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Emma Watson’s lesson on white feminism

Sara Elliot January 16, 2018 January 16th, 2018

Since her 2015 UN speech, Emma Watson has progressively become one of the most relevant celebrity feminists. She was one of the eight actresses who brought activists as their dates to the Golden Globes. Her date, Marai Larasi, is the executive director of Imkaan: a UK-based, black feminist organization that works to respond to and prevent violence against marginalized women.

But Emma also kicked off 2018 with her own reflections on feminism. As part of her work with UN Women, she’s gathered texts about equality and started her own feminist book club on Goodreads. “Our Shared Shelf” has been going on for a while, with the purpose of learning about feminism together.

For January, she picked “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge, and shared her thoughts on this network. When she started her work with the UN, Emma thought that feminism was easy. However, she’s come to realize that it’s “an interrogation of self. Every time I think I’ve peeled all the layers, there’s another layer to peel. But, I also understand that the most difficult journeys are often the most worthwhile.”

This is referring to how she was called a “white feminist” after her speech. The criticism came precisely from her claims on feminism, considering that she’s a privileged white woman, and how she didn’t address intersections with race, poverty, and marginalization.

Her message talks about her confusion when she started asking questions about how her class, race, and gender affect her perspective.

There seemed to be many types of feminists and feminism. But instead of seeing these differences as divisive, I could have asked whether defining them was actually empowering and bringing about better understanding. But I didn’t know to ask these questions.

You can find her full message at Goodreads. And if you’re interested, it’s not too late to join the club!