Emma Watson is a British actress born in 1990 in Paris, France, moving to Oxfordshire, England in 1995. She attended the ‘Dragon School’ in her schooling years, as well as a part-time theatre school. Widely known for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series, beginning in 2001. In 2014 Watson graduated Brown University with a Bachelor of English Literature. Also in 2014, Watson became a Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, and later she launched her gender equality campaign ‘HeForShe’. (Emma Watson, IMDb, n.d.), (HeForShe Youtube, 2014), (Nolan, 2011).
I have chosen Emma Watson as my media professional because she shares similar views to me on gender equality and her personal and professional values align with mine. Being committed and immersed in her commitments and beliefs, she’s not afraid to construct her points of view and be a leader when it comes to her HeForShe campaign and other campaigns fighting for gender equality. This focus on leadership and commitment is something I value for my good work ethic. Like myself, Watson values presenting herself professionally in her personal and professional life. She upholds her personal values in both her campaigns and in her work as an actress. She doesn’t accept roles that don’t reflect well on her as a strong woman.
Personally, being a woman who aims to go into a career where the media plays a significant role, it is encouraging to see a woman fighting for the equal rights of genders, standing firm against a male dominated industry and world, fighting the negative connotations surrounding feminists and strong women, in general.
(HeForShe Youtube, 2014)
Trends of globalisation and media convergence affected Emma Watson’s career as a media professional predominately after the launch of her ‘HeForShe’ campaign in 2014.
After launching her HeForShe campaign, media convergence played a large part in spreading Watson’s message, increasing her status as a media professional. Media convergence is the combination of a multitude of technologies, media platforms and communication devices due to the popularisation of the digital media sphere. (Jason Sternberg QUT Podcast (1), 2017) , (Berridge and Portwood-Stacer, 2015).
Watson’s inaugural HeForShe speech benefited from technological media convergence as it was live streamed on UN Women’s Youtube channel. And the success of her campaign as a whole relied on the assistance of technological media convergence, with audiences being able to access and connect with the content of the campaign easily.
The instantaneousness of technological media convergence allowed Watson’s speech to be live streamed on Youtube, being able to be watched on phones, computers and TV’s. (ShibZ95, 2012). Simultaneously, HeForShe was launching their website, social media accounts, youtube channel and creating their own conversation tag #HeForShe. (HeforShe, 2014), (Joshi, 2015). Within days of her speech going viral on different technologies, Emma was seen on TV screens being interviewed by multiple television and online media companies to spread her message further; Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, and HeForShe’s youtube account plus much more discussed her campaign. With copies of the videos being able to be accessed on Youtube, a large technically converged online platform. (Jason Sternberg QUT Podcast (1), 2017) , (Berridge and Portwood-Stacer, 2015).
If it weren’t for technological convergence, society would have to wait for print media or the nightly news to release articles discussing this campaign. But now, the reliability and accessibility of digital media convergence allow occurrences like Watson’s speech to spread worldwide online. As audiences watched her live speech on their computers, the were in live discussions on social media platforms, using hashtags and sharing thoughts. (Jason Sternberg QUT Podcast (1), 2017), (MissConnell, 2014)
Watson had the ability to universally converge her message and campaign because it was readily available and audiences were able to be involved in whatever technological way they desired; watch online, tweet about it, read the website or connect directly with Watson and other beneficiaries of this campaign, joining the conversation. And this links to the effect globalisation has on HeForShe, launching Emma Watson as a globalised media professional. (Berridge and Portwood-Stacer, 2015), (Golding and Murdock, n.p.),
Media globalisation is the occurrence of the world becoming connected, forming a ‘global village’ through the rapid growth of digital media accessibility and new platforms for global communication like social media and satellite television.(Jason Sternberg QUT Podcast (1), 2017) ,(Hawkesworth, 2006), (Vazquez, 2010).
Emma Watson has been the beneficiary of globalisation for over a decade with the Harry Potter phenomena through the books, movies and merchandise. With her name being used almost 25 billion times on social media platforms, Watson has a rare ability to reach millions of people online and initiated discussion, building a global village. (Nolan, 2011), (HeForShe Youtube, 2014).
Social media as a whole entity is a system which, by itself has globalised the world, creating a linked world. Watson has utilised this through her personal brand and professional brand, like HeForShe to globalise her campaign and message, creating ‘trending’ topics. Post-initiation of HeForShe, not only did the video of her speech go viral online with over 2 million views, the hashtag #HeForShe created a ‘global village’ with it being shared over 1.3 billion times on social media platforms and an online petition being signed 1.2 million times. (Tan, 2014). Social media accounts located in the USA, Australia, Indonesia, Europe, Canada, South Africa and much more were all getting involved online in conversation with Watson. (keyhole.co, 2017).Hashtags, especially on Twitter gain global momentum quickly due to ease of accessibility of the platform and joining in on discussions. (Crowe, 2015), (Stevenson, n.d.).
Not only did Watson impart globalisation through social media, but News Media (online and televised) was also sent into a frenzy, with global news corporations like ‘The Guardian’ and ‘Vanity Fair’ reporting on her campaign, ending up being shared in the news over 200,000 times. (Boult, 2017), (Young, 2016), (Parekh and Wilcox, 2017).
Feminist Activism is an already established global issue and debate with books, news media, radio and social media conversations happening daily. But by Watson speaking on behalf of the UN Nations, she had the ability for media globalisation as she was speaking on a platform that already had an extensive outreach and she already has a globalised following. (Hawkesworth, 2006). Watson’s campaign came at a time where the globalisation of gender inequality was at a peak. With political and social discussions happening, and debates forming from personal beliefs on a woman’s and man’s role the world.(Stevenson, n.d.), (Parekh and Wilcox, 2017).
All the official social media sites to the campaign encourage interaction from worldwide accounts, with Watson herself always posting requesting people to sign petitions and join groups that fight for equality.
As a media professional, Emma Watson has certainly contributed to the public sphere but also has made a brief contribution to the fourth estate.
The fourth estate is a responsibility mainly given to news media professionals, to monitor activities of powerful institutions and individuals and conduct checks and balances on their work and comments.(Jason Sternberg QUT Podcast (2), 2017) , (Fourth Estate Wikipedia, n.d.). Although brief, Watson has certainly contributed to the fourth estate by calling out society on their current misconceptions surrounding gender equality. Due to the hype surrounding feminism, media empires hold the ability to use negative click bait to create more traffic on their sites.With media and international reporting giants such as The Washington Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Daily Telegraph and much more splashing negatively geared headlines on their pages like, ‘Feminists Treat Men Badly’ and ‘Why Feminists are Wrong’. Watson had the ammunition and evidence to point out how the negative view on Feminism was halting the equalising of genders. She stood against individuals; companies and empires that were twisting feministic views to be seen as a ‘man-hating’, narcissistic view on gender roles in the world by creating a campaign in association with an already well-established organisation ‘UN Women’. (Young, 2016). Which aimed to broaden societies mindsets when it came to the view of feminist’s, and educate them in a professional and enlightening way. Instead of stating all the things they were ‘wrong’ about, she instead formally invited all of society to join the movement, because gender equality is a global issue. (Macaraig,n.p)
The public sphere is a figurative space where the society can discuss and debate topics and ideas free from prejudice and social distinction. (Jason Sternberg QUT Podcast (2), 2017) , (HeforShe, 2014). Emma Watson has been a contributor into the public sphere for many years as she was the face of the global Harry Potter franchise. (Emma Watson, IMDb, n.d.). However, immediately after her HeForShe speech, Watson’s status in the public sphere increased as she prompted a new wave of discussion on a contemporary and inclusive view of feminism. (HeForShe Youtube, 2014). She didn’t create a campaign that lectured society; she encouraged social engagement. Requesting the public sphere to get involved in the movement and discuss with her and others on a multitude of social platforms, sharing their ideas and feelings. Similar to her being a beneficiary of globalisation, Watson triggered a conversation that was participated in over 1.3 billion times through the hashtag #HeForShe. Through the discussion in the public sphere, Watson was able to discount negative stereotypes on feminism. (Tan, 2014),(keyhole.co, 2017).
However, Watson’s involvement in the public sphere hasn’t always been a positive one. In 2017 she was called a hypocrite after a provocative photoshoot, she did with Vanity Fair while discussing her commitment to being a feminist. Society took to Twitter, and other social platforms were tearing Watson down for ‘sexualising’ her body and still having the audacity to stand for gender equality. The topic created a significant amount of controversy amongst the public sphere with heated discussion beginning shared amongst individuals and media empires. Watson did speak out and stood up for herself, saying feminism is about liberation and freedom. (Boult, 2017).
But overall, Watson has notably become a figure who is extremely prevalent in the public sphere by constantly encouraging discussion on controversial topics.
(Emma Watson Twitter, 2014)
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