Emma Watson nudes will be pictures of the true face of patriarchy

After running from two men who watched on and made me hyper-aware of my body, Emma Watson’s speech on feminism touched me and many others, I am sure, around the world. But her speech has been drowned out by retaliators threatening to release nude photos of her.

In her biggest speech since becoming UN Women Goodwill Ambassador six months ago, Watson proudly identified herself as a feminist and urged men and women to do so too.

Her speech, which took place at the UN headquarters in New York, was part of the launch of the gender equality campaign ‘HeForShe’ which aims to enlist 1 billion boys and men around the world to become advocates for women’s rights globally.

Watson stated “fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating” but addressed this by telling men “gender equality is your issue too”.

“It is time we all perceived gender on a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals”.

Her words resonated with men and women around the world as the video of her speech went viral, and the ‘HeForShe’ campaign hashtag trended on Twitter.

However, as quickly as her speech became website sound bites so did the news that naked pictures of the actress will be published online in an act of retaliation.

Hackers have threatened to release nude photos of Watson in five days as a direct response to her speech. The site has reportedly been made by members of the internet forum 4chan who were also behind the hacked pictures of celebrities Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton.

Ms Watson came to her friend Jennifer Lawrence’s defence last month by tweeting: “Even worse than seeing a woman’s privacy violated on Twitter is reading the accompanying comments that show such a lack of empathy”.

But the naked photos will not be a true representation of Watson. If they are being released by men, how could they be true to reality?

The pictures will show a body taken by a box-camera through the male gaze. She will be captured in a shot that symbolises the attempt to subjugate, silence and objectify her. The photos will be caricatures of her that paint the true face of a patriarchy that is intimidated by strong women.

Emma Watson

It is like psychoanalyst Melanie Klein’s theory of a child playing with their toys and then being told to clean up after – there is a mixture of creativity and violence on the child’s part. The photos will be art submerged in aggression that tries to silence Watson’s speech.

Celebrity’s bodies’ are to some extent always in the public sphere. But Watson’s words ring true for the circumstances: “I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body.”

In her speech, Watson addressed the problem of feminism becoming synonymous with man-hating but explained “for the record, feminism by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal right and opportunities”.

All too often feminists are bunched together stereotypically seen as burning men at the stake, no longer their bras. When in reality, feminism is a word that is all-inclusive.

It is only when the foundations are uprooted that the building can take a new shape. Living in a world where men have dominated for so long, feminism will progress only with the support of men.

Supporting equality and basic rights that many women are denied on a daily basis is not just the fight of women but of humanity.

Watson explained: “I started questioning gender based assumptions a long time ago”. We should all be questioning and challenging gender-based assumptions, from the smallest detail of pink being a colour for girls to FIFA being for boys and men, to see real change.

If naked pictures of Watson are released, it will not detract from her message for equality but rather will, ironically, reinforce it.

For more information on the ‘HeForShe’ campaign, visit www.unwomencanada.org/heforshe/.

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