Emma Watson Talks Social Progress and Art at HeForShe Arts Week
Yesterday was International Women’s Day, as well as the start of HeForShe Arts Week in New York, a UN Women initiative specifically concerned with gender equality in the arts. Emma Watson and Forest Whitaker were among the speakers at the opening event at the Public Theater (AP also shared this video with both of them). UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, emphasized the importance of art, stating:
The Arts are an integral part of everyday life, both reflecting and shaping our sense of identity, our attitudes and our cultural values. I hope that this partnership with the arts community will foster new questions and new conversations on women’s rights and gender equality and inspire cultural change and action at individual as well as at national and global levels.
Whitaker said “the arts have the power to destroy gender stereotypes and biases that make all of us less free,” and Watson invited listeners to “join us in creating an equal world where all of our stories can be seen and heard.”
Notable, but not in the above clip, is this anecdote Buzzfeed shared about Watson recalling her experiences with having been objectified in the form of inappropriate creep-shots of her that got released the moment she turned 18.
emma watson’s full quote on being inappropriately photographed on her 18th birthday pic.twitter.com/wQD7UTgFsw
— Keely Flaherty (@flahertykeely) March 8, 2016
Watson’s story clearly illustrates how her “transition into womanhood was dealt [with] very differently by the tabloid press” in comparison to the maturing of her male co-stars. Her points about how art makes real, tangible change is a powerful one strongly aligned with the UN Women’s mission of “50-50 by 2030.”
We have to do more than help people see the logic with their minds. It’s also about making them feel it in their bones, viscerally, emotionally. This is what changes us. It’s what makes us act. You can’t unwatch great films, you can’t unread incredible books, you can’t unsee groundbreaking art. They change you forever.
What did you think about her opening statement?
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