Emma Watson, known for her role as the witch Hermione in the Harry Potter films, was appointed as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador in 2014 and on September 20 gave a speech at the United Nations launching the HeForShe campaign, which calls for greater male involvement in the fight against discrimination faced by women and girls.
More than that, though, the speech was about feminism as a movement and about the deep trouble it is in. Feminism’s popularity has been on the decline for decades and the ideologues know it. At first they did little, thinking themselves invincible goddesses, but now they are scrambling to circle the wagons. Emma Watson’s speech is meant as a rallying call, but in making it she has highlighted how fractured feminism has become.
Right off the bat we can see that the feminists are on the defensive. Watson says:
we want to try and galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality.
They are desperate to find supporters, but as the ongoing success of Women Against Feminism proves, women aren’t buying into feminists’ bullshit anymore. Women all over the world have their own real, lived experiences that fly in the face of feminist doctrine. Men, on the other hand, don’t know personally what life for women is like and are altruistically prone to leaping to their aid. The feminists know this and they are trying to tap into that residual chivalry to drum up new troops.
The only reason they’re doing so is because they know their backs are already against the wall, and in fine fainting-couch fashion, they expect men to respond to their damsel cries even when their fellow women won’t.
I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.
Mind you, she doesn’t mean that the man-hating has to stop, just the perception of feminism as such. Ms. Watson, if you’re reading this, you should know that there is a word for man-hating and it is misandry. I know you like dictionaries, since you go on to parrot the dictionary definition of feminism, so try expanding your vocabulary. While you’re at it, expand your bag of tricks too. We’ve all heard the “definition” of feminism, and the fine ladies of Women Against Feminism will be glad to explain how they feel about it.
Feminists know they have a PR problem, or maybe a PR catastrophe, but all they can do is keep squawking that it’s not true, evidence to the contrary be damned. Watson touches on a few feminist talking points, including the thoroughly debunked wage gap and a brief nod to the blessedly unsuccessful Ban Bossy campaign. I’ll take her cries for female bodily autonomy more seriously when she starts agitating against male conscription.
After laying the foundation of female oppression, Watson gets to the crux of her speech:
How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?
Men—I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too.
Well, hot damn.
A formal invitation. Really? Emma, dear, sweet Emma, you keeping using that “equality” word, but I don’t think you know what it means. Gender equality is, by very definition, a men’s and women’s issue. Feminism, however, is not, has not been, and never was about equality. Leading feminists are worried because the rest of us are finally catching on to that fact. They’ve been harping on about the wage gap, rape culture, domestic violence, abortion, etc., for years but more and more women are seeing that the dogma doesn’t reflect their lives. Now only one in four women self-identify as feminist, and even mathematically impaired feminists can see those aren’t good odds.
So they’re sounding the retreat and pulling in their tentacles. As patriarchy theory likes to point out, most people in positions of power are men. Business executives, politicians, university heads, all traditionally male. Therefore, throughout the gender shit storm that was the 20th century, feminism succeeded on the goodwill of those powerful men. They passed the laws, enacted the affirmative action, helped push the self-destructive propaganda. Let’s face it, if most men weren’t willing to bend over backwards and walk over a land mine to give women what they want, feminism would’ve gotten nowhere fast.
Now they’re falling back on that support structure again. Except it’s trickier now, isn’t it, Emma? After a century of concerted misandry and bald hatred, a lot of men have become wary of having anything to do with feminism.
Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive.
Yes, you are. Ever stop to think it’s for good reason?
No, of course not. You have an agenda, dammit, and you’re sticking to it! That agenda now calls for greater involvement (read: groveling and self-sacrifice) of men. Women aren’t drinking the Kool-Aid so they’re rebranding. Watson throws a few bones out to would-be allies:
I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society
(and by the feminist organizations that routinely and universally fight shared parenting bills, including in the UK)
I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them look less “macho”—in fact in the UK suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20-49
(I’m glad feminists care about suicide)
But then she couldn’t quite keep it together and, like the dawn inevitably coming, slipped back into gynocentrism:
We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are and that when they are free …
Wait for it … wait for it …
… things will change for women as a natural consequence.
If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.
Yay! Understand, men? Your issues matter to feminists, but only because fixing them will benefit women. Even when they throw us bones, they can’t help aiming for our nuts. The whole point of the HeForShe campaign, and even its very name, is to make men utilities for women. They don’t want male supporters; far from it. They’ll drop those rapey-creeps the moment they can, but feminists are desperate, so they’re now willing to employ them. Give it a few years and they might even start letting men call themselves feminists.
And one final snippet from the speech:
I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too—reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.
I think this sums up the feminist hypoagency-hyperagency dichotomy very well. Women must be freed from prejudice, which is imposed on them by others, while men need only reclaim what they themselves abandoned. Also, I’ll give Watson the benefit of the doubt and assume it was an unintended slip that she said “daughters, sisters and mothers” for females but only “sons” for males; are our brothers and fathers, the current and past generations, already beyond saving?
That the United Nations would host such a speech and sponsor such a campaign is proof of how deep feminism runs, but the fact they are calling for male support shows how weak it has become. Feminists know they’re losing. They’re losing female membership and interest so their only choice is to assume a defensive posture. Male allies will help them do that by acting as enforcers to defend what territory they already have. They’ll be clinging to their political influence even as public approval slips away and their new male lackeys will be able to bully non-conforming men without getting the feminists themselves labeled misandrists.
This trend has been going for some time, trying to shame and coerce men into supporting feminism with video and poster campaigns. Like a girl siccing her boyfriend on someone she hates, feminists are ready to fight their own fights just as long as no one is fighting back. The backlash has begun, though. The tide is turning and all the white knights in the world won’t save them.
With any luck Emma Watson will be one of the last bigots to ever speak at the UN.