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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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brooked
6 years ago

David is posting this because even this sort of soft nonthreatening feminism is the sort of thing MRAs rage over and cast as misandric radical feminism.

The HeForShe campaign is what it is, Emma Watson is merely the public face for this:

At the World Economic Forum in Davos today, UN Women, the United Nations entity dedicated to achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment unveiled the HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10 pilot initiative to galvanize momentum in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. The HeForShe campaign’s IMPACT 10X10X10 initiative is a one-year pilot effort that aims to engage governments, corporations and universities as instruments of change positioned within some of the communities that most need to address deficiencies in women’s empowerment and gender equality and that have the greatest capacity to make and influence those changes. Each sector will identify approaches for addressing gender inequality, and pilot test the effectiveness of these interventions for scalability.

http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2015/01/emma-watson-launches-10-by-10-by-10

Blah, blah, blah. If you we’re wondering why the language seems so corporate and non-threatening take a gander at the initiative’s “Champions”.

At the launch, the inaugural global leaders who will serve as IMPACT 10X10X10 founding Champions were announced. They will steer the initiative, providing leadership in mobilizing their communities and include: H.E. Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands; H.E. President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone; H.E. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven of Sweden; Mr. Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever; Rick Goings, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Tupperware Brands Corporation; and Dennis Nally, Chairman, PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd. JPMorgan Chase is also proud to be a Title Sponsor of the HeForShe campaign.

brooked
6 years ago

FYI, The World Economic Forum is a Swiss non-profit that holds a four day conference at a Swiss ski resort where world leaders, business executives and celebrity philanthropists, after flying in by private jet, discuss how to solve the world’s problem and bolster the global economy at the same time. Seriously.

Davos is a four-day conference at a Swiss ski resort. But it has become much more. For participants it is a festival of networking. Getting an invitation is a sign you have made it – and the elaborate system of badges reveals your place in the Davos hierarchy.

For critics, “Davos man” is shorthand for the globe-trotting elite, disconnected from their home countries after spending too much time in the club-class lounge. Others just wonder if it is all a big waste of time.

In 2015, women only made up 17% of the 2,500+ participants at Davos.
1,037 were from Western Europe
833 from North America
295 from Asia Pacific
180 from Middle East
165 from Central and Eastern Europe
135 from South Asia (120 from India)
124 from Africa (54 from South Africa)
114 from South America
(I can’t to stupid info graphic to show me Australia but you get the idea.)

So it’s not exactly a hotbed of non-Western radical thought or action, though Alex Jones types freak out over the “new world order” aspect.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jan/21/-sp-davos-guide-world-economic-forum

Virtually Out of Touch
Virtually Out of Touch
6 years ago

“@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.”

Yes Chiomara, Roosh even wrote a book about Brazil; http://www.bangguides.com/travel/brazil-compendium/

Virtually Out of Touch
Virtually Out of Touch
6 years ago

The Brazilian Government’s response to Roosh’s book about Brazil;

To the website Administrator and Server
Ref: Association of image of Brazil

Dear Responsible Officer,

The Brazilian Federal Government, through the MINISTRY OF TOURISM, has found that the website, hosted in the network of server ThePlanet, promotes pornographic content in the internet. Such content relates striking and characteristic features of the Brazilian Identity, such as the colors of the flag, culture pictures and images of Brazilian cities, to prostitution or sex.

Considering the institution of the Brazilian National Policy on Tourism, created by the MINISTRY OF TOURISM, Article 5th of Federal Law n. 11.771/2008: “The Brazilian National Policy on Tourism aims at, among other things, preventing and fighting touristic activities related to abuse of sexual nature and others that affect human dignity” – the Ministry is taking steps to dissociate the image of the country with internet content of sexual and/or pornographic nature, which stimulate internet users to seek Brazil as a tourist destination for such activities.

Given that, the MINISTRY OF TOURISM OF BRAZIL kindly requests the removal of such materials from the website located in the URLs listed attached, or the dissociation of such pornographic content with Brazilian identity or Brazil, as well as the removal of pay-per-click ads and subsequent redirection of such website, since these associations are in disagreement with the image of the country and are harmful to the actual aim of the Brazilian Government: the increase of sustainable tourism in Brazil.

Brazil is signatory to several International Conventions, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which suppresses the trafficking in women and exploitation of prostitution, and the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which determines the prevention, suppression and punishment of trafficking in persons, mainly women and children, activities which are often sustained by means of sex tourism.

Thus, we reiterate our request for the removal and disabling of access to pornographic material identified in this document in order to collaborate with the policies sought by the Brazilian Government to Brazil.

Should you have any questions, we are available via e-mail given in the signature of this message.

Sincerely,

MINISTRY OF TOURISM OF BRAZIL
enforcement@turismo.gov.br

Chiomara
Chiomara
6 years ago

@Virtually
I…. had… no idea. I don’t even…. that… human garbage. Thank you for the information. I am glad the government at least answered to this.

Chiomara
Chiomara
6 years ago

Description of Brazilian girls by socioeconomic class and how each reacts to Western men
-An explanation into the hyper-fast kissing culture
-The aggressive strategy that Brazilian guys use to kiss their women
-My thoughts on trying to pick up in Brazilian gyms
-How it’s like to run game in Brazil when you have blonde hair and blue eyes

“-The aggressive strategy that Brazilian guys use to kiss their women” AKA PHYSICAL VIOLENCE ALLIED WITH FORCED DRUNKNESS.
i am HONESTLY sick. I don’t have what to say. I should not have read that. I hope that man is arrested and rots in jail.

W
W
6 years ago

Chiomara, I absolutely was not referring to you personally, but rather attempting to speak to what I’ve observed going on in politics and the internet for some time now, and I see this blog as a ‘node’ in that system. The internet in particular is… “interesting” (terrifying?) since the words we read are disconnected from all the other minutia of language which inform us as to what another person means. People can be especially quick to assume that someone is ‘trolling’ or being disingenuous , based on these inherently limited interpretations.

I know that I do this, anyways, and the whole matter is getting more and more confused due to the sheer volume of bullshit out there, of which the author of this blog details only a particular cross section (that cross section being petulant man-children who apparently inform their entire worldview based on what the internet tells them)

ColeYote
ColeYote
6 years ago

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

Who does that remind me of… got it! Juggalos!

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

I suspect my browser is loading from cache and I’m waaaaay behind here, but I just wanted to say — “The icing of the cake is that “HeforShe” is exclusive of non-binary genders” — is so routine I just shrug at it 90% of the time (if you insist on my gender and are neither a doctor nor lover, then I will raise hell)… so yeah, thanks guys.

Chiomara — I’m with PI (and anyone else who said it since my refresh nonsense happened) — I don’t think what you said was anything besides spot on.

Luzbelitx
6 years ago

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’m glad someone asked 😉

I think it’s great that you went to Haiti and met the people there, even if there’s some acknowledged savior complex, it’s a step towards deeper awareness.

I would say a good thing would be to bear in mind that “America” is actually a whole continent:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Q9OMBg30UUw/T_J25WJ0RDI/AAAAAAAAAb4/BonMa6kko7Y/s1600/America+whole+continet.jpg

Another good pratice, IME, is paying attention to the women close toy you that may need a hand. Even in Canada and the US, native American women are among the worst treated people. WoC in those countries can use a hand from their relatively-powerful white sisters, and it’s harder for women from poorer countries to go to their assistance.

As for collaborating with women in more distant countries, like myself for instance, I think all white women from developed countries should educate yourselves thoroughly about colonialism, imperialism and the branches of feminism which resist both. Latin American countries suffer from the interventions of the US, which mainly aim to interfere or even disrupt democracy. It makes it so damn harder to feminist when your country is high on unemployment and poverty. We need the US, and Europe as well to be honest, off our backs, and white Us and European women are our expected allies in this. They have more power than ourselves to stop the invasive politics, and are at the very source of them,(our resistance is mostly against our own governments, who are pressured by the mob of bully-countries, if you allow the expression…).

I bet women from other regions of the world might have similar demands.

Another very good practice is reading, sharing and demanding inclusion of Latin American authors in all circles but especially among feminists.

Marcela Lagarde from Mexico is one of the fiercest representatives we have, and there are many others I’m sure you’d be glad not to miss out.

So, in short: Keep in mind the women close to you, and the women from far away places! 😉

Remember white privilege is what makes you a shield for women of color (#YesMyShield!) and women in less powerful counties. We need you to help stop the sexism and colonialism around you so,we can fight sexism in our countries without having to fight off other countries, monstrously powerful countries, first.

Thanks again for asking, and sorry if I teal deer’d

Nunya (@ottodidenari)
6 years ago

I’m glad Malala is not as obnoxious as some white feminists on the internet that like to whitesplain white feminism to everyone. Nobody is good enough. Oh wait…someone was good enough for Malala. How refreshing.

RosaDeLava
RosaDeLava
6 years ago

@Virtually
I believe I learned about Roosh after he came to Brazil, but I remember having seen a video in which he appeared wearing a shirt that was clearly made here, and I had a violent urge to do something illegal – I managed, though.
Honestly, we really don’t need any help with bolstering the sex tourism and the image a lot of people have of Brazilian women (though I imagine this is common to other countries as well)

@Fruitloopsie
You’re being awesome – especially since you try to listen to people to help them, instead of coming with the mentality of “I’m America and I’ll save all those losers!” *in the background, eagles fly and fireworks go off* – which might not be a common way of seeing things, but if youtube comments are anything to go by, apparently there are people who think like that.
Honestly, you’re doing a whole lot more than I do – and I have a number of advantages that make me uncomfortable giving suggestions as to how you should act.

@Chiomara
I certainly see your point – this brand of feminism is not ideal. I will hope, though, that if Emma Watson was an inspiration to Malala Yousafzai, she can also inspire other girls. What she’s saying is not the goal we should strive for, but it might be a step in the right direction.

Fruitloopsie
6 years ago

Luzbelitx
Thanks! Apologies again for my savior complex.

RosaDeLava
RosaDeLava
6 years ago

@Luzbelitx
That is a beautiful image.
Also, even though Fruitloopsie was the one who asked, thank you for the info.

@Chiomara
I’ve noticed my last sentence turned out poorly, so I want to clarify – if girls aren’t afraid or ashamed of calling themselves feminists because “Hermione” is a feminist that’s a good thing. So long as this is an introduction and not the end game, I think it’s a good thing.

Luzbelitx
6 years ago

@Fruitloopsie

I don’t think it’s a savior complex that’s driving you, just mentioned it as part of the standard western mindset… I mean to say it’s not for me to judge 🙂

@Rosa

Thanks you! It was meant for anyone who could benefit from it 🙂

Fruitloopsie
6 years ago

RosaDeLava
Thanks. I get really scared of asking/saying/doing the wrong stuff/not doing enough/etc especially when I have disabilities.

I think it’s best for now to read and just listen to the people here on what to do and ask questions especially look up any shelters, etc for donating and volunteering. Just every little thing helps.

*in the background, eagles fly and fireworks go off*

Tbh that is pretty awesome.

Luzbelitx
Oh yeah I have seen that mindset in movies and video games but personally I haven’t seen that among people I know fortunately. Apologies for misreading like I said about my disablilties I have a hard time understanding and I even had people to explain to me multiple times. Thanks again for the info and for clarifying.

Fruitloopsie
6 years ago

Adding I don’t mean to excuse my actions in any way and just let everyone know I’m bad at explaining so yeah let me know if I’m not being clear.

chaltab
chaltab
6 years ago

This feels a little surreal because, though I admire Emma Watson as an actress and an activist, if anyone should be inspiring people to call themselves feminists it’s the girl who took a bullet to the face from Taliban assassins and kept on resisting them.

dhag85
6 years ago

Malala is what, 18 now? I hope she continues being great for another 70 or 80 years. She could be(come) one of the most influential people in modern history, right?

pkayden
pkayden
6 years ago

I love Malala! Such an inspiration and so dang brave. Hope she continues to be safe and outspoken.

And good for Emma for embracing feminism. She should wear the MRA hate with pride.

Luzbelitx
6 years ago

@Fruitloopsie

You don’t need to apologize to me 🙂

I always prefer to err on the side of too much explaining, honestly.

I also have my own quota of privilege (descendant from Europeans, middle class family, registered work, speak fluent English, to name a few) and I think each of those can build into a savior complex.

So when I speak to people with more/different privileges, I’m also speaking to myself in a way.

Also, Malala is a badass and I do hope she becomes more and more influential -and brings new girls and women into politics and feminism.

mockingbird
mockingbird
6 years ago

Wellll, I’m a middle class white woman in the US and I agree with Chi, PI, etc., though I do think I see merit in the choice.

Emma Watson being the UN’s face of feminism is pragmatism all the way down.
She’s non-threatening, attractive, already has notoriety she can leverage, and has loads of privilege to shield her from the worst of what some others might face in such a public role.

She’s not ideal or at all globally representative, but she’s a sound tactical choice – especially if she uses her platform to introduce / support others active in global feminism and then either shares with or cedes the platform to them rather than using it as opportunity to showcase herself.

Bina
6 years ago

Malala is what, 18 now? I hope she continues being great for another 70 or 80 years. She could be(come) one of the most influential people in modern history, right?

As long as no more fucking Talibs (or other masculist terrorists) try to kill her, yes. And I’d argue that she already is massively influential, just by surviving a murder attempt, picking right up where she left off, and carrying on unintimidated. She’s got millions signing on to support efforts to get all kids into school, particularly in war zones or areas of extreme patriarchy. She knows that education is the best remedy for oppression, and she’s already spearheading a global movement to get every child, and especially girls, a good education.

Sadly, I know that some motherfucker or other will still make attempts on her life. They have it in for influential women, and they know that fear is the best weapon they’ve got to stop other women and girls from following her positive example.

Of course, their best weapon can backfire, even more spectacularly than it already has. If she becomes a martyr, there will be not one Malala, but millions. Túpac Katari’s prophecy still applies.

Ellesar
Ellesar
6 years ago

I am always frustrated at the dense approach of ‘rich white women have nothing to complain about’, as, as far as I can see, however rich, white and privileged a woman is she still vulnerable to sexual and domestic violence. As these issues are HUGE in feminism and in human rights in general no rich white woman should be made to feel she is too privileged to complain/ campaign to improve the situation for women in this regard.

Of course it is less than being denied education, being genitally mutilated, forced into marriage etc, NO ONE has EVER tried to claim it is not.

EW offers feminism lite – it is of limited use, esp as she seems desperate to say: ‘I’m a cool girl, I love boys – don’t hate me because I am a feminist’. BUT she can have an effect in her area. A lot of women are becoming a lot more vocal about sexism in media/ film etc, and there is plenty to do there about the treatment and representation of women.

Luzbelitx
6 years ago

As these issues are HUGE in feminism and in human rights in general no rich white woman should be made to feel she is too privileged to complain/ campaign to improve the situation for women in this regard.

MRAs go “you’re privileged/others have it worse, so shut up”.

While feminists go “you’re privuleged/others have it worse so use your privilege to stop the violebce coming from like-privileged people, and to lift others up (for which you need to keep your privilege in check)”.

I know what team I want to belong…

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