"I decided that I was a feminist. This seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists. Apparently, [women’s expression is] seen as too strong, too aggressive, anti-men, unattractive."
According to Emma Watson, the only reason to not identify as a feminist is because society tells you you shouldn’t have a strong opinion.
Not, you know, the vast amount of shitty things feminism has done.
Not the fact that women are people who have a vast multitude of complex ideas and personalities.
You can’t stereotype people who disagree with you, Emma, because you’re being very misogynistic. When you say that non-feminist women are only non-feminist because society told them that and implying that they’re not strong enough (like you are, apparently) to go against that…that’s fucking misogyny.
No one thinks less of women than some feminists.
I knew there was something off with her speech. In the rest of it she did talk of the problems men went through, but it seemed to me that she was basically saying “Women are frail and weak, men have some problems too, but in order to help women we should help men”, instead of, you know, helping all genders.
She also had the guts to say “If men don’t have to be aggressive, women won’t be compelled to be submissive.” which is fucking bullshit because apparently men are never victims of domestic abuse and women are never instigators of said abuse.
Holy shit Emma you fucked up
Wow! Astonishing skills at comprehension! A+ this is exactly what she meant. Pro tip if you take one (or two or THREE if you’re really daring) line from a speech out of context, you can ignore everything she said before and after that line and decide exactly what it is that she meant! What a neat trick right!
Aight I feel bad about responding in sarcasm instead of contributing to the conversation so I’m going to try this again and go point by point through this. Bear with me.
First of all, the original caption quote is inaccurate. It should say, “Apparently, I am among the ranks of women whose expression is seen as too strong, too aggressive, anti-men, and even unattractive.” It is directly followed by the line “Why has the word become such an unpopular one?” She isn’t trying to give a universal reason for why women don’t identify as feminists (so she isn’t saying “women don’t identify as feminists because they are weak and intimidated by society”); instead, she is describing the criticisms leveled against women who do identify as feminists, and questioning why the connotation of the word is what it is.
At this point I’d like to point out that her working definition of “feminism” (which, yes, I know, is hard to define because it’s a multifaceted ideology and people who use the word are diverse and often in disagreement, etc. etc. for the purposes of the speech this is the definition she gave) is “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities” or “the theory of political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.”
She goes on to describe her parents and mentors as she was growing up, and how they encouraged her to work for her own goals and do well in school and in her career without treating her differently because she was a girl; she calls these people “advocates of gender equality” and says that they shaped her understanding of the world. She also goes on to point out that these were all people who did not identify as feminists. They were, in her words “the inadvertent feminists who are changing the world today" (emphasis mine). In other words, not calling yourself a feminist doesn’t mean you’re weak, or that you’re not involved in the movement for gender equality; in fact, it doesn’t mean anything at all. In her own words, "If you still hate the word, it is not the word that is important." She literally outright says I don’t care if you don’t want to call yourself a feminist; this is everyone’s problem, and everyone can help even if you don’t agree with the label I’ve chosen for myself.
So there’s that one. Next.
At no point in the speech does Emma characterize women as “frail and weak.” She does discuss the problems men face as a result of gender inequality and enforced gender roles/stereotypes in society, but these are focused mainly on how men’s emotional health suffers as a result of the cultural expectation for them not to be sensitive, not to need help, etc. This is not a judgment on women; this is a description of real problems that men face as a result of gender inequality.
She also does not say at any point that “in order to help women, we should help men.” Her description of men’s issues is not an effort to prove that we need to help men first; it is a call to action for men. Before her discussion of these issues, she talks about how feminism and gender inequality are seen as women’s issues, and issues that only women (or mostly women, to be more accurate) should care about. Her description of men’s issues resulting from gender inequality are a point to raise awareness to the fact that gender inequality affects men too, and that men need to step up and “take up the mantle” to fight gender inequality.
So, on to the last point.
"If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t be compelled to be submissive.” (emphasis added since it was not included in the quote above) This is not about how men actually are; it’s, again, about the social expectation. Just as she doesn’t believe that women are all submissive, she doesn’t believe that men are all aggressive. As part of her description of men’s issues, which occurs directly before this quotation, she talks about how men with mental illness feel unable to ask for help because it is seen as “unmanly;” she talks about how she has seen men in fragile and vulnerable places in their lives feel unwilling to seek help or support because they would be seen as “less of a man.” This quote was not about how “men are always aggressive and need to stop,” it was about how society expects men to be aggressive, and that the fact that aggression and masculinity are so often conflated a) damages men’s emotional health and b) contributes to the cycle of gender inequality and prevents progress. What she was absolutely not talking about was domestic/interpersonal abuse.
This was not a perfect speech. Emma Watson is not a master rhetorician, nor is she the perfect feminist (I do believe Luna Lovegood is launching a search expedition for that elusive Perfect Feminist pretty soon though). But I think some (most? all?) of the accusations above were unfair and inaccurate.
^YES. Please do your research before accusing someone of being misogynistic especially when its completely unfounded. Emma Watson is beautiful human being and i will always protect her