Emma Watson's International Women's Day #HeForShe Q&A — 13 Valuable Takeaways
In celebration of International Women's Day, Emma Watson — aka our feminist hero — decided to host a live Q&A session at Facebook's offices in London on Sunday afternoon. Since she serves as U.N. Women's Goodwill Ambassador, she used the platform to promote the He For She campaign, which encourages men to be just as involved as their female counterparts in the fight for gender equality. During the live stream on her Facebook page (which recently reached more than 30 million likes), she answered questions on topics ranging from global education to the wage gap to intersectionality.
This isn't the first time she schooled us all on the importance of feminism. Back in September, she started such an important conversation with her first U.N. speech. And once again, she dared to say what we're all thinking — or if you weren't thinking it already, it was exactly what you NEEDED to hear. This speech was especially special, given the fact that it was hosted on International Women's Day.
While you should totally go check out the entire speech, below are excerpts and lessons that will inspire you to keep fighting for gender equality, or to get started if you haven't already! Because really, what are you waiting for?
Gender Inequality Affects Everyone
Right off the bat, Watson was asked what her mission statement was when she gave that first speech at the U.N.
I really wanted to communicate that gender equality historically has predominately been a women’s movement for women. But the impact of gender equality and how it’s affecting men hasn’t been addressed.
Our society in general devalues the "she," and as a result, there’s this imbalance that’s hindering our progress.
She also talked about how overwhelming (in a good way) the responses to #HeForShe have been — from receiving a letter from he Archbishop of Canterbury to positive reactions from her little brother and his friends.
Little Actions Make A Big Difference
At this year's Oscars, Steve Carell wore cufflinks promoting He For She. (He's just one of many male celebs on board with the campaign!) Here was Watson's reaction:
As she frequently pointed out during the Q&A, little gestures make a big difference.
Feminism Isn't A Scary Word
Although the phrase tends to have a (mistakenly) negative connotation, Watson cleared up that it has nothing to do with hating men. Instead, she explained:
I’m aware of a lot more male feminists than I was a few years ago and it’s really heartening. People have come back to what the actual definition means. Which is equality politically, culturally, socially, and economically.
Men think it’s a women’s word and it’s just for women, but really it just means you stand for equality. If you stand for equality, you are a feminist. Sorry to tell you!
What You're Doing Is More Important Than How You Look
When asked who her role model was, Emma Watson said her own mother. Her strength as a single parent inspired her, in addition to teaching valuable lessons along the way.
Oh, and she also added that her mom was proud when she received her first detention for failing a Latin exam. "She wanted me to be my own person and a bit of rebellion was a good thing."
Young Girls Should Be Encouraged More
After a fan wrote to Emma Watson about how her dad said she couldn't be an engineer, Watson responded by telling the girl to prove him wrong. She then talked about the gap in women pursuing careers in male-dominated fields.
Threats Toward Women Are Unacceptable
Remember when hackers threatened to release naked photos of Watson soon after her first U.N. speech? She said she didn't want to have to bring it up, but it taught a valuable lesson.
Everyone Deserves An Education
Another important subject? The gender gap in global education. Here's what Watson had to say:
The Film Industry Needs More Women's Voices
When asked about the film industry, Watson deemed the lack of female representation to be a big problem.
She acknowledged that awareness was raised surrounding this year's Oscars, but more needs to be done.
LGBT Involvement Is Essential To #HeForShe
A question was raised about LGBT involvement in the He For She campaign and Watson had a great response.
Chivalry Isn't Dead
Of course another common misconception about feminism is that you can't hold the door open for a feminist. But Watson dispelled that myth and talked about chivalry being an equal venture.
Misconceptions About Masculinity Are Damaging
Watson believes we need to acknowledge the violence, abuse, and oppression that men face as well. She talked about the pressure men deal with to behave masculinely and why it's unfair.
I’m really genuinely disturbed by this idea that men can’t cry, and they can’t express themselves and can’t talk about how they feel. I think that’s the saddest thing in the world. Being passionate, being emotional — it’s not what makes you a girl. It’s what makes you human.
Anyone Can Get Involved In This Movement
Whether signing the petition at HeForShe.org (seriously, go do it!) or speaking up when you see discrimination, the littlest actions can make the biggest difference in the fight for gender equality. If you don't think so, Watson has a perfect response.
Change Is Needed NOW
In case you're wondering whether you should get involved, this makes things pretty clear:
Images: Getty Images