Never doubt the ingenuity of the internet’s misogynists in coming up with new reasons to hate a woman they’re already inclined to hate.
Actress and geek icon Emma Watson has been near the top of the new Misogyny hate list all this week, in the wake of the speech she gave at the UN gently praising feminism and suggesting that traditional gender roles aren’t always such a good thing for dudes either. She’s made this point before, declaring in a Tweet last month that
Gender equality not only liberates women but also men from prescribed gender stereotypes. #heforshe
— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) August 18, 2014
But wait, the Red Pillers of the internet declare: Watson is herself dating a hunky jock rather than a “bald scrawny impoverished poet.”
WHERE IS YOUR FEMINISM NOW?
According to the UK’s Daily Mirror, Watson is currently dating a fellow Oxford student who also happens to be 1) gigantic 2) a rugby player and 3) handsome. As The Mirror put it
Matt was dubbed Oxford’s most eligible bachelor and was previously named the best looking player in his on-field position by the university rugby team’s Twitter account.
I know, you’re probably not exactly shocked – shocked! – to discover that a famous actress is dating a handsome dude. But in the Red Pill precincts of the internet, the regulars think they’ve got their CHECKMATE FEMINISM.
Right wing “journalist” and blogger Robert Stacey McCain triumphantly cackled
All the hot babes like Emma Watson are crazy for guys who don’t fit “prescribed gender stereotypes,” right? So you will probably be surprised to learn that Emma Watson is dating a
bald scrawny impoverished poetthe biggest jock at an elite university. …
In other words, an Alpha male, the epitome of “prescribed gender stereotypes” from which Emma Watson says we need to be liberated.
Smart young fellows figure out that listening to what women say is less important than watching what women do. Women are constantly saying they want sensitive Ashley Wilkes types, even while they’re actually going crazy for the Rhett Butler types. …
When all is said and done, the basic human sex instinct is still as simple as, “Me Tarzan, you Jane.”
On the Red Pill subreddit, the regulars celebrated what they saw as a great victory over feminism. Redpillbanana seconded McCain’s “analysis.”
As a man in our new feminist world, you are liberated from your gender stereotype and have permission to be vulnerable and human. And women have permission to dump you for the next nearby alpha male who decided that he doesn’t need to be liberated from his gender stereotype.
Other Red Pillers made sure that everyone knew that they didn’t think Emma Watson was all that hot anyway.
WOULD NOT BANG.
Meanwhile, proudly racist, woman-hating dating guru Heartiste offered these, er, thoughts on the matter, in his trademark, er, style:
Feminism long ago abandoned any pretense to logic or internal consistency. It’s nothing but feels all day, every day, with an extra helping of feels. Watson’s rationalization hamster, like most rodents residing in the brains of her callow ilk, is 700% thigh and 800% glutes. A swole spinner on the wheel of ego-masturbation.
So how do you respond to this sort of thing? Point out that Watson was previously dating a guy who most Red Pillers would probably consider a big ol beta? Post examples of conventionally hot actresses who’ve dated “nerds” and intellectuals and otherwise not stereotypically macho men – from Marilyn Monroe (playwright Arthur Miller) to Christina Hendricks (nerdy actor Geoffrey Arend, who’s not even as famous as her).
But what’s the point? All you have to do is step outside to see examples of happy couples who don’t fit the “me Tarzan, you Jane” stereotype the Red Pillers are so desperate to assure us is the One True Way.
The human heart and libido are complicated things. Yes, some feminist women date macho dudes. And some traditional women are drawn to nerds. Some women date men who make more money than them; others date guys who are broke. And a lot of women don’t have clear “types” at all. (Watson doesn’t seem to.)
It’s also worth pointing out that, well, you can’t always judge a book by its cover. A gigantic rugby player who is ferocious on the field may be a teddy bear in private. And scrawny nerdy dudes can be horrible people (e.g. Woody Allen).
Feminism doesn’t deny that some women – including some feminists — are drawn to macho men. What feminism says is that traditional gender roles are not the only way to do things.
Emma Watson can date whatever kind of person she wants to date. It’s her own damn business. That’s feminism.
Oops, I kind of responded, indirectly. Really not in the mood for dumbed down political analysis today.
It is because we realized in the sixties that all this stuff we though was personal and were told was personal was actually political. It was important then and it is important now to ask ourselves is this a personal problem or is it a political issue for all of us?
I like to get compliments is a personal issue.
Men catcalling women is a political issue.
And yeah, I feel like a lot of people kind of missed the point of the whole personal is political thing, which was that when women started getting together in groups and talking about problems they were having that’s when it became clear that oh, hey, everyone is having these exact same problems, which rather indicates a societal rather than an individual-specific cause.
I … definitely did not intend to start a normative conversation, and I apologize for being thoughtless about that.
people really need to back the fuck off with the judging about how not everyone is doing activism perfectly.
For me, that kind of behavior is a red flag. It tells me that someone has likely never gotten really badly burned, or they’re dangerously invested in their politics.
I actually left the online multi scene back in 2010 because a lot of the ‘activism’ we jokingly called ‘inactivism.’ Anything you did would get torn to itty bitty bits; unless it was perfect, it was considered pointless to do. The first comic I made, I got complaints that it wasn’t radical enough. In response, I sweetly told them they could make their own damn comics then.
it became clear that oh, hey, everyone is having these exact same problems,
This is actually why I had such a huge relief response when I started reading on incestuous families and seeing our family’s framework and patterns all laid out to see. It isn’t just us! This is actually a pattern used societally, not just in our family!
Which gives me all the more reason to support Kid in her endeavor to blast our family’s secrecy and denial out of the water.
In some cases (like this one) I tend to read it more as “has not thought things through”. There does seem to be a correlation between that kind of rhetoric and either never having tried it when not hiding behind the safety of a keyboard and having a whole lot of real world privilege insulating you from the knowledge of just how badly things can go wrong if you do try it in real life.
In terms of the link between consciousness raising and activism, ever noticed that often the people in power don’t want the people with less power talking among themselves too much, and that they’ll often attempt to disrupt those conversations or prevent them from ever happening? This is why. Sharing stories leads to identifying patterns, which can lead to concrete action. Can’t have that.
Sharing stories leads to identifying patterns, which can lead to concrete action. Can’t have that.
Don’t I know it! I’ve seen it play out on a much smaller level just within our family; it’s how the grandfather kept getting access to children, because nobody EVER talked about it with each other, and CERTAINLY not with the kids who were always around him.
I can’t really claim superiority; I used to think that maybe it was all just paranoia that made so many people unwilling to come out as multiple. It’s been seven years, and now that I’ve lost jobs, family, homes, and ability to work because of it, I don’t think that anymore, and am deeply embarrassed that I ever did.
“Miss Emma, I believe that these rap scallions are terribly angry that you, as a woman, are happy and dating a ‘hot jock’ instead of a ‘nerd’ just like in the movies. They just absolutely hate women being happy and ‘hot jocks’ getting everything and leave the ‘uglies’ to them because women are not people! Another definition of ‘Mangry’ or ‘Manbrat’
Miss Emma: by Georgette! How-
Why it’s elementary my dear Watson!
::blows pipe and bubbles come out::
And besides, I think it can be fair to blame individuals for not living up to their own standards. Someone who actually goes on about how make-up is inherently oppressive and sexist and wrong, and still wears make-up, is probably a hypocrite. Or perhaps she’s actually forced to do so at her job, but unless something like that is the case, you shouldn’t go around talking about how make-up is sooo terrible and then wear it yourself with the excuse that you feel slightly uncomfortable without it.
I really think feminists sometimes go too far in the “we must never judge individuals for not living up to their own standards”-direction, even though there’s definitely a kernel of truth here. If you argue that X is terribly wrong and sexist, and you’re only reason for doing X is that you feel somewhat uncomfortable quitting, you ought to stop. My two cents.
BUUUUUUT the thing is that Emma Watson dating a rugby player isn’t analogous to the make-up wearing make-up hater I described above, since she never said that there’s anything wrong with a guy having muscles, being into sport and so on, only that men should be allowed to depart from gender stereotypes. Which is a very different thing.
To further clarify: IF Emma Watson had stood in the UN and argued (and a weird argument it would be) that it’s wrong for men to have muscles and do sports, and feminism requires all men to quit doing that, then I actually think it would be fair to ask WTF she’s doing dating a rugby player.
Well it makes perfect sense, in the end. Gender roles aren’t just normative divisions of labour, they’re hard-wired biological imperatives that result in specific tendencies and actions from all males and all females. So when Emma Watson says she believes men should be allowed to be vulnerable and, maybe, not die from suicide at a young age, but also dates a Rugby Player, she is really showcasing that she is a woman who dates a hot handsome dude, and therefore, she is perfectly fine following her own gender role of “be woman, be hypergamous towards alphas” which obviously means that she has no real interest in preventing either male suicide or emotional issues.
It’s super simple! If you’re the kind of person that has no soul.
The makeup thing is a serious-business debate, and if you’ve only encountered the “I would feel mildly uncomfortable without makeup” side of it, you don’t really understand it. The foundation of it is that women are actively punished, with the most important punishments being financial, for not being sufficiently pretty. A woman who works in food service, for example, will see her tips plummet if she ceases to wear makeup. Women who aren’t pretty enough don’t see the same kinds of raises and promotions as women who are pretty (and there’s a double-bind in that as well, because being pretty comes with its own suite of social punishments).
So a feminist might (and many of them do) say that this requirement that women been uniformly pretty is a problem, and it would be great if all women everywhere would just stop wearing makeup and reset the beauty standard down to, at worst, the way that women who are already conventionally attractive normally look. But then those same feminists might go to work wearing makeup because they realize that not doing so harms their economic power.
You can stand back and judge them for that, and say they aren’t really feminists or they are hypocrites or whatever, but if you do that then I’m going to judge you, because now you’re putting them into a brand-new, freshly-pressed double-bind that didn’t exist before. You’re saying that unless a woman is willing to sacrifice actual money on the altar of feminism, she isn’t a real feminist. I think it’s BS to require that people who are already disadvantaged put themselves at even greater disadvantage in order to obtain social change. It’s great if a woman chooses to do this, but if she does it’s probably going to be because she is already privileged in some other way that permits it (like being conventionally attractive without makeup, being white, being sufficiently high on the SES scale, etc). Women who lack those privileges should not be asked to put themselves under the wheel, or evicted from the feminism club for choosing to put food on their table.
Um, no, that was not what I was saying. I was saying that if someone doesn’t suffer worse consequences than feeling slightly uncomfortable if she stops doing what she claims is really wrong, she’s a hypocrite if she doesn’t stop. IF. And that can very well be the case if she’s, say, a student, or work in a profession where appearances aren’t that important.
And besides, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with make-up. I often (though not always) use it myself. I think make-up or no make-up should be an open choice for men as well as women, rather than pushed onto women (and in some cases, as you describe, more or less forced upon them) and almost forbidden for men. The “make-up is always bad and inherently wrong and sexist” wasn’t my view, but the view of an imaginary feminist in my thought-experiment.
I’m not saying that people should be prepared to make heroic sacrifices in the name of ideology. But I say that we should at least expect people to stand up for their views when it doesn’t require any big sacrifice. It’s just weird to draw a sharp line between the political and the personal as if they were isolated from each other.
Anyway, my main point was that “Emma Watson is allowed to date a rugby player because that’s personal” is a really weird argument. As I said above, if she had claimed that men having muscles and doing sport was wrong, yeah, then she ought not to date a rugby player (not doing so doesn’t require a huge sacrifice or anything). The point isn’t that whom she dates is “personal” and therefore completely disconnected from her feminist views, the point is that she’s never said that having muscles and doing sport is wrong.
What Policy of Madness said. There’s a limit to what it’s reasonable to ask people to give up to prove a political point, and things like housing and food are not on the list of things it’s reasonable to ask them to give up. I do think that there are limits to that, and some actions that are so awful that “but I needed the money” isn’t sufficient justification (being a professional torturer, for example), but things that are collective problems that feminism has identified as having an impact on all of us? Often individual action doesn’t solve the problem, all it does is hurt the individual. Which doesn’t mean that people can’t take individual action if the want to, or even that it’s not admirable of them to do so, but it does mean that if you’re blaming specific individuals for not taking that action you’re both being kind of a jerk and misunderstanding the nature of the problem.
Also, Dvarg, I feel like you’re either battling a straw hypocritical feminist or overgeneralizing from one kind of hypocritical person who you encountered, cause in my experience the feminists who’re most outspoken about makeup, shaving etc being terrible tend to be the ones who don’t do those things, and the feminists who do wear makeup and shave their legs and so on tend to be focused on other issues.
I have yet to encounter an activist of any stripe who goes along with some harmful social convention for reasons of “I would be slightly uncomfortable if I didn’t.”
And it seems like you haven’t either.
Look, I didn’t mean to jump on you, and I apologize for being harsh. The makeup issue is one of those “hah hah look how silly women are and how hypocritical feminists can be” things that is used like a bludgeon by folks who don’t really get the underlying problem. If you think makeup is frivolous then having deep feminists debates about makeup at the same time that feminists wear it is going to seem bizarre at best. What I’m saying is that it’s not frivolous in the slightest, and it’s not a good example of feminist hypocrisy.
Cassandra, you’re right, it’s not a common thing. I’ve encountered more than one person in my old feminist group on Facebook who I think leaned in a problematic direction – like, being really firm in their views that this or that thing is SO WRONG and ALWAYS WRONG because sexist (rather than, like, people of all genders should freely choose whether they want to do the thing or not) but still we can’t judge ANY woman for doing the thing (regardless of her situation) because OPPRESSION, so eventually I sort of just wanted to say, like a libertarian or something, “what about personal responsibility?”.
But yeah, they’re a small minority in feminism, and all movements have a few people who exaggerate. You’re right.
ANYWAY point about Emma Watson stands; her right to date a rugby player shouldn’t be defended by some kind of “that’s personal, not political” argument, because we can legitimately expect A not to date B if B is engaged in something that completely goes against A:s ideology. It’s just that this is not the case with Watson and her boyfriend.
It’s okay Madness, I was probably making a fairly irrelevant argument about that make-up thing anyway.
This just reinforces my gut feeling that Facebook is a terrible venue for political conversations. Not sure what it is about the format or space that makes people prone to saying very silly things, but it really doesn’t bring out the best in people.
I eventually left the group, but with some regret, because there were lots of smart people there and lots of smart things being said. But also these people who were really loud-mouthed with fairly extreme views (in that group I also encountered quite a lot of people who proudly declared themselves man-haters), so eventually I just got tired of it.
I’ve left vegan/animal rights groups for similar reasons…
That’s the missing piece I wasn’t understanding about this whole “personal is political” thing…the assumption that she’s being a hypocrite is based on the above false logic. Thanks 🙂
There seems to have been an a priori assumption that a good-looking jock is necessarily an alpha and therefore a woman-hating male supremacist scumbag. A wee bit of a logical jump, eh? A rational person might conclude that since EW is a beautiful young woman who has a wide range of options for boyfriends, she might not actually choose to date the biggest available stinker. Maybe it’s more reasonable to think she would choose a nice guy (no TM).
Ugh. I can’t stand the assumption that attractiveness is some constant, measurable thing rather than the EXTREMELY (I’d say upwards of 90%) subjective/individual thing that it actually is.
So many people babbling nonsense like “She’s a 6!” “She’s a 2!” “She’s a whatever!”
No, she’s not any number. She’s an “x.” In the mathematical sense: x is a variable. Her (and everyone else’s) attractiveness varies wildly depending on who’s looking… because different people are attracted to different things.
The concept of some people just inherently “being attractive” (as opposed to other people being attracted TO them) is another one of those things that just needs to hurry up and die.
Funny how they complain about makeup and high heels when they obviously require it of women that they will “bang”, or watch in porn or in stripclubs or in men’s magazines.
Where did the first photo of her with all the red text come from?