How does Time get it wrong almost every year?
Emma Watson’s alter ego Hermione Granger would doubtless approve of her HeForShe campaign and its gutsy, smart take on feminism.
It’s especially refreshing to see men invited to join the fight for gender equality, as Watson pointedly did in launching the U.N. effort last fall, telling the men that it’s “your issue too.”
It’s also refreshing to see her vigorous embrace of feminism, which Watson defines as “the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes.” And apparently she lives by it. Although she is one of the world’s highest-paid actresses, she has spoken out about the paucity of female directors in Hollywood.
Read more for Emma Watson
Kanye West would be the first person to tell you he belongs on this list. The dude doesn’t believe in false modesty, and he shouldn’t. Kanye’s belief in himself and his incredible tenacity—he performed his first single with his jaw wired shut—got him to where he is today. And he fought for his place in the cultural pantheon with a purpose. In his debut album, over a decade ago, Kanye issued what amounted to a social critique and a call to arms (with a beat): “We rappers is role models: we rap, we don’t think.” But Kanye does think.
Read more for Kanye West
Kim Jong Un
Three years have passed since the succession of Kim Jong Un. His father was a repressor who let millions die of starvation. Kim’s educational background abroad, including studies in Switzerland, raised hopes that he might open North Korea.
Those hopes have gone unfulfilled. Kim Jong Un showed his international influences by mobilizing military forces to build the Masikryung ski resort in North Korea in part to fulfill his wish to live close to the Alps. The “progress” he has brought to the country is reflected by the construction of a massive water park that continues to operate despite power cuts to homes in Pyongyang. Supermarkets, Internet shopping, Italian restaurants, European beers and coffee shops are the luxuries he has made available for a tiny privileged class. The rest of the starving population is left neglected.
Read more for Kim Jong Un