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In defence of Emma Watson’s feminist tribute to Alan Rickman

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Sejal Kapadia Pocha
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When we’re hit with the news that someone we’re close to (or even once met) has passed away, we automatically think about the things they said.

Words hold onto us like a lingering last hug.

With the loss of Alan Rickman, members of the film industry have taken to the internet to share sentiments on their last or most memorable conversations with the great actor:

Matthew Lewis (played Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter) recalled the advice he gave him about working in the acting industry. 

Daniel Radcliffe remembered how “certain things obviously became even funnier when delivered in [Rickman's] unmistakable double-bass”. 

Emma Thompson, his Love Actually co-star, toasted “the clarity with which he saw most things”.

And Emma Watson shared a quote from an interview which resonated with her the most.

Now let’s play a very quick game. Can you spot the difference in the four tributes above?

Nope? Not really? Me neither.

But in the last 24 hours a storm has been brewing around the Alan Rickman quote Emma Watson chose to share, which said: “There is nothing wrong with a man being a feminist, I think it is to our mutual advantage”. 

Ah yes, there it is - the f-word. 

Hundreds of trolls, predominantly misogynists, are criticising Watson for using Rickman’s death as propaganda material to ‘further her political agenda’ for women. One emphatic Twitter user said, “A man died and you're just talking about him being a feminist Emma?” while another called Watson's tribute, "tacky, classless, tactless, disgusting behaviour". Others called her disrespectful.

But it shouldn't be alarming that a Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women would find comfort in remembering that her friend said such a brilliant thing about an issue close to her heart. In the way that some of us will remember Rickman for his portrayal of Severus Snape and others will admire his role in Sense and Sensibility, Emma Watson is free to commemorate him as the man she knew - a feminist.

To those critics who feel they're defending Rickman's memory - you're not. By reacting in this manner, you're actually attacking what he believed in.

In case you need one more reminder, he said, "There is nothing wrong with a man being a feminist". 

Why not cut the passive, needless abuse and just take him at his word? 

See more male feminists right here

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Sejal Kapadia Pocha

Sejal Kapadia Pocha covers stories about everything from women’s issues to cult foods. She describes herself as a balance between Hermione and Luna Lovegood.

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