Emma Watson was named the top feminist celebrity of the year by the Ms. Foundation and Cosmopolitan.com. She was chosen by the public in an online survey.
As a UN Goodwill Ambassador, Watson helped found the HeForShe Campaign this year, for which she gave a rousing speech urging men to take up the feminist cause, telling them, “gender equality is your issue, too.”
The recently single Watson, a Brown University graduate with a degree in English Literature, explained her reasons for advocating for the feminist movement during the speech.
“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.”
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) December 15, 2014
Watson went on to say gender equality is not just a fight for women.
“..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.”
The complete list includes Emma Watson, Laverne Cox, Rachel Maddow, Beyoncé, Cher, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Meryl Streep, Mindy Kaling and Ann Curry.
— JustJared.com (@JustJared) December 19, 2014
“We celebrate all feminists every day, but today we’re giving a hat tip to celebrities who are helping to promote women’s equality,” Ms. Foundation President Teresa Younger said in a statement. “Every celebrity on the list has either embraced the term ‘feminist,’ spoken out for women’s equal rights or battled against sexist oppression.”