lauren Detweiler is a first-year pre-major student . She can be reached at LD838069@wcupa.edu.

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