Emma Watson Calls For Gender Equality – Receives Threats
Emma Watson attends the UN Women’s “HeForShe”After Party. Photo: Jim Spellman/WireImage
Yesterday, in an awe inspiring and inspirational speech, Emma Watson of the Harry Potter movies’ fame launched a campaign for gender equality at the United Nations General Assembly. The speech itself, running for around 10 minutes, outlined the fact that gender equality on earth has not been reached, and that if current trends continue, while some are positive, it would take up to 75 years for parity in pay and conditions to be reached in the west, and even longer in developing nations.
She extends an invitation to men, and points out that men suffer from inequality too:
Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society despite my needing his presence as a child as much as my mother’s.
I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them look less “macho”—in fact in the UK suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20-49; eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either.”
The speech also served as a launching point for the UN Campaign titled HeForShe, which aims to urge men to get behind the push for gender equality in an active and positive manner. What is great about this campaign is that to helps men to become part of the solution, rather than feeling that they are solely to blame for the problem. Much like the White Ribbon campaign, which asks men to bring an end to domestic violence against women, HeForShe asks men to band together with the women who are fighting for this equality. From the website:
It’s a worthwhile thing to declare this in front of the entire UN General Assembly, and timely too. The inclusion of men in the fight for equality is something I have mentioned on my blog before, and a cause I stand behind wholeheartedly. The only criticism I would have of the campaign is that it leaves out transgendered people, but the way I see it, they can benefit from true gender equality, if it’s extended beyond the duality of men and women.
As could be expected, unfortunately, within hours of the speech, someone within the notorious online community 4Chan* took it upon themselves to post threats to Ms Watson, claiming they would post leaked nude photos of her, with a countdown to the supposed time of this happening. That’s right, a woman calls for men to join in the fight for gender equality, and is threatened by an online “community” because of her words. That this has happened, while it may be dismaying to Ms Watson, should stand as a reminder of exactly why we need a campaign like HeForShe.
Dismaying indeed… that when a woman stands up to call for reason, inclusiveness and equality, that voices rise up to try to silence her. What are these people afraid of? Why is it that when someone calls for positive change that the immediate reaction from some sections of society is always one of outrage with ensuing threats? Is it because she is a celebrity, and is therefor seen as public property? Is the speech a threat to their masculinity? Is it fear of change? For the LULZ?
Who knows, it’s probably a combination of all of the above. One thing is for certain though, and that is that the anonymity of the internet affords people the ability and compulsion to say or do things they would never say or do in public if their identities were known. It’s a cowardly and infantile thing to do, and I hope that people see it as such.
I say, let’s not give these trolls any attention. (I’ve not linked to any of their articles for this very reason.) I say, let’s applaud Ms Watson for her strength to put together these words, her courage to deliver them, and her determination to see the world become a better place for us all.
And for this I applaud you.
We are struggling for a uniting word but the good news is we have a uniting movement. It is called HeForShe. I am inviting you to step forward, to be seen to speak up, to be the he for she. And to ask yourself if not me, who, if not now when.”
Read the entire speech here, or watch it on below.
*It has since unfolded that rather the4Chan being the perpetrators of this horrible act, rather a rival group calling themselves Rantic are behind this. Rantic have taken it upon themselves to shut down 4Chan, and call for internet censorship on a wider scale. While this changes the reason behind the threat, it does not change the fact that the threats have been made, and that this has somehow become the default for silencing people with whom groups disagree.