ICYMI: Emma Watson recently delivered a speech to the UN about gender equality. The actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador presented data gathered from a UN parity initiative involving heads of state, global executives, and university presidents. And boy, did tabloid newspaper The Sun have some choice words for her. Sun writer Rod Liddle said Watson “bored [the UN] rigid with whining, leftie, PC crap,” and made fun of the fact that “Hermione” was speaking to such an important political audience. Woof.
Many—like Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner—rushed to Watson’s defense. “Rod Liddle…mate,” Turner wrote on Twitter. “Emma has more class, intelligence and eloquence in her little finger than you have in ya whole body.” A handful of other social media users did the same. And can I just say—thank god. Few things are more rewarding than watching one badass woman defending another in the face of patriarchal BS. Sophie Turner is a queen, and this only reaffirms that. (The North remembers <3.)
Now, that’s not to say people shouldn’t critique feminist campaigns—and Emma Watson—altogether. In a Time magazine op-ed, writer Cathy Young called Watson’s #HeForShe campaign “rotten for men.” Young acknowledged that Watson’s efforts to include men in feminist conversations was a step in the right direction, but she wished Watson had brought discrimination facing men into the discussion as well. Black Girl Dangerous writer Mia McKenzie had the exact opposite problem with #HeForShe. She asked: Why should we extend a formal invitation to men, when they’re the ones benefitting from gender inequality? Huffington Post blogger Amy McCarthy called out Watson for her inability to own up to her privilege as a white, able-bodied, wealthy, and cisgender woman. And Maisie Williams—who plays Turner’s younger sister on Game of Thrones—echoed those sentiments, calling Watson’s activism “first-world feminism.”
These are, generally speaking, fair criticisms. Feminism is a movement made up of a ton of different perspectives and ideologies, so it makes sense that Watson would do something that another feminist disagrees with. Differences of opinion are fine—and often, incredibly productive. But what isn’t helpful is writing off an actress as unworthy of speaking to an important crowd just because she played a wizard in a movie or has opinions about feminism. Watson might have a thing or two to learn about intersectionality, but she’s certainly not a “luvvie sleb” (whatever that means), as Liddle claims. So like, if you’re going to criticize Emma Watson’s feminist efforts, at least have something worthwhile to say.
So here’s to Sophie Turner for pointing out the absurdity of Liddle’s comments—and to Emma Watson for being willing to speak out about issues that matter to her. None of us are perfect, but that doesn’t mean we “know nowt.” Keep on keeping on, ladies.
SELF – Entertainment