Emma Watson, Feminism, and the UN

So much of my social media has been splattered for days with Emma Watson’s recent #HeForShe speech at the UN and it’s getting incredibly annoying to see all the white women in my life praise Watson for what sounded like a rather bland speech that seemed to have spent too much time focusing on men. But not everyone is happy with the speech and many criticisms have surfaced, with incredibly fantastic points that call out the bullshit that is involved with the speech.

mainstream feminism, of which celebrity feminism is a derivation, has an intersectionality problem: it advocates for women but consistently fails to recognise that women are not just white, middle-class, cisgender, western, and/or able-bodied. it fails to include narratives of sex workers and migrants and women who may be living at the margins as a result of their stigmatised identities. let me stop mincing words here: white mainstream feminism is largely egotistical, erasing, self-serving and self-centring, plagiarising drivel that dresses itself up as progressive gender politics. it is unimpressive, and frankly, emma watson’s speech is no different from any of the soft liberal gender advocacy i could go read in the guardian.

From http://samoodzee.wordpress.com/ – emma watson, the “game-changer,” and the pitiful standards of celebrity feminism

That has to be one of my favorite quotes criticizing the white mainstream feminism that currently exists and often dominates. As a white person who identifies as a feminist, I’m still trying to unlearn the things I was socialized and conditioned with, including many things that white mainstream feminism preaches.

Another critique comes from Amy McCarthy, whose piece also focuses on how Watson’s speech wasn’t a game changing aspect for anything, especially feminism – Sorry, Privileged White Ladies, but Emma Watson Isn’t a ‘Game Changer’ for Feminism. Mia Mckenzie, from Black Girl Dangerous, also wrote about Watson’s speech, critiquing the idea that because cis men benefit from gender inequality, they have no stake in dismantling the system that allows gender inequality.  The last piece I’ll include for now is from Black Feminist Killjoy on tumblr, who similarly highlighted the fact that Watson’s speech lacked intersectionality, focused too much on and centered men, and was highly westernized.

All of the pieces I’ve highlighted have done a significantly better job highlighting the problematic nature of Emma Watson’s speech than I could ever do and in a sea of blinded praise, it was nice to see others being bothered by what had been said.

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