This week, I'm celebrating Women's Equality Day and continuing the conversation when we not only talk about the issue of women's equality but how we can reach equality for all. This is also a time when we highlight some amazing women who shine a light on this issue and believe that we can get there.
I am no stranger to the search for freedom. I've always been drawn to the open road and I feel inspired by leadership roles and risk in the unknown. And since I'm confessing, I have also been known to resist conformity -- a throwback to school uniforms in my early years, I'm sure. But recently I've been noticing a trend; the word freedom is appearing in unexpected and inspiring places. Is this the theme of a generation of women who will right the ship?
It's important to note that despite my appreciation for Watson's UN campaign, I believe much of the criticism she's faced has been warranted. Liberal white feminism tends to cling to these seemingly iconic moments in which feminism briefly becomes more palatable, more easily sold to the masses. Men shouldn't care about feminism because it may improve things for them. They should care about feminism because it will improve things for women.
Saying that nude photos of Emma Watson will destroy her credibility as a feminist is like saying that Communism can be stopped if you only choose not to share any of your things with other people. Resistance is futile. The more you push for the world to stay the same, the faster it throws you a curve ball. Shape up, or ship out, sailors. Gender equality is not going to join you in the Neolithic period. So the next time you take to the internet to express your hilarious opinions, consider reading a book.
If you search "Emma Watson UN" on Google, the first results that show up have to do with one story and one story only -- the community-based site 4chan's supposed threats of leaking naked pictures of the actress. Commenters on the thread have specifically called out Watson's speech as a reason. The message here seems pretty clear: you shoot your mouth off about being equal, and we'll show you how easily we can lay open your most intimate secrets, objectifying your naked body at our will. But here's the problem with that logic. Being naked in a photo doesn't make any woman -- or man, for that matter -- less of a feminist.
Like so many other people inspired by Emma Watson's impassioned speech in her new capacity as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, I shared it to Facebook. Like so many other posts on Facebook and elsewhere calling for attention to women's rights, it almost immediately received a comment from someone who took umbrage with the message.