- Written by Emily L. Barnum, M.A.
Over the course of the past month, the media has splashed multiple stories about women’s issues from the icloud photo scandal to NFL football player Ray Rice’s, physically assaulting his wife. In each of these cases, I have found myself frustrated for the survivors of these attacks. In the wake of the icloud picture scandal the media splashed accusatory stories regarding the problems of taking nude photographs. In these articles, the newspapers accused the women of wanting photos to get leaked by merely taking the photos in the first place. In this case, there has been no suspect found guilty of either of the two photograph leaks. In the case of Ray Rice, only after a video leaked, was he suspended from the sport. Until this time, he was only removed from a few games. In both of these cases, the female survivors are blamed, and perpetrators only receive blame when there is visual proof of an assault.
In the wake of these nude photographs and sexual assaults being splashed across the media, many organizations have begun to express the need for social change. Specifically, Emma Watson addressed the United Nations promoting her new campaign entitled HeforShe. She stated, “Men, I would like to extend your formal invitation to the conversation because gender equality is your issue too.” In her eloquent speech, Ms. Watson refers to her privileges of SES and familial support. However, as a woman, she also faces discrimination. In the wake of her speech, the media attacked her words and began to discuss the potentiality of her having nude photographs. In fact, I believe I saw more negative articles about Emma Watson than positive in the past few weeks. This is a travesty as many Emma’s speech supports gender equality for all.
As a feminist and an advocate, I find myself frustrated watching the news and/or reading the paper. In fact, I have avoided doing so recently because I needed a break from being angry at the television. As I have grown in my own understanding of my feminist identity, I continue to become far more aware of the gender equality problems evident everyday in American culture. I agree with Emma Watson in this sense, this isn’t a female problem; it is an everyone problem. In his 2012 Ted Talk, Jackson Katz states “people believe the word gender is synonymous with women, so gender issues is equivalent to women’s issues…causing men to be invisible in large measure about issues that are primarily about them. In this sense men are erased from a conversation that is primarily about them.” In this case, gender equality, sexual assault, rape, domestic violence is everyone’s issue and should be treated as such. Think about it.