[See update below article.]
Recently Emma Watson gave a heartfelt speech about a new campaign called HeforShe, about bringing more men on board the gender equality movement. She spoke about some personal experiences which motivated her to fight for this cause and eventually become Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women. Here are her words in more detail.
This time it is not her words that I want to bring your attention to. It is the response she received.
Almost immediately following the publication of this footage, 4chan’s b board members launched a campaign to humiliate, silence and intimidate Watson for daring to speak about gender equality. A countdown website was swiftly launched, anticipating the release of nude photos of Emma.
Some of the comments from the board include
“she makes stupid feminist speeches at UN, and now her nudes will be online, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH”
“It is real and going to happen this weekend. That feminist bitch Emma is going to show the world she is as much of a whore as any woman.”
To top things off, an #RIPEmmaWatson hashtag has been created alongside fake news outlets claiming that Emma has been found dead in a hotel room.
This is sadly an absolutely classic reflection of four age-old stubborn societal attitudes:
a) Women are not allowed to speak freely in public places, let alone about women’s issues, and we reserve the right to punish them if they dare to do it
b) Having a female body automatically makes you a morally empty sexual object undeserving of respect and bodily autonomy
c) When a woman is sexually violated/exposed – she “showed herself” – i.e. it’s her own fault
d) If a woman is perceived to threaten the male ego, her wellbeing becomes irrelevant – quite literally she deserves to die
This, is how we are treating half of our people. This is the message we are sending time and time again when we respond to women fighting against gender equality with threats of sexual violation and death (and not only threats for that matter). This is how we are resisting positive change and actually regressing further into an oppressive world. This has to change.
Power to Emma.
Update: No nude photos have been released. Reports have emerged that, in fact, the whole shebang was a publicity stunt by a marketing company. By doing this, they allegedly obtained 3 million Twitter mentions, 48 million visitors, and 7 million Facebook shares. What’s the message here?