Recently, Harry Potter fans were struck with sadness as Professor Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) bid farewell to this world at the age of 69. Quite a few of them took to social media to express the grief they felt on this grim occasion. Amongst them were acquaintances, well wishers and fellow co-stars, which included our beloved Hermione Granger (Emma Watson). Firstly, she paid remembrance to the star in a tweet, by stating, “I will really miss our conversations. RIP. We love you”. However, her next tweet- which comprised of a tweet by Alan Rickman on supporting feminism, “there is nothing wrong with a man being a feminist, I think it is to our mutual advantage”- garnered a lot of negative attention. What makes it worse is that she happens to be the UN Goodwill Ambassador for women. In a series of hateful tweets to follow, she was accused of having exploited the death of the actor to promote her feminist agenda.
First and foremost, before moving on, this piece is not revolved around trying to progress a feminist agenda or a Harry Potter agenda or a wizard agenda; in case, audiences start to perceive that is the case. Instead, this piece revolves around deviating from the actual context of the root of the issue to a non-existent one. Hence, when the correct root is not pointed out, how are we to derive an actual conclusion from a situation? The argument about the essences of the situations will be made, but before that, let us have a look at what Emma Watson feels about feminism in general. In her HeforShe campaign speech at the UN, she enlightened us about rising popularity of the term feminism, the definition of feminism and cleared the misconception that feminism can be synonymised with ‘man hating’. Later, she states about how this forms the fabric of the social, political and economic theory for the equality of the sexes. Hence, lying beneath the core of this debate is humanity and how much we are willing to promote it. To break this down further, ‘humanity’ can be defined as the quality of compassion or consideration for others. To not let, another person feel oppressed. None of us were born with a choice and all of us were born naked. The choices were determined for us, dependent on the type of people that surrounded us. We never deserved it or never not deserved it; it was never under our control. Hence, the simplest question is how someone can justify being greater than other in terms of rights or power and having access to the same amenities as another person.
To add to that, in the same speech, Emma Watson clarifies that she was born and brought up in sheer privilege where she was not hated upon by her parents for being a daughter and her school did not limit her because she was a girl. Why will such a privileged person want to promote certain ideas? She could be rather sitting at home and making sandwiches or watching tv shows with all the food in the world to nibble from, and she would still survive However, she did take a stand.
Hence, it is not hard to state that the context in which Emma Watson shared the quote by Alan Rickman was not meant to advertise or commercialize a product, but it was to advocate certain values that Alan Rickman embraced about humanity in general, and one of those qualities happened to be feminism. In fact, in his interviews with the Entertainment weekly, he states that feminism is just common sense. It is quite certain that Emma’s comments were not meant to disrespect Alan Rickman by any means, but it was to pay a tribute to a human being for what he believed in. If Alan Rickman can state that feminism is plain commonsense audaciously, he probably is going to be happy staring from the skies that this aspect of him is still alive in people’s hearts.
Considering the ugly responses, it is not hard to point fingers to the fact that those hateful people have played right into the hands of proving what Emma Watson said about feminism in general and how it may be viewed as a product rather than a value. With this being said, the only advice that can be offered to these people is to have a firmer faith in humanity and acknowledge these values especially if the intention derives from values that affect all of us human beings. Hence, if feminism did not align with humanity, the efforts being made by these people could have been lauded, however fortunately or unfortunately, this is not the case.