I wrote a Daily Dot piece about the threats (so far non-substantiated) to leak nude photos of Emma Watson as “punishment” for her UN speech about feminism.
Even worse than seeing women’s privacy violated on social media is reading the accompanying comments that show such a lack of empathy.
— Emma Watson (@EmWatson) September 1, 2014
Unfortunately, she may be about to experience that for herself. Watson recently gave a moving speech to the United Nations about gender equality and why men should care about it. Speaking on behalf of a campaign called HeForShe, she reiterated what feminism means, what rights feminists fight for, and how men are hurt by gender stereotypes, too.
The speech went viral, but not everyone liked it. Anti-feminist 4chan users and redditors whined. A site called Emma You Are Next, launched by a group of prolific Internet hoax artists, counted down to midnight on Sept. 24, when nude photos of the star would allegedly leak. Originally, the website read, “Never forget, the biggest to come thus far,” alluding to the Celebgate photo scandal. Later that sentence was removed and replaced with an updated date and time for the leak.
On 4chan, users raved:
It is real and going to happen this weekend. That feminist bitch Emma is going to show the world she is as much of a whore as any woman.
She makes stupid feminist speeches at UN, and now her nudes will be online, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH
The threats against Emma Watson stand as a stark counterpoint to the discussions that followed the original nude photo leak. Women, we were informed, just need to be “smart” and “careful” about their online presence. Deleting nude photos is no longer enough; we must not even take them to begin with, because someone could always find a way to hack into our iCloud accounts and steal them.
It is “only natural,” we were told, for men to seek out nude photos of famous beautiful women and share them with other men. It’s “just what happens” what you choose to “put yourself out there,” you see.
Yet there’s a long history of sex-related violence and exploitation being used intentionally as punishment against people, especially women, who step out of line. It’s not “just what happens,” it’s not “only natural,” like getting electrocuted if you touch a live wire. It’s done on purpose to deter people from doing things that make men feel threatened, or to take one’s anger out on them once they’ve done it.
The threats against Emma Watson are just the latest example of this. A few hackers didn’t like what she had to say about feminism. They didn’t like that a woman was able to access a platform so noteworthy. They didn’t like that her speech was so well-received and went so viral. They didn’t like that a “feminist bitch” was being heard. So they threatened to retaliate. Read the rest here. After it became clear this morning that no nude photos were released, I tweeted some stuff:
So, in light of that, let’s keep the discussion in the comments focused on the issue at hand.