Students show doubt towards feminist campaign


Launching the HeforShe campaign, British actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson delivered a speech at the United Nations headquarters on Sept. 20. In her speech, Watson focused on the widespread misconceptions of feminism in an attempt to redefine it as the “belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities” rather than mere “man-hating.” As the first campaign of the sort led by UN Women, its goal is to target one billion people in its first year and get 100,000 men to advocate feminism and combat societal, educational and personal inequalities faced by both sexes worldwide.

“[Her] publicity of the movement is a great boost to her organization,” said Albert Kim (12), Secretary General of SEOMUN. “Her fame and ideas have raised awareness of HeforShe, as she discussed personal anecdotes to shed light upon problems that males experience due to gender stereotypes, which I thought was brave. However, I am skeptical as to how long the movement will last, for its goal seems idealistic, despite [HeforShe]’s successful start.”

Within three days of its inauguration, HeforShe had already gained more than 131,000 fans on its official Facebook page, and approximately 123,000 men have committed to the action for equality. A large part of the support has stemmed from celebrities, such as Michelle Obama and Tom Hiddleston, who have demonstrated their support on Twitter and Facebook.

“The social media is a great platform for the growth of HeforShe,” said Steven Smith, social studies teacher. “By having ordinary people discuss gender equality and come to realize [that the issue] not only impacts women, but affects people on a global level, HeforShe succeeds in addressing the problem on multiple levels. With comprehensive programs the UN is implementing, along with dialogues created by social media users, the organization will be able to reach many people.”

Although many feminists have been mobilized, as was the aim of the organization, students have expressed doubt towards the cause. According to Michelle Jang (12), HeforShe’s main problem resides in the project’s focus on garnering male advocacy for female equality, which portrays women as inferior individuals.

“The idea of HeforShe is the empowerment of women, but some adjustment is needed in its foundation,” Michelle said. “Reaching out for the support of men gives the impression that women have to get their equality approved by them, which increases their dependency on men. Nonetheless, its impressive success already proves that the project will grow to exert a huge impact on society, and as a woman, I am excited for its future.”

Photo source:

Infographic by Hareem Kim (11)