Nude photos. So many nude photos.
Got your attention, did it?
Imagine if they were stolen from you. Imagine if you were trying to do good in the world, and the reaction to your work turned out to be a bitter, pathetic blackmail attempt. It happened, and to someone who most of our generation considers somewhat of a distant cousin – Emma Watson.
The newly appointed Goodwill Ambassador for United Nations Women recently delivered a speech at the U.N. on feminism sending shockwaves through the Internet. She spoke of her personal journey to feminism and launched the “HeForShe” campaign, a movement asking men to join the fight for gender equality.
Apparently the Internet couldn’t handle someone like Watson campaigning for social, economic and political equality of the sexes. Users on 4chan threatened to release nude photos if she didn’t back down. The threat has since been exposed as a hoax but still points out the social problem at stake.
Mic.com senior editor Elizabeth Plank took to Twitter about the issue: “Emma Watson, like so many other women online, is being silenced and kept in her place with misogyny as a weapon."
Watson took up a mantle because she felt obligated to do so. This threatening-to-release-nude-photos situation only seems to prove the world’s need for feminism. The opportunity for such a threat shouldn’t even exist.
Some consider her speech powerful because it addressed many problems with how women are treated, but others scorned it because of its spin on how men would gain from improvement. Many women argue that men should not need a personal incentive to fight for equality.
The worst of us, Watson said, are not the ones fighting against feminism or any other social justice campaign. The worst of us are the bystanders.
“If not me, who?” Watson pointed out in her speech. “If not now, when?”
The call has been sounded again. It is past time for society to respond. Maybe next time a photo leak won’t be part of the conversation.