“If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women wouldn’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.” Emma Watson’s speech rang clear to the United Nations assembly (and millions more who tuned in virtually).
The address on the whole was widely well received, if not particularly revolutionary or groundbreaking.
Soon after the speech hit the Internet, a website sprang up counting down the minutes until retaliatory nude photos of Watson would be released to the public.
The threat failed to materialize, and the whole thing was revealed to be a hoax, allegedly started by a company that claimed to be trying to shed light on the atrocity of using women’s naked pictures as weapons (?).
The situation is murky and the details unclear. But one thing from this whole messy, confusing, seedy situation is undeniably true: once again, women’s naked bodies are being used (or at least threatened) as weapons of mass humiliation.
Though this is by no means a new phenomenon, it comes hot on the heels of the recent leaks of actresses’ photos, including America’s darling, Jennifer Lawrence.
The criminals behind these invasions feed off the societal belief that women’s bodies are dirty, there to titillate a morbid fascination but to be eschewed by the proper and polite. The most effective way to silence an outspoken woman is by revealing her in her most natural state, since nothing could be more shameful.
These technologically-savvy cowards feel prompted to remind her that she’s nothing more than a body, privacy over which she doesn’t even get to control.
They strip her of her dignity, reduce her to less than a thinking, feeling human.
These humiliations show no sign of stopping any time soon. As long as women’s stolen private property and stripped dignity continue to earn page clicks and website views, these ruthless Internet trolls will continue feeding the beast.