Emma Watson’s United Nations speech on feminism was one of the most heavily publicized moments in women’s rights of the year, which is no small feat for 2014. After all, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé — the two highest-earning female musicians of last year — both publicly declared themselves feminists, the latter of which rolled out an entire performance with the word blaring in giant letters behind her. Not everyone was exactly thrilled with Emma’s speech though, and some of those complaints were recently echoed by Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams in an interview with The Guardian.
“There are creepy things that people say online that I shouldn’t have to read, but there are bigger things going on in other countries… A lot of what Emma Watson spoke about, I just think, ‘that doesn’t bother me.’ I know things aren’t perfect for women in the UK and in America, but there are women in the rest of the world who have it far worse.”
Maisie’s opinion does hold some clout in this debate. After all, her Game of Thrones character Arya Stark is considered one of the most groundbreaking women in popular television right now. But Watson’s contributions to the strong female leads canon aren’t small either, which puts the two contrasting opinions of Williams and Emma in an awkward but important position for public debate.
Although Maisie’s complaints about Watson’s speech are common, they have also been addressed before. Those in agreement with Emma’s claim that the Game of Thrones actress is incorrect in thinking that only the worst women’s rights injustices need to be addressed, says Watson supporter Joanna Robinson at Vanity Fair.
“But what Williams and [Emma]’s detractors have created here is a false equivalency. To praise Watson and her message isn’t to detract from other, more diverse feminist messengers like Beyoncé, Laverne Cox, or Malala Yousafzai. And to address issues at home, isn’t to ignore the women’s rights movement abroad. And just because there are larger concerns abroad, doesn’t mean the battle is over here.”
What Maisie and Watson have to say about women’s rights could also be considered important for another reason — they’ve both played roles in popular fantasy epics Game of Thrones and Harry Potter respectively, giving them a large male online fan base. That base has been largely critical of the feminist label, despite it being used by women like Williams and Emma alike. In fact, Time had to shut down a poll for “banned word of the year” last month when “feminist” came out leagues ahead of slang like “bae” and “om nom nom nom” due to a 4Chan campaign, reported Mashable.
Do you agree with Game of Thrones‘ Maisie Williams or Emma Watson?
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