Emma Watson is probably best known for her part as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series. Since she began her career in 2001, she has achieved a great deal of acting, fashion and educational success.
In 2014 alone, Emma Watson starred as Ila in Noah, graduated from Brown University with an English literature degree, was appointed as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, and launched a feminism-based campaign called “HeForShe.”
It’s more than most people do in a lifetime. Now the Ms. Foundation for Women and Cosmopolitan has named Watson the top Feminist Celebrity of 2014.
Teresa Younger, foundation president and CEO of Ms. Foundation for Women, explained the reason for the list and why they were celebrating Emma Watson’s contribution.
“We celebrate all feminists every day, but today we’re giving a hat tip to celebrities who are helping to promote women’s equality. Every celebrity on the list has either embraced the term ‘feminist’, spoken out for women’s equal rights or battled against sexist oppression.”
The survey that chose the favorite feminist celebrity was voted on by the public in an online survey. Emma Watson appeared on the list with nine other celebrities: Laverne Cox, Rachel Maddow, Beyonce, Cher, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Meryl Streep, Mindy Kaling and Ann Curry.
Undoubtedly, what put Emma Watson over the top was her speech introducing the HeForShe campaign to the UN.
During the speech, Watson explained why she had a personal interest in the feminist movement.
“I started questioning gender-based assumptions when at eight I was confused at being called ‘bossy,’ because I wanted to direct the plays… When at 14 I started being sexualized by certain elements of the press. When at 15 my girlfriends started dropping out of their sports teams because they didn’t want to appear ‘muscly.’ When at 18 my male friends were unable to express their feelings.”
From there, Emma Watson went on to explain why it was not only important for women to fight for gender equality, but for men as well.
“… in the UK suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20-49 years of age; eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either. We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.”
Emma Watson has worked to reclaim the word “feminism” from extremists, and give it back the basic definition it once had. Throughout her unforgettable speech, she stressed that equality affected both genders. That is likely the reason Ms. Watson came to be Feminist Celebrity of 2014.
Emma Watson will star in three movies during 2015: Regression, Colonia Dignidad, and La La Land.
[Image courtesy of GC Images]