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Malala Yousafzai to Emma Watson: You inspired me to call myself a feminist

Malala Yousafzai and Emma Watson
Malala Yousafzai and Emma Watson

You may remember the massive tantrum the internet’s baby men threw after Emma Watson gave her famous speech on feminism to the United Nations a year ago.

Men’s Rights Activists and other haters of feminism declared that the #HeForShe initiative the Harry Potter star was promoting was little more than a misandrist effort to return to chivalry. They called her a “man hater.” They even attacked her for dating a rugby player.

And of course they put her down as a “first world feminist” focusing on trivial issues that only well-off white women could possibly care about. Of course, her detractors in the Men’s Rights movement don’t actually give a shit about third-world women and girls; their attacks on first-world feminists are mostly just an excuse to rant about the allegedly “pampered” and coddled women of the industrialized west.

“Emma Watson is typical feminist. Rich, pampered, and white,” one longtime MRA declared.

“This lumping together of many valid issues that women (and men of course) in the third world face with those of the privileged and pampered first is frankly obscene,” a commenter on A Voice for Men complained.

And on the Men’s Rights subreddit, another Watson anti-fan sneered that she was

a fucking uber-celebrity on a power-trip stoking her ego by claiming to speak for a group she doesn’t understand, at all. If she keeps this up she’s going to ruin her long term career by becoming divisive and toxic. The backlash is already beginning and it serves the idiot right.

These were some of the milder, er, critiques.

Now, there are certainly things to criticize about Watson’s feminism. But there is also something to be said for choosing Watson, an actress known for playing a beloved character in the Harry Potter films, as a goodwill ambassador to the non-feminists of the world.

Watson may not be able to speak for women in the third world, but it turns out that her message managed to speak to one young woman whose life has been the absolute opposite of pampered: Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Nobel Peace Prize winner who was famously shot in the face by a man trying to kill her and her crusade for girls’ education in Pakistan.

As the New York Times reports,

Malala Yousafzai told Emma Watson she decided to call herself a feminist after hearing her now famous speech at the UN, to launch the “He for She” campaign, which aims to encourage men to fight for women’s rights. “It has been a tricky word. When I heard it the first time I heard some negative responses and some positive ones. I hesitated in saying am I feminist or not?” she told Watson during an interview at a screening of the He Named Me Malala documentary at the Into Film Festival. “Then after hearing your speech I decided there’s no way and there’s nothing wrong by calling yourself a feminist. So I’m a feminist and we all should be a feminist because feminism is another word for equality.”

You can watch the entire interview below:

 

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Dan Kasteray
Dan Kasteray
6 years ago

Feminists: 1

Internet shitlords: 0

hippielady
hippielady
6 years ago

I love them both. 🙂

Anne
Anne
6 years ago

Thumbs up 😀

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

This kind of thing is exactly why internet misogynists were so mad. They know Watson is a lot more convincing and a lot more likable than they are.

katz
katz
6 years ago

Can we please get a film about these two?

Monzach
Monzach
6 years ago

I’m in awe of both these young ladies. I hope that they both go from strength to strength. And I’m definitely seconding @katz’s call for a film to be made, if not about the both of them, then at least Ms. Yousafzai. 🙂

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
6 years ago

Two of my very favourite people. Salute.

Chiomara
Chiomara
6 years ago

[…] declared that the #HeForShe initiative the Harry Potter star was promoting was little more than a misandrist effort to return to chivalry.

And of course they put her down as a “first world feminist” focusing on trivial issues that only well-off white women could possibly care about.

Okay… I am gonna throw a really unpopular opinion here: For the first time in my life, I can partially agree with those guys. I think her speech was REALLY male centered and out women in a place of helplessness. As a third world woman, if I ever wait He (cis male) to stand up for She, I will sit down here my entire life. As much as I love and thank and accept men such as David himself, in places where ideas of the second wave of feminism are still considered radical (or even first wave, in really sad places), if we wait for men to come help, we are fucked. No one can fight for our rights more fiercely than ourselves, and I do believe Emma should focus on enpowering women like Malala, giving them strength and letting them know they HAVE rights and THEY should go fight for them, because this is REALLY not among the interests of the huge majority of third world men. I think what women from my country could REALLY use is being painted as warriors theirselves, instead of painting men as such, making them even more self entitled, having our future in their hands, having the power of giving or not giving us rights. She should instead inspire us to TAKE it.

As for her being young, rich, pretty, skinny and white, yes. She is all that every since she was pretty much born, and she lacks a lot of the perspective from third world women. I honestly dont understand why she was chosen, even Beyonce would be better, she seems to be a bit more experient with feminism and black. I would feel much more represented if a third world woman spoke, and most women would feel represented if she looked, well, different from a magazine model.

The icing of the cake is that “HeforShe” is exclusive of non-binary genders, and, my god, do transgenders in my country need help, and cis men won’t be the one to give it.

A suggestion I have would be TheyforShe or AllforShe, or just a completely different thing, a campaign focusing on women, especially young women, as the warriors that will save their own selves, and in male allies as a MUCH needed help.

Buuuut… I know a white, rich, skinny woman will be more heard by people. Emma is an idol for many young girls worldwide and she is taken as an example by them. And young boys see her as a young woman who is very beautiful and classy, while beyonce, for being black, curvy and with sexy songs, is unfortunately seen as vulgar by men, and other women completely outside the beauty pattern would fall into their “ugly vulgar dumb feminist” stereotype. Also, the UN room was full of men, so of course Emma was going to appeal to them.
I do think young third world women like Malala (and me) desperately need feminism. So Emma works to seduce them, as well as a campaign that shows feminists dont need to hate men. And also, as patriarchy is strong and men hold most of the power, we could use their help, and Emma seduces them too, as well as a campaign that put them as essencial part of feminism.

So yeah. Theres my opinion about this campaign. I am sorry if I happen to have offended anyone, I really appreciate male allies such as David.

Paradoxical Intention
6 years ago

Chiomara | November 5, 2015 at 7:21 pm
Okay… I am gonna throw a really unpopular opinion here:

I actually agree with you. Emma Watson will be listened to over other feminists of color, or womanists, and it can be infuriating, and her UN speech didn’t sit right with me because she made feminism about men and how it can appeal to them, when it’s not for them.

I’m happy that she’s speaking out, because I know she’ll be listened to, and I’m glad she’s giving Malala screen time she deserves, but it’s still kind of frustrating.

And it’s great that she wants to encourage men to stand up for feminism, I share your same worries that we’re going to get more Feminism-to-Fuck, Male Feminist, kind of men, who don’t actually care about feminism, they just want to look good.

http://40.media.tumblr.com/73a2813a0f26d5506c89e81c3427f892/tumblr_mokkk0vrzy1sngz0yo1_400.jpg

(And thank you for also bringing up that the name, while catchy, is excluding nonbinary folks.)

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

I think Amandla Stenberg would make a great UN ambassador for feminism.

Fruitloopsie
Fruitloopsie
6 years ago

It’s the Men’s rights activists who complained, let that sink in.

Chiomara
I agree with you we really need to listen to women and girls of color.

Btw any woman/girl of color/from other countries here can tell me on what I can do?

Virtually Out of Touch
Virtually Out of Touch
6 years ago

“Btw any woman/girl of color/from other countries here can tell me on what I can do?”

I’m here but I’m no going to tell you what to do. 🙂 Just be yourself and and do whatever you feel motivated or inspired to do. OK I guess I just sort of told you what to do 😉

ॐ लोकः समस्ताः सुखिनो भवन्तु

OM. May all beings in the universe be happy.

Chiomara
Chiomara
6 years ago

Awwww, yiss, you agreed with me! Sheesh, I was almost roasted when I said this to other american feminists. I have the impression the feminism I am used to is a little bit more harsh and closed to cis men than the feminism present in the first world. First time I get a positive response after saying this. About Emma, she is cute and everything, but she gives me the same impression as thirteen yo libfems that still have a lot of internalized misogyny and slutshames their friends, you know? She has slutshamed Beyonce, she said “I have seen men who are much better feminists than lots of women”, that’s just… Nothing against her, she is not a terrible feminist and not a bad person either, but I just… I wouldn’t choose her to be an international representant of feminism. I do believe she will grow a lot, though, and will someday be able to get out of this awful malecentric mindset.

Bina
6 years ago

“Then after hearing your speech I decided there’s no way and there’s nothing wrong by calling yourself a feminist. So I’m a feminist and we all should be a feminist because feminism is another word for equality.”

That giant screeching, grinding noise you just heard was all the menzers of the world, weeping and gnashing their teeth.

Chiomara
Chiomara
6 years ago

@Fruitloopsie
I somehow think you are already doing everything right. Keep being wonderful. Maybe send abortion pills to a brazilian woman now and then if you are feeling especially charitable. We are about to lose our right to even TALK about abortion or having abortion even in case of rape. I get angry at the mere mention of this.
Funniest thing is that the congress just defined family and one man, one woman, and their child. So they will make us have the child of our rapists then say we don’t constitute a family! And then we protest in the street and the cops hit is and throw pepper spray ten centimeters from our faces, almost blinding us. I would like to ask Emma Watson what man will save us from this…. But I digress, sorry. Horrible week, friend… Horrible week.

@Virtually
Dear.. I am sorry about earlier today. I misinterpretated you.

athveg34f
athveg34f
6 years ago

To MRAs who keep trying to claim feminists hate men — that is actually very misandrist to say: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/346003183850051027/

W
W
6 years ago

I will take this opportunity to point out the things I was trying to describe in the earlier thread(and maybe fail to do so again…stick with me)

notice the frequency that linguistic issues come up? Misunderstandings of meaning and definitions of words? Politics and culture? Language, due to it’s very nature, can have a basic failure to communicate objective, rather than subjective, meaning. How can you truly know that someone understands an idea like feminism in the same way you do? How many different ‘things’ (culture, political stances, dialects, individual differences in neurology) do you think mediate this exchange? Ultimately, all one can do is arrive at a conclusion that another is sharing the same meaning, based on the language they are using and you are interpreting. At some point we all make a judgement call on whether another person understands a given meaning in the same way you do, but thinking in terms of these complexities rather than assumptions can serve us well. One will hopefully note that nowhere in this am I attempting to inform another person on where that judgement call gets made

Virtually Out of Touch
Virtually Out of Touch
6 years ago

” I have the impression the feminism I am used to is a little bit more harsh and closed to cis men than the feminism present in the first world. ”

You’re in Brazil? Roosh came there. I hope some feminists were harsh to him.

Fruitloopsie
Fruitloopsie
6 years ago

I apologize if Im being a white savior or whatever in the following.

I just came back from Haiti a few days ago. Me and my group gave dresses that were made out of pillow cases by these elderly women to girls, we gave toys, food and other things as well. We also helped take care of these children and clean while the parents would have breaks.

I was taught by them on how to speak Creole, their language. And I shared info about them to other people in my country I said we should listen and not go rushing in to do whatever, we could do more harm than good.

I’m mentally ill and I’m somewhat pysically disabled and yet it wasn’t hard to raise money and help people (of course it was heartbreaking to see how those people live and been through) you just need the patience and courage to do those things.

I don’t understand a lot of things and I’m slow too but to any woman/girl of color and/or out of America If there is anything I can do even if it’s just listening please let me know. I also ask everyone who is white and in America to please listen and try to do your best to help people of color and who is out of the country. Just little things can make big differences.

Virtually Out of Touch
Virtually Out of Touch
6 years ago

“I also ask everyone who is white and in America to please listen and try to do your best to help people of color and who is out of the country. ”

Better to say for everyone and anyone in a position to help, to help whoever needs help. There are poor Americans who need help. There are white people who need help. Non-Americans and people of color can help them too. Its not a one way street. It can also come off as patronizing, which I know you didn’t mean it to.

Fruitloopsie
Fruitloopsie
6 years ago

Chiomara
Dang it.. I’m sorry that’s going on. I’ll talk to my family, and people I know and share info on Facebook. Im getting help at a career center to get me a job to raise money I’m also praying for you I wish I knew what more I can do but I will do my best.

You have every right to be upset don’t apologize.

scalyllama
6 years ago

*watches eagerly*

“Bring me your largest tub of popcorn! This could go on for a while.”

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
6 years ago

I’m with Chiomara and Paradoxical on the Emma Watson issue, so, yeah.

*slips away*

Chiomara
Chiomara
6 years ago

@W
I completely agree with you, but is this some sort of criticism directed to me? Because if so, though I agree that language and culture makes our brains function differently, I dont quite understand the suggestion you make in the end to solve this problem.

@Virtually
Did he? Didnt make a fuzz big enough for me to hear about it. I began knowing more about international feminism by the moment Julien Blanc wanted to come here – feminists mad an scandal, he didn’t come. Damn, I am almost sorry I didn’t know about that, I want to slap his face so bad, and he cant even sue me here. Or I could do like that Canadian girl and yell RAPIST!!!! Hahahaha, ooooh, the joy. I’d be delighted to make the honors of flirting with him myself.

@Fruitloopsie
Oooh, yes, you are right. You guys can do so much for us! Your money, your influence, you american have no idea how powerful you are, for harm and for good. Thank you, dear, truly thank you.

Chiomara
Chiomara
6 years ago

Yes, yes, people help people. No matter who. <3

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