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Social craze: Emma Watson will not be silenced

Written by SianElvin

There was absolutely no question this week that I had to dedicate my final ever Kettle social craze column to the total brilliance that is Emma Watson.

I thought this article would take a very positive view on both the gender equality speech itself, and the overwhelming reaction to it. But in light of the news that hackers have been threatening to release nude photos of Ms Watson in response to her speech, I became angry with the unfairness of the world and wanted to run in with all my feminist guns blazing.

However… I’m going to keep this article positive. Why? Because despite the threatening hackers, or even, in spite of them, I believe that Emma Watson will not be silenced.

The speech

So if you have been living under a rock this week, here’s the low-down on why Ms Watson has caused ripples across the internet this week.

After graduating from college earlier this year, she was appointed the UN Women’s Global Goodwill Ambassador. She has already been making her mark by cheekily responding to a Turkish politician saying he disapproves of women laughing in public.

She also responded to the celebrity photo hack:

So already I was just a little bit in love with Ms Watson; but the speech she gave at the launch of the HeForShe campaign last week made me fall hook, line and sinker.

HeForShe is a campaign led by UN Women in which men all over the world are being encouraged to speak out against the inequalities faced by women and girls. In her speech, Ms Watson speaks about the current stigma surrounding feminism. She appeared nervous, but her words rang through loud and clear.

You can see the full speech below:

The reaction

With more than three and a half million views on the original video and sending her immediately to the top of Facebook’s trending list, the reaction to Ms Watson’s honest, brave and touching speech was massive. Here is a selection of the top tweets from celebrities:

Everything I found was highlighted with positivity, positivity, positivity everywhere. And then suddenly, my Twitter feed turned, and all I could see was this horrific front page:

Disgusting. It turns out that online trolls on 4Chan have been threatening to leak nude photos of Ms Watson, as well as attempting to get #RIPEmmaWatson trending on Twitter and posting photoshopped pictures of news websites suggesting that she has died.

Of course, these responses have certainly put a negative spin on things, but the way feminists have rallied round to support her is actually extremely promising for the future of feminism.

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett wrote this in a letter to Emma Watson posted in the New Statesman.

Others tweeted their support:

Ms Watson also tweeted again, showing that these bullies will not silence her:

The latest news suggests that the nude photo leak may be a hoax to bring down 4Chan, but regardless, this kind of threat demonstrates just why the message Ms Watson is trying to deliver is so important and still, so needed.

I truly hope that the threats do turn out to be a hoax, but even if they don’t, remember this, Em: we’re behind you. It may not be every single person on the planet, but it’s enough that will give your message the momentum it needs, and communicate it to others. Now, let’s continue to kick inequality’s ass.

What did you think of this week’s social craze? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: Marco Bond / Flickr