Misogyny and Emma Watson’s UN Speech

I just finished reading this article about the crazy, explosive response to Emma Watson’s speech at the UN. If you haven’t seen the speech, you can watch it below. It’s worth your time:

I’ve been following the story because I happen to like this actress, and feminism is an important subject to me. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention to it, here’s what happened. Emma Watson is the UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador. After she delivered the speech a couple days ago, a lot of extreemly critical and threatening messages were posted on 4chan, which I won’t spend time to discuss, but they were hideous, and the whole internet blew up over them. Since then, a viral marketing outfit has come forward, claiming to have posted the messages as a hoax, and now people are going back and forth with that little morsel.

Returning to The Telegraph article, it was a response to the 4chan threats. You should look at it. The subject matter is unsettling enough, but the comments under it are downright astounding.

“Just goes to show how easily these feminist extremists can smear innocent people with calls of “misogyny” and how quick the white knights are to leap to their defence and join the baying mob without any fact checking.”

“The cultural Marxists aim to destroy the nuclear family, destroy marriage, destroy motherhood, destroy society. They need willing mouthpieces like Emma.”

“And Emma has revealed HER real motive and thats to be queen of the world. Its always the quiet ones.”

There’s a lot of that. Lots and LOTS of that talk. I don’t want to rot your braincells with too much more of it, but it’s a real thing, and it should shock and bother us. Frightened or angry people, who are just plain confused about why women would want to stand up and call for empowerment, are condemning either her personally or feminism generally. They call out what they see as foolishness or aggression; but the cause is not about man-hating. To quote from the speech:

“Gender equality is your issue, too. To date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society. I’ve seen young men suffering from illness, unable to ask for help for fear it will make them less of a man. I’ve seen men fragile and insecure by what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either.”

For anyone out there who still thinks that misogyny is not a real thing, google it. There are huge communities of angry men who seem to genuinely fear women who have autonomous control over their own lives.
Just look at the comments in the article: deny, deny, deny! Insult! Condemn! It’s as if the knee-jerk reaction of these people was to presume the worst of intentions on the author and the women being discussed, and they gushed out all those ugly feelings onto the comments section to voice that women are not being unduly criticized for requesting fairness.

I think some of those commenters are simply misogynystic, but there is another group being represented in them, too. Those of you who do not think women should be mistreated, but think the word “feminist” means “angry man-hater lady,” need to start defining your terms and come to grips with what you really can call yourself. It’s time for that to change. When men cannot coexist as equals with women and vice versa, their relationship is necessarily going to be tainted with some level of disrespect. Friendship, love, and respect require vulnerability, and that cannot be part of a relationship in which one party looks at the other as a category first and a partner second.

If you think people should be in charge of their own lives without regard to gender, if you think people should be offered equal respect, regardless of gender, you’ve embraced the feminist goals. It’s time to stop making a war out of this, and call it what it is: a cooperative effort to bring about something we all need.

equality

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2 Comments »

  1. zebranay Said:

    I understand where she is coming from and agree with you. However, don’t be too hard on all the commenters as many of us grew up when Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug were being lauded as feminists. Their ideals were far from equality with men as people. Their militant behavior made “feminist” a misunderstood and dirty word for many a decade.

    • kirinjirafa Said:

      Glad to hear you making such positive remarks about feminism!

      Regarding my being “too hard” on the commenters, I would ask this- is someone’s experience in the civil rights movement supposed to make them ignore the reality of the cause? Our society, (whether we actually do it or not) generally accepts that it is morally wrong to treat people with disrespect simply because of the people group they happen to be part of. Though we fail at it often without realizing it, I think I can safely say that bigotry and prejudice are generally frowned upon by our culture, and I think movements like feminism are largely responsible for that.

      If someone posting those ugly remarks happened to be from an era when this wasn’t always the case, if they grew up at a time when the only voices they heard representing fair treatment were the warring voices of those who were to angry about the injustice to sit down in silence, does that excuse their neglecting to accept the truth about it? Do they get a pass on their moral obligation to recognize that women have been treated unjustly because of their gender? Do they get to laugh the issue off or call us destructive or Marxist (?!!) if they have memories of an angry lobbyist refusing to be silenced over something that was wrong?


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