There has been considerable talk generated by Emma Watson’s speech on feminism, both for and against, praising and criticising her. To a certain extent this is good because it is, firstly, at least getting people to speak about these issues and dialogue happening. However, I am saddened though when she is attacked by certain feminists themselves. I have, as I have mentioned, a genuine interest in these issues, so a lot of colleagues, fellow artists and friends have been sending me links and commentaries regarding this issue. Here some excerpts from an email I sent to a gallery owner in way of summing up my opinion.
(going to check out a site which the email described as: “A really succinct, accessible deconstruction of Emma Watson’s (essentially very problematic) UN WOMEN speech. Please don’t just read the title. I think this whole ‘He For She’ campaign is totally misguided, and it’s important to consider why”.
This was my response to the criticism aimed at Emma Watson by the writer on this site:
Hi, I read it and yes, the writer does make some valid points but what she does not acknowledge is that we all reflect a point of view that is partly composed of our upbringing, societal influences, race, sex and a whole myriad of other things. Just like her (the writer’s) point of view is formed in part by being black, American etc. I guarantee you that there will be a lot of “Third World” feminists who will take offence to the fact that a “First World” feminist claims to be speaking for them even if she is black. What I’m saying is that it is easy to tear someone down after the fact and use their race and social standing to do that. Hell, white males in power have been doing it for generations. How do you think they have stayed in power? I am sure guys like Trump love it when feminists start squabbling amongst each other because it takes their focus away from where it should be, on changing our societies. So yes, Emma’s speech is flawed and does not mention all the points that everyone would like mentioned but the fact that she chooses a side and asks others to, is a good thing and a step in the right direction. That’s my opinion anyway.
And that is my opinion, and it is important that we all have one. However, there is a difference between having an opinion and merely dismissing someone else’s or in fact, launching a personal attack on them in an attempt to discredit them. Yes, Emma is white and British (Western, First World) and from a privileged upbringing, and seriously wealthy because of her acting career. However, she does not claim to be speaking from any viewpoint other than her own. She has been criticized for that, and for the so-called “centralizing” of the oppressor (read white males) in her speech. I really don’t agree, but I suppose as a white male I would not. I feel, as I think Emma does, that males can help, and in fact, want to help, even need to help! Beyonce was even brought up in one argument!!! I quote: “Beyoncé, who, by the way, rarely even gets the benefit of the doubt from white feminists, let alone hailed as feminist queen of all things, when her feminist expressions are less than perfect”. Beyoncé is a very successful, strong, proud woman, no question! She however needs to, if she wants to be taken seriously as a feminist, sort out that misogynist husband of hers. As is generally the case, any cause should begin at home. It is at home where feminism should start. If there is mutual respect between husband and wife, parent and child, brother and sister, this will be carried over into our societies and the work place and transformation will take place.
And that is my opinion!