As I write this I am sitting at my laptop incandescent with rage. I found Emma Watson’s He For She speech such an inspirational and effective argument for gender equality. It countered the man hating image of feminism and brought up a point that is often forgotten, namely that gender inequality hurts men too. Yes, they may be on the right side of the pay gap, but they suffer from being unable to challenge social norms when it comes to their emotional life. I felt both that she made some excellent points, and was also very proud for her that she was standing up at the UN talking about something that she is clearly very passionate about trying to make a difference.
Sadly, although I was not alone in this there were a number of people who felt very differently. At the moment, not only have 4chan decided that the best way to counter this apparently very offensive speech is to threaten to release nude photos of Emma, but the Daily Star gleefully ran with this story on their front page under the moniker of ‘Harry Potter babe’. No mention of ‘UN speaker’ in this headline.
It is so disappointing that female nudity is still news, but for now that is a lesser issue. The main issue is that whatever problem it is that these individuals have with this speech, they are not able to articulate it with reasoned debate. Instead, they choose to try and belittle Emma by reducing her to a sex object.
There is an inherent lack of respect in this line of attack, both for Emma and her speech and for whoever it is out there that they are trying to win over and the worst part is that so many people do not realise it. As a woman, obviously I take issue with the idea that something I might say would lose value because I am a woman, or perhaps because I might have taken nude photos of myself which have then been stolen. But as a human with a brain, I am absolutely disgusted that this should be seen as sufficient to bring me around to their point of view.
I am assuming that as a woman, I am supposed to be scared of the idea that I might be viewed as a sexual object and see Emma’s current situation as an example to us all. I am however a little more unsure about how men are supposed to respond to this.
Perhaps men are supposed to be so over-excited by the thought of Emma Watson’s breasts that they forget that she is making some very good points. Gross as that is, it is unfortunately better than the alternative, namely that the depiction of her as a sexual object to the world at large without her consent completely nullifies anything that she might have to say. To be honest, men of the world, neither option tells me that 4chan holds you in particularly high esteem.
Regardless of what anyone thinks about gender equality, whether you agree with all or part or none of what Emma Watson is saying, we should all be reacting thus:
4chan people, if you think Emma Watson is wrong, then you need to come up with more than just a picture of her tits to convince me. Oh, and that goes for the Daily Star too.