This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Dhruv Arora. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Emma Watson’s Call To Men About Feminism Will Make You Understand Why It Isn’t A Dirty Word

More from Dhruv Arora

By Dhruv Arora:

For a very long time, even after I started advocating for Gender Equality, I was afraid to call myself a feminist (as ironic as that sounds). It was a word that scared me, one that I personally connected to aggression. I suppose a part of the reason why it scared me so much was because I did not understand the consequences of being called a feminist; that I did not fully understand what it was that the movement was demanding. I did not want to be a part of a culture that called for shift of power from one gender to another, which is all that I had heard about feminism, growing up.

Things changed for me because I indulged in conversation. It took me some time to understand and comprehend what feminism was calling for, and how it wasn’t – not about shifting the power to women from men, but a call for an equal distribution of power that is currently only held by one privileged gender. The first time I was called privileged for being a man, I remember being deeply offended. It was very difficult for me, a cis-man born in a relatively comfortable middle class urban, mostly progressive family, to understand the idea of privilege. It seemed like an overburdening, highly complicated idea, that I was somehow a part of a culture that oppresses half of the people in the world, without actually having done anything. This brings me to the most powerful quote by Emma Watson from her speech, one that has stayed with me since I first saw it:

“My life is a sheer privilege because my parents did not love me less because I was born a daughter.”

This quote felt extremely alien to me, I find myself struggling to comprehend it. The reason was simple, it was difficult for me to understand the idea that the reason I was privileged was because I never actually had to think about it at all, that I never had to be thankful to my parents for not loving me less because of my gender or sex. It was a thought that never crossed my mind, something that I never really had to spend a second of my life worrying about.

It is just as important for men and all other genders to talk about feminism as it is for women, for it is because of patriarchy that men are not allowed to be expressive about issues that are often considered effeminate. This is the reason men today feel “burdened” and develop resentment towards the idea of feminism because they feel there are pressures on us men to “run the family”, pressures that are not always socially linked with women. The fact is that this stems from the same problem that feminism is fighting against, the idea that men and women need to be conditioned differently, that men run the house and must not cry whereas women should not have opinions and should “listen to” men.

I call myself a feminist today, and I am really happy that Emma Watson said everything she said. I can only wish that more people would hear her speech and question the notions that they were brought up with as well.

To know more about what I think about this story, follow me on Twitter @thedhruvarora.

You must be to comment.
  1. Rahul G

    Well said. This needs to be emphasised and reiterated, especially in the current era of mysogyny. Feminism is not a dirty word.

  2. Babar

    Ms. Watson brings up the subject of making her choice with her body. In that case, men should have the right to make a choice with their eyes. Then she goes on and mentions how women should have the same respect as men. For starters, respect has not be earned – you can’t stand at a podium and demand respect. Secondly, if you are going to tell women to take their clothes off in public and degrade themselves to the level of a commercial product in the process, then don’t demand respect on a public platform. And when she talks about going “less far” after giving birth, I wonder with what sheer audacity she decides to degrade motherhood so casually. It is not surprising how easy it has become for women today to leave their infants with maids, babysitters, and in daycare centres.

    Where is choice when women are told that in order to be modern and progressive, they must dress in a certain way? This is a form of manipulation that takes away women’s choice so cunningly that women don’t even realize it. In the process, fashion industries are profiting by earning billions, while feminists are earning fame.

    As for equality itself, women always marry men richer than them, often more qualified than them, go shopping with their husband’s money, have their husbands pay at restaurants, have seats reserved for them everywhere, from office to politics, and ask men to leave their seats for them in the name of being gentlemen. When was the last time a woman left her seat for a man?

    At 2:54 she says, “feminism, by definition, is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.” In that case, I wonder why she did not talk about the biases that men face on a daily basis, about how courts give men stricter sentences for the same crimes that women commit, about how juries give verdicts against men in domestic disputes, about misandry in the media, about sexism against men, about how men are locked up in false cases of rape, dowry, and domestic abuse, about how their oppressors do not face punishment over false accusations, among a host of other things.

    1. Angel

      You forgot to talk about Canadian Statistics to prove how men are oppressed across the planet, since the first male amoeba swam in

    2. khushi

      Mr. Babar should really open his eyes…and take a look as to what’s happening in the world…denying it n criticizing gender equality just shows that u believe one section of the society should have power over the other…
      And if according to you its wrong for a woman to leave her child at the daycare…because she wants to work and have an identity of her own…then its wrong for a man also to not stay at home and look after the child…its sad that people don’t have the basic common sense to understand that…!!!!

    3. Babar

      If all women want to do is throw kids in day care centers, and leave them with maids and babysitters, why do women choose to have children in the first place? As for your argument, if men could really stay at home and look after the kids, women would wage a gender equality war stating how men can sit at home, watch TV all day and play with kids while women have to labour hard and sweat it out at work.

  3. Chetna

    This was a wonderful speech.
    *teary eyed*

  4. Captain Logic

    Couldn’t love Emma Watson any more. She kicked ass as Hermione, she kicks ass as Emma. <3

  5. Templetwins

    Most UN pawns don’t care about equality. When they use the term ‘equality’, they only mean womens issues. Of course they all do a lip service by saying even men are being affected by it, aka patriarchy affects men too, but what action do they take to help men? NONE.

    If both men and women have issues which affects them differently, then why a campaign by the name “heforshe” … why does it still sound so one-sided.

    Going to their campaign page. ww.heforshe.org.
    Now it’s time to unify our efforts. HeForShe is a solidarity movement for gender equality that brings together one half of humanity in support of the other of humanity, for the entirety of humanity.

    so not BOTH halves supporting each other? excuse me? ehm. that’s literally basic feminism all over again. Nothing really new. In fact, half of miss watson’s speech is ‘why does feminism have a reputation of man-hating’, which if she bothered to GENUINELY ask, she would know;

    The HeForShe Commitment: Gender equality is not only a women’s issue, it is a human rights issue that requires my participation. I commit to take action against all forms of violence and discrimination faced by women and girls.

    I’m sorry. but that just rubs me the wrong way. Why not pledge to stop violence entirely for every person, regardless of their gender? This is the same old shitty message, just revamped.

    About the whole Feminism- man hating stuff, when Ranjana kumari said men must stick to their provider roles and share even their ancestral property to their ex wives, it wasn’t patriarchy which was pushing men into the gender roles, it was feminism. When Kavitha Krishnan openly said there are no male rape victims in order to stop making it gender neutral for anti-rape bill, it wasn’t patriarchy which shoved male rape victims back to their closet, it was feminism. So I am tired when people quote dictionary meaning of feminism but their actions side with the same patriarchy they claim to fight against, just so women can be benefited at the expense of men.

    You know what Emma, If its not “He for She for He” then I cant be bothered.

  6. Babar

    Feminists have reiterated the same propaganda for years now, to have naive people succumb to their lies about liberation and emancipation. Women are so gullible that even if you tell them to smoke in the name of liberation and emancipation, they will follow suit – Google Torches of Freedom.

    If Ms. Watson is really concerned about women’s rights, then she should be raising her voice against mothers-in-law, who are the biggest perpetrators of violence against women, not to mention daughters-in-law, who poison their husbands minds against family members, and sisters-in-law, who have mastered the art of family politics. Of course, no feminist is going to highlight these issues because then their agenda to create a generation of man-haters will cease.

    All parents want rich boys for their daughters, and women themselves prefer men who are ‘well settled’, have no hesitation in accepting clothes, gifts and jewellery worth lacs at the time of marriage, and are ready to usurp half of a man’s property in case of a divorce, which is why women have no hesitation in filing false cases of dowry. It is all about greed. Women want a luxurious lifestyle which only a man can provide them. From driving their husband’s car and shopping with their husbands money to having husbands hire domestic help for cooking and cleaning and eating out at restaurants with their husbands money, a husband today is an ATM for women, and then they talk about equality.

    Women live luxuriously, courtesy of their husbands and then we have feminists talking about equality in marriages, to the point where a woman making a cup of coffee for her husband comes under the category of inequality. Is it any surprise that since the feminist movement, with its tall claims of emancipation and liberation, divorce rates have shot through the roof

  7. Babar

    Ms. Emma states that women are paid less for the same work done by men. First off, you are paid for your work according to your experience, academic credentials, and how well you do your job. It is different with different people. Secondly, it is not a question of a man and a woman working the same job not being paid the same, even two men or two women working the same job will not be paid the same. Two doctors, two engineers, two teachers, etc, will be paid differently. The vast majority of people work different jobs though, and yes, women are paid less, because women work less number of hours than men, take maternity leave, work easier jobs than men, and take courses in college which pay less, with humanities taking the lead.

  8. nitin

    One of two feminist I like. Second is that from fact feminism

  9. Saumya

    Emma, my respect and love for you knows no bounds. It is so great to see people in your position speaking up for things gender equality, etc. Amazing speech. And great article. It is so amazing to come across male allies/feminists and thank you for your website( http://www.gotstaredat.com). You’re doing amazing work. Keep at it.

    1. Saumya

      *things like gender equality,etc.

  10. Saumya

    *things like gender equality,etc.

  11. Prakruti

    For long now there was a sense and in many cases rightly so, that even so-called feminists didn’t know what they were fighting for. Kudos to Emma Watson for clearing it, for women as much as men across the globe.

More from Dhruv Arora

Similar Posts

By Bidisha Bhatacharya

By Raj Iyre

By Yash Johri

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below