It is no secret to anyone that knows me that I love Harry Potter. I grew up reading the books and spent my teen years anticipating each movie. Hermione Granger was one of the first characters that I was able to connect with. She was smart, brave and determined. A female role that was not common in the other book series that I had been reading.
As I grew older, my admiration for Hermione only grew. The fact that Emma Watson played her in the movies made the character even more appealing. Emma is classy, graceful and an amazing actress. It wasn’t long before I started following her as an actress and soon I had seen everything else she was in. Amongst the Lindsay’s and Paris Hilton’s of the world, Emma’s good girl attitude was something that never wavered.
I have always believed that women and men are equal. I am a strong woman and have tried to surround myself with like minded women. It has never been a second thought to me that men and women are and should be treated as equals. It has never seemed anything but logical to me that both men and women deserve to be treated with the same respect. I believe in gender equality. Yet, I have never felt comfortable associating myself with the term feminist. I share the same beliefs as a feminist but I have never felt comfortable using that word to define myself.
I always felt that using the label feminist meant that I saw women as more than men. That I wasn’t really promoting gender equality. Emma Watson’s speech changed that. The #HeForShe campaign truly does help to abolish the “us vs them” concept. Listening to her say that the word means nothing, that it is the belief behind it that matters, opened my eyes.
I have never had a difficult time with the concept of feminism. Personally, the idea that both sexes are completely equal has come naturally to me for as long as I can remember. It was the label that I could not wrap my head around. I see now how juvenile that thought process is.
Feminism has long been associated with negativity and “male bashing”. The word feminism is just another word. It is the belief behind it, the fight for gender equality, that is what should be the main focus. Watching Watson’s speech has opened my eyes to the fact that as a woman, I need to focus on the overall goal of feminism, not get caught up on something as silly as the title. The title is not important, the belief behind it is.
If you haven’t already watched Emma’s speech then do yourself a favour and check it out now! You won’t be sorry you did.