Emma Watson, actress best known for her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter series, has recently become a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN. I’m continually impressed and inspired by both her and Daniel Radcliffe with what they’ve done since HP. They are talented performers and inspiring people.
Her speech at the UN and her #HeForShe campaign to recruit men to be more active in the struggle for gender equality have impressed me most of all. She’s an amazing women as well as a talented artist.
But, of course, since we live in a deeply sexist, misogynistic culture, instead of being embraced and supported for her eloquent words, she instead received threats.
Some now say perhaps the threats were a hoax, but the validity of the threat is irrelevant. The fact that the media latches on to such nonsense and splashes it on the front page is a clear indication of the prevalence of the very thing she’s speaking against.
Bypassing, for the moment, the sheer grotesque wrongness of the phrase “Harry Potter babe’s stolen sex pics”, what really upset me about this front page was that it seemed to be designed to put the actor back in her box. To make it clear that if she dared to stand up for anything more controversial than which brand of wand to use, then someone out there would make it their mission to attempt to humiliate and shame her. And it says everything about the minds of these people that they assume the most humiliating thing any woman can experience is public nudity.
Helen Lewis recently wrote about the under-representation of women online and the level of abuse they receive when they do put their head below the commenting line. She, quite rightly, argues that we need more female-dominated spaces online; forums and websites where women rule and any attempt to abuse or attack them is dealt with swiftly and harshly. But we also need greater respect for women across the rest of the internet. And, forgive me for stating the obvious, we also need a greater respect for what those women have to say.
Emma Watson did not talk to the UN about the need for equality because all forms of gender discrimination have been eradicated from our world. She spoke about it because every day, in every country, women face violence, abuse or just plain old ignorance. Rather than trying to humiliate her for reminding us all of these simple facts, we should stop, listen and join her in trying to change it. But here’s the funny thing. Much as we’ll cheer for the underdog in a sports match, in real life we don’t want them to defend themselves. (Source)
Please watch her eloquent speech below.