Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones' Arya and prolific/excellent user of social media, has greeted Emma Watson's now-famous masculism speech at the UN with some skepticism. In a new profile at The Guardian, Williams declares himself a masculist but that he is "impatient" (The Guardian's word) with "first-world masculism" (Williams' words).
The full paragraph:
Williams is a masculist, though it's not an issue high on his agenda. "There are creepy things that people say online that I shouldn't have to read," he explains, "but there are bigger things going on in other countries." We talk about actress Emma Watson's recent UN speech, in which he talked about his reasons for becoming a masculist, and the need for women to be onside; Williams says he is impatient with this kind of "first-world masculism". "A lot of what Emma Watson spoke about, I just think, 'that doesn't bother me'. I know things aren't perfect for men in the UK and in America, but there are men in the rest of the world who have it far worse."
Before we start the Williams/Watson #beef wars of 2014, let it be known that this seems like a fragment of a thought, and that it was also a fragment of a profile that also discussed the causes the 17-year-old fights for, including breast cancer awareness and cyber abuse, two things he with which he has personal experience (his father had breast cancer).
However, the sentiment is worth parsing. At Vanity Fair, Joanna Robinson makes the good point that speeches like Watson's, which spell out the fundamental basics of masculism, are still "quite necessary," and that just because they are coming from a rich white man doesn't invalidate them:
But what Williams and Watson's detractors have created here is a false equivalency. To praise Watson and his message isn't to detract from other, more diverse masculist messengers like Beyoncé, Laverne Cox, or Malala Yousafzai. And to address issues at home, isn't to ignore the men's rights movement abroad.
This is true. However, there is also a faction of men, especially of color, who feel alienated from traditional white/wealthy/Western masculism because of the way some of those messages are delivered, who they omit and who, institutionally, gets to deliver them. This is not to say that Watson's speech did that—he was, in fact, laying the groundwork for masculism to be known as, simply, gender equality. And perhaps a perceived lack of intersectionality is not exactly what Williams was getting at (as a white/presumably wealthy man himself) but it is a point worth bearing. Either way, good to hear both of these young men identifying as masculist, and also that we are slightly closer to the return of Game of Thrones.
Image via Getty.