Hey guys, time to man up and speak out for Emma Watson

After Emma Watson AKA Hermione introduced the HeForShe campaign, making a brilliant and impassioned speech to the U.N. about feminism and asking men to join the movement, she received death and sex crime threats publicly posted on 4Chan. As punishment for being a feminist, Watson was publicly warned, The Mary Sue reports:

In addition to threatening to commit a sex crime against the actress and activist, users also spread a #RIPEmma hashtag on Twitter along with pictures of a fake report on the actress’ “death.”


I’m only  including one comment from 4 chan’s b board here; if you can stomach it, Death and Taxes has several classically vitriolic threats in their coverage on the harassment. But here’s a statement that perfectly demonstrates the boo-hoo babyman knee-jerk rhetoric behind the abuse:


she makes stupid feminist speeches at UN, and now her nudes will be online, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

It is amazing to me that this website is up and ticking while Tumblr took less than 24 hours to remove a list of rapists put up by University of Chicago students who were frustrated by the systemic lack of protection for students at the school. On the internet, threatening to rape is allowed but protecting students from rapists is banned.

The victim of 4Chan’s harassment isn’t only Watson, of course, but all women and girls. We are all being warned that if we dare to speak out, to tell the truth, to demand equality, or call ourselves feminists, we will be ridiculed, targeted, shamed and humiliated if not raped and murdered. This is happening legally in the USA.

In response to the threats, Melissa Wardy of Pigtail Pals writes a blog titled “Speak All the Louder”

The reaction of these men who use fear to promote their power is a measure meant to terrorize us to ‘stay in our place’.  To shame empathetic men and to overpower outspoken women. To stunt our thinking and growth as a society. To silence our voices.


I think this kind of man is an excellent reminder of why we must speak all the louder.


Peggy Orenstein, best-selling author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter makes another point, urging men to speak up for Watson and against violence towards women. On her Facebook page, Orenstein writes:

Women can (and should) express outrage about the death threats against our beloved Emma W, but I think that given her message about the value of feminism to both men and women, and how increasingly important we know it is that boys, especially, learn to stand up and speak out around violence against women this would be a good time for guys to step up!!


I could not agree more. All males including fathers, teachers, doctors, athletes, musicians, writers, artists, students, boys everywhere, now is the time to speak publicly for Watson, for feminism, and to take action to stop violence against women. If you are silent, you are part of the problem.

Neil Gaiman, author of Coraline, posted his picture on Tumblr with #HeForShe written on his palm, and captioned: “Supporting it as a feminist and as a human being…” If males worldwide publicly say yes to feminism, violence against women will stop.

Sign up for #HeForShe here. Speak out for feminism whenever and wherever you can. Join the movement. Change the world. The time is now.

6 thoughts on “Hey guys, time to man up and speak out for Emma Watson

  1. “When men own the equality of women there will be no need for them to struggle for their rights!” Quote by Abdu’l-Baha, one of the central figures of the Baha’i Faith. He said it 103 years ago, but … better late than never?

    (Seriously, though, the quote kind of blew my mind when I first read it many years ago. We’re so conditioned to see feminism as something women struggle for “against” men, but why shouldn’t an issue of justice that affects everyone’s wives, sisters, daughters, mothers be something that men care about too?)

  2. I agree with the idea of this article , but was it not rather unfortunate to use the term “man up” to mean be strong and step up , in your headline? Not only does it reinforce the idea that strength and bravery are masculine traits, but once again it conveys the myth that feminism is not about equality but rather about women dominating men. I do not think that is what feminism is, but when you have an article written by feminists about feminism and the heading conveys that masculinity is something to be defined and controlled by women for the benefit of women, that’s part of the problem. Why not use a gender neutral term such as step up? Otherwise it looks like feminism is wanting the cake and eating it too. The world needs feminism too much to keep tarnishing it with these flaws and hypocrisies that hurt us all and fuel further backlash.

    • Hi Susan,

      I used ‘man up’ purposefully and consciously, meaning being a strong man is being a feminist, keeping with the theme of Watson’s speech of debunking myths about feminism. Sexists twist all kinds of words that I write, and I can’t censor myself based on fear of what people might say.


      • Hi Margot,
        I appreciate your reply. My opinion still stands. Sexists constantly justify their use of sexist language by saying it was used deliberately, or in irony, or as a joke. I don’t see the difference between that and what you are saying. It has to go both ways. To me your title is a subtle attack on masculinity, the message being if you were a real man, you would be a feminist. I don’t think feminists do have the right to define what “strong” masculinity is. I don’t want people to treat me that way based on gender stereotypes and I don’t want males being treated like that either. Good people will support equality. The sexists of this world will just use subtle gender based insults like “hey guys, time to man up” to further fuel their backlash. Emma Watson invited men to the cause. You issued a order that implied their masculinity was somehow less if they don’t comply or agree with you. I know I personally am more likely to respond to a warm invite than an insulting demand. I think “man up” is a hideous expression no matter the intent under its use. This is why I just had to express my thoughts here. Imagine a male writing the headline “Hey gals, time to woman up!”. Pretty ridiculous when the genders are flipped. Our disagreement on language aside, good on you for getting your voice out there and standing up for the principles of equality. I am a feminist also and I appreciate the contribution you are making. Have a good day.

        • “was it not rather unfortunate to use the term “man up” to mean be strong and step up , in your headline? Not only does it reinforce the idea that strength and bravery are masculine traits, but once again it conveys the myth that feminism is not about equality but rather about women dominating men. ”
          As a man, Susan, I neither find the use of “man up” to imply that strength and bravery are exclusively masculine, nor that it suggests that feminism is about dominance.

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