A powerful, eloquent speech by Emma Watson. Her poise and grace was exemplary.
Her speech encapsulated the necessity of feminism, and she expressed an interesting point: Patriarchy can affect men too.
Feminism gained a negative connotation not because there is anything inherently wrong with the movement but because some men have a vested interest in discrediting it.
There’s no coordinated conspiracy or anything far-fetched like that but something more simple, a cultural motivated reason: Preserving their power.
For centuries the power has been asymmetrical in society, men wield the power while women are expected to be deferential and subordinate and obey the man’s wishes at his behest.
Overcoming these deeply entrenched convictions is not easy, so it’s not a surprise that some men are repulsed by the idea of gender equality, because it’s instinctually antithetical to years and years of socially constructed beliefs.
I was also pleased to see her acknowledge her privilege in society which may indicate she could subscribe to the branch of feminism known as intersectional feminism, a branch which focuses on the intersections of oppressions and how they manifest themselves. She also recognised that gender is not rigid but a spectrum; gender is diverse and the daily reinforcement of the gender binary erases and ignores the people who don’t conform with those conventional norms. The rigidity of the gender binary hurts a lot of people and while women are the primary beneficiaries of dismantling the parochial thinking regarding gender, it also helps some men who don’t want to fulfil the roles society expects of them.
Lastly, some people claim some feminists are too extreme, but one cannot be too extreme in the pursuit of equality. We should not succumb to this false compromise nonsense because the opponents’ views are contrary to equality.
Being radical about something is often regarded as a negative, but being radical about something that is right is something we owe humanity.
Imagine someone claiming Martin Luther King Jr. was too radical – we’d scoff.