Since rising to fame as a child actress in one of the world’s biggest movie franchises, Emma Watson has used her status to fight for gender equality. She first moved us with her speech at the UN HeForShe conference back in 2014, in which she explained feminism, her personal experience with sexism and what feminists can hope to achieve once given more support.
Recently, she gave another speech at the UN about equality at university and campus sexual assault policies; a topic that has risen to the top of the public’s consciousness recently – especially since the Brock Turner case. She referenced sexual assault then progressed to advise universities on ensuring women’s safety on campus. Watson also highlighted the inequalities of women in higher education and attempted to empower women to evoke change.
Watson said: ‘‘As we leave home for the first time to study at the places that we have worked so hard to get, we must not see or experience double standards. We need to see equal respect, leadership, and pay.’’
Despite Watson’s inspiring speech, The Sun published a rude column attacking her speech and completely disregarding what she said, which only exemplified the sexism that she is attempting to irradiate. Rod Liddle, the journalist behind the controversial article, called Emma’s speech ‘whining crap’. Not only this but he moves on to ask readers why the public takes actresses opinions on political matters seriously.
A Sun spokesperson stated that Rod was only “echoing a great many people in sharing his exasperation at celebrities that feel they can lecture us mere mortals”. Many celebrities used social media to defend Emma, for example, Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner tweeted “Emma has more class, intelligence and eloquence in her little finger than you have in ya whole body.” The paper has always been known for its controversy but this definitely seemed to surprise the public.
Gender equality has been a fight for many years and one that will take many more years to overcome. It is something that should be supported and promoted, not dismissed publically by institutions or journalists. This is not to say that people can’t critique it or dislike speeches about the subject matter for differences in opinion merely help to improve the approaches and can be very productive to the campaign as a whole. But it is the fact that a journalist has categorised Watson as unworthy of publically speaking about such important issues just because she is an actress.
Watson has remained diplomatic by not referencing the article. Instead she recently posted a video on Twitter that promotes her latest gender equality campaign. So congrats to Emma on another inspiring speech and for not responding to such a negative article. Keep on keeping on, Emma.
(Photo credit: http://www.popsugar.co.uk/fashion/Emma-Watson-Zady-Outfit-UN-September-2016-42432325)