Emma Watson Responds To Nude Photo Threats & Reminds Us The Internet Isn't A Safe Place For Everyone
When Emma Watson gave her speech about gender inequality at the UN last year, most people applauded the actress' effort to make a real change in society. Unfortunately, not everyone was so supportive of Watson's call for change — and some people even threatened Emma Watson with the release of her own nude photos because of the content of her speech. Now, Watson is speaking up about what it was like to receive those threats — and how, ultimately, it fueled her quest to fight for gender equality.
Watson sat down for a Q&A with Facebook on International Woman's Day and explained how it felt to be threatened by internet trolls: "When [the people close to me] saw that the minute I stepped up and talked about women's rights I was immediately threatened... they were really shocked... It's funny because people are like, 'She's gonna be disheartened by this.' If anything, it made me so much more determined... It made me so angry that I was just like, 'This is why I have to be doing this.' So, if anything, if they were trying to put me off it, it did the opposite."
The threats against Watson may have been empty, but many women do have their own images used against them — and it's not just a celebrity problem. Making private nude or sexualized photos of a person available to the public against their will is a crime that has potentially devastating consequences for the victim, and it's often women who are most vulnerable. "Revenge porn" is an all too common way for people to "put women in their place" and it's a crime that is rarely discussed in the right way. The fact that Watson was threatened in this way after speaking about gender issues is a double whammy — not only is the crime of posting these photos inherently sexist, but to make these threats after Watson dared to publicly discuss feminism is just proof of how far our society still needs to come in terms of equality.
I'm glad that Watson wasn't deterred by these threats — we clearly need more speeches like hers going forward. I only hope we can all start really hearing what she has to say.