The Impact Emma Watson’s Speech Made On A 15 Y/O Boy

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In case you missed it, British actress Emma Watson gave one of the most important speeches about gender equality of our time. The speech was to launch a UN Women campaign called ‘He for She’ which sees the mobilization of men and boys in the fight for equality worldwide. It seems the ‘Harry Potter’ star’s UN Goodwill Ambassadorship has gotten off to a stirring start, and is making a huge impact around the world.

But it is not just dignitaries, the media and feminists who are hailing the Brown University graduate’s praises. A 15 year old boy from St. Albans in the UK wrote a letter to the Telegraph newspaper on why he is a fan of what she had to say, and how telling it was for him that other boys in his school made fun of her.

First off, his response is exactly the type of impact Emma was talking about! Second, to see the letter from a relatively unknown teen school boy go viral shows you just how important every voice in this conversation is.

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If you want to see a video and the full transcript of Emma’s speech, you can click here, and we recommend you do before taking a look at Ed Holtom’s response below.

A shortened version of his letter was printed in the paper, which was tweeted by writer Nicholas Pegg:


Buzzfeed got a hold of the full version of the letter and printed it on the site. Ed Holtom told the news site about another major celeb who has opened his eyes about feminism, which also brings us to the point of how important it is for celebrities to use their platform for good.

“I was inspired by Emma Watson’s speech, but also by Beyoncé’s philosophy of female empowerment. I didn’t expect anyone to take an interest in it, but I’m so glad people agree with me!”

Here is Ed’s letter, which we hope will encourage you all to raise your voice for a cause that is dear to you, as you never know how it can make an impact on the world.

I recently had a religious studies lesson where we talked about gender and the role it plays in modern society, having watched Emma Watson’s speech about gender equality the night before and agreed with everything she said, I was disappointed by how ignorant some of the other boys in my class were (I attend an independent, all boys school in Hertfordshire). I felt compelled to write down my views of gender equality, although I’m not sure how well they would be received by people at my school, I wanted to share it somehow, so here it is.

“If We Really Want Equality”

We’re lucky to live in a western world where women can speak out against stereotypes. It’s a privilege. Gender equality and feminism is not about “man-hating” or the idea of “female supremacy”. It is, by definition, the opposite. The definition of feminism is, “a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.” It’s pretty simple really, and if you believe in those things, then you’re a feminist. Feminism can also be interpreted as a woman owning her sexuality, in the same way men do, wearing clothes that make her feel good about herself, or that show off her body, not for the attention of men, without being called a slut and with freedom from the threat of rape, because she wants to.

Recently we’ve been hearing about what it means to be “masculine” and what it means to be “feminine”. It means nothing, barring biological differences. By perceiving these two words as anything other than the description of a human’s genitalia, we perpetuate a stereotype which is nothing but harmful to all of us. By using words such as “girly” or “manly” we inadvertently buy into gender stereotyping whether we like it or not.

We live the gender stereotype without realizing it, we have been born with it, we played with toys designed for our genders, we go to schools which are segregated, we play sports which other genders do not, and it takes some mindfulness for many people to even acknowledge its existence and the injustice it entails for both genders. If we want equality, it will take more effort than paying women the same as men, or giving women equal opportunities to men.

If we really want equality we must all make an active decision to abandon phrases such as “what it means to be masculine” and the like. If we really want equality we must try our best to ignore gender and stop competing with one another. We must stop comparing ourselves to each other, particularly other people of the same gender, because that leaves us with a feeling of insecurity and self doubt.

We must stop pressuring each other to fit with this stereotype which more often than not leaves us feeling repressed and unable to express ourselves. And most of all, if we really want equality, we need to stop caring. Stop caring about gender, stop caring about another person’s sexual preference, stop caring about how far someone fits in with the stereotype and stop caring, most of all, about how much we fit this stereotype, we must not let gender define us.

Kind regards,
Ed

 

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